While the V60 does require a good kettle and a decent burr grinder it is a world class coffee brewer and it costs a fraction of the price of a quality auto-drip machine. It takes a bit of patience and experience, but the work is worth it.
Positive Product Points
- Produces a world class cup with a little practice - Can be used with any carafe, mug, or decanter with a flat top to rest on - Ridges help direct flow of coffee out the sides and down into the vessel below
Negative Product Points
- Requires practice, patience, and some additional devices for best results
The size 2 V60 was my first pour over brewing device that I purchased about 6 months ago as part of a pour over package from Terroir. I received a size 2 V60, a Hario Buono, filters, a Hario size 2 decanter, and a Salter scale. At first, I followed Terroir's pour over method with good results. A medium/drip grind dosed at 61g/1L of water, or 24g/390ml of water. Pre-infuse ~30g of water and allow for a 30 second bloom. Then pour the rest of the water in slow circular motions being sure to keep the grounds bed low. This was achieved through short pours followed by short pauses until he water was gone. This method took me between 2:30-3 minutes and the resulting cups were clean, sweet, and a huge change from the press pot brews I had become accustomed to. I would recommend their method as a great place to begin your pour over journey!
Then I happened up Barismo and their pour over guides. I purchased a flow restrictor for my kettle and began focusing on a continuous and very slow pour. I also began using cloth filters for the V60 (difficult to find and require extra maintenance, but the cup makes it worth it). Paper filters create clean transparent cups while the cloth filters allow depth filtration and more oil. The resulting cups are a bit juicier, more rounded, and extremely sweet.
For an 8oz cup using this method, here is what I do:
198F water, 270ml/18g
Prep V60 with cloth filter. Preheat and wet filter and brewer with very hot/boiling water.
Pour heating water into desired mug. Grind coffee to medium/medium-fine (22F on my Preciso) and dump/level in the filter. Be sure to create a rather deep divot in the middle of the grounds to aid in total saturation.
Pre-infusion: Pour ~30-40ml of water starting in the middle of the divot and slowly working your way out to the sides. Allow 20-30 seconds for the bloom to deflate, but do not allow so much time to pass that the bloom begins looking dry.
I begin my main pour in the center and quickly begin working my way out to the edges in even and slow circles. The most important things to control in this part of the brew are water flow rate from the kettle (the flow restrictor helps in a big way) and staying away from the edges. I give about half an inch of buffer space.
The main pour should last from 0:20-1:40. At 1:40 I should have hit 240ml of water (I tear my scale after the pre-infusion, so this does not include the 30ml from that), so I stop my pour and allow for the brew to drain. If my grind and flow rate were correct, it will take ~20 seconds to drain. If it took 5+ seconds longer I make my grind coarser - it if took 10-15 seconds, I make my grind finer. Another way to check your grind is by taste. How does the cup taste? Allow it to cool and give it a sip while holding it in your mouth. How have the flavors developed? If I did this right, the cup will have good body, great depth and sweetness (depending on the coffee), and pronounced brightness (depending on the coffee). If it tastes a bit weak, or thin, you probably need a finer grind. Hotter water could also help with extraction. If the brew was overly bright and sweet, but lacks bitterness, the brew is probably too strong for your personal preferences. Lower the dose by a gram or two. If the brew has all the good flavors you are looking for, but has bitters as well, you probably over extracted. A lower water temp/coarser grind can be tweaked to achieve the desired results.
As you can see, my method became a bit more complex the longer I had my V60. There are many ways that one can use the V60 and many of them produce great cups. Do some searching on Prima Coffee's website, as they have a blog about all the existing methods for making coffee on the V60. Ideally, you want to pick a method that looks solid and easy to do, then begin tweaking one variable at a time. You only want to change one thing at a time, so that you can isolate any changes in the resulting cup.
That is one of the huge positives for the V60 - there is no one right way to brew with it. Find a good starting point with clear instructions and begin experimenting. Soon enough, you will be enjoying great coffee and will have the ability/knowledge to tweak it even further.
Terroir shipped my bundle quickly and on time. They forgot to send the filters with the bundle, but they sent them out the following day and included two packs. Always a pleasure to buy from them. They included a bag of coffee with the purchase and their V60 instructional PDF (searchable on google) is a great place to start your pour over adventure!
Three Month Followup
While this is a 3 month followup from the time that I posted the review, I have now had this V60 for about 9-10 months. I have made hundreds of cups in it for myself and for friends. Whether using a cloth filter or a stock paper filter, it is one of those brewers that seems to work for just about every single coffee. I continue to use the same method, although for my 12oz cups I now use 1 long continuous pour without any pausing.
Once you nail down a method, the V60 becomes a benchmark brewer. I brew every new coffee in my V60 to get a sense of the coffee's character and will continue to do so until I find another brewing method that does a better job. I will also say that I am impressed at how durable the V60 and carafe are. I have bumped, knocked, and clanged both many times and they show no signs of giving up. Quality glass, quality product.