Anyone else having V60 filter issues?

(Alex Evans) #1

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.

(Mark Burness) #2

Do the V60 papers have tabs?

Do the 4:00-5:00 brews still taste good/extract normally?

Some vendors have switched to Dutch made, tabbed, V60 papers. These have a different weave & different draw down times. If you can’t get the brews consistent & good tasting then maybe you need to change (where I am I can still get Japanese papers, so I’ve never compared to the Dutch personally), but I wouldn’t put too much store in brew time alone.

(Stevie Hutton) #3

Are you consistent with your brew/pour method?

In my shop we use the Scott Rao method (look it up on YouTube if you don’t know it) and its helped with our flow rate consistency and its tasting sweet.

(j l) #4

What Mark said…

I bought some “Hario” filters that were from China (knock-offs) and draw down times were way over 4 minutes and would not finish. Amazon can be tricky for ordering.

I also had bought the supposed “Hario” filters with a tab, and had similar results though not quite as bad. I threw them away, pure garbage.

I bought confirmed Hario authentic filters (white, no tab, not from Amazon) and draw down times were back to normal which depending on the origin and roast level, drawdown can vary from 2:35 to 3:35 with 28g and 456g of water. Rough target is 3:10. I can’t stand brown filters of any type, the smell on water contact is like inhaling a wet paper lunch bag, never mind the taste.

I did a simple experiment, just pour 1/2 cup of water into each filter and time the drawdown. That will tell if there is a problem. Use the white Hario filter as a reference. In actuality, I ran into a problem with a production run of Kalita filters that had excessive draw downs. It can happen.

The filter is most likely your issue.

Unless… you are using a Sette grinder OR grinder is generating a massive amount of fines that is clogging up the filter. Just bring your Kalita filter into the cafe and check drawdowns, if they are unusually extended, could be the grinder.

This is not a “technique” issue. For cafe setting, keep the V60… Can’t believe I just said that.

Just use Rao’s method with the added bonus, of covering the top of the V60 for heat retention and tap the dripper a few times to resettle the grinds halfway through the brew. This is simple, predictable performance and also means do not have to sit there watching it the whole time with multiple pours. Actually forgiving done this way. V60 and “forgiving” in the same sentence. Another first.

Likely, Hario fixed their supply issue but depending on your vendor for filters, they may have old stock?

I bought a 3 year personal supply of the good filters :slight_smile:

(Connor Taylor) #5

just going to copyy and paste Scott Rao’s tip for brew time.
“whereisscottraoCOFFEE TIP OF THE DAY!! after the last post many have asked me about pourover brew time. Unfortunately, like almost everything in coffee, the answer is “it depends.” Grind quality and grind setting are the keys to determining proper brew time. For instance, I used to make 20g/340g v60s with an EK on #6 (out of 11) in 2:00 when the burrs were fresh and up to 2:45 when the burrs were ready to be replaced. On a Baratza at home, my v60s range from 3:00-3:30 depending on burr age. Dose matters, too. It takes me about 30 seconds longer to do a 25g v60 than a 20g v60, even though the 25g brew uses a coarser grind. (Deeper bad, longer pouring time). The bottom line is that no one can say “v60’s should always take 3:00” or something like that. The appropriate brew time will vary with dose, grind quality, and grind setting. (And yes, darker roasts take longer as well. Just don’t make those :wink:)”

(Alex Evans) #6

I appreciate all the responses. This isn’t a “all V60s should take 3:00 why don’t mine take 3:00 post?” though. Our pour overs at the shop taste generically overextracted. Low acidity, muddy, strong astringency in the finish. The same coffees brewed at home with a different setup (Baratza Forte, different water, Kalita Wave) taste excellent - lots of ripe fruit, very clean, nice and balanced acidity. So I can comfortably say that it’s not a roasting / coffee issue.

Dialing out the grind (our Guatemala goes from 1-20) from a 10 to a 14 to a 16 and yesterday all the way out to 20, we still have not managed to brew under 3:30. Our technique is consistent and not bizarre in any way (25g to 400g, 50g bloom, then 100g, 100g, 100g, 50g at about 30 second intervals, rao spin at the end). When we first opened, we had different V60 filters are were able to get faster brews which were tastier. Now we can’t even at the coarsest setting and the resulting coffee still tastes over-extracted. Is this a filter thing? Do I need to pull the grinder apart and see what’s what? Should we be reevaluating our water?

Thanks particularly to those with more info on the filters. I’ll try to get ahold of a pack of Japanese filters and see if that makes a difference.

(Mark Burness) #7

How about getting the water in a bit quicker, in fewer pours (less prolonged agitation & greater mass of water above the bed for faster flow)?

Maybe a 60g bloom then 2 pours of 170g every 30, or 40s?

(Stevie Hutton) #8

If they are all tasting over extracted, then just give a knock coarser?

(Alex Evans) #9

We’re at the coarsest setting on our grinder - we’re brewing Kalitas at a 13 that taste great and take a logical time, but these V60s continue to run long even at the coarsest setting, which is honestly just baffling to me.

(j l) #10

Most likely issue is filter, based on your description. Let us know after you try the new filters. For what i call superfines issues, grind settings don’t really matter when they are statically attached to boulders and then problem filters catch them into thin layer of mud. Typing on phone.

It’s a filter problem, given Kalita test.