So you want to pourover? Well, we like you. There are plenty of options out there for you to brew with, but don’t let the paradox of choice leave you in a spinning mess of indecision wondering which device to choose, which coffee to brew and, more importantly, how to brew. Here at Five Senses Coffee we like to ease the modern dilemmas of Western society, and will simply tell you what we think you should do, and how you should do it.

Right now in the world of pourovers, there are two devices we think are killing it.

We’ve been stocking and recommending Hario v60 pourovers now for a long time – and for good reason. If you brew with care and commitment to repeatability, a v60 can consistently give you an unforgettably clean cup of delicious coffee. However, the cup quality can go either way if you don’t brew very carefully, or if your parameters aren’t spot on.

Recently at the our Barista Academies we’ve been brewing using the Kalita Wave 185s; not only are the cup results delicious and clean, but it’s also easy to achieve repeatability. For these reasons I prefer to recommend them to people who are just learning to brew, and also to our cafes who are implementing a filter program. I actually think that we’re splitting hairs between these two devices when it comes to cup quality, but as far as brewing technique goes, the devices facilitate the brewing process in slightly different ways and therefore require slightly different techniques. Depending on the technique used, you’ll get different quality results with either device.

So here’s where life gets easy. Everyone loves a good chart, right? Let’s weigh up the known pros and cons of each device, and get you brewing with a recipe whichever way you decide to go. I’m going to assume you have a basic level of brewing experience and have an adequate pouring kettle, and a grinder good enough to make incremental grind changes for experimental purposes.

Hario V60

  • Tried, tested and true. This brewer has been around for a long time, and delivers an exceptional brew.
  • Lots of online resources and recipes available.
  • Great filters (supplied by Hario) which deliver exceptional cup clarity with the right technique and know-how.

  • A good level of coffee knowledge is required to adjust brewing parameters and enhance quality.
  • Often “chokes”.
  • Technique must be exact; variation is frequent and largely depends on technique.
  • Lots of paper filter rinsing is required.
  • Pouring directly in to the filter can create channelling at the beginning of the brew.

  1. Use 20gr of coffee to 300gr water.
  2. Heat your water source to 96 degrees.
  3. Start your timer.
  4. Start the brewing process with a bloom – starting from the centre and spiralling outwards. Working gently and with an even flow, pour 50 gr of water over 10-15 seconds.
  5. You’ll notice that the coffee blooms (expands) until about the 25-30 second mark.
  6. Once the expansion has stopped at around 30 seconds, evenly pour water to a 150gr total, which should take you to the 1:00 mark.
  7. As you’re doing this, you should be using your pouring stream to drag down all the floating coffee grinds.
  8. Before the coffee drains, top up to a total of 250gr with the same even flow.
  9. As you’re pouring, be sure to stick to the centre of the coffee and avoid the edges. You’ll need to pour in to the side at least once to catch any of the coffee sticking to the filter, but otherwise avoid this.
  10. Top up your last 50 gr before the coffee fully drains again.
  11. Your grinds should always be covered in water during top up.
  12. The total time should be 3:00 – 3:30 minutes, depending on the coffee. You’ll need to adjust your grind to a finer setting if you come up short on time and coarser if you are taking too long.

Kalita Wave 185

  • The new kid on the block, but extremely approachable.
  • Extremely repeatable results, even if you have your eyes closed.
  • Actually, having your eyes closed is not recommended; but you’ll be brewing up good coffee if you simply stick to a recipe and roughly hit the target.
  • The flat base of the device and drainage setup creates a wider drainage area, and less chance of “choking”.

  • Paper filters must be handled with care to avoid collapsing.
  • Largely untested in the industry, minimal instruction available online.

  1. Use 16.5gr of coffee to 250gr water.
  2. Heat your water source to 96 degrees.
  3. Start your timer.
  4. Start the brewing process with a bloom – starting from the centre and spiralling outwards. Working gently and with an even flow, pour 50 gr of water over 10-15 seconds.
  5. You’ll notice that the coffee blooms (expands) until about the 25-30 second mark.
  6. Once the expansion has stopped, pour the rest of your water evenly all the way to the 250gr mark, which should take you to around 1:15-1:30. As you’re doing this you should be using your pouring stream to drag down all the floating coffee grinds.
  7. You can freely pour in to the edges to catch any coffee floating in the paper creases, but generally pour in the centre.
  8. Your grinds should always be covered in water during top up.
  9. The total time should be 2:30 – 3:00 minutes, depending on the coffee. You’ll need to adjust your grind to a finer setting if you come up short on time and coarser if you are taking too long.

Notes

  • Try and keep your water temperature the same throughout the pouring process. We use Bonavita pouring kettles, and in between pouring, we allow the kettle to take the temp back to our target 96 degrees.
  • With coffee, fresh is best, both for roast date and grinding.
  • You could actually switch the recipes above for either device and get a comparable result, but you’ll notice that the higher dosage on the v60 encourages a coarser grind which helps avoid the “choking” effect.
  • As always, experiment and refine your results!

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