How To Brew Coffee With A V60
More Than A Standard Pour Over Brew Guide
In today's coffee culture, V60 brew recipes are a dime a dozen. There are so many variations on how to brew with this simple dripper, and anyone & everyone vaguely interested in coffee has their "Ultimate V60 Recipe". The truth is, all of these recipes have their merits and their downfalls, so in todays blog and video, we are going to look at two of the more popular recipes seen today, how to brew them and some comparative notes on the two recipes. Let the brewing begin!
What You Need To Brew A V60 Pour Over
- Hario V60 (these recipes are for the 02 cup, but you can adjust them accordingly if you keep the same brew ratio)
- V60 Filters
- A kettle
- A coffee grinder
- A scale & timer (a coffee scale is always nice)
- Chopstick or similar stick (only needed for the Kubomi Preparation)
Nice To Have Extras:
- Pouring Kettle
- V60 Decanter
- Peak Water For Coffee
The Tetsu Kasuya's 4:6 Brew Method
In 2016 Tatsu Kasuya took home gold with this brew method at the World Brewers Cup Championship in Dublin, Ireland. He captured the interest of the coffee community in a new way as he tried to break down the brew method into steps that would allow one to make changes that would have specific impacts on the sweetness, acidity and body of your brewed coffee. The brew method got its name from the way that it splits your brew into two portions, the first 40% and the second 60%.
Bear with us here, because this can get a little complicated. In order to make adjustments to your brew, you must have a basic brew to adjust - a starting point if you will. The base recipe for this is 5 equal pours, that are each three times the mass of your ground coffee. For example, if you use 20g of coffee (which is what we use), it will be five equal pours of 60g. If you use 15g of coffee, it will be 5 equal pours of 45g, and vice versa, if you use 30g of coffee, it will be 5 equal pours of 90g.
Now let's look at how you can adjust this recipe to make specific changes to your brew. The first part of your brew is delivered in two pours and makes up 40% of your total brew mass or 120g if you are using 20g of coffee. By making the first pour bigger, you will bring a little more acidity to the table, and by making the first pour smaller, you will find the brew to be a little sweeter. It's important to remember that the total of these two pours must still be 40% or 120g (for example, two pours of 60g will become one pour of 50g and one pour of 70g for a sweeter brew or vice versa for a more acidic brew).
The remaining 60% of your brew, or 180g for 20g of coffee, can be adjusted to manipulate the body of your coffee. For our basic brew, this would comprise of 3 pours of 60g. If you want more body in your cup, increase the number of pours while keeping the volume the same (for example - 4 pours of 45g to make up 180g), if you want a more delicate or tea like brew, decrease the number of pours (for example 2 pours of 90g).
Bear in mind that you can only highlight flavours that are already in the coffee - so brew to strengths of your coffee. No matter how much you want them, your brew method cannot create flavours that aren't there in the first place. Now that you've made it through the pre-ample, let's brew some coffee! Here are step by step instructions on how to brew with the the basics Tetsu Kasuya V60 Brew Method.
- Place your V60 on your brewing. vessel with the filter in place
- Rinse the filter - this serves to rinse the paper taste from the filter and heat up your V60
- Add 20g of course ground coffee to your V60
- Pour 120g of ±95° water in two separate pours: wait roughly 45 sec between pours you want most / all off the water to run through in those 45 seconds (This is where you can make your adjustments for a sweeter / more acidic brew)
- At roughly 1:30 minutes, you will begin pouring the part of the brew that controls body. Pour 3 pours of 60g each to make up the remaining 180g (This is where you can make adjustments for more body / less body in your brew by increasing or decreasing the number of pours)
- Your total draw down time should be between 3.30 minutes and 4.00 minutes
- Sit back and enjoy your brew!
