I recently took a job at a new cafe and have been struggling to get their manual brews to come out in any sort of normal time. They’re using V60-02s, and for the past few years, I’ve been brewing almost entirely Kalitas and Aeropresses, so I wanted to see whether the V60 crowd could shed some light on the issue.
Right now, we’re using single origin, lightly roasted coffees from Intelligentsia within 14 days of roasting. The grinder is a Mahlkonig Guatemala, the water is filtered and heated by a Fetco water tank. Even grinding at an 18 on the Guatemala (out of 20), we’re struggling to get brew times under 4:00 for a single cup (24g coffee to 400g water). Even at 18 or above, we’ve been forced to adjust our technique to be adding all of the brew water within the first minute, and then it takes a full three minutes to drain.
At the moment, we have two types of filters in the cafe–a white set from Intelligentsia that I believe was made by Bonmac. These take longer to drain and leave the coffee with a kind of grittiness–not just astringency, something beyond that, mouthfeel wise. We also have brown paper Hario filters which drain a little faster and taste far better, but they’re still taking 4:00 plus. The resulting coffee is tastier than I’d have expected, but it does seem a bit muddled and has a lingering astringency. It’s nowhere near as clean as the brews I’m getting at home of the same coffees using a Kalita.
My initial suspicion was that the Guatemala had an alignment issue or some sort of burr damage that was causing it to produce a large amount of fines, but after examining many a brew bed, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Just to confirm, I brought my Comandante in this morning and used it to brew a coffee with each of the filters. Grinding at 27 clicks on the Comandante (two beyond the range Comandante recommend for filter brewing, about where I’d brew a Kalita at home), I still was hitting 5:00 brew time. When the brews finished, the coffee bed looked great, but the drawdown took almost four minutes with each. While brews from the Comandante have drained slower than ones from an EK43 or Forte in the past, they have never been this slow, which again makes me turn to the filters.
Is anyone else experiencing this with V60 filters? Is there something technically I should be doing differently when brewing? Are there better filters to buy? Should I just pack it in and recommend they replace their V60s with Kalitas?
Thanks in advance for any insight you can give.