Vitality Brazil Pourover

I’m back home from Minneapolis with a new 12-ounce bag of coffee beans. This was the first time I flew with a bag of beans in my carry-on, and when I unpacked, all of the air had been sucked out of the bag through the little plastic valve, almost like the beans had been vacuum packed. When I opened the bag, air rushed in and everything went back to “normal”. I was worried that this phenomenon might spoil the beans or otherwise negatively affect things, but it did not seem to. It did inspire me to do some reading and learn why the bags have those one-way valves. It’s to let the beans out-gas after roasting, while keeping air out so they stay fresh. I’m learning more every day!

This morning’s cup:

  • Beans: “Brazil Yellow Bourbon” medium roast
    • Roaster: Vitality Roasting (Minneapolis, MN)
    • Roast date: 9/20/2023
  • 18g coffee / 250g water (1:14)
  • JX: 2 rotations (20 on the grind chart / 60 total clicks)
  • Water at 95°C
  • Recipe: A Better 1 Cup V60 Technique (see below)
  1. Preheat V60, pre-moisten filter, add coffee, and tare scale
  2. Make small indentation in center of coffee grounds
  3. 0:00: Pour 55g of water to bloom, then return kettle to base
  4. 0:10 – 0:15: Gently Swirl
  5. 0:45 – 1:00: Pour up to 100g total (40% total weight)
    • Hold kettle for the remainder of the brewing process
  6. 1:10 – 1:20: Pour up to 150g total (60% total weight)
  7. 1:30 – 1:40: Pour up to 200g total (80% total weight)
  8. 1:50 – 2:00: Pour up to 250g total (100% total weight)
  9. 2:00 – 2:05: Gently swirl
  10. Drawdown finished around 2:45

The only brewing note is that (once again) I forgot the initial swirl at step 4. I remembered around the end of step 5, and gave it a half-hearted swirl then. I made sure to level the bed before I started pouring (I’m pretty good with that) and I ended up with a mostly-level bed of spent grounds at the end. I’m not sure how much the swirling actually matters in most cases, but I’ll keep doing it when I remember.

This cup tasted excellent. The beans are very fresh, which I’m sure didn’t hurt. I’d been drinking mediocre conference coffee for the past week, so the bar was admittedly low, but I’d rank this among the better cups I’ve had since I’ve been brewing with the V60.

9/24: Second cup today. Did the swirl at step 4. Overshot the final pour and ended up with 252-253 grams of water. It seemed like the water percolated more slowly than yesterday. The level in the V60 was higher than usual after steps 7 and 8. Drawdown took several seconds longer, finishing at roughly 3:00. Maybe I swirled a little too aggressively? The initial sips tasted slightly thin, but the rest of the cup was very good. If yesterday’s cup was a 10, I’d call this a 9.

9/26: Accidentally ground finer today (setting 18) and also used 17g coffee instead of 18g. Did not like the results. Body was OK, but flavor was bitter.

9/27: Tried a little bit coarser today at grind setting 22, and 18g coffee. The first thing I noticed was that the drawdown was faster, finishing at 2:40-2:45. Definitely a better cup than yesterday’s, with decent body and no bitterness, but room for improvement. I think I’ll keep this grind setting tomorrow and try nudging the water temperature a little closer to boiling. While (with the exception of yesterday) all of the cups I’ve brewed have been good, none of the subsequent cups have been quite as good as the first one, which tells me that bean freshness (and possibly how they are stored) makes a big difference.

9/28: Brewed exactly the same as yesterday, except I nudged the water from 95°C to 97°C. I did not notice any discernible difference from yesterday’s cup. Probably should have gone straight to 99 or boiling. Not sure if I’ll tweak further next time, or just keep brewing it like this.

9/29: Brewed at 99 and grind setting 22 today and the result was bitter and lacked flavor. This is definitely moving in the wrong direction, so I will adjust the temperature back downward next time.

I’m not sure why the first two pourovers I made were really good, but subsequent cups didn’t quite measure up. I wonder if it had something to do with bean freshness. I probably could have gotten it dialed back in, but ended up brewing the rest of the beans in the French press, which worked out pretty well.