We’ve talked about green tea and matcha a lot, but did you know, the coffee scene is just as big in Japan? In the last decade, filter coffee has taken Japan (and the world) by storm. In the most hipster neighbourhoods across the world, you’d be hard-pressed to not find shiny, clean glassware with fancy machines and coffee drippers in many cafes, where you can watch your barista prepare your coffee on an open-style kitchen counter.
Many of these will contain the Hario V60 – you may not know its name, but you would definitely recognise it from its special iconic conical shape and often bright, catchy colours. The V60 is a staple for filter coffee in many shops as it is incredibly simple to use, yet makes a delicious, light, and clean cup of coffee.
The Iconic Hario V60
The iconic V60 was created by Hario, and has become the product that very much defined Hario and made it a household name, especially in Japan. Hario, literally meaning king of glass in Japanese (hari – glass; ō – king), was originally a glassware manufacturer but expanded its speciality into many industries including coffee.
The inception of V60 filled a gap in the market where there was a growing demand for coffee made by a pour-over method instead of an immersion method (like the French press or Aeropress), which would give the brew a cleaner taste. The 60 in its name comes from the fact that the cone of the V60 dripper is angled at 60 degrees.
Hario V60 at the World Brewers Cup
For its simplicity and the quality of coffee produced, the V60 has been embraced by many coffee brewers around the world. The World Brewers Cup is an annual competition to find the best manual filter coffee brewed by hand and is often a showcase of the skills of top brewers who come across the world to perform their perfected craft on their chosen technique.
Since 2011, the V60 brewing method has won 5 times out of 9 at the World Brewers Cup, with the competitors each putting their own twist on the technique. No other method has been comparable.
Getting started with V60 – A beginner’s guide
Don’t be intimidated by the fact that the V60 is the preferred brewing method for many expert brewers; it’s actually quite simple and the perfect way to get started with filter coffee! For a simple brew, all you need are a V60 dripper and filter paper.
Here is a basic brew guide from our experts at Hario for those who are just getting started, or simply follow these steps:
- Grabbing your favourite mug, place the V60 on top with the filter paper in. Pour hot water over the paper and empty the filtrate. This will help get rid of any smell or taste from the filter paper.
- Put 15g of your favourite coffee grounds into the filter. (The volume of this is around the size of a big chestnut).
- With boiling water that has been cooled for a few minutes, pour just enough water all over the grounds, just enough to cover it. Then wait for 30 seconds for the coffee to “bloom”. You will see bubbles coming out of your coffee – this is the trapped carbon dioxide escaping and will allow the next stage of the brewing process to fully extract the taste of the grounds.
- In a circling motion going outwards, slowly pour more water into the grounds until the water level reaches ¾ of the way up.
- When the water has almost finished draining, add just a tiny amount of water, once again in a circling motion going outwards, reaching just the top of the ground coffee.
- Allow the rest of the water to drain, and you’re done!
Here is a simple instructional video from Hario that will go through the steps with you:
Perfecting your technique
If you are a perfectionist and want to get to know the V60 method more seriously, perhaps the basic instructions aren’t enough. Fortunately, we can hear from many master brewers who each have their own techniques for making the perfect brew.
The UK Brewers Cup champion, Sang Ho Park, shows us how he makes his V60:
If you would like to see more, here’s another one! This is the World Brewers Cup 2016 Champion, Tetsu Kasuya, talking about his 4:6 method:
The Hario V60 dripper and its variations
There’s something for everyone with the V60. The dripper comes in 3 sizes: 01, 02 and 03, denoting how many cups of coffee each dripper can make. It also comes in different materials for different purposes: the ceramic and glass drippers are the classic design and comes in many bright and exciting colours. The plastic dripper is light and easy to carry around.
It also doesn’t get hot so the dripper is easy to handle. Finally, there is the metal dripper which, apart from adding a classy touch to your kitchen, also has even heat distribution to help with the extraction of taste from your coffee grounds. Hario also has a metal filter available, which circumvents the need to buy filter papers.
Our Instagram giveaway
We’ve partnered up with Hario UK for a free giveaway! Find out more below!
If this has got you itching to try out the V60 brewing method, you’re in luck! We at Japan Nakama have partnered up with Hario for a giveaway. The lucky winner will be receiving: 1x V60 02 Ceramic Dripper in Red, 2x Bond Loveramics Mugs and 1x pack of V60 02 Hario X Project Waterfall Filter Papers. This will be hosted on Japan Nakama’s Instagram account, so keep your eyes peeled for the details that we will be announcing shortly! Good luck!