I’ll admit it, for a brief period of time, a few years ago, I was seduced by the idea of owning an espresso coffee machine. A fancy one. One which would make a great cup of coffee but also had lots of steam, was all chrome and would require a small crane to lift it. The only problem was the price. As soon as I started doing some research, the reality hit me. They were insanely expensive and unless you’re willing to shell out insane amounts of money, forget about it, they were useless. On top of that you’ve then got the maintenance. It seemed a bit much for a cup of coffee every morning. It was around this time that I discovered the Hario V60 dripper and the pour over method.
My early memories of filter coffee, pre-V60 are bad. Every place serving filter coffee in the UK would leave the pot sitting for an hour or more on a metal plate to keep it warm. This is something I have done myself. Drinking coffee which has been sat for a period of time is a brutal experience on the mind as well as the stomach and it’s not something I recommend. Thankfully the pour over has little in common. Each cup is individually brewed by pouring under boiling point water slowly into the cone. After a few minutes you have a great cup of coffee and you simply throw the paper filter and coffee in the bin.
There are numerous reasons to love pour over. It’s difficult to make a bad cup of coffee with it. It’s cheap, all you need is the cup, some paper filters and hot water. It’s portable, I have one in work, at home, and it also travels with me abroad. It’s clean – no washing grains from the sink, this is a big plus for me. Also, it’s pretty difficult to get a bitter cup from it and the taste is generally a bit more nuanced than an espresso. Ideal for that first coffee when you get out of bed.
Over the past few years, somewhere along the way, my tastes changed. When I buy a cup of coffee now and they use their fancy big machines I no longer feel envy. The coffee taste’s good but I’m always relieved to get back to the trusty V60.
Whatever you do, do not scrimp on the coffee – I did this once and never again. Beans supposedly have a month and grounds have two weeks before they starts to lose flavour. If you buy ground you’ll need it for paper filter (roasters are happy to do this). In the UK, £7 for 250 grams will get you a very good coffee. Many roasters run mail order operations now as well. The lighter beans work better with a dripper but in truth I’ve put espresso through and it’s tasted great. For 20 quid you can get a plastic cup, 100 filters, and some great coffee which will make 15 to 20 odd cups of great coffee coffee that will be tastier than most coffee shops can deliver. If you want a flat white then it’s not going to make that but if it’s a straight coffee you’re after then you won’t be disappointed.
What do I need?
V60 dripper (there’s a ceramic and a metal version, too)
Coffee – Climpsons UK
Coffee – Has Bean UK
Coffee – Square Mile UK
Coffee – Blue Bottle US
Just under boiling water