The Kubomi Preparation
We know... technically, Kubomi isn't a "brew method" as much as it is a technique for prepping the bed of coffee that aids extraction. We found this technique really helpful and interesting and for the sake of creating interesting content with a catchy title, we dubbed it a brew method. We used this preparation with a fairly simple brew method that seems to be a favourite for a lot of the "coffee YouTubers" out there
This brew method uses long pours that fill the V60, along with low agitation of the grounds. The idea behind this is that the more hot water you have in your V60, the better your brew will retain heat and the more thermal stability your brew will have. This, combined with the Kubomi preparation, helps get the coffee grounds evenly saturated and inevitably
For the sake of comparison, we'll be using the same brew ratio as the previous recipe. Let's get started.
- Place your v60 on your brewing vessel with the filter in place
- Rinse the filter - this serves to rinse the paper taste from the filter and heat up your V60
- Place a chopstick (or something similar) in the filter and add 20g medium ground coffee.
- Move your chopstick in a clockwise pattern from the outside to the centre, creating a "swirl" pattern in the bed of coffee.
- Remove the chopstick
- Add 50g of water, just off the boil (you can't really get too hot with this brew method), and start your timer
- Stir the coffee in the opposite direction to your initial swirl, from the centre to the outside
- Allow the coffee to bloom for 30 seconds
- Take another 45 seconds to pour up to 180g (or 60% of your total brew) in a circular motion. This is quite an aggressive pour and you want the V60 to fill up with hot water
- Without stopping pouring, move the spout of your kettle to the middle of the V60, as close to the water as you can. Slow your pour down so that the amount of liquid in the brewer is staying constant (you want to pour as quickly as it's running through)
- Gently pour up to 300g (or the remaining 40% of your brew) - this should take about 1 min to 1.30 min
- Gently swirl, and allow the coffee to draw down. The total brew time should be about 3.30 - 4.00 minutes
- Sit back and enjoy your brew
This part of the discussion is much more subjective. There is no such thing as a categorically "good" brew. It comes down to taste, preference, nuance, and, quite frankly, the mood you're in. Both these brews were outstanding. The extraction was good, the flavours were clear, yet they were (much to our surprise) vastly different. So let's talk about these differences and how you can use this experiment to better your future brews.
This experiment was done with a juicy and bright, fruit forward Kenyan coffee. The Tetsu Kasuya brew was beautifully textured, with a lovely mouth coating feel. The coffee had loads of body, which really surprised us for a Kenyan! It still had that acidity that we love in our Kenyan coffees, but it was much smoother and a little heavier than usual. Perhaps some tweaks in this brew to help highlight the acidity would have allowed the best aspects of this coffee to shine a little more.
The Kubomi brew on the other hand was delicate and tea like, but still packed full of complex fruity flavours. Peach ice tea was really the star of the show here!
In terms of practicality, the two brew methods were quite different. The 4:6 method, while definitely more complicated to explain, was far easier to execute, easier to repeat and a little more forgiving on variables. The fact that it's so easy to repeat has meant it's been a staple brew method at our cafes for years. The Kubomi method on the other hand, while quite simple to explain, requires constant attention during the brew, and tends to be a little less forgiving.
If you were to ask us which brew we prefered, I think it was fairly unanimous that the preferred brew was the Kubomi brew... Having said that, this whole experiment got us thinking about how the different brew methods highlighted different characteristics in the coffee. Suddenly we realised we were asking the wrong questions... Of course a vibrant coffee which shone with fruity acidity was going to be the star in a brew method that highlighted delicate, fruity and acidic flavours. We shouldn't be asking the question "which is the better brew method", we should be asking the questions "which is the better brew method for this particular coffee".
At the end of the day, coffee is wonderfully complex! There isn't a one-brew-fits-all approach. When it comes to your morning cup of Joe, think about the coffee you are brewing and what you want to get out of it. Is it a rich and full bodied Brazilian with a heavy, creamy body? Are you putting milk in your coffee (a body forward brew method often helps if you drink milk.). These are instances where the 4:6 method would probably be your best bet. On the other hand, if you are brewing a high altitude coffee with a fruity bouquet and a playful acidity, these characteristics can be lost in a body forward brew.
As long as you are brewing great coffee and paying attention to what you are doing, you will have a great time. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. What do you brew with and how do you brew your coffee?