A Hario V60 is an awesome tool for brewing great coffee. But it can also be a tricky thing to get right and getting one thing wrong in the brew process can yield a pretty nasty cup of coffee. So what’s going wrong if your V60 is brewing too slow? Let’s find out.
A slow brewing Hario V60 is likely caused by a grind size that’s too fine or a filter that’s clogged with fines. The amount of grounds in the cone, the filter type and amount of agitation during brewing can also have a negative impact on brew time.
Below you can find out how these things can slow down the brew time in a V60 and how to fix it.
1. Grind size too fine
The most likely reason for a slow draw down in a Hario V60 is the grind size. A grind size that’s too fine to be exact. If the coffee particles are smaller, the particles are closer together and the gaps between them are smaller. That means there is less space for the water to flow through and this slows down the flow.
This is simple to change if you have an adjustable grinder. A decent adjustable burr grinder is a good tool for brewing the best possible coffee in a V60 anyways.
How To Adjust Grind Size For A V60
The starting size for a V60 should be somewhere around the size of sea salt. For small batches a little finer and a little larger for big batches. If you’re not hitting the brew time you like, adjust finer for a slower brew time and coarser for a faster brew time.
However, if your brew time is really far off what it should be, the next reason could be what’s going wrong in your case.
2. Clogged filter
Maybe the grind size of your grounds isn’t too small. There is another reason in the grounds that can cause a slow draw down. That reason is; fines. Fines are coffee dust that is created when grinding coffee.
Coffee fines are super fine particles that can get lodged in the filter paper. Filter papers have small holes in them that are small enough to stop all of the coffee particles and most of the oils. However, the fines can get stuck in the holes and stop the flow. This obviously makes the brew time longer.
Fines are a byproduct of grinding coffee. Coffee beans are dry after roasting and breaking them up is going to create some dust. Which coffee is ground in which grinder does make a huge difference though.
Different coffees have different levels of humidity and the structure of different coffee beans can be different. That’s why certain coffees can produce much more fines than others, even in the same grinder.
However, the grinder itself is going to be the biggest contributor to the amount of fines. If you grind your own coffee, your solution is likely going to be here. If you’re using pre-ground coffee, it really depends on where it comes from. Most pre-ground coffee has pretty low levels of fines but not as little as you would get with a high quality home grinder.
How To Prevent a Clogged Hario V60 Filter
In general, higher quality grinders produce fewer fines as well as grinding faster and more consistently. Low quality blade grinders produce a lot of fines and produce grinds in a wide variety of sizes. This is terrible for taste and is likely to clog the filter paper.
Low end burr grinders are a lot better and more consistent but still produce a lot of fines. A good burr grinder is the ticket to less fines and better tasting coffee in general. Before I tried a higher quality grinder, I though the difference couldn’t be that big but after upgrading to a TimeMore C2 I was blown away by the improvement in taste.
Filtering your grounds before use is another option but that’s an extra step in the brew process and after a few times it’ll become a pain. Filtering out fines also means a loss of coffee which is a waste. Also, a good set of filters doesn’t cost much less than a good hand grinder.
3. Too Much Agitation
In a V60, the coffee grounds are largely supposed to stay in place on the bottom. Agitation is where the coffee grounds move around either from the water pouring in or actively stirring/swirling the cone.
What happens with too much agitation is that the fines get the chance to move from distributed throughout the coffee bed towards the filter because they’re taken by the flow of water towards the filter. Then they get stuck in the filter and block the flow.
That means the more fines you have in your grounds, the more important preventing too much agitation is.
The best way to prevent agitation, besides not stirring or swirling the cone, in a V60 is by using a gooseneck kettle. Gooseneck kettles are the kettles with the long, thin neck that originates at the bottom of the kettle.
These kettles help pour the water in a very gentle manner and relatively slowly. In a regular kettle it’s impossible to pour gently and the water often sloshes out in big gulps when trying to move around.
There are gooseneck kettles at different price points. Some are simple stovetop models while others are electric models with temperatures control and some even have bluetooth. A stovetop model is sufficient but the electric ones are nice and convenient.
|Yakalla||Stovetop Kettle With Analog Thermometer||$||Buy on Amazon|
|Bodum||Electric gooseneck kettle without thermometer||$$||Buy on Amazon|
|COSORI||Electric Gooseneck Kettle Bluetooth with Temperature Control||$$$||Buy on Amazon|
|Fellow||Stag. Electric Gooseneck Kettle With Temperature Control||$$$$||Buy on Amazon|
4. Amount Of Grounds And Water Level
Pay attention to how much grounds are in the filter and how much water you put on top of them.
The less grounds there are in the cone, the less resistance there is for the water to flow through. That means smaller amounts of grounds tend to flow faster (which most people compensate for with grind size). That works the other way as well of course. If you put a lot of grounds in the basket, the water will flow a bit slower. There are different sized Hario V60 cones that are suitable for brewing different amounts of coffee at a time. Make sure you brew an amount that’s within the limits of your cone.
The other side of that cone is how much water you pour into the cone at one time. The coffee bed provides resistance and the water flows through because of gravity. The more water is on top of the coffee, the more pressure there is and the faster the flow. If the flow is too slow, keep the water level a little higher and see if this improves the situation.
Use the right size cone/filter for the amount of coffee you want to brew and filling the cone with more water will provide proper drawdown speed in a Hario V60. Fill the cone to about 3/4 the way to the top with water at the most.
Using a coffee scale helps you get a consistent amount of grounds and water every time. This also makes it easier to make small adjustments.
5. Type Of Filter Paper
There are a range of filters you can use in your Hario V60. Hario themselves produce a few different types but there are also filters from different brands available.
Even though they should all do the same thing, they don’t. Some papers flow faster than others. So if you just opened a new pack of filters and your brew time changed without changing anything else, this is a likely cause.
Because Hario Themselves make a few different filters, going for that brand doesn’t necessarily guarantee consistent results.
Cafec Abaca filters (Amazon link) are high quality filters for a V60 that flow quite fast. They are also more consistent than the different Hario papers.
What Does Slow Mean For A Hario V60?
It’s important to quantify what slow actually means. What looks slow to you might be perfectly normal. Of course how much time a brew should take depends on how much coffee you’re brewing.
Here are some guidelines of brew time in a V60;
- 200 ml: 1:45 to 2:15
- 330 ml: 2:30 to 3:30
- 500 ml: 4:15 to 5:00
This includes the bloom time (usually 30 seconds).
Deviating a little bit from these guidelines is OK. All coffees are different and need slightly different grind sizes etc. If you’re a minute or more longer than these guidelines, it will likely result in quite bitter coffee that’s not the most tasty. Trying things to shorten up the brew time is a good idea in that case.
Don’t take these times as gospel, just use them as a guideline to see if you’re in the ballpark of what is normal. All that counts is if you get a cup of coffee that you like the taste of. Does it taste good but takes long? Then there is no problem. Do you think the coffee could be better? Checking if the brew time is in the right ballpark is a tool you can use to improve the brew.
Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with all the factors listed above and see what you prefer. Everyones taste is different and also, every different coffee is going to need a slightly different brew time.