This post is about two or so months old but I think this post is worth sharing nonetheless.
In the third part of my series on brewing with the Hario V60, I said "Would a continuous pour taste better if I stirred the slurry during the bloom? I wonder." This question was not exactly on my mind but this morning I decided to make two brews with a continuous pour. I did not want to completely write off a brewing technique without giving it as much of a chance as I felt was appropriate. So many people use a continuous pour—including people with whom I chat about coffee—and so I wanted to give the continuous pour another shot, this time after I had stirred the slurry.
This morning, I set out to use a continuous pour. I started my coffee with a 50 gram bloom, as normal, and then I stirred the coffee using the north-east-south-west technique, and in all directions between those four. At 30 seconds, I started a continuous pour, aiming to pour as slowly as I could in circles. I moved from the centre of the brewer to the outside and back in again until I reached my target brew weight of 250 grams.
I did not have my eye on the clock when I was brewing the first cup. I just said to myself that I wanted to pour slowly. I poured the water in under two minutes at varying rates. Sometimes my flow was a bit quicker, usually when I was pouring at the farthest side of the brewer from where I was standing. My flow sometimes broke—causing little droplets of water to fall rather than a stream—because it is hard to keep a consistent kettle stream.
While flow rate may affect the brew, I just wanted to pour slowly and around in circles. I accomplished this goal. After the brew was finished, I swirled the V60, removing the grounds from the top of the brewer, a technique I picked up from a number of online tutorials. But, I need to do more testing regarding this technique. I know it removes grounds that are stuck to the top walls of the filter paper but why should I do this? If I stop the brew before it fully drains anyway, what impact will these grinds have on the final brew? That is a question for another day.
On tasting my coffee, I felt like the cup was just right. The cup was sweet, the flavours were clear, and I thoroughly enjoyed drinking the cup. There was no excess bitterness like I tasted on my first cups before I was stirring the slurry. The coffee was just good. I tried to replicate this technique again later, on my second cup of coffee. This time, my stream was not as consistent. I broke the stream a few more times. But, the coffee was still great.
Stirring the coffee has changed the way my V60 brews taste. Whereas a continuous pour without a stir imparted an unpleasant bitterness on the cup, stirring the slurry before a continuous pour resulted in a pleasant brew. I am inclined to try the continuous pour a few more times because the cups I made were so delicious. On the Kalita Wave, I did not enjoy my cups brewed using a continuous pour. But maybe I just need to refine my technique.
The V60 requires a lot of practice. I am over a week into using this device and I still feel like I am learning. But, this cup has given me a bit of encouragement to keep going. I think I'll brew a few more cups with a continuous pour and see if I can break the stream even less. What impact will this have on the brew?
The message I want to convey is that coffee is all about experimentation; trying new things to see what impact they will have on your brew. If you have a cup with which you are not happy, think about what you are doing and then change one thing at a time that you think will improve your brew. I needed to change my stirring technique before I was able to make a better continuous pour. But I like this experimentation; it keeps my mind actively thinking about how to make better coffees, and helps me build up knowledge about what works and what does not work.