This is the first post in a three-part series on my adventures learning how to use the Hario V60.
When I decided to get into pour-over brewing at the end of last year, I chose the Kalita Wave as my starting point. I had heard a lot of people describe this device as forgiving; small mistakes would not derail the end result. I had read that the V60, another popular pour-over device, required a bit more technique. I wanted to dip my toe into pour-over brewing and the Kalita Wave seemed like the friendliest way to do that. My suspicions were confirmed as I started with the Kalita Wave. I made many delicious brews and I did not need to do much research before I started to use the device.
After a few weeks of experimentation, I found myself wondering how the Kalita Wave compares to other brewing devices. I am somewhat blown away by how different an Aeropress brew can be from a Kalita Wave brew in terms of clarity, sweetness, and the cloudiness of the final cup. Would the V60, made by Hario, produce similarly distant results when compared to the Kalita Wave? I wanted to find out through experience.
I purchased a plastic Hario V60. This device came recommended online because it helps keep the temperature of the brew high without much preheating. The ceramic version, on the other hand, needs more preheating to make sure the coffee and water mixture retains a high temperature during the brewing process. While the plastic version does not look as attractive as the ceramic one, I followed the advice I'd read and purchased a turquoise V60.
The Hario V60 is very different to the Kalita Wave. I knew the devices were different but I'd always thought of them as pour-over brewers. Seeing the V60 in my hand, I knew there were more differences I had not considered.
First, the Hario V60 has ridges on the inside of the device and the device is shaped like a "V". Second, the device uses different filter papers. These filter papers seem to extend above the size of the brewer even though the filters I received—for the 02 device—match the brewer. My research indicates this is the design of the filter paper. I noticed the V60 is taller than the Kalita Wave, too. This is because the V60, unlike the Kalita Wave, is a cone-shaped filter. The Kalita Wave is a flat-bed filter which means there is a wide, flat layer at the bottom of the device.
I did not know where to start with this device, having not done much research on technique beforehand, so I started with my Kalita Wave recipe. This recipe calls for a 50 gram bloom followed by 50 gram pours every 30 seconds until I have poured 250 grams of water. I stuck with the same grind size on my grinder, slightly coarser than the Encore recommends for the V60. This coarser grind which worked well on my Wave. At the time, I was not thinking much about how the grind size would affect the final brew.
I noticed that the V60 drains water much faster than my Kalita Wave, especially at the start of the brew. This is because there is very little resistance in the brewing device itself. Whereas there are three small holes through which liquid can pass on the Kalita Wave, the V60 has a wide opening at the bottom. I was not prepared for the speed of the water flow otherwise I would have used a finer grind in my first brew. Later, I changed my grind setting to 15 on my Encore grinder, the recommended setting, which slowed down the speed of the water sufficiently.
The first cup I made had an underlying bitterness and felt a bit flat. So, I decided to use a finer grind setting. This is because a finer grind is recommended on the V60 and I was concerned about the speed through which water was flowing through the brewer. On my next brew, the water flowed a bit slower. The cup was a bit sweeter and I could taste more of the fruity notes. But, I do not think I am quite there yet.
i now have the mindset that the V60 is a fundamentally different brewer so what I've learned from the Kalita Wave may not directly apply to this device. I want to learn a bit more about the theory of this device. Why is it better to create a small well before you bloom into which you should start pouring water? This is something I've seen in brewing guides and I tried it in both brews today. But I'm unsure the reason why it is necessary, if it is at all.
I'm going to look for other recipes to try, specifically written for the V60, to see if I can improve my cup. My second cup was good but I could make much better on the Kalita Wave. I think the V60 has the potential to produce an excellent cup, with the right technique.