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14 Common V60 Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Image: V60 with filter papaer and dry, saturated coffee grounds sat on top of a glass carafe
Image: V60 with filter papaer and dry, saturated coffee grounds sat on top of a glass carafe

In this article, I will break down some of the most common V60 mistakes and how to avoid them.

V60 coffee brewing can be a rewarding pursuit, but it’s not without its challenges. Even seasoned enthusiasts can fall prey to common pitfalls of V60 brewing, leaving them with less than desirable results. 

Whilst the V60 may look like a simple coffee brewing device, it requires a bit of care, attention and technique to master. 


1. Using Stale Coffee Beans

Mistake: Using stale coffee beans will give you a flat, lifeless brew with muted flavours and aromas. Coffee beans take a long time to spoil, but they lose a lot of their aromatic flavour approximately 45 days after roasting. 

How to Avoid: Invest in freshly roasted coffee beans and grind them just before brewing to preserve their underlying flavours and aromatics. Using a good quality burr grinder will make this process a lot easier.  


2. Using the Wrong Grind Size

Mistake: Inconsistent grind size leads to uneven extraction, resulting in a brew that is either over-extracted or under-extracted. If you use a grind size that’s too coarse, you’ll end up with an under extracted cup of coffee, whereas a grind size that’s too fine will lead to over extracted. 

How to Avoid: Use a high-quality burr grinder to achieve a consistent grind size tailored to your V60. Aim for a medium grind size which is a similar consistency to fine table salt, more coarse than espresso but finer than French press


3. Water Temperature Too Hot

Mistake: Water that is too hot can scorch the coffee grounds, leaving you with a bitter and astringent tasting cup of coffee. On the other hand, water that is too cold may not extract enough flavour from the coffee grounds, so there is a fine balance to strike.

How to Avoid: Aim for a water temperature between 195°F to 205°F (90°C to 96°C) for optimal extraction without compromising flavour. Darker roasts work best with slightly lower temperatures, whereas lighter roasts need temperatures on the higher end of this range. 

Make sure to wait 30-60 seconds after your kettle has boiled before pouring the water over the coffee grounds. Or even use an electric temperature controlled kettle if you want to be really precise. 


4. Neglecting the Bloom

Mistake: Skipping the blooming stage prevents the release of carbon dioxide, leading to uneven extraction and a bitter or even sour tasting brew. Blooming is an essential part of V60 coffee brewing, so don’t neglect it! 

How to Avoid: Prioritise the blooming stage by pouring a small amount of water over the coffee grounds and allowing them to bloom for 30 seconds before continuing with the brewing process. You should aim to pour over around 2-2.5 times the amount of water, compared to the weight of coffee used. So if you’re using 20g of coffee, aim to add 40-50g of water in the blooming phase. 


5. Poor Pouring Technique

Mistake: Pouring water too quickly or aggressively can cause agitation and uneven extraction in your V60 coffee bed. Whilst a bit of turbulence is a good thing to get the coffee grounds saturated with water, too much will lead to uneven extraction. 

How to Avoid: Master the art of a controlled pour by maintaining a steady, circular motion over your coffee bed. I would recommend starting off your pour in the centre, then slowly pouring in  a circular motion, gradually working your way to the outside edges. This technique will ensure even saturation of the coffee grounds throughout the brewing process, and a more balanced brew.


6. Over Pouring Water During Blooming

Mistake: Over Pouring water floods the coffee bed during the blooming phase will lead to over saturating the coffee grounds. This in turn creates uneven extraction and can lead to channelling. 

How to Avoid: Aim to pour your water in a slow and controlled way, making sure not to allow too much hot water out of the kettle’s spout all at once. Make sure not to exceed the capacity of the V60 dripper, as an overflowing V60 will cause a big mess! 


7. Ignoring the Coffee-to-Water Ratio

Mistake: Neglecting to adhere to the proper coffee-to-water ratio can result in a brew that is either too weak or too strong. I would recommend aiming for a 1:15 coffee to water ratio for V60 coffee brewing. 

How to Avoid: Use a digital scale to measure your coffee and water accurately, aiming for a ratio of 1:15 (coffee to water) for a balanced cup.


