Let me start by saying, I never felt as cool as when I first brought my Hario V60. I remember taking it out of the box and sending photos to my family on Whatsapp. My mum was just confused about why I was getting into a science experiment at my current age. But I felt sophisticated and professional when I first started brewing with the V60. Now I remember finally tasting the coffee and having an underwhelming feeling over the disappointment.
However, I was not too disappointed as I was kind of expecting this. I knew from all the videos I watched before I bought the V60 that it would time and effort to be able to master making a good cup of coffee. It was all about the process and was on board for the ride.
Why I bought a Hario V60
The main reason why I persuaded myself to buy the Hario V60 was because it is the quintessential coffee brewer among coffee lovers. I really wanted to see what type of coffee is produced. I had been using the Aeropress and French press for some time. So the V60 seemed the next logical step up.
Furthermore, I wanted to gain the skill of manual manually pouring and making tasty brews. When the V60 is used properly, you produce these amazing natural flavours with a light-body coffee. I might have not had the knowledge and skill to produce great coffee straight away but I was eager to learn.
The initial issues with using the Hario V60
It’s fair to say that the coffee I initially produced from the Hario V60 was very underwhelming and…pretty bad. To summarise, there was no distinction of flavour even after cooling down. There was also this bitterness to every sip and when I did make changes I experienced a sharp unpleasant acidity. The reason why I probably didn’t get frustrated is that I knew I was doing something wrong.
Looking back I was making two crucial mistakes. Firstly, you need to get the correct grind size. Although you get a recommendation of what grind size to use, it also depends on the grinder that you have. My electric burr grinder was not the best but I made it work with some hack. But as I was getting coffee ground to some sort of uniformity, then it was trying to find the best ratio. I mainly use a medium grind (leaning towards fine) now and it works after some tinkering.
The second mistake was simple…buy digital scales that have a timer. This will make your life easier when brewing with the Hario V60. It will also help you produce consistent tasting coffee, something I was struggling with. Also, I hate timers on phones for some reason they drive me crazy. But seeing the weight and time all on one device made my actions a lot smoother.
How does the Hario V60 fit into my coffee life now?
I love the Hario V60 and I will talk about it for hours on end if needed. It is my favourite brewer to use and I have started to feel a lot more confident after every brew. The Aeropress is still my go-to brewer on weekdays as it fits with my work schedule. However, I get that tinge of excitement every time I use the V60 and more satisfaction when I produce a delicious cup. It’s also convenient that you can make a lot more coffee in one go like the French Press.
With the Hario V60, I still feel my journey in understanding and using it is at an early phase. I am still researching and finding those improvements that make big differences. One of the basic recommendations I could give is to go and watch videos on Youtube, especially from James Hoffman and Tim Wendelboe. Both have different methods but they break down and simplify each step. This helped me to collate their techniques and come up with something that works for me.
I need to mention picking the coffee is also important. With the Hario V60, I do prefer coffee with one or two fruitier flavours and learning towards lighter roasts. You tend to experience more tastier and complex coffee with lighter roasts.
Should you buy the Hario V60?
I would say if you love brewing coffee and you have been using the Aeropress then take that next step up and try the Hario V60. I think it’s even worth a try even if you have the Chemex and even though they are both similar in brewing. However, I prefer the V60 any day of the week (sorry Chemex fans).
The Hario V60 takes some time at first to get used to. But once you get a method that works, you will enjoy the process. I’ll be cautious recommending newbies unless you are patient because the Hario V60 is more about quality over convenience. It’s best used when you are trying to relax and slow down. If you are not the type to take your time to understand something. Then this may not be the best brewer to start with. I would recommend going with a French Press/ Cafetierre instead. But if you think the Hario V60 looks cool like I did…then go for it. Check current pricing on Amazon here.
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