In this article I will tell you all about the Hario V60. This is not some kind of missile or super sports-car, but a method to brew filter coffee. With the Hario V60, and the right roasting profile, you can extract lots of aroma’s and flavours you wouldn’t get with, for example, an espresso.
Hario V60 Review: The History of the Hario V60
It has only been a decade or so since the Hario V60 was brought on the market, but the company Hario goes way back. In the year 1921 a company in Tokyo started to make chemical-use glass that’s heat-resistant. After 30 years of research and production, the first Hario-glass was invented and a new era started to the company. What makes Hario-glass so special, is that the company uses 100% natural minerals to produce it. The glass is perfectly designed to be heat-proof. It wasn’t until 1949 that Hario, thanks to the man called Tsuruoka, came up with it’s first home-use glass siphon coffee filter. The coffee-drinking people of Japan embraced the invention and Hario kept innovating and inventing the brewing coffee methods. The first actual cone-shaped coffee-dripper was launched in 1980 but it takes another 24 years before the Hario V60 makes it’s appearance. It is an instant hit and wins Hario several design-awards.
Hario V60 Review: What is the Hario V60
As you have read above, the Hario V60 is a cone-shaped dripper. The cone-shaped dripper is manufactured in a 60 degree angle with guiding ridges along the inside of the cone. Underneath is a carefully calculated hole that completes the design and makes for the perfect filter-dripper. The Hario V60 comes in many forms: ceramic, glass, plastic, metal and copper. To some, the copper version is seen as the best possible version since copper is an excellent heat-conduit.
So what’s the difference?
A lot of you will read up to this point and think: “So what’s the difference with the filter-drippers that you can buy at Target, Action, Lidl or any other shop in our country?”
First of all, it’s the material and the design. The Hario V60 has been designed in such a way, that the water is guided in the best possible way through the grind and into the retainer. The angle and guiding ridges are carefully manufactured and tested for over decades. The filter-drippers you buy in the normal stores, will often have different shapes, angles and cheap material that do not serve as a heat-conduit. When using the right grind setting on your grinder, your brew will have a lot of new and interesting flavours and aroma’s that you will not get with brewing an espresso for example.
Hario V60 Review: Hario V60 equals great coffee?
No. Using the Hario V60 will not guarantee you a great cup of coffee, far from it. To brew a normal cup of coffee, many variables will come into play. To brew a great cup of coffee, you will need to practice, and practice even more. When you want to start using the Hario V60, you must pay close attention to your grind size. This will make it mandatory to own your own grinder, or have a very good coffee-shop nearby who will grind your coffee in the right size.
The grind size, together with the flow of poured water, will in a way determine the body of your coffee:
Medium bodied coffee: Constant water flow + small grind size
Full bodied coffee: Slow water flow + small grind size
Light bodied coffee: Constant water flow + medium grind size
Light bodied coffee: Slow water flow + medium grind size
Now you know that you need a good grind-size, but that’s only half of it. You will also have to think about the temperature of the water, the quality of the water and the pouring technique. I cannot explain the technique you must use; this is a matter of watching YouTube clips and getting a feel for the pouring in general.
Water Temperature and quality
The temperature of the water is very important. If you use water that is too hot, you will burn your coffee, resulting in a bitter taste. If you use water that is too cold, your coffee will lack taste. A rule of thumb, if you don’t have a water-thermometer, is that you must wait between 30 and 60 seconds after the water stops boiling. When you do have a water-thermometer, you can practice with starting temperatures between the 90 and 96 degrees, ending the brewing with temperatures to as low as 80 degrees. There is no exact sweet-spot because each temperature will activate different acids and chemicals in your grind.
The quality of the water is also of great importance. When you take a bucket of sea-water and brew a coffee, your coffee will be salty and horrible to drink. Do you see what I am getting at? When water makes up for 98.5% of your brew, you will want that water to be at it’s best. Use mineral water at all times.
The roasting profile of your beans
When using the Hario V60 you will want lightly roasted beans with a specific profile. The reason is that when you are brewing filter coffee, you aim to get subtle and balanced flavours and aroma’s. Some will even say it is coffee that leans towards tea. You will not get a soft and balanced coffee with subtle flavours and aroma’s while using an Italian roast. That is like using Nitrogen in your car while trying not to get a speeding ticket. Always ask for a filter-roast in your shop.
Hario V60 Review: How to brew
Below I will tell you how to brew according to a specific recipe that you can try out. Remember that it’s not easy to do, and takes a lot of practice. But first a list of what you will need:
-Hario V60 dripper
-Retainer for the brew
-Filters (can be any filter in my opinion, although some will heavily disagree)
-Scale (with a timer)
- First you will want to weigh your grind and boil some water. The amount of coffee and water is something you will have to find out for yourself because tastes differ. I would recommend starting at 16 grams and 260 ml (which is the recipe below) and make your way up from there. Some ratio’s are: 15/240, 16/260, 17/280 etc.
- Boil your water and in the meantime fold the ridged-edge of the filter along the edge. Put the filter in the Hario V60 and soak it with the boiled water to pre-heat your equipment. Empty your equipment.
- Put the coffee-ground in the filter and push your finger slightly down in the middle. Now tare your scale to zero.
Weigh the boiled water while keeping it’s temperature in mind.
You are now ready to brew! Below is the recipe of The Cupping Room – Roastery in Hong Kong. This method is used by my friend Benny Wong (2016 world brewers cup finalist)
- The first step is to bloom the coffee; you will pour water over the ground and activate the coffee into releasing it’s flavours and aroma’s. Usually this will take between 30 to 45 seconds. In this case blooming is done for 30 seconds with a starting temperature of 96 degrees Celsius. The coffee bed will raise up and makes little bubbles. (At the end of the brewing you will pour with 88 degrees Celsius.)
- Pour 50 grams of water on the coffee-ground. Start from the inside, making your way in small circles to the outside of the coffee-ground. Wait until the timer reaches 30 seconds.
- Pour up water to a total of 120 grams in the exact same way and wait till the timer reaches 45 seconds.
- Pour 20 grams of water each 10 seconds until you have used up all of the remaining water:
140 grams – 45 seconds
160 grams – 55 seconds
180 grams – 1:05 minutes (65 seconds)
200 grams – 1:15 minutes
220 grams – 1:25 minutes
240 grams – 1:35 minutes
260 grams – 1:45 minutes
Congratulations! You have just brewed your first Hario V60 coffee. Remember that practice makes perfect. If your brew was not as good as you would like it to be, tweak your grind, temperature and pouring method! Good luck.
Hey, I was wondering how you think the V60 compares to some of the other pour over makers? The reason that I am asking is that I already own a Kalita Wave and wondering whether it is worth investing in a V60 as well?
Hello James, the answer is ‘Yes’! It is worth it.
The difference in both brewers is the following: The Kalita is a flatbed brewer with three holes in the bottom. The flowrate of the brew is controlled by these three holes and there is little to no risk in channeling. So a consistent brew is a big plus for the Kalita.
The Hario V60 has a 60 degrees angled shape and one big hole in the bottom. The risk of channeling is higher but the shape and hole also give you more control in your brewing. You can tweak the way you pour, the grindsize and, when skilled enough, even influence the acidity, body and sweetness of your brew. There are a lot of how-to videos on youtube that can easily explain how to learn to brew on the V60 and its not too hard at all. The Kalita is awesome, the Hario V60 is awesome!