8. Neglecting Stirring or Agitation

Mistake: Failing to stir or agitate the coffee slurry can lead to uneven extraction and a lack of clarity in the final brew. You want just enough agitation to ensure all of the coffee grounds receive an even amount of hot water to extract those coffee oils.

How to Avoid: Stir the coffee slurry gently after each pour to ensure even saturation and promote consistent extraction. Then, once you’ve added the desired amount of water, allow the coffee slurry to rest and let them run dry. 


9. Using Plain Tap Water

Mistake: Tap water may contain impurities or chlorine that can impart off-flavours to your coffee. The amount of limescale in your water will also vary depending on where you are in the world, so using a water filter will ensure consistent results with V60 brewing. 

How to Avoid: Use filtered or bottled water to brew V60 coffee. This will ensure you have consistent, pure and delicious tasting results time after time. 


10. Not Making a Divot in Your Coffee Bed

Mistake: Pouring hot water over a flat bed of coffee will lead to uneven extraction throughout the V60. Whereas, making a small divot in the coffee grounds and pouring in the middle of this will help coffee oils be extracted consistently. 

How to Avoid

Simply use the back end of a spoon to carve out a small divot in your coffee before pouring over your boiling water. This is a hallmark of V60 coffee brewing and will help you achieve that signature balance of flavour. 


11. Pouring Too Quickly

Mistake: Pouring water too quickly can lead to too much turbulence and uneven extraction. This can result in a V60 brew that lacks complexity and depth.

How to Avoid: Slow down your pour rate, keeping it even and controlled throughout. Allowing the water to interact with the coffee grounds gradually during the V60 brewing process will promote a balanced extraction.


12. Not Preheating Your V60

Mistake: Failing to preheat your V60 dripper and cup or carafe can lead to heat loss during the brewing process. Not only will this result in a cooler final brew, but it can upset your coffee extraction due to the inconsistent temperatures.

How to Avoid: Rinse your V60 dripper and vessel with hot water before brewing to preheat them and maintain optimal brewing temperature throughout.


13. Not Using a Coffee Scale

Mistake: Forgetting to tare your scale before measuring your coffee and water can lead to inaccurate measurements and inconsistent brewing results. This is not so much of a problem for experienced V60 users, but for those new to this device, it can lead to frustrations and inaccuracies. 

How to Avoid: Always tare your scale before measuring your coffee and water to ensure precision and consistency in your brewing process. Make sure to invest in a proper digital coffee scale that can measure to 0.1g for the most accurate results. 


14. Always Keeping Your Coffee Beans, Grind Size and Water Temperature the Same

Mistake: Failing to experiment with different brewing variables and adapt to changing conditions can limit your growth as a V60 brewer. You can end up leaving a lot of flavour and complexity on the table by not experimenting with the coffee beans, grind size and water temperature you use. 

How to Avoid: Embrace experimentation, don’t be afraid to change things up once in a while. The V60 is one of the most versatile and rewarding coffee brewing devices out there, so be sure to make adjustments and embrace new variables. 

Check out this video from Union Coffee Roasters for a step by step guide of how to brew great V60 coffee at home:


Overall, the V60 is one of the most simple and effective coffee brewing devices out there. However, it’s simplicity places a strong focus on the technique used to brew the coffee, so you’ve got to put a bit of effort in to get the best results. 

There’s nowhere to hide with the V60, and smal mistakes can lead to big differences in taste in the final cup. 

By recognizing and addressing these common V60 mistakes, you can elevate your brewing and unlock the full potential of the beloved pour over dripper. With patience, practice, and a commitment to improving your technique, you’ll be well on your way to consistently exceptional cups of coffee!

V60 Frequently Asked Questions

What grind size is best for V60 brewing?

A medium-fine grind resembling coarse sand is ideal for V60 brewing, allowing for optimal extraction without over-extraction.

How much coffee should I use in a V60?

A general guideline is to use a ratio of 1:16 (coffee to water) for a balanced cup of coffee, adjusting to taste preferences accordingly.

Can I reuse V60 paper filters?

While some enthusiasts may attempt to reuse paper filters, it’s generally recommended to use a fresh filter for each brew to maintain purity and flavour clarity.

Embark on your V60 journey today and discover the artistry and precision of pour-over brewing.


Frequently Asked Questions

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