I regularly brew my V60 for myself and my girlfriend on the weekends. However today I was wondering if I were to brew 2 separate batches instead one 1 big batch, would I get a less bitter cup? I'm assuming yes, because of the contact time between the water and coffee.

I use the 60g coffee to 1000ml of water ratio. So when I make 2 cups, usually go with 40g of coffee to 666ml of water.

I was wondering would I get a less bitter cup by doing 2 separate brews?

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You'll definitely get a less bitter and possibly sour (underextracted) brew when dividing up one 40g dose between two V60s if you don't adjust the grind.

As you point out, the lower contact time of the 20g of grinds will lead to less extraction, and thus less bitterness, and possibly under extraction. This is just a characteristic of pour-over brews (as opposed to immersion brews) - grind size (and uniformity) is directly related to contact time and thus extraction, so the two variables can't be independently manipulated.

  • Did you mean brew instead of grind in the first sentence? I'm a little confused. – Consume Coffee Feb 16 '16 at 17:01
  • yes, thank you for pointing it out! – Hoosh Feb 17 '16 at 5:52

The bitter compounds in coffee are less soluble in water than the other flavor compounds we like, so we can use that to keep the bitterness to a minimum. In brewing; water temperature, length of contact with the grinds, and fineness of ground are the main factors you can control to keep bitterness to a minimum. Here are a few explanations that might help:

  1. Hotter water will dissolve all the compounds more quickly, including the bitter ones. Make sure your water is "off the boil", meaning somewhere between 195-205F. This will mean the bitter notes will dissolve into the brew more slowly. This is good. Along these lines, one thing I've discovered is that using less water means the grounds will cool off the water more and they can steep for longer without producing bitterness.

  2. Finer ground means more of the bitter compounds are in direct contact with the water so a slightly more coarse grind can reduce bitterness as well, all other things being equal.

  3. The longer hot water is in contact with the grounds, the more the bitterness will come out.

To answer your question directly, just splitting your batch won't help without one of these modifications. Without seeing your method directly I would offer these suggestions.

  1. Take care with your water temperature.

  2. Consider only pouring a portion of the water over the grounds, like maybe half, to two thirds, then just pouring the rest of the water into the concentrated coffee. Less water through the coffee. This is essentially how an AeroPress works. When I've brewed the same coffee with an AeroPress vs. pour over, the pour over definitely comes out more bitter when I pour all the water through the grounds.

  3. Try a coarser grind.

  4. Try a combination of these, such as a slightly coarser grind, pouring only 2/3 of the water through, etc.

One thing I haven't mentioned is to make sure you're using good coffee beans, not roasted too dark. The darker the roast, the more bitter the coffee. I've found French and Italian roasts to be entirely too bitter for my taste.

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