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Is the coffee you’re brewing with your Hario V60 not strong enough? Here are 6 things you can try to get that intense coffee flavor you’re craving.
The best way to make the taste of V60 coffee stronger is to use more grounds for the same amount of water. Other things that brew stronger coffee are; brew time, agitation, slower pouring, a finer grind setting or using a different coffee.
How do those things make the coffee stronger and how should you change your brewing exactly? Keep reading to find out.
Tips To Make Hario V60 Coffee Stronger
What stronger exactly means is debatable and it actually means different things to different people. For some people it means more bitterness, for others more caffeine and yet other ‘more’ taste. The caffeine content is likely not the problem. Even if the taste is lacking, there will usually still be plenty of caffeine.
In this post I’ll assume that people want more intense tasting coffee. Just like turning up the volume knob on your stereo, here’s how to turn up the taste intensity of your coffee brewed with a V60.
1. Increase The Amount Of Grounds
The best way to increase the strength of your V60 coffee is to use more grounds for the same amount of water. A good place to start is a ratio of 20 grams of grounds for every 300 grams of water used. If that’s not strong enough for you, go up 1 gram of grounds every time but use the same amount of water until you get the strength you like.
Obviously more grounds means there is more ‘taste’ in there that can get into the cup. That means every gram of water can cary more compounds from the coffee which means more taste. However, it can impact the taste balance as well as the strength. Using more grounds will likely lead to less bitterness but could cause more sourness. You’ll have to find a happy balance.
If you ran into the limits of changing the ratio of grounds to water and the taste is not to your liking anymore, try one of the other solutions below.
Of course it’s also possible to change the ratio of grounds to water by using less water for the same amount of grounds used.
2. Use A Longer Bloom Time
If you’re not letting your coffee bloom, now is the time to start. It will make a big impact on the taste and strength of your coffee. Letting the coffee bloom is simply pouring a little bit of water (1.5 -2 times the weight of the grounds) on the grounds. Then wait before pouring the rest of the water on. It’s called blooming since the grounds will puff up and almost flower.
When the water hits the grounds, the grounds will start releasing Co2 which gets trapped during roasting. That’s why you can sometimes see bubbling during the bloom time. Co2 repels water which means the brew process can’t happen properly. Also, Co2 tastes sour so getting rid of it improves the taste. The bloom time gives time to get rid of the Co2 and let the water penetrate the grounds. That way the water you pour on later gets to extract all the good taste from the grounds.
If you’re not doing any bloom at the moment, start with a 30 seconds bloom time and see if that improves the coffee. If you’re already using the bloom technique, try making it a little longer. 30 seconds is standard but going up to 45 seconds will be fine, especially if you want to increase strength.
3. Agitate The Coffee Bed
Agitation means stirring or swirling the grounds during/at the end of the bloom time. You can use a spoon at the end of the bloom time or swirl the grounds when adding some water. This allows all the grounds to get wet at the same time and you get a more even bloom. This helps increase the extraction of all the grounds that would be dryer otherwise. More extraction results in more taste getting into the cup.
Agitating the coffee after the bloom time is a topic for debate. Some people like the results, others hate it. It will increase extraction a bit and helps incorporate all the grounds that floated to the top and are stuck on the filter. However, it can also cause fines to clog the filter and that just slows down the flow and causes more bitterness.
If you want to try it, it’s easy. Just grab the base of the V60 and move it around in circles to swirl the water and grounds around. Just two or three swirls is enough.
4. Pour Slower
The next thing to try is to pour the water into your V60 slower and keep the water level in the filter lower. The higher the water level, the faster the water will flow through. Pour little by little and keep the water level just above the grounds. Pour +-100 grams of water every time. Then wait until the water level is just above the grounds again and then pour 100 grams of water again.
Pouring with a gooseneck kettle helps you be accurate with the amount of water and where you pour it.
