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I'm using the V60 dripper from Hario and was curious about the grooves inside the dripper. I think that they are present to slow down the water running through the filter and let the water pass as much as coffee powder as possible, but I'm not really sure. Is this really the intention of this grooves?

Dripper

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These grooves are for improving the flow of coffee through the filter. The grooves create space between the filter and the cone to permit little channels for the coffee to flow into the vessel after passing through the filter paper. I think the ridges also help "wick" the coffee away from the filter paper, helping the filter paper drain better.

If the ridges are absent (as in Chemex cones, for example) the brewed coffee sometimes wells up between the filter paper and the cone. See also this question and my answer that compares the two styles of cones.

As for the shape and location of the grooves, some are spiral-shaped, others are straight, staggered, etc. I don't notice any advantage of any style as long as they're present, and I suspect the shape and location is purely aesthetic or marketing, not significantly different in any functional way.

EDIT: this article from Serious Eats suggests that the grooves additionally help "keep water distributed evenly among the bed of coffee grounds." Presumably this is related to the drainage I mention above, but was a more-legitimate source than my theories above, so I wanted to include.

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    Note that the chemex does have a single groove, but its my impression that this is mostly so that air pressure can escape. – tsturzl Jul 20 '15 at 22:21
  • @tsturzl - Good point; the Chemex "groove" does let out air and steam, and it would probably not work well without it. But I think the main function of the Chemex groove is as a pour spout. – hoc_age Jul 21 '15 at 0:56
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    @hoc_age Once in a time of dire need I used a non-chemex filter in the chemex. The filter smushed in once I started pouring and blocked off the air flow. It started spitting hot coffee out the spout as air tried to escape, and the motion caused by air trying to escape ripped my filter. Didn't help that the coffee I was using was $35/lb. Lesson learned. So I concluded that the reason chemex tells you to put the 3 layers of the filter on the side with the spout is for a good reason. I'd imagine similar might be true for other drippers. – tsturzl Jul 21 '15 at 4:57
  • One thought on the spiral shape is that it might provide more surface area to keep the filter from clogging up these grooves, though I've never heard of this being a problem. – tsturzl Jul 21 '15 at 4:58
  • @tsturzl - I learned a similar lesson when using a V60-02 filter in the Chemex in a pinch. The filter collapsed, and the grounds went into the carafe. From that batch, I ended up with very grainy French press brew with assertive notes of paper filter. ;-) – hoc_age Jul 21 '15 at 14:01

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