Orinoco Sunshine Serenade V60

  • Beans: “Sunshine Serenade”
    • Medium roast
    • Roaster: Orinoco Coffee & Tea, Ltd. (Jessup, MD)
    • Roast date: Unknown (best by 9/5/24)
    • Purchase date: 1/16/24
  • 20g coffee / 300g water (1:15)
  • JX: 19 (57 clicks)
  • Water at 95°C
  • Recipe: Single Cup V60 Pourover

This is a local roaster that I hadn’t tried before, as the coffee isn’t sold at the grocery store down the street, although it looks like I might be able to find it at Giant or Safeway. I picked this bag up at Martha’s Cafe in Arbutus. Oddly, the bag doesn’t list a roast date, but only a “best by” date. I brewed my first cup on Wednesday 1/17 at grind setting 21 or 22, and have since adjusted to 19. This morning’s cup was still a tiny bit on the acidic side at 19, so I’ll try 18 next time.

1/23: Continuing an experiment I started this morning, I brewed a cup exactly the same as yesterday (300g water at 95C/20g coffee/grind setting 19), except I used my plastic size 2 V60 in place of my ceramic size 1 V60. This cup was much better than yesterday’s! It tasted well-extracted and nicely balanced. It seemed like the drawdown took a little bit longer than it did with the smaller dripper, but I’m not 100% sure. It seems more likely that the water lost less heat through the plastic V60 than it does through ceramic. This gives more credence to my theory that the method I’ve been using to preheat my ceramic V60 isn’t as effective as I would like. I also still suspect that the room air temperature plays a role, as I’ve noticed a drop-off in brew quality with the ceramic V60 as we’ve gotten into the colder days of winter. I might try compensating by bumping the starting water temperature a few degrees higher the next time I use the ceramic V60; or, I could just stick with the plastic V60 going forward. For starters, I’m going to try it with a light roast tomorrow.

1/25: Kept everything the same as 1/23 (with plastic V60) and got another really good cup. Just for the record, I left the timer on during the drawdown, and it finished around 2:55. I’m now even more convinced that my recent V60 issues have been caused by heat loss through the ceramic due to my preheat water not being hot enough (see note here from 1/24). For comparison, I may try brewing my next cup with the ceramic V60, preheating with water from the kettle instead of the insta-hot.

1/28: Tried today with the ceramic size 1 V60. I preheated the V60 with 95°C water from the kettle, which got it quite hot. Everything else was the same as 1/23 and 1/25. The first thing I noticed is that, as I had noticed earlier on, the drawdown was a lot faster — it was completely finished by 2:30 or 2:35, which is a full 20 seconds faster than with plastic. While the cup tasted OK, it lacked the sweetness and complexity of the cups I brewed with plastic. The obvious conclusion here is that the faster drawdown time is affecting the extraction, so maybe that’s a bigger factor than heat loss through the ceramic. I’m not sure what’s causing the difference, as geometrically, the size 1 and size 2 V60s are very similar. The ridges on the plastic V60 are more defined than on the ceramic, so maybe that has something do do with it. It could also be the filters, but I’m using brown tabbed filters with both, which (other than the size) are outwardly identical. I suppose I could try using a size 2 filter in the size 1 V60, and see if there’s any difference in drawdown speed. This also makes me want to buy a plastic size 1, just so I can eliminate the dripper size as a variable. In any case, I’ll likely be brewing the rest of these beans with the plastic dripper.

2/1: I’ve ended up going a good bit finer with these, brewing today’s cup at grind setting 17.3 (52 total clicks). This seemed to bring back some flavors that had been missing from the previous 2 or 3 cups. The only other difference was the method I used to preheat the plastic V60 — instead of preheating the mug first and then pouring the water from the mug into the V60 (with filter), I just ran some water directly from the insta-hot tap over the V60 and filter. I doubt this would make a big difference in taste, but just noting it for the sake of completeness.

2/2: Tried grinding at 17 this morning, and it seems like that was too fine, as the cup had a touch of bitterness.

2/4: Tried a little coarser (19) and increased water temperature to 97. Under-extracted and watery. I’ve gotten good cups at 19 previously, so I’m not sure what happened with this one.