A fantastic method for the home barista to sharpen skills and palates, and maybe even surprise guests with a stunning cup of coffee
Percolation brewing refers to brews in which liquid extracts coffee solids by passing through the bed of grounds. To get it just right is tricky. A combination of water temp, grind size, stirring technique, and pouring technique have to come together harmoniously.
Where It Began
My fascination with pour over, a percolation style brewing technique, has been ongoing for about a year now. One evening I was binging James Hoffman videos on YouTube, and decided I needed to be better at...coffee-ing...in general. This same week I had my first real pour over from my local coffee shop. I really enjoyed watching that process, and totally knew all the mistakes the barista made because...well, I'm a YouTube Expert. Being the hipster-ass millennial I am, I decided to spend a bunch of money on totally necessary coffee gear to save $2/day for the next year, and let you all know how it works.
Let's start with the recipe. It's a slight variation on James' recipe, but I took a bit of inspiration from my local barista at The Press, in Temecula, CA on the ratios.
Fellow Stagg Electric Kettle, Hario V60, Hario paper filters, your favorite mug, and a spoon. I'll link these on Amazon at the bottom if you're interested in trying them out.
~1:16 (22g coffee to 350g water).
Use good coffee. Don't cheap out here, since it's the main ingredient. Grind coffee fresh if you can. On the Baratza Encore I use a 14, which is medium, on the finer side. Think sand at the beach, maybe a little bigger.
200-205°. Use filtered water. Water that tastes good, makes better coffee. So says James Hoffman, amen.
- Pre-rinse the Hario and your mug with hot water. Both should feel warm to the touch. The paper should be rinsed, and I actually use this rinsing to ensure the paper is pressed to the V60 with no folds or gaps.
- Add grounds to the V60, I check my weight here again in case I lost some in the grind. Tare the scale back to 0.
- Use your index finger to make a well in the center of the coffee.
- Assuming the ratios in my recipe, pour 50-60g of water in a circular motion. Start at the center of the well and work your way out to the edge of the coffee grounds. Take a few seconds here to swirl the mixture, ensuring there are no lumps or dry coffee. Be aggressive in a smooth circular motion. Smooth circles are important, and this will make for a nice flat coffee bed. Remember, we are after an even extraction, and every step should facilitate that.
- Let it Bloom for 30-45 seconds. This will release oxygen and other gasses from the grounds, enhancing the extraction.
- Pour another 140-160g as fairly quickly: aiming for 200g. It shouldn't take more than 45 seconds to get to 200g. I don't time this, but I'd say within 1:30 from starting. The V60 should be about 80% to the top. This will help retain heat during the percolation and drawdown stages. Now slow down and pour with the intent of maintaining the water level, essentially just keeping up with the draining until you reach the final bit.
- Put your kettle aside and grab your spoon. One stir counter clock-wise with the back of the spoon against the V60, then back the other direction. The goal here is to incorporate grounds stuck to the side.
- Let your V60 drain 1/2 way. Then gently swirl the mixture. Don't upset the bed too much, but we want to knock all the extra off the sides, and ensure the bed is very flat with no domes or dips.
- Once it's drained, throw away the filter, and enjoy a great cup of coffee.
If you find that your brew tastes bitter, lower the temp a bit. If it tastes hollow or watery, take the grind size down one notch. Playing with these two things helped me get the perfect cup every time.
Make sure you have a quality mug to enjoy this incredible coffee from. My current fascination is with stoneware from this shop called Fragrant Mushroom. They make really cool stoneware mugs.