Outpost At Home - Pour Over V60
Written by Allana Kennedy, Roaster at Outpost Coffee Roasters
What is a pour over? Its a method of brewing coffee by pouring, by hand, water over ground coffee. Easy right? It can be, but like everything in coffee the more you make, the more you want a consistent cup and the more you want to perfect and master your ritual. Chemex and the Hario V60 are the most popular pour over brewers and have small differences. The Hario V60 is a barista favourite as you get the best control over brewing and it's not as breakable as the Chemex, most cafes that offer a pour over will use the V60. The Hario V60 was created in Tokyo and the most important feature that separates the V60 from others is the 60 degree angle of the cone, hence the name. The specific angle lets the water flow towards the middle which lets the coffee and water have an even extraction time and the pourer can control the speed of extraction by changing the speed of water being poured in. The ridges on the inside of the cone allows air to escape and reduces the coffee from getting stuck to the sides and bottom.
Why use this method? A pour over is in general clean, clear and flavourful and can highlight subtle flavours especially in lightly roasted single origin coffees. Unlike the French press which is a full immersion method the pour over is an infusion method. This method allows the water and coffee to interact while gravity allows the water to steep with the coffee while still falling through and out of the cone, stopping the brewing process in it's own time.
Below I have listed the equipment you will need to start your home brewing. If you don't have all the equipment don't fret this recipe is easy enough to master without all the gadgets and I will give you a few tips for small changes you can make.
The grind size is the most important variable to get right with a pour over. For the V60 you want coarse grind like kosher salt. The grind size controls the rate of extraction and determines whether your water runs straight through or clogs up. The pour over method is an infusion brew, where the coffee and the water are in contact for a shorter amount of time, until the water runs through. You want the ground coffee to have enough surface area for the water to extract the flavours before it falls into the cup, but not too much so that it clogs and you are left with the bitterness. If you experience tartness, or your water runs through too fast you may want to grind finer. This will increase the contact area, leading to faster extraction and it will take the water longer to run through. If you experience an unpleasant bitterness, or your V60 gets clogged, then grind coarser to reduce extraction and let the water run through faster. Investing in a good burr grinder to ensure consistently ground coffee is one of the most important variables to control and the most worthwhile piece of equipment to elevate your home brewing.
- Grinding Fresh vs Preground
At Outpost we roast frequently and in small batches as we want to have the freshest beans available, coffee does not age well and flavour degrades overtime. After roasting there is a degassing process which takes up to 8 days and you may notice that if you drink coffee before it has off-gassed it may taste a little grassy or be more delicate. The industry standard is to use roasted coffee within three weeks after it has been roasted and once ground they are to be used within a week. We recommend grinding as needed otherwise you speed up the oxidation process.
Filters are another important part in the brewing process. A paper filter absorbs the oils from the coffee and will filter them out of the final cup. There are a lot of different paper filters you can get and they range in quality. If you want good quality filters with your V60 I highly suggest Hario filters. Or as Scott Rao suggests, try buying a bunch of different filters, pouring water over the filters and drinking the water that comes out. You don’t want strong tastes of bleach or paper. Most filters will have some residual taste of bleach or paper to avoid this tainting your coffee, rinse your filter before using it.
Cloth filters are a great way to reuse your filter and cloth filters are also able to absorb the oils from the coffee and they don't affect flavour as much at the start. However, over time they will trap the oils in the cloth and you may find that they start to lose the ability to produce a clean and clear cup. You may also have to adjust your grind size as the stitching of the cloth can differ a lot to paper, depending on the cloth.
Metal filters are also a great way to reuse your filter and not get the bleach or paper flavour. However, there are two things to consider when making coffee with metal filters. First you may have to change your grind to a little coarser as the holes in the metal filters are bigger than that of a paper or cloth filter. Secondly paper and cloth filters absorb the oils from the ground coffee, so using a metal filter will likely result in a less clean cup as the oils are not being absorbed in the same way.
It’s up to you which specific filters you choose, but make sure they fit your device properly and you have adjusted your grind size accordingly. Bunched-up paper or cloth will impede water flow and trap coffee grounds, which will make your extraction less consistent.
When you want to take your coffee making to the next level, scales are essential if you want consistent good coffee. Invest in a digital scale and use it to measure your coffee and water. Knowing exactly how much of each you used in a good (or bad) brew can allow you to replicate the recipe or tweak it for even better results. If you're just starting out with home brewing a good grinder and then a good kettle are higher on the scale (lol).
Another way to really elevate your coffee making at home is to invest in a gooseneck kettle, even more preferable is a temperature controlled gooseneck kettle. Of course you can use a standard electric kettle but you won't be able to control the water flow as well as with the gooseneck. If you want consistent extraction without channeling the gooseneck is able to create that swirl you are wanting for pour overs.
