The Hario V60 coffee maker is one of my favorite brewing devices. I love drip coffee, but I am not exactly a fan of the automatic drip machines - the coffee they produce leaves something to be desired.
Coffee made with a manual dripper such with the V60, however, is absolutely delicious due to the extra control we have when we are brewing. A manual dripper is the perfect brewing device for drip, and it has been a regular in my kitchen and workplace for years.
This is a review of the Hario V60 coffee maker, one of the most loved drip brewers. Let's see why is it special, and why is the choice of many home baristas.
My First Hario V60 Experience
When I first saw a Hario V60 in a coffee shop a many years ago now, I was pleasantly surprised. I saw the barista at work behind the counter and it looked so right. I loved the care and attention he was putting into the coffee preparation. I felt like it was in safe hands.
My coworker, who accompanied me at the time, thought the V60 looked like something out of a chemistry lab. The curiosity got the better of her and she had to try it. Unlike me, she loves coffee from automatic machines, but when she tried this different brewing method she said that her daily coffee routine was ruined. Now she will always compare her morning coffee, made in an electric coffee machine, to the Hario V60. Shortly after that, we both bought a V60 and have never looked back.
My point is, the V60 is cheap, easy to use, and an excellent way to introduce people, like my coworker, to pour over coffee brewing. If you think that a manual dripper is difficult to use, as my coworker did, you have to try to brew a cup. You’ll be convinced on the spot. Read our post about the perfect pour-over technique, if you want to become an expert. You can also read Blue Bottle's manual drip brewing guide, they have a nice visual guide.
Hario V60 Equals Coffee Perfection
The V60, which gets its name from its V or cone shape, is an excellent device for pour-over coffee brewing. With a bit of practice, brewing a cup is easy. Once you have tasted that perfectly extracted brew, you’ll be convinced on the spot. The coffee from an automatic dripper just doesn’t compare. Read our post about the perfect pour-over technique, if you want to become an expert. You can also read Blue Bottle’s manual drip brewing guide, they have a nice visual guide.
Not all the pour-over drippers are the same though. There are little details that ensure a perfect brew, which might go unnoticed by the untrained eye. This is what we are going to show you today: why the Hario V60 dripper is so great, and why coffee lovers have been raving about it for years.
Hario - the Company
Hario is a Japanese company that was founded in 1921. They started out as a glassware manufacturing company. They didn’t follow the industry by manufacturing whatever was trendy, they set the trend and came up with great ideas and inventions. The Hario V60 cone is still one of their most popular products, decades after it market release. Here are a few characteristics of the V60 that makes it so desirable.
Hario means in Japanese the “King of Glass”. We think they are also the king of coffee. Their coffee brewing equipment is generally seen to be the barista industry standard.
Hario V60 coffee maker
Hario means in Japanese the "King of Glass". Not only they are the kings of glass, they are also the king of coffee. Their coffee brewing equipment is perceived as the industry standard.
It is very difficult to fault the V60. Almost all the boxes are checked with Hario drippers.
- It is cheap
- user-friendly and
- produces excellent coffee
- no need for a perfect brewing technique
A big reason that the V60 is such a great way to get into pour-over brewing is the price. A plastic V60 can be picked up for the price of what you would spend on a few cups of coffee in your favorite coffee shop. This means it really is possible to start home brewing your coffee without breaking the bank. You can get your hands on a plastic Hario V60 for around $10.
The plastic V60, compared to the other glass or ceramic brewers is very durable. I feel very comfortable leaving it in the kitchen without having to worry about anybody breaking it or hurting themselves.
Some other coffee maker companies do not sell plastic drippers, and this is a minus in my book. Plastic drippers retain temperature better than glass and metal, and they are dirt cheap. For instance Kalita Wave, which is one of out top manual drip brewing choices, does not manufacture a plastic version of their dripper, and this is a shame. Good quality plastic does not leach into your cup.
