Does your Hario V60 flow way too fast and you’ve got no idea why it’s off and how to improve? Here’s what you want to know.
The biggest reason why a Hario V60 brews too fast is that the grounds are too coarse. A too coarse grind size leaves large gaps between the particles and let’s water through too easily. The amount of fines, agitation, ratio and filter papers can also have and impact on brew time.
Let’s find out how these things can make the water flow too fast and how to fix it below.
1. Grind Size Too Large
One of the main reasons a V60 brews too quickly is the grind size. The larger the coffee particles, the bigger the holes between them and the easier the water can flow through. If this is the case, it likely results in a fast brew time and weak coffee.
Having big pieces of coffee grounds means there isn’t a lot of surface area for the water to extract the grounds. Combine this with a faster flow rate which reduces the contact time, the grounds are likely not extracted as well as they should be.
So besides flowing too fast, you’ll likely end up with a weak, sour cup of coffee.
How To Fix V60 Grind Size
When using pre-ground coffee, there isn’t much you can do to chang the grind size except buy a different bag or get yours ground to your requirements at a local coffee shop. A good local coffee shop (not a large chain) will likely be able to help you grind coffee to the correct size, especially if you also buy their coffee beans.
The better solution is to have a good burr grinder with size adjustments. Hand grinders are more affordable/get better quality grounds for the price but you’ll have to do the work yourself. A good electric grinder with size adjustments is more expensive but of course a lot easier to use.
2. Few Fines
Did you recently upgrade your grinder and brew times got faster after that? It’s possible that your new grinder produces much less fines than before.
Fines are basically coffee dust that is a byproduct of grinding coffee beans. Coffee beans are dry and breaking them up creates some dust. However, how a grinder breaks up the beans exactly has a big impact on how much fines are produced. Better grinders produce much less than worse grinders.
Different types of coffee also produce different amounts of fines. Some beans have less moisture after roasting than others and the dryer the bean, the more fines it produces. Think about crumbling a leaf. The dryer the leaf, the easier it breaks up in small parts. African beans tend to be dryer than South American ones so this could be part of the issue as well.
Why does this have an impact on draw down speed? V60 filter papers have very fine holes in them. They stop pretty much all the grounds and coffee oils. This is what makes a very clean and clear tasting cup of coffee. Most things are stopped by the filter and stay on the inside of the filter. However, fines are small enough that they get lodged in the paper. This means they clog up the little holes in the paper and this slows down the flow.
When there are no fines, this doesn’t happen and the water can flow unimpeded. You’ll mainly notice this when changing grinders and you upgraded to one that produces much less fines. It might flow faster but the lack of fines will result in a much better tasting cup of coffee though.
How To Fix This
The solution to this is the same as with the wrong grind setting. You’ll have to grind a bit finer than you did before. If you upgraded your grinder, this is likely possible without adding much bitterness to the cup. There is no such thing as ‘too little’ fines. Fewer fines are always better since they tend to add a very harsh bitterness to the coffee.
When using grounds with more fines, the overall grind size will likely be a bit bigger to compensate for the flow rate and bitterness. With less fines, you can grind smaller but still get less bitterness in your coffee. The overall extraction will be higher which also results in a more intense, sweeter cup with more clarity in the taste.
Also, with a better grinder, the overall brew time can be a bit shorter and still yield good results.
It will take a few brews of experimenting with the grind settings to figure out what works. Go finer until you hit a point where it becomes too bitter and then back off (go coarser) a few clicks. How many clicks depends on your grinder and how fine the adjustments are.
Recommended V60 grinders
3. Too Much Agitation
How the water is poured into the V60 can have an impact on brew time. Pouring the water in fast, really agitates the grounds and lets them float in the water instead of settling on the bottom. If the grounds are not on the bottom of the filter, they don’t provide any resistance to the flow.
However, on the flip side, if your grounds have a lot of fines, agitation will lodge the fines in the filter paper and slow down the flow. So it can go either way. Either way, you want to prevent too much agitation.
How To Fix This
The best way to reduce the amount of agitation is by having a kettle that pour the water in a controlled manner and produces a very nice, slow, even flow of water. A normal kettle doesn’t do this and pours a lot of water in a very turbulent manner.
The solution is a gooseneck kettle. These are kettles that have a very thin and long neck that originates from the base of the kettle. This means the sloshing of the water in the kettle doesn’t have an impact on how the water comes out. It’s very easy to pour in a slow and controlled manner with this type of kettle which means less agitation.
Recommended Gooseneck Kettles
|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. Ratio And Cone Size
Make sure you’ve got the correct size Hario V60 cone for the amount of coffee you’re brewing and the amount of grounds you’re using.
The more grounds used, the more resistance the coffee bed will give to the water and the slower the flow rate. The more grounds there are, the water simply has to get through more coffee to get out the other end which takes longer. However, the size of the cone is also important.
Hario V60 cones come in three different sizes; 01, 02, 03 with 01 being the smallest and 03 being the largest. Number two is the most common since they are good for 2-4 cups which is the amount most people brew. The larger the cone is, the larger the hole in the bottom is. A larger hole obviously let’s through more coffee so it’ll produce a faster brew time.
Size 01 is optimal for 12-14 grams of grounds which brews around 200 ml of coffee. You can push it up to about 20 grams of grounds for +-300 ml of coffee but not more than that.
Size 02 is the sweet spot for most people. It can brew well with about 20-30 grams of grounds in the filter which is good for 300 to 450ml of coffee. The amount most people make in the morning. You could push the 02 to about 40 grams but this isn’t optimal.
Size 03 is good for larger batches since you can use about 30-60 grams of grounds in this size cone. Which means 450-900 ml of coffee.
How To Fix
Use the right size cone and corresponding filter papers for the amount of coffee you’re making and thus the amount of grounds you should use. If you’re using the correct size cone and filter, but it’s still very fast, try changing the ratio a little so you use more grounds for the same amount of coffee.
For example, if you want to make 330 ml of coffee and are using 20 grams of grounds to do this, try increasing the amount of grounds to 21 or 22 grams but keep the amount of water the same. This should slow down the flow rate.
5. Pour Speed And Water Level
How fast the water is poured into the cone has an impact on how fast it flows out. The higher the water level in the cone, the more pressure on the coffee bed and the faster the flow.
If your V60 brews too fast, it’s possible the water is dumped in too quickly. There are many different opinions on how fast to pour and if to pour consistently and slowly for a longer time or in short bursts.
Pouring slowly and consistently for a longer time (1 minute+) will very likely result in a slower brew time. If that is too much trouble, you can try three pours of 100 ml (if you’re brewing +- 300 ml). 100 ml at a time doesn’t fill the cone too much and will be slower compared to filling the cone all the way up.
A coffee scale will help tremendously with pouring the right amount at the right time.
Recommended Coffee Scales
6. Filter Paper
There is a range of different 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. It’s important
Cafec Abaca filters (Amazon link) are high quality filters for a V60 that flow quite fast. They produce good results though so if you’re using these and the brew time is on the fast side, there might not be a huge problem to begin with.
For slower authentic Hario filter papers, go for the ones made in the Netherlands. These tend to flow a bit slow than the Japanese made ones. The Dutch ones come in a pack of 100 and are in tightly wrapped plastic. Not the ones that sell per 100 but are in a loose, crinkly plastic bag.
That said, for taste most people prefer the Japanese made filters in a cardboard box.
What Does Fast Mean For A Hario V60?
It’s important to quantify what fast actually means. What looks fast 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 45 seconds or more below these guidelines, it will likely result in quite weak and/or sour coffee that’s not the most tasty. Trying things to slow the brew 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 brews fast? 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.