The Perfect Pour Over (V60)
06/12/2021 | Backtrace Coffee
Pour over is considered by many brewing professionals to be the ultimate coffee extraction technique. Most people tend to use the Hario V60 or some similar variant to do this. This technique is special because there is very little water flow resistance introduced by the brewer itself. This means that you must control the flow rates yourself.
So, what will you need to brew with a V60?
- A brew kettle, ideally with temperature control
- Water with suitable mineral composition
- High quality, freshly roasted coffee beans
- A burr coffee grinder (Baratza Encore is a decent starting point)
- A scale
How much coffee should be used for a given amount of water?
A good starting point is 1 gram of coffee per 16.667 grams of water. This means that if you're planning on brewing 500 grams (or milliliters) of water, you'll want to grind 30 grams of coffee. Want a stronger cup? Use more. Want a weaker cup? Use less.
What temperature water should you use?
Generally somewhere between 195 to 205 degrees fahrenheit. Lighter roasted beans are more difficult to extract, so you'll want to use hotter water for them.
What grind size should you use?
Start a little finer than the grind setting on your grinder and if your resulting brew is too empty, hollow, astringent, acidic, or unpleasant, go finer! In fact, you may wish to go finer until you hit what is called the wall of bitter astringency, and then back off the grind a small amount.
- Boil your water
- Rinse your filter paper with the hottest possible water to remove paper flavors and preheat the brewer
- Grind your coffee beans
- Add grounds to the V60 and create a small well in the middle of the ground bed. When you pour water in, the well will fill and form a flatter bed. The flatter the bed, the more even the extraction.
- Phase 1: Pour 2 grams of water per gram of coffee into V60, in a circular path. For 30 grams of coffee, this would be 60 grams of water. Then immediately pick up the V60 and swirl until the bed looks evenly mixed. Allow this to rest and bloom for up to 45 seconds. Theory being, the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) stuck in the grounds will dissipate and lead to a better extraction during the next phases
- Phase 2: Add 60% of the total liquid volume to the brewer within the next 30 seconds (In the 500 gram case, this would be 300g of water by 1 minute and 15 seconds). When you pour water into the V60, you disturb the bed. This disruption can lead to over or under extraction, so we're trying to balance this disruption.
- Phase 3: Add 100% of the total liquid volume to the brewer in the next 30 seconds, keeping the V60 topped off as best as possible to maintain thermal mass. Once at the total weight, give the V60 a stir with a spoon, once clockwise and once counter-clockwise to remove any grounds stuck to the sidewall (if you were to only swirl in one direction, a dome may form in the ground bed). Once the V60 is drained enough to do so, give it another swirl to help keep the bed flat.
- Phase 4: Allow the remaining liquid to draw down into the cup. This time is largely controlled by style of paper filter you're using, your grind size, and the temperature of the water. Hotter water actually draws down faster!