Ratio of Coffee to Water
How do you know how much coffee to put in and how much water? Lucky for you we have the experience and math to work that out. For a home infusion brew like the pour over the recommended starting ratio is between 1:15 and 1:17. For this recipe we are going to brew at a ratio of 1:16, so 1g coffee to 16g water. If you find the brew too intense you can change the ratio to have more water 1:17 or if it's too weak you can change the ratio to 1:15.
weight of water / ratio = weight of coffee
360g (water) / 16 (ratio) = 22g (coffee)
Pro tip for no scale:
360g = 1.5 cups water
22g = 3 heaping tablespoons (1 tablespoon of coffee is equivalent to 7g)
Dark roasts will be a little lighter as more moisture is taken out in roasting and a lighter roast will be denser as less moisture has been removed during roasting. And a finer grind will have more weight in a tablespoon as it takes up more space.
Hows ya technique?
There are so many different ways to pour a pour over! But as with anything in coffee, consistency is the key. If you search “Pour over recipes” in youtube be ready to be overwhelmed. If you are just starting out with this method try keep a few key ideas in mind but find your own way and keep it simple. Here are some of the key pouring aspects - bloom, pulse pouring and agitation.
If you have ever poured hot water over freshly ground beans and watched the bubbling of water as it mixes with the coffee that is known as the bloom. This reaction is the degassing of carbon dioxide that is created by roasting. The fresher the bean and the lighter the roast the more gas in the beans and the more of bloom you will see. To create the bloom you want to pour double or triple the water to the coffee. In our recipe we have 22g coffee so will want to pour 44-66g water. The bloom takes 30-45 seconds, once the grounds have reduced in size and settled. The amount of water doesn't have to be super specific it just needs to be enough to cover the grinds and activate the bloom. Everyone has a different theories on if you should agitate during the bloom or not. When I first started doing pour overs, I was told never stir the bloom. However, now the school of thought seems to be the opposite, and I tend to agree and I'll tell you why. When you mix the ground coffee and water right at that bloom stage you then get the water to touch all parts of the grinds. If you don't get all the ground coffee and water interacting you will have some dry spots that the water hasn't had contact with, this will leave you will some grinds being underextracted.
Pulse pouring is when you use multiple pours with specific amounts of water and you can influence extraction time. Fewer pulses equals more water in each pulse, which will give a shorter extraction time. And more pulses equals less water in each, and a longer extraction time. Simply put, if you put all the water in at once you will have a faster brew time, if you put the water in smaller amounts you increase the brew time. This recipe detailed below is one of the easiest home brewing methods for the V60 for if you don't have a scale or a proper pour over kettle as it doesn't involve too many pulse pours. If you find that this recipe pours too quickly through the filter you may want to add some more pulse pouring and break down the extraction. This is one way to play around if you don't have a good grinder to change your extraction time. If you want a different recipe with more pulse pours, I suggest Matt Pergers pour over tutorial.
Agitation is the disturbance of the ground coffee while it is in contact with the water during brewing. You can use a spoon and stir or you can swirl the V60 so that all the ground coffee in the V60 has full contact with the water for an even extraction. It's important that the water and the coffee have full contact and agitation can disrupt any channeling. Channeling is when you have an uneven distribution of water coming through the coffee. Water, when gravity fed, will always try find the easiest way through coffee, with channeling you will have one area that the water is over-extracting and the rest under-extracted. So it's important to have an even infusion by making sure the grounds and the water are interacting.
There are so many different ways to brew a pour over, the recipe I am showing you is a basic recipe but is not specific to any coffee in particular. Each bean you get performs differently in the pour over and you have your own preferences for how you like your cup. The way a light roast natural from Ethiopia tastes with this recipe is different from a light roast natural from Brazil. Each coffee needs a starting point and this recipe is a great start.
Roast: light to medium roast (depends on your preference)
Grind: Kosher salt
Water Temperature: 97°C
Brew time: 2:30-3 minutes
Water to Coffee ratio: 1:16
- Weigh out coffee and grind, set aside
- Take your filter and fold into a cone. To do this you want to fold over the seam and then open up and fold again in half
- Place the filter in your V60 brewer and pour hot water over your filter to get rid of residual flavours
- Pour out the water from the vessel under your V60
- Pour in your ground coffee, shake the coffee a little bit to create an even bed of coffee
- Tare your scale and start your timer
- Pour in 66g of water
- Agitate by pulling the water north to south and back, then east to west and back. Just enough to break up any dry spots
- Wait for 45 seconds for the bloom to settle
- Slowly and in a circular motion pour in the 294g, to make up to 360g
- Once all the water is in stir lightly in a circular motion to create a even bed and stop channeling
- Once halfway down the V60, hold tight and lightly swirl the whole V60 to get rid of any grinds on the side of the V60
- "ENJOY LIKE TROY":
AdjustmentsIf you want a different recipe with more pulse pours, I might suggest Matt Pergers pour over tutorial.
Changing to a lighter roast, grind it a little finer
If you experience sourness, tartness or it's lacking in body, grind finer. This will increase the contact area and lead to faster extraction.
Changing to a darker roast, grind a little coarser.
If you experience an unpleasant bitterness, grind coarser to reduce extraction.
If you find the coffee too bitter, you may want to change to a lighter roast
If you find the coffee too weak, increase the amount of ground coffee or reduce the water.