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Sunday, February 01, 2009

The v60 style pour over

We were playing with some Chemex brews the last few days. Trying to get a bit more out of this brewer as it has become a go to method for a lot of people in the coffee scene outside of our region but initial observations tell us it isn't giving as good a cup as I would like. There are obviously varying degrees of acceptance among our group but I have not been impressed yet with a mix of techniques off that device. It seems to hide a lot of roast note and under develop without getting as nice an aroma as our other more familiar brewers. This could be because we haven't spent enough time with the method but we also had some other observations that made us think this brewer isn't necessarily our style. Given the comparable day to day methods we use for drinking our own cups: Abid full immersion brewer (which is heavier in body but mutes acidity), the v60 style cone pour overs (better aromatics), as well as the cloth pour overs (the best of both worlds when done well but it's hard to do well).

First thoughts in our group were that it has to do with the angles of the smaller Chemex we had. After a round of discussion though, it seems more simple. Ridges.

The method we really enjoy comes from techniques combined between this and this. Where a Chemex brews down through the layers, a v60 style brew has raised ridges that provide space for drainage on the sides, not just out the bottom. This means you have to be a little more detailed in how you pour because you can easily under extract by breaking the ring but it results in a better balanced cup. The tastes come out with more aroma and more nuance in the cloth method particlarly.

The hand made cone here is noteworthy because it is akin to Ben K.'s favorite pour over device, the cloth dripper. It's really simple actually, you pour in a circular motion into the center and the coffee and it extracts evenly through the cake which forms a V if done correctly. Be careful not to break the bloom and it will hold temp better and be more aromatic. Some arm chair quarterbacks have proffered that the open ventilation would somehow cool the brew but I would suggest unless you have brewed it with a temp probe and experienced the resulting cup(we have), it's better to test it than hypothesize. I will post a primer when things settle down but right now we are too busy to do it proper.

This methodical hand pour method is one where you have to really pay attention and it's a contrast to the method I keep seeing of pre-infuse and then fill which is no different really than most approaches to Melitta. I am not sure the kettle is as important to that method but it really does make a difference for that slow controlled pour you need on a v60. It represents a bit more work but the reward is in the cup. Check out this Hario promotional video for a few chuckles and a look at the dripper and v60 in action. We have a case of the nice ceramic v60's coming in to play with soon so keep an eye on the shop for an upcoming demo session.