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?