In a few days, I shall share a three-part series on my battle trying to find a recipe that worked well on my V60. I call this a "battle" because there were times when I was frustrated and left wondering whether I should just go back to my Kalita Wave. I persisted and, after a bit, figured out a good recipe for my V60.
I tried a few recipes from the internet and took inspiration from others. The internet gave me a guide as to how I should approach the V60 but its use was limited. I tried consulting with people on Instagram and over email about their V60 recipes and I was still at a loss as to why I could not produce a good cup. The answer lay in one fact that I forgot about: no matter how closely you try to follow a recipe, there will always be variations.
Variability is at the heart of coffee—from variations in processing to roasting—and so no two cups will be exactly the same. In home brewing, variability comes in technique, water, and the equipment that I use. I do not have the same equipment as most—if not all—of the people whose recipes I followed. Nor do I have the same water. Or technique. I had to experiment to find a recipe that worked for me.
My biggest experiments were around grind size, leading to varying results. The tweak to my recipe that changed the game was agitation. I started to stir the brew at the start and this improved my coffee. Sometimes I did not agitate. When I did, I followed James Hoffman's technique where you swirl the slurry of coffee. I suspect my technique was not good enough. I do not think I was swirling vigorously enough. Nonetheless, I felt I needed a new technique.
For my own reference—and in part so that I do not forget—I have decided to write down my current V60 recipe. This recipe uses a brewing ratio of 15 grams of coffee to 250 grams of water (60 grams of coffee per 1 litre of water).
Prepare the V60. Place a filter paper in the V60 and rinse thoroughly.
Pour in ground coffee. I grind to the 15 setting on my Baratza Encore. Shake the device to make the bed of grounds more level.
Pour in 50 grams of coffee, trying to cover every part of the coffee bed.
Stir the coffee in the north, east, south, west, directions. Stir in every direction between.
Pour 50 grams of water at 0:30, 1:00, 1:30, 2:00.
Pick up the V60 and swirl it a few times to remove any grounds stuck nearer the top of the brewer.
Wait until 2:45 or so and then take the V60 off the device.
This recipe has given me a number of good cups, certainly better than the ones I was producing when I first got the device. I do not feel like I am finished with this device, that there is nothing left to explore. I feel I can produce a better cup but for now this recipe is good enough. I am not going to stress too much about how to use this brewing device because I have done enough of that up until now.
Changing one variable at a time has helped me come to this recipe. There were instances when I changed more than one thing at once but that is because I only make a few cups a day so I only have a limited number of cups with which to experiment. If I thought something could improve the cup, I tried it, until I arrived at this recipe which produces a better cup than those I made when I first got the device.
What recipe do you use for the V60? What have you learned using this brewing device?