One thing to be said about brewing with a plastic dripper is that the heat does escape more easily than with other materials. Hario also make V60s in ceramic or glass. These materials keep the heat in the brew much better than the plastic version. These materials are slightly more expensive and are more prone to breakages. All versions are dishwasher safe.
I initially titled this review – Hario V60 V2/3. That is because I am very impressed with the second and third versions of the V60. The third and biggest version is capable of brewing up to six cups of coffee. That almost rivals Chemex quantities!
Being from a big family, it is always a plus when I can brew in bulk. It is very frustrating when you are making coffee for a group of people and you have to brew one cup of coffee at a time. This is in comparison to the V60 V1 or the Aeropress (another way of brewing I am very fond of) that can only brew one cup at a time.
Note - for best batch-brewing results you should have a carafe that holds a large quantity of coffee, that will fit with the V60 V3 and that ideally has a stopper or some other way of keeping the heat in.
Typical tasting notes from a V60
The expert design of the V60 means that it is possible to brew a really excellent cup of coffee with a bit of practice. This microfiltration process, due to the finer filters, results in a much cleaner cup of coffee. The V60 coffee taste really is the benchmark taste of pour-over coffee. It yields a bright, flavorful, clean and light cup. This makes it ideal for African coffees with fruity or acidic notes.
Hario V60 Design - Attention to Details
The V60 has ridges which spiral from the bottom to the top of the brewer. This design assists greatly in the brewing as it channels the water to effectively extract the perfect flavors from the coffee grind.
The defining factor of the V60, however, is its hole at the bottom. It is much larger than the hole in other cone-shaped brewers. At first, this seems to be a problem as the water filters through the V60 much quicker than with other pourover drippers.
This feature actually opens up lots of possibilities. It allows us to grind our coffee much finer and experience much more flavors in our cup. I personally always prefer a brew prepared with finer ground coffee and I am completely sold on this way of brewing. In order to balance out the quicker filtering process, V60 filters are much thinner than the filters for other brewers.
The expert design of the V60 means that it is possible to brew a really excellent cup of coffee with only a little practice. This microfiltration process results in a much cleaner cup of coffee. The V60 coffee taste really is the benchmark taste of pour over coffee.
Accessories - Hario V60 Buono Pour-Over Kettle
The perfect companion for the V60 pour-over brewer is a Hario V60 Buono pour-over kettle. It is very difficult to pour evenly with a standard tea kettle due to its wide spout. The Buono pour-over kettle has a gooseneck spout. This thinner neck gives you optimum control over the water pour and you can direct the water exactly where you want it to go.
The Hario V60 Buono Kettle was created for pour-over lovers. The spout allows a smooth and precise pour, which is very important with manual drip. The perfect balance of the kettle when full, makes it very easy to handle.
Variable Temperature pour-over kettles
Another great option, if you have the budget, would be a variable temperature kettle. This pour-over kettle allows you to heat the water to the perfect temperature and pour when the water temperature is perfect. Check our page about variable temperature kettles for a few options.
The main problem to mention with the Hario V60 is the heat retention. The V60 is brewed into a separate carafe or cup which is not a part of the brewer, as is the case with the Chemex. This means more heat is lost as the coffee is transferred.
The size is also something to briefly talk about here. Though the bigger sizes do exist and I do use them happily, the V60 is really optimal for one or two cups of coffee. When you use the bigger sizes heat retention again becomes a problem. As I mentioned above though, there are ways around this problem such as buying a carafe with a stopper.
Lastly in this section - the V60 does require some technique in order to achieve a perfect extraction. However, this is easily accomplished with a bit of practice. Within a week you will be a V60 pour-over pro!
Don't get discouraged by the disadvantages section, we only put it here because you need a full story for your buying decision. There is no perfect manual dripper, because each one appeals to a certain market. If you need to compare the Hario V60 with other manual brewing devices, check our article comparing the best coffee drippers on the market.