A Guide To Filter Coffee

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Over the last two, three years my coffee drinking habits have undergone a transformation: Formerly only drinking coffee with lots of milk and sugar, I today prefer it black and sans sugar. This rather drastic change can be credited to both my love in single origin coffee and the development of my tastes. Some might laugh about the whole third-wave coffee movement (my parents certainly do!), but I am a firm believer in giving the humble coffee bean its due. Yes, it's an expensive habit, but I enjoy nothing more than getting up slightly earlier and drinking a cup of coffee curled up on the sofa, the scent of freshly ground coffee lingering in the air. 

Even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all.
— David Lynch

Even though I agree with David Lynch, why not try and make the best coffee possible. So it is time I share my way of making filter coffee the old way, using the v60 filter and some delicious coffee beans I brought back from London Soho's Monmouth café. We've started buying coffee beans as souvenirs wherever we go – it's a great way to satisfy my inner shopaholic, whilst also making sure we never run out of beans.

Having intended to write this tutorial for quite some time, I finally seized the opportunity during my recent shoot with British fashion brand Feldt. With my boyfriend in charge of photography and both of us in need of a serious caffeine boost, the timing was perfect!

What You Need:

  • Whole coffee beans (ground beans work, too, but will not release as much flavour), 28-30g for two people, depending on the strength of the beans and how strong you like your coffee.
  • Coffee Mill.
  • Hario v60 dripper or similar – we use a large one that makes enough for 2-3 cups.
  • Paper filter which fits inside the dripper.
  • Kettle – a gooseneck kettle is best, but we use our standard one.
  • 600ml water, plus more for rinsing.
  • Timer.
  • Scales.
  • Carafe.
  • 2 mugs.
Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Instructions:

  • Weigh out the beans. We always make enough coffee for two people, which adds up to 30g. As we're currently using strong beans from Monmouth Coffee in London, we have reduced the amount to 28g.
  • Transfer the beans to your mill and start grinding them. The finer you mill the coffee, the harder it is to grind and the stronger the coffee will taste. For a v60, it's advised to mill them on a medium to fine setting to get the best flavour out of the beans.
  • Boil your kettle. 
  • Once the water has boiled and cooled down to 95°C (give it 1-2 minutes, so as to not burn the coffee), put a filter into your v60, set it on top of your carafe and pour hot water around the inside of the filter for five seconds. This will avoid your coffee tasting of paper and will also warm up the carafe. Discard the rinse water.
Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

  • Pour the ground beans into the filter. Gently shake the dripper to settle the grounds, then set it back onto the carafe. Make a little indent into the middle of the grounds with your finger.
  • Transfer the v60 and carafe onto your scales and turn them on.
  • Start your timer and pour 60g of water into the v60 to wet the beans. Wait 30 seconds and watch the coffee 'bloom'.
  • At 30 seconds, start continuously pouring water to increase the overall weight to 200g. Try to keep the water level steady below the rim of the dripper.
  • At 50 seconds, add more water to increase to 310g.
  • At 1 minute 15 seconds, increase to 420g.
  • At 1 minute 40 seconds, increase to 600g.
  • Allow all of the water to drain through the filter, then remove the filter from the dripper and discard.
Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

Photography: Robert Prideaux

  • Heat up your coffee cups with some hot water, then pour away.
  • Voilà, enjoy your coffee!

What's great about this way of preparing coffee is that it can be enjoyed both at home and on the go. Even though a camp-side coffee might not be quite as technical without the use of scales and timers, it probably tastes ten times better thanks to the element of adventure and freedom. 

By the way: If you prefer your coffee with milk, make sure to increase the amount of beans to 32g to avoid the coffee tasting too watery. When it is especially hot outside, I prepare a large glass with milk and icecubes and let the coffee drip directly into the glass (using half the beans & water for the brewing).

How do you drink your coffee? Have you tried making your own filter coffee before and what technique do you use?

Lilly Wolf