I am not above $1 bodega coffee, or a Keurig single cup, or a cup of hot water and a teaspoon of instant grounds.
But I do have two strong coffee influencers in my life — my younger brother Otillo who is a barista at Proud Mary’s in Melbourne — one of those legendary coffee or die institutions — and my best friend Tom who founded Coutume Cafe, Paris’ best coffee shop and roastery.
In a short space of time last year, Otillo said to me — “Milk is a bad barista’s best friend” by which he meant that bad beans, bad coffee and an over-burnt shot can be hidden by lots of warm milk.
And then for my birthday, my brothers bought me a V60 Hario setup and Tom sent me 5 packs of his best beans.
That’s how I got into making my own coffee. And after 6 months of doing it, I thought I’d share how I make coffee now.
Before getting started, you’ll need:
I’m loving Ritual Coffee’s ‘La Amistad’ bean (pictured above). You’ll also need:
Here’s an Amazon list with all the various parts shown above. I have used and loved all the Hario stuff in this list for months now. It’s the little things, the grip on the kettle, the ability to set temperature, the lightness of touch required for the Start/Stop on the scale. After many hundreds of uses, these little touches continue to be delightful.
So here’s how I brew.
Step 1: Boil the kettle to 97C/206F.
Step 2: Measure out and grind 25g of beans. The smell is amazing.
Step 3: Place the filter in the dripper, stack the dripper on top of the server and then sit the whole tower on the scale.
Step 4: Put your coffee grounds into the filter and start your timer.
Step 5: Pour 80g of the hot water over the grounds to soak them completely. You should see water bubbling up — this is what coffee people call the bloom. Let the bloom settle until the timer hits 40 seconds.
Step 6: When the timer hits 40 seconds, slowly start pouring the hot water directly into the centre of the grounds. The Hario dripper is designed for pouring directly into the centre of the grounds. People who suggest circular pouring are wasting their energy.
I like to make about 660g/23.3 oz. of coffee, or enough to make two large glasses worth.
Step 7: Once you hit 660g, let the water drain through the grounds. When you get good at this, you’ll be able to time your pour so that all the water drains through within 3 minutes.
Step 8: At the the 3 minute mark, remove the dripper, and place it in the lid of the server to catch any stray coffee drips.
Your coffee should be beautiful and light. Think of it like a glass of Pinot Noir or a cup of freshly steeped tea.
Step 9: Pour your coffee into cups you love drinking from. For me, I love the glass Hario mugs, but anything will do, so long as it makes you feel content.
This whole process takes 5-6 minutes, which is admittedly a long time for a busy person — but it’s really, insanely joyful.
From the smell of the fresh-ground beans, to the precision of each step of the process, to the taste of the coffee itself… It’s addictive.
Some final points — this is the way I like to do it. You will invent your way through experimentation. 25g of beans for two large coffees is light. If you buy a V60 at Ritual Coffee, they’ll do 25g of beans for one large coffee.
I like the lightness of the way I use the V60, it means I can taste all the coffee has to offer without getting overwhelmed. But this isn’t a strong cup… You’ll have to re-up to get a real caffeine jolt.
Drink it without milk.
More than the process, the beans will make your cup of coffee. The V60 process I’ve outlined above amplifies your beans. If you have bad beans, you’ll have bad coffee.
Lastly, I’ve landed on the V60 after experimenting with everything — French Press, Aeropress, Chemex, Nespresso… For whatever reason, V60 is my favourite. But the whole point here is to love what you’re drinking so don’t listen to people who are religious about this stuff.