Brewing Coffee with the V60

V60-style open bottom brewer

Brewing coffees through the open-bottom style brewer raises the ceiling for how great a coffee can taste (in our opinion) at the sacrifice of some consistency. Brewing coffee with one of these is where technique, grind size, and your knowledge of the coffee can really make a difference, so we tend to recommend making coffee in them for baristas with a little more specialty coffee experience.

We recommend working with either plastic, or well-preheated ceramic models here, as the open top of the brewer tends to give off a lot of heat during the brew. A less-stable temperature can mean dulling (or souring) of flavors, and loss of brightness, all signs of underextraction.
We like to start with a general brew recipe of a 1:17 ratio (coffee to water) that works well with lighter coffees as well as more sweetness-focused coffees.

You’ll need:

  1. 25 grams coffee, freshly ground on a good grinder. (On an EK43, we like 7.2 – 7.3, or just about the size of sea salt.)
  2. Enough filtered water to pour at 420 grams in a clean kettle.
  3. A scale that accurately measures in grams, or smaller.
  4. A plastic or ceramic brewer with white paper filter. (Brown paper is fine too – but in our experience can impart some papery flavor to the final brew, especially if not rinsed well.)
  5. A small spoon or paddle to stir with.
  6. A cup or carafe that can hold at least 14 ounces of hot coffee without spilling.
  7. Heat your water to 205-degrees. Place your brewer over your carafe or cup.
  8. Wet the filter and heat the brewer with a brief pour of about 20 grams. Drain the water out.
  9. Place your ground coffee into the middle of the brewer. Tap the sides or shake the brewer to level the bed flat, which will help with an even extraction. Set your carafe/cup and V60 setup onto your scale, and tare it to zero grams.
  10. Start your timer and pour 60 grams of hot water into the bed of coffee. Get as much of the coffee wet as possible.
    Gently stir the coffee with the spoon to make sure everything got wet. (This is the “bloom,” when carbon dioxide exits the fresh coffee, and allows water to better extract the tasty solubles like sugars and acids.)
  11. If this coffee has been freshly roasted within the past 10 days, let this bloom sit until your timer reads 40 seconds. After 10 days, feel free to decrease the bloom time, as the carbon dioxide in freshly roasted coffee that can interfere with extraction has degassed.
  12. Gently pour as much water into the brew chamber as will fit without overflowing.
  13. Wait until about half that water has drained, then fill it up again, until you hit your mark of about 420 grams on the scale. Depending on your grind size, your water may drain a little quicker, or a little slower – we like this recipe because it can eliminate variations in technique once you’ve figured out your ideal grind size. 
  14. When you can lift your brewer without water spilling, lift it up (but not your cup/carafe) up about a quarter of an inch, give it a gentle clockwise swirl, and “tap” it back down onto your cup/carafe. This will help ensure your grind bed is flat, and your extraction is even.
  15. If your grind size was accurate, the remaining water/coffee ground slurry should drain fully (“total brew time”) between 3:15 to 4:00 on your timer.
  16. Throw your filter in the compost, and wait for your coffee to cool a little before tasting. If you find the general flavor profile is too strong, or the brew went a little too long, coarsen your grind before your next brew; if you find the flavor profile is too weak, or the brew went too quickly, tighten your grind.
  17. Check our coffee cards for our recommended brew times for each coffee, but feel free to experiment!

Pro tip: Shorten your brewing time as time passes from your coffee’s roast date. As time passes, it is increasingly easy to extract tasty stuff from coffee grounds, but also to extract less desirable flavors like woodiness and earthy notes.