When choosing a brewer, what should the brewer be made out of?
For example, is a V60 best when it’s glass, copper, ceramic, or plastic?
I realize there are preferences, but is there science that would suggest the best material a brewer should be made out of?
My guess is that the ideal would be whichever maintains the best thermal equilibrium. Not sure which that is though, maybe copper?
I would assume that copper would maintain thermal equilibrium the best as well. My concern with copper is the negative affect it can have on the taste of the coffee, as that has been my perceived experience with a (brand new) copper v60.
I feel like ceramic is a good bet for solid thermal retention with zero worries in the impact of the flavor. Honestly I always god with the Natalya though. Stainless steel and copper are great because they are really hard to break, and if you pre heat the vessel really quick before brewing, you won’t have to worry about too much thermal retention.
Plastic- no heat sink =steady temp
I’d vote for plastic made V60. Very low heat lost.
I recently wrote about the issue of the Hario V60 copper vs. plastic. It all comes down to heat transfer and thermal equilibrium. Copper is good at transferring heat that it’s used in heatsinks for computers. Plastic, ceramic, and glass, not so much.
Since copper transfers heat so well, the grounds will theoretically be more evenly heated and extracted. They heat much faster than the other models, which could be a time saver if you are making dozens of pour-overs per day.
i’ve heard that the plastic is the best since it doesn’t suck up any heat and you don’t have to worry about dropping it as much haha
i’ve been using the ceramic since forever and i’ve been told that as long as you warm it up, which comes with washing the paper filter, you should be okay
…for what it’s worth, I prefer ceramic or plastic. Glass = too fragile, and metal drippers are typically much more expensive than the others and I’m not convinced there’s a benefit in taste to warrant the additional cost. Ceramic drippers have more mass so they need more water to pre-heat but plastic is more stable in a wider range of temperatures.
Now, not only the material should be considered, but also the configuration. Most drippers sit ‘above’ the decanter to which they’re dripping into and so they’re constantly being cooled by the ambient air around them per the picture below.
My preferred pour-over (V60 is king…) device is this one where the dripper sits ‘inside’ the decanter and so the slurry is always in a much warmer environment with steam from the coffee below warming the dripper and the air space between the dripper and the decanter insulating it slightly, plus it’s ~$30 and you get the dripper and server.
By the same logic, Chemex would be okay as well but you lose the benefit of the airspace; plus, I find Chemex brewing to be a little finicky with those thick filters.
Hey man, my favorite brewer happens to be the Kalita Wave. The best purchase I ever made was buying the Tsubame copper 155. It’s hella unforgiving, and you truly need a great grinder to get solid results, but assuming you have these, the brews I’ve had from it are easily the best ever. All this being said, I think a lot less about the dripper, and a lot more about the grinder / water quality. Those will make the biggest differences no doubt. From there it’s all fine tuning.
…funny, these are the same reasons I like the V60 as my preferred brewer. Let me explain, the V60 by design creates a nice deep bed of coffee and funnels all the water through the entire bed (reasonably anyhow) through a giant hole, the only variables I need to worry about are grind and water temperature. Flat-bottom brewers (Kalita, December, Stagg) have too much surface area at the location where the water interacts with the filter and ‘fines’ like to settle; this, in conjunction with a series of small holes (which create their own resistance) have a tendency to choke the brewer. Again, this is just my observation because I love the V60 and this is what i tell myself… .
I do like to tinker with these other brewers, but I think more because I don’t spend as much time with them, I prefer the V60. Maybe I’ll make a New Year’s resolution to break out some other options more frequently.
I didn’t think about the air space between the dripper and the decanter-- great point.
I rotate plastic (V60, Kalita Uno, Melitta 102), steel Kalita 185 & porcelain (Melitta 102, Bartlett 2 cup 3 hole version of Melitta) and at the same brew weights, same grind, extractions & brew times overlap to the point that there is no obvious odd man out. Pour regimes change from one to the other (lots of little pours for the Kalita Uno & Bartlett, fewest pours for the Kalita & Melitta, V60 in the middle) to normalise time & extraction. The only tangible difference is really rather subtle differences in strength (flat bottomed brewers hold more liquid back, V60 holds least). For 13.5g to 225g brew water these all fall within around 3:10 +/-20sec with regards to average brew time.
Sometimes I use a fine grind and drip brew in a Brewista Smart Steep brewer (long bloom valve closed, then open valve & all brew water straight in from a regular spout kettle). Because of the finer grind needed & wide, flat bed, brews in this can take a little longer, with a wider range of normal brew times (~4:30 +/- 90sec).
…it’s minor, but I do like that the entire dripper is in a ‘warm’ environment.
I like the glass v60 a lot. Find it’s sturdier than the ceramic one and I don’t trust plastic in contact with food items.
What I really want to do is get some cartridge heaters and solder em on a metal one to PID the whole dripper
I’m curious about your assertion that having a V60 made from a thermally conductive material will be better than one which is an insulator. Why do you think this will result in a more even temperature?
If you have a conductive material, more heat will be lost from the water (as it is transferred from the water to the V60 and then to the air). In theory, the V60 and the water which is nearest to it will be slightly cooler than the water in the middle (this is known as a temperature gradient). How much cooler depends on residence time and the ambient conditions (i.e. is it windy/hot/cold etc).
If you have an insulating material, less heat will be transferred through the wall of the V60 (which should mean it’s outer surface is cooler). The inside edge is heated by the water, but because not much heat transfers through it, the wall will approach the temperature of the water (at which point, heat transfer from the water to the V60 will reduce). There will also be a smaller temperature gradient between the water nearest to the edge and the water in the middle (which you could describe as having a “more even” temperature).
Sure, having a conductive material might allow some heat to be transferred from the top to the bottom of the V60, but I don’t see this being very significant.
You raise a good point. My assumption is that heat would more quickly transfer from freshly heated parts of the brewer to others. This is assuming that you don’t pre-soak the pour-over.
It would be interesting to do an experiment and see if any of these materials really do make a difference. I agree that it is likely to be negligible.
I suspect the movement of water through the puck would be significantly more effective at heating the grinds at the bottom of the V60 than conduction. And the less you lose to the surroundings the better (obviously).
One test to investigate your hypothesis would be to:
- plug the bottom of your copper V60
- half fill it with hot water
- see if the top half gets hot.