Coffee brewing is an art, and like any art, there are many different ways to do it. Some methods are more complicated than others, and some yield better results. The 4:6 method is one of the simplest and most effective ways to brew drip coffee.
This method was developed by Tetsu Kasuya, a world-renowned coffee expert and World Brewers Cup 2016 Champion. The 4:6 method is named after the ratio of coffee to water that is used. This ratio yields a cup of coffee that is strong and flavorful, but not too bitter.
Keep reading to learn more about the 4:6 method for brewing coffee!
- What is the 4:6 Method?
- Prepping the Perfect Coffee
- Breaking Down the 4:6 Method
- Using the Customized Kasuya Hario V60 Model
- Pros and Cons of the 4:6 Method and the V60 Model
What is the 4:6 Method?
The 4:6 coffee brewing method is a pour-over process that was invented by Tetsu Kasuya, a Japanese barista. It sounds complicated but the ratio is easier to understand in terms of water percentages that are poured during the brewing process. This involves dividing the amount of water used as a total of 40% in the first two pours. The second stage is using 60% of the remaining water that can be divided up to 4 times in the final pouring process.
How to brew with the 4:6 Method
You will need to begin with a pour-over coffee vessel of your choice and place a paper filter inside. The filter needs to be pre-soaked with hot water before fresh coffee grounds are added. The pour-over coffee vessel must be placed onto a digital scale to get the water ratio just right for each amount that’s poured.
The first two pours help to saturate and make the coffee grounds bloom. This is to control the acidity and sweetness. The remaining pours after this help determine the strength of the finished coffee.
How to make the 4:6 method work for you
The first rule is to have patience and a steady hand at all times since this method is going to require a gooseneck water kettle. The gooseneck kettle allows you to have better water pour control while pouring this into the coffee grounds. Some home brewers will go so far as to use a stopwatch to get accurate time results for each stage but a smartphone stopwatch is just as good.
Some people will be confident enough to count off the number of seconds needed for each pouring stage. To be completely honest, adjusting each of the pouring steps with the coffee you are using and the grind setting will often determine the overall flavor of your finished coffee.
Prepping the Perfect Coffee
To get the best results you need to have some items that can greatly improve the taste and results of what is being brewed. Pour-over coffee brewing is not an exact science and can be influenced by slight temperature changes, humidity, timed pours, and the size of your coffee grounds.
As mentioned earlier, a good gooseneck kettle is best for making pour-over coffee. Electric kettles are great since they may include a temperature gauge to optimize water temperature. A regular metal kettle is good although you need to have a separate thermometer to check the overall temperature of the heated water. You also need coffee filters that are made for a pour-over coffee vessel. There are many to choose from that all perform with slightly different results.
The Kasuya model kettle is perfect to guarantee the perfect ratio,
A digital kitchen scale is perfect for getting the right amount of water poured. Many of these scales will automatically turn off after a couple of minutes, so you do need to keep track of how much water was previously added. Learn to pour the water using grams and always remember to press the tare button to clear off the weight of the brewing vessel and the portion of coffee grounds added.
The Hario V60 coffee drip scale can measure the amount of hot water and time at the same time, helping you to make the perfect cup of coffee.
You can use any kind of coffee although it’s better to use a blend you enjoy. This is often Arabica beans, but not limited to mixed whole bean roasts. You should have a conical burr grinder (which is usually pricy but totally worth it) to get uniform coffee grounds that are all the same size instead of splintered chips of various sizes. Without this, the result will see coffee that is brewed too quickly on smaller grounds and can release bitter flavors faster than the larger ones.
Always use clean filtered water that comes from your tap. This will contain added oxygen that comes from moving water and helps your coffee taste fresh. Bottled water is fine but you do need to be careful that it doesn’t contain added minerals that can spoil intricate coffee flavors. Never use straight tap water since it has all sorts of additives that your local water filtration plant might be used to make it drinkable.
The water temperature should be no more than 92-95 degrees Fahrenheit, which will not overcook or burn your coffee grounds. You do need to use a thermometer to make sure the water is not above or below this temperature during the coffee brewing process.
