Hario V60 Plastic Dripper Review
Cons: Special shaped filters are harder to find, expensive for a plastic dripper, heavier than other brands
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The V60 first arrived on the scene in glass and ceramic, then later in plastic, and, finally, in metals like copper and stainless steel. This review is specific to the plastic version, but we also have a short write-up on the ceramic dripper. This iconic cone is a favorite brew method for both weight-and-space-minded campers and coffee professionals, as it is relatively simple to use and delivers a clean and beautiful cup in a matter of minutes.
The uniquely shaped V60 is aptly named for the 60º angle of the cone. This angle encourages water to flow to the center, extending the amount of time it makes contact with the coffee and, in turn, helping to extract more flavor. The large hole at the base allows the person brewing to change the flavor of the final cup by altering the speed of their pour. The spiral ribs on the inside are there to help air escape, which provides more room for the coffee to bloom and expand as it brews. The V60's simple design is definitely deceiving — it is an elegant brewer designed with immense attention to detail and versatility in mind. For your average coffee drinker and coffee professionals alike, the V60 lends to ample room for creativity in the brewing process.
In our pour-over-only taste tests, the V60 repeatedly came out on top. Our testers consistently reported a clean and balanced flavor with less bitterness than other similar models in this review.
While the V60 was barely edged out by the AeroPress in our overall taste-tests, this brewer outperformed nearly all of the other brewers in our review. The key to top-notch brewing is to weigh (ideally) or measure (the V60 comes with a scoop) your grounds to ensure consistency, followed by pouring your water slowly over the grounds. Water is the trickiest part when camping because you're usually relegated to pouring in a wide sloppy stream from a pot or JetBoil. Thankfully, this dripper is forgiving enough that, even with a messy pour, you'll end up with a very decent cup.
Ease of Use
The V60 is easy to use and care for, though you will need to plan ahead in regards to the special filters it requires, as they aren't available in most grocery stores. Or purchase a reusable version and never worry about it again!
Any pour-over method can be as simple as scooping coffee into a filter and adding water or as complex and specific as weighing out the grounds, measuring the temperature and weight of your water, and timing it as it flows through. If you take the detail-oriented approach, using a proper gooseneck kettle like the Hario V60 Drip Kettle will help with flow and final flavor. That being said, you don't need to get this fancy — as long as you like the coffee you make, it doesn't matter what path you took to get there. Simple and intuitive or calculated and measured, the V60 will give you an excellent cup either way.
While the V60 makes only one cup at a time, brewing takes just a few minutes — ideally between 2 and 4 minutes for a 10-12 ounce cup.
Clean up is also ridiculously easy: simply remove the filter with grounds and toss. If you have more ground coffee and hot water prepared, you can begin brewing again immediately. While this may not seem like the best option for larger groups, it can still accommodate many people efficiently if you have a good system in place.
The shape of this cone brewer is not the most conducive to packing in a backpack, though if you run out of space, you could use a carabiner to clip the handle to the outside of your pack.
Despite the awkward shape, the V60 is practically indestructible. It is one piece of durable plastic that will survive most adventures unscathed. It comes with a small scoop for measuring your ground coffee, but this can easily be left at home if you don't want to keep track of it (though we do recommend weighing or measuring your coffee for a consistently good cup).
At 2.95 ounces, this coffee maker is among the lightest in our test suite.
If you want to bring this brewer's dedicated scoop, you'll only go up to 3.37 ounces (plus your filters and coffee, of course). As such, the V60 is heavier and bulkier than most folks prefer for backpacking, but it is light enough to justify bringing it along for shorter backpacking trips, or for all backpacking trips if you crave gourmet coffee every day. The V60 is also a fantastic coffee companion for car camping or living out of your van.
The V60 offers up immense value. This rad little device brews excellent coffee with minimal effort. It is easy and fun to use. It does all of this at a decently low price. What's not to love? The only set-back is that you will have to purchase a package of V60-specific filters to get started.
Clean, beautiful, simple — that's the V60 in a nutshell. There's a reason you can find one of these cones in most craft coffee shops the world over. Its expert design offers the potential for a cup that is closer to perfection than almost anything else out there, so it's no wonder it continues on as our Editors' Choice for another year. Whether you're at home, car-camping, or on a short backpacking trip, we don't think you'll be disappointed with this tried-and-true gourmet brewer.
— Mary Witlacil and Penney Garrett