company - education - coffee

Saturday, January 30, 2010

About this pour over thing

This is a scan from a Hario campaign piece for v60. We linked to it earlier but I felt like we needed to explain it a bit more after seeing Sweet Maria's video set on Pour Over Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

The Hario Adv reads as follows:
Step 1: Pour freshly ground coffee, your choice, in the the dripper. Shake lightly to level.

Step 2: Pour hot water slowly, little by little, to moisten the grinds, starting at the center. Let drip 30 seconds.

Step 3: From the center, pour water in a circular motion, not letting it touch the paper filter. Brew the coffee for 3 minutes total.

Step 4: When the brew reaches the measurement line, remove the dripper.

The points to take away from this are simple. Prewet with just enough water to wet the grounds and let bloom for 30 seconds. Then pour in a deliberate and circular motion without pouring at the edges of the paper for a total time of 3 minutes. It can be compared to a little more technical and specific to our roast style version of the v60-02 in our brew guide section.

Pouring at the edges is the one that really gets me. Why do so many people think this is a good idea to wash the grinds away and allow water to flow out the sides of the filter (and not through the coffee)? Rhetorical question because the answer is, they are brewing it like a melitta or chemex.

The earlier mentioned videos are a good example of brewing the v60 like a Melitta and getting results that lead to criticism. The grind and pour rate are 'kinda important' and I think that was missed in a video review that will mislead a lot of home users. Seeing someone use an incorrect grind and then use a pour method that would only work with a pour over device that restricted flow is difficult to watch.

I wouldn't normally note something that looks more like a disguised sales pitch for Abids than honest exploration but there were vague references throughout the video and criticisms of v60, kettles, and references to 'some people' that seemed to be aimed at our methods or in the very least, those that agree with us.

I guess what irks me is not the talk but the continued criticism of hand pour by people who do not have a depth of knowledge or any real experience on the subject. It's as if hand pour with kettles and all the methods never existed and were not widely used in Taiwan and Japan for many years already but only came into existence with their recent growing popularity. I believe the language barrier accounts for a lot of that but there is also a certain arrogance that comes with many of the voices in our coffee community.

We all talk as barista about the old Italians that may come in every now and then to lament either the cup/espresso not being hot enough or the shot not being lungo, or simply unwilling to acknowledge anything that isn't old world Italian style as being good espresso. This resistance to hand pour methodology is the same thing as the bias these Italian espresso drinkers can carry for the old ways.

Failing to acknowledge there exists a library of kettles and per cup methodology well beyond those we are commonly exposed to with Hario and the knock off Bonmac brewers is our own shortsightedness and arrogance. The potential usefulness of these items is not explored unless we put the time and effort into them. The first step in that though is to explore their design and intended use, not to measure them unfairly by applying an incorrect methodology. Ignoring design when evaluating a product is a statement about the reviewer more than the product itself.

The more intriguing aspect is that I think we are on the verge of a coffee cultural shift toward full manual per cup and the old guard are fighting to have a say in it or simply attempt to voice some kind authority on the subject. If this is the case, as it has happened many times before in the last decade of our current coffee culture, it should be interesting to see which side takes the message to the bank.