You’ve heard that a Hario V60 can brew great coffee every day. But you’re not sure it’s the right choice for brewing your daily cup of coffee. Is a V60 easy to use or should you pick another brewer? Here’s what you want to know.
The basics of using a V60 are very easy to understand for everyone and most people will be able to brew drinkable coffee with a V60 quite easily. However, to brew really good coffee with a V60 requires equipment, skill and a willingness to learn what makes coffee better.
Let’s find out what goes into brewing good coffee with a V60 and if it’s the right choice for you.
Is a Hario V60 Hard To Use?
The basics of a Hario V60 are quite easy. Put a filter in the cone, pour grounds in the filter and pour water on top. There’s nothing difficult about those steps and pretty much everyone can do this.
However, A Hario V60 (like most other pour over methods), has a lot of places where you can go wrong and produce a bitter, unpleasant cup of coffee. On the other hand, there is also a lot of opportunity for changing small things and produce the best coffee you’ve ever tasted.
Pour over methods are easy in basis but have a very high skill cap. Changing small things in the grinding and brewing process can make a big difference in the final taste. Some small things are easy to change while others are more difficult and require some skill, learning and maybe even equipment.
Getting a really good cup out of a V60 will take some time and practice. So in that regard, it’s hard to use since there are brew methods where it’s easier to get a good cup. However, if you get it right, the results can also be delicious. The V60 is my personal favorite for a daily driver. And once you’ve got the process figured out, you can almost do it on autopilot in the morning.
Beginner Tips For Making Better V60 Coffee
A V60 is capable of brewing very good coffee but if you just pour in a random amount of supermarket grounds and pour over a random amount of water, you’ll get coffee but likely not very good unless you’re very lucky.
The Hario V60 is great for brewing coffee where you can really taste the tastes from the coffee beans clearly if you do it right. To get there, try the following tips.
- Use fresh beans: Freshly ground beans will always be better than pre-ground coffee. Fresh beans have deeper more well, rounded taste.
- Use a high quality adjustable burr grinder: One of the most important ways to change the taste balance, is the grind size. A high quality grind is adjustable and creates evenly sized grounds which gives less sourness, less bitterness and more sweetness.
- Use a coffee scale and get the ratio right: Don’t eyeball the amount of grounds and water. Measure it with a coffee scale. That way you can recreate a recipe every time once you’ve found what works for you.
- Use high quality coffee: The coffee used is very important. A well brewed V60 is so praised because it really brings out the taste notes of the beans with clarity. However, that means the quality of the beans used is very important. And in general, higher quality beans taste better.
- Use a lighter roast: As said, the V60 is great for brewing coffee with very clear taste notes. For that reason, using a light or medium roast is going to produce better results since more of the origin tastes are retained.
- Use a gooseneck kettle: This is not essential but it does help brew smoother, nicer tasting coffee compared to using a normal kettle. A gooseneck kettle helps pour the water slowly and calmly which causes less agitation and thus less bitterness.
After getting all the things above right, you’ll get decent coffee. After that it really becomes detailed adjustments that you might not want to get into.
Is a V60 Suitable For Beginners?
For a normal cup of coffee that’s acceptable for most people, a V60 is fine, just like any other pour over cone. Just pour the water on and you’ll get coffee. It’s simple and easy and you’ll likely get drinkable coffee.
However, to produce good coffee (think specialty coffee shop level), it’s necessary to get a lot of factors right and you can go down a rabbit hole of coffee nerdery that goes very deep. It’s also necessary to get some other equipment to get the best possible coffee.
If you’re interested in brewing better coffee but don’t like learning all the techniques and get all the stuff that is necessary for brewing good V60 coffee, look into getting an Aeropress. Those brewers produce a similar type of coffee although often slightly stronger but are easier to get good coffee out of. The basics of brewing with an Aeropress are slightly more complicated than with a V60 but after two times, you’ll be brewing more consistent, likely better coffee with an Aeropress with less messing around than with a V60.
The Aeropress is good for brewing smaller amounts than a V60 though. Good for one person but not as good for multiple people.