In Part II of his post on home brewing methods our West Coast Trainer & Educator, Andrew Tucker-MacLeod, writes about the Clever Dripper. the Hario v60 Cone and the Kalita Wave. Read Part I here.
This method uses a wedge shaped filter similar to a cone, and a brewer body with a valve on the bottom that releases coffee when set on a service vessel. The Clever has a single, large opening allowing fast flow away from the bed and filter. The brewer body has ridges that help hold the paper filter away from the body, allowing brewed coffee to exit the bed and collect in the barrel-shaped throat of the brewer base. Due to its steeping design and reliance on gravity for final extraction, this method yields a cup that has heavier body from steeping, though offers pronounced acidity by retaining heavy oils and fine particles in the filter. The aftertaste should be clean and structured, due to the combined extraction forces (steeping & gravity) at play. With paper filters, the coffee particle should be roughly that of table salt or slightly coarser. When steeping coffee in a fashion similar to French Press, the water needs at least 2-3 minutes of contact time, followed by a minute of dripping or washing the bed of coffee after the brewer body is placed on the service vessel. The force of gravity takes over here, causing the remaining liquid to flow over the bed and deposit the final parts of the extraction. The dual nature of this brewer makes it versatile for most any palate. A longer steep time with a shorter wash will saturate the filter and allow more heavy oils to end up in the brew, where a shorter steep time and a similar wash or drop time will yield a brighter or more pronounced acidity. Hario V60: Cone shaped with enhanced spiral ridges inside and a large opening at the bottom allow for a fast flow through the coffee bed and filter.
Cone shaped with enhanced spiral ridges inside and a large opening at the bottom allow for a fast flow through the coffee bed and filter.The larger ridges help suspend the filter from direct contact with the sides of the brewer body, enabling finished coffee to flow from the bed to the service vessel with limited contact with the grounds. This method requires a table-salt like grind, and relies entirely on gravity for extraction. Due to the ridges and the opening size, the coffee prepared using a V60 will take less than 3 minutes to brew, indicating a slightly finer grind than the Clever to ensure proper concentration of coffee matter in the finished brew. If we use the same grind setting as French Press or Clever, respectively, the bed of grounds will not have enough surface area exposed to allow proper saturation of the grounds. The particle may be too large to be fully soaked under these circumstances, allowing underextracted coffee to be served. The resulting cup should have pronounced acidity, a light body and lingering aftertaste.
This method uses a truncated cone-shaped brewer body and paper filters that resemble scaled-down flat bottom filters used in commercial style batch brewers. The filters feature deep waves to hold the brewing bed away from the brewer body, much like the V60s ridges, but allow for better heat retention in the brew bed and also allow finished coffee to flow from filter to service vessel. The Kalita Wave products have three openings across the bottom of the brewer body to ensure proper flow out of the brewer. The grind should be that of coarse table salt, like the Clever. The Kalita relies entirely on gravity for extraction. The bed of coffee has a different shape due to the rigid filter and this factor influences the cup by promoting heat retention in the bed of coffee and slowing down the flow of water through the bed. The resulting cup is heavier bodied due to the 3-4 minute extraction time, and the finer grind present will allow a full, sweet cup, with a syrupy body. While three of these methods employ paper filtration, the application of the filter and its role in brewing is slightly different. By observing attributes of each brew method, we can draw some conclusions about the finished brew before putting any water on to boil. Metal mesh filters of any shape require coarse ground coffee, paper filters will need finer particles. With some trial and error, one can determine appropriate grind size for their tastes given the brew method used.
Always start with fresh drawn, filtered water, rinsed filters, preheated brewing devices, and Batdorf & Bronsons fresh roasted, fresh ground coffee. A good ratio to begin with is 1:17 if you like the Metric system and 2 TBSP to 6 ounces water for US measurement. Happy Brewing!