What this does is increase the contact time of the water with the grounds. This gives the water more time to extract all the compounds from the grounds and so increase the strength of the coffee. Extracting more means a stronger taste.
This does come with the trade off that the bitterness could increase too. So make small changes every time you brew and see what the results are.
5. Grind Finer
For a V60, getting the right grind size is important. A good adjustable burr grinder is essential for getting good coffee from a V60. Freshly ground beans are important for that deep taste anyways. If you’re using pre-ground coffee, grinding fresh will make a big difference.
To make your coffee stronger, you can grind slightly finer. This does a few things;
- Increase surface area: If you cut up a coffee bean in more pieces, the resulting grounds will have more surface area. This means more water can touch it at the same time and extract the grounds faster.
- Increase contact time: Because the particles are smaller, the gaps between them are smaller as well. This leads to the water flowing slower and there is more contact time between the water and grounds. This gives the water more time to extract the grounds.
Now this might also cause more bitterness in the coffee. Grind size is a fine balance. On one side it’s too sour/weak, on the other side it’s too bitter and the trick is to get right in the middle.
This can cause some bitterness or a burnt flavor in your coffee. Click here to find more information about this.
Slightly smaller grind sizes might yield the extra strength you’re looking for without too much bitterness. A smaller grind size means faster extraction so you can get as much as possible out of the grounds in the same amount of time.
6. Use a different coffee
This is a pretty obvious one which is why it’s at the bottom. Different coffees taste differently and have a different perceived strength. One coffee can have much more of one taste note than the next coffee. You might be looking for a darker, more chocolaty taste while the coffee you have might be more acidic.
Different types of coffee taste different but also pay attention to the roast level. Most people use a V60 with light and medium roasts. Light roasts especially will taste quite light and have a thin body but often have a delightful fruitiness and acidity. Dark roasts are more bitter, have a heavy body and look darker. A medium roast is in between the two.
Robusta beans are a way to make your coffee significantly stronger but they can also have a burnt taste to them. Click here to find out how to fix burn tasting V60 coffee.
Think about what you want to be stronger and choose a coffee based on that. A local coffee shop that sells and preferably roasts their own coffee will be able to help you.
Limits Of A Hario V60
There are limits of what you can do with a V60. The paper filter filters out all the coffee particles and oils which give the thick, heavy body to the coffee. Those particles and oils also give extra taste. A paper filter will give a coffee with a thinner body, but allows sweetness and other subtle notes to come out. A V60 is great to really taste all the notes that are in the coffee beans. However, it doesn’t produce the most intense tasting coffee.
This is the same for all pour over methods. If you want something with a more intense taste at the expense of taste clarity, try a metal filter brew method like a French press, espresso, moka pot, etc.
Recommended Hario V60 Equipment
- V60 cone: You’ll need a V60 cone. A size 02 ceramic V60 (Amazon) will serve most people very well.
- Filter papers: Without paper filters your cone is pretty useless. Hario paper filters work well and are cheap. You can find them here on Amazon. Make sure you get them in the same size as your cone.
- Scale: A scale is essential to brewing good V60 coffee. Brewing good V60 coffee is all about precision. This TimeMore Scale(Amazon) scale works perfectly, looks great and is high quality.
- Grinder: Freshly ground coffee is a lot better than pre-ground. The TimeMore C3 (Amazon) gives you great value for money and will give much better results than a cheaper grinder or pre-ground
- Beans: Don’t forget to get some good beans to put into that grinder. Volcanica roasts great beans you can get here on Amazon.
- Carafe: If you like to share your coffee, a nice carafe or decanter is useful. I’ve got this TimeMore one (Amazon) and it does exactly what you expect it to without any plastic parts that are hard to clean.
- Kettle: Finally, a gooseneck kettle will make your coffee taste sweeter and smoother by pouring a gentle and constant stream of water onto the grounds. This Cosori (Amazon) electric gooseneck kettle has temperature control which is a big benefit and is affordable.