Breaking Down the 4:6 Method
Pour-over coffee brewing isn’t a new concept but the 4:6 method was first revealed back in 2016 at the World Brewers Cup Championship. If you want to see more complex methods, the Japanese have had a long history of pour-over coffee since the early 1940s. Their pour-over style is essentially a labor of love however the 4:6 method simply updates modern pour-over methods for results that are remarkable.
The 4:6 method is typically the same for each recipe given. This includes 20 grams of coffee ground per 300 grams of water per single cup of coffee. The first pour is split into two halves, so you are using 50-60 grams of water for the first part of the pour and then another 50-60 grams after that. The second stage can be split into 2 to 4 separate stages, so you need to divide the remaining 180 grams of water as you like.
It can be two separate pours worth 90 or as little as 45 grams if you pour 4 separate times. You can experiment with the pouring times as each recipe advises that you allow at least 45 seconds in between each pour before adding water but adding each amount of water only takes about 4-5 seconds.
After wetting out the filter, this does two things. The hot water helps clean the filter of any paper taste leftover from bleaching. The second tip is that this helps to form the paper filter to the shape of the pour-over vessel you are using and creates a vacuum-like seal. You remove this water before starting to brew your coffee. Once you start the first initial pour and all the others after this, you pour the water in concentric circles within the coffee grounds.
Stay away from the immediate edge and leave a couple of millimeters from the outer edge of your coffee grounds. If you disrupt this edge the seal that’s been created can draw coffee liquid down one side unevenly and ruins the natural filtering process. This process is partly a vacuum siphon and capillary action to suck the filtered coffee through the filter down all sides of the brewing vessel.
Sweetness Vs Acidity
The first part of your initial pouring is the most crucial aspect of getting the natural sweetness of the coffee to be extracted. The second half of the first pour now allows the coffee grounds to bloom and brings out the natural acidic values that go into your filtered coffee. If you use more water in the first pour, you get more acidity, while less water in the first pour is notably sweeter.
This is why you can adjust the first 50-60 grams to as little as 40-50 for sweeter results. This will depend a lot on the grind size of your coffee grounds too.
Manage brew strength
If you want a stronger cup of coffee you need to take many breaks to separate the brew strength for the second part of your pour-over. If you only do two pours, this makes a strong cup of coffee, but adding separated pours that are all taking their time to drain will allow more coffee to determine the overall strength of what comes from the brewed grounds.
Anything past 5 separate pours is tricky since you might start to release bitter flavors from the grounds that you don’t want in your coffee.
Using the Customized Kasuya Hario V60 Model
You might be interested to know that the Hario V60 and Kasuya/Hario V60 pour-over coffee vessels are slightly different. The Kasuya version does have similar drain lines within the brewing vessel but is made so the extraction will take longer to drain. This means you can get better results with his signature version as opposed to the regular V60 model. You also should find a version that comes in metal since this conducts heat better than ceramic or glass.
- Product Size: 3.9 x 6.5 x 3.6 inches (10 x 16.5 x 9)
- Material: Porcelain
- Country of Manufacture: Japan
- Size: For 1-4 cups
- Includes a V60 measuring spoon.
The Tetsu Kasuya method
Since the Tetsu V60 will take longer to drain, you do need to be patient and wait 45 seconds for the water to drain. This is when you add the next amount of water needed for each stage you are pouring. The normal V60 will drain much faster which allows you to make slower and more gradual additions of each water stage lasting longer than 5 seconds to reach each gram amount needed. It can take up to 10 seconds with a V60 to add 50-60 grams of water to the initial pour.
The Tetsu Kasuya method allows coffee brewers the advantage to split the second stage pours into separate intervals to get stronger-tasting coffee.
Pros and Cons of the 4:6 Method and the V60 Model
· You can separate the second stage pouring times to suit the strength of your finished coffee
· The standard V60 comes in a variety of materials while the Kasuya V60 comes in porcelain
· The 4:6 method is an easy recipe for beginners to use when making pour-over coffee
· You will have to adjust your pouring times to match the same results of the Kasuya V60 model
· There will be different taste results if you are adjusting the grind size of your coffee
· The outcome of the coffee flavor will be different if you use glass, ceramic, or metal vessels
If you’re looking for a new way to brew coffee, the 4:6 method is a great option. This method is simple and produces a high-quality cup of coffee. However, there are other brewing methods out there, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try different methods and find the one that works best for you.