Bar 9’s Ian Callahan tests the cloth pour over
Whether you hate the idea of throwing out paper filters after every coffee brewed, or if you just want to make sure you’ve got something in the cupboard in case you ever run out, cloth pour over ‘socks’ are a great option to have on hand. There are a few good filter options on the market, but the American Coffee Traders organic cloth filter for V60 is definitely one of my favourites. This version is great because they’re made entirely from organic cotton that is picked, processed and finished all in the United States, ensuring fair wages are paid and a quality result is delivered.
Particularly for cloth pour overs, I encourage using a slurry method of brewing. Small amounts of water are added over time, pausing between each pour while maintaining a short slurry at the base of the pour over. I explain this method opposite.
Hario V60 Pour Over
Freshly ground coffee
- Step 1 Measure out your coffee. Here we’re doing a small cup of 160 millilitres, so we’re using 10 grams.
- Step 2 Thoroughly rinse the cloth filter with boiling water
- Step 3 Grind coffee just a touch coarser than for paper filter (medium) and pour into the filter.
- Step 4 Pour just enough water to saturate the ground coffee, being diligent to saturate the entire bed of coffee, not just the top layer of it.
- Step 5 Wait for the gases within the coffee to disperse (we call this blooming).
- Step 6 Gently top up again with just enough water to fill the slurry (20 – 30 millilitres).
- Step 7 Keep topping up little by little being sure not to break open the slurry. You will probably have to top up, wait, and top up again six to 10 times before you’ve finished.
- Step 8 Once you’ve dispersed all the water required (here we’re using 160 millilitres) wait until the slurry drains completely. There should be an even flat bed at the base of the cone.
- Step 9 Decant into your cup, allowing it to cool.
Using this slurry method, your water temperature will drop dramatically so be sure to boil water in the vessel you’ll be using to pour directly onto the coffee. Any decanting of boiling water will drastically reduce the overall brewing temperature making the resulting brew taste sour and under developed.
Using the slurry method is quite forgiving, so long as you don’t over-agitate the coffee. Be gentle when pouring, with the exception of the initial saturation (prior to bloom) where you really want to crash through the coffee ensuring the grounds are evenly drenched.
Using a cloth filter yields a little more body so lighter filter roasts of coffee suit this perfectly. Try and stay away from darker espresso roasts if possible and you’ll likely find the cup to be more aromatic.
When you first get a cloth filter it’s a good idea to boil it solidly for around five minutes.
If you start to taste the cloth in the brew (it’ll be somewhat dank) soak the filter in an espresso machine cleaner for five minutes and then re-boil in clean water to rinse. Maintaining your sock in this manner will give you a trusty and dependable friend who’s always there to help you brew a tasty cup.