At Eight Ounce, we have many drippers to choose from, all of which we can say are great products to use for making coffee. But for many, it can be overwhelming when browsing because lets face it, you want them all but can only choose "the one". When looking for that perfect dripper, there may be some products that you may feel skeptical towards. With that being said, there has been a question that has caught my attention on multiple occasions from customers: "between all of these V60's, does the different materials change the flavour of the coffee?". Since we try out many products, I thought this was a good opportunity to challenge the question. To that end, I created a small study to see if there was an discernible difference in taste.
N=10 (small group of coffee lovers working in an office and customers), one trial
- Pre-wet bleached filter with 100g of water (200°F) – this was to ensure no pulpy taste was present
- Disposed of pulpy water, then added 400g of water (200°F) – evenly distributed flow on inner wall of dripper
- 20 minute cooldown
- 2x Acme Taster Cups 110ml
- 2x Hario Conical Beaker 500ml
- 1x Hario V60-02 in Silver Metal
- 1x Hario V60-02 in Clear Plastic
- Hario 02 Paper Filters (Bleached)
- Fellow Stagg EKG Stagg Kettle
- Reverse osmosis filtered water
Summary of the study:
Ten subjects were asked to differentiate the flavour of water filtered through a metal and plastic V60 dripper. The objective was to see whether the dripper material imparted flavour to the brewing water. The participants involved in this small study were Eight Ounce employees and a few customers–all with a moderate to advanced level of knowledge regarding coffee tasting and pour over methods.
Both the plastic and metal dripper were used in a similar fashion to that of making coffee, but without the coffee. For the pouring portion, the hot water was to be evenly poured on the inner sides of both the plastic and metal material.
In front of the subjects were two preheated ceramic Acme Taster Cups, as well as two labelled placemats – “plastic” and “metal”. All taster cups were labelled on the bottom for the supervisor of the test to identify the dripper used.
Participants were then given three options. They were told that each cup could be filled with either a.) metal dripper water in one cup and plastic dripper water in the other, b.) plastic and plastic, or c.) metal and metal – no mix of the two liquids were included in the test. However, it was pre-planned that each participant would only be given metal in one cup and plastic in the other, and no other option–this information was not disclosed to the participants. They were given the three scenarios to avoid any bias from preconceived differences in taste.
Since the placemats stayed in place on the table ("metal" water being on the subjects right, "plastic" water on the left), a reverse answer was calculated as wrong, i.e "metal" water put on plastic placemat, vice versa.
- Both cups tasting like metal = 2 people (20%)
- Both cups tasting like plastic = 3 people (30%)
- Plastic and metal put on the opposite placemat = 2 people (20%), one being a customer
- Plastic and metal put on the correct placemat = 3 people, (30%), including one participant with a cupping spoon
The results show a total of 7 subjects (70%) answering incorrectly by not placing the two cups on the appropriate placemat. A total of 3 subjects (30%) answered correctly by placing the two cups on the appropriate mat. It should also be mentioned that all participants had trouble distinguishing the flavours – even with a cupping spoon.
This was a simple experiment that showed no noticeable difference in the flavour of water made from a metal and plastic V60 dripper. Even though this is not a perfect study, I hope that is raises some awareness to those interested in taking this experiment further.
What is the conclusion from this? Is the metal dripper a good option to go with? Absolutely! For many people, it seems to come down to a few factors: preference in material, the effectiveness of equipment, the coffee you choose, and the aesthetics you want for your setup.
Happy brewing and have fun creating your coffee setup!
For more information on Hario V60's: