V60 in plastic, porcelain or steel. Which is the best?


Before we delve a little into the physics to better understand the importance of the material used in coffee brewing, let's introduce the different types of V60.


Size Theplastic Hario V60 comes in3 sizes: 01 for 1-2 cups, 02 for 1-4 cups and 03 for 1-6 cups. The plastic version is the only one in which size 03 is produced.
Color Most often you will come across the clear version, but it is also produced in white, red or brown.
Weight Lightweight, size 02 weighs just over 100g.
Durability For the proportions of the material, it's durable.
Travel Can be used in a variety of conditions and you don't have to worry about instant breakage as much as with other materials, i.e. glass or porcelain. Where it is less practical for travel is in its shape. Itcannot be folded as easily as, say, theAeropress Go.
Material Polypropylene (BPA-free) in the case of colored V60 and thermoplastic styrene-acrylonitrile resin (BPA-free) in the case of clear V60. The material is classified as thermoplastic with a resistance up to 130 °C.
Temperature Plastic has a slight advantage in heat resistance over ceramic in thatheat is not readily transferred or absorbed into the plastic, thus maintaining a constant temperature at all times.

Summary: Plastic V60 in all colours offers a great balance of durability and low price. This product is also an ideal travel companion. Although plastic combined with heat carries a bad reputation, plastic V60s are safe. Otherwise, we wouldn't offer them on our e-shop.

Many people consider the plastic V60 to be cheap and thus of poor quality. Hario uses high quality plastic to manufacture it and if it breaks, it won't even hurt your wallet too much. Source: Irvan Smith | unsplash.com


One of the other versions of the Hario V60 is the V60 Decanter, which is designed as a combined drip vessel and the container where the coffee drips into. While the entire container is glass, there is a plastic dripper at the top where you place a paper filter. At the narrowing, the container has a silicone heat-resistant corset that protects against burns. The size of the plastic dripper corresponds to the size V60-02. The coffee container has a capacity of 700 ml.

All in one - coffee container and dripper. That's exactly what the Hario V60 Drip Decanter is. It can be a great choice if you don't have another dripper and are looking for something to make coffee with, especially at home. Source: Eiliv Sonas Aceron | unsplash.com

Thepreparation of the drip is exactly the same, the only difference is the appearance, it may also remind you of aChemex. The glass decanter is also very practical, you can use it as a serving vessel for other drinks, not just coffee.


Size Theporcelain Hario V 60 comes intwo sizes: 01 for 1-2 cups, 02 for 1-4 cups.
Colour The range of colours in which the porcelain V60 is produced is one of the reasons why this version is popular. Like the plastic one, you will find it in white and red versions. The porcelain versions can also be found in various limited editions. Such as light pink, black, turquoise, light and dark blue or even yellow.
Weight Porcelain is the heaviest of all materials, weighing approximately 400g in size 02.
Durability When it comes to breakage, ceramics should always be handled with care when in use. However, with good care, this V60 can last you a long time.
Travel This ties in very well with its durability, you should be doubly careful when travelling. It is best to pack the V60 carefully.
Material Porcelain
Temperature Porcelain is a great thermal insulator, it can hold temperature to a certain extent, but I recommend pre-heating the V60 with hot water before use, this way it won't take so much heat away from the water used to make the coffee. Moreover, with porcelain you don't have to worry about releasing any substances.

Summary: If you're looking for a design option to dress up your coffee nook, the porcelain version of the V60 is the way to go. You can often find the ceramic version in coffee shops, but it needs to be handled gently.


Size Themetal version of the Hario V60 is only sold in size 02, i.e. for 1-4 cups of coffee.
Colour There is no steel like steel, even in this processing you will find several colours. The V60 looks very elegant in matte black, your eye will definitely be drawn to the copper version as well. There will certainly be someone who will be attracted by the silver classic.
Weight In terms of weight, the stainless steel V60 is between the plastic and ceramic versions, atjust under 300g.
Durability You won't find a more durable version among drippers, but it is still prone to dents, in case of a strong impact.
Travel This dripper will fitperfectly into your camping gear in addition to your kitchen, if you have the space.
Material Stainless steel. This material does not absorb heat or affect the taste of the coffee.
Temperature The thermal insulation may vary, but it is a good conductor of heat. As it gains temperature quickly, it also loses it quickly.

Summary: With the stainless steel version, you really won't go wrong, this is a great durable and travel-friendly option that also looks very good.

The stainless steel Hario V60 will easily become your unbreakable coffee partner for life, or until you get tired of it, and that's hard to do with the V60. Source: Emma Smith | unsplash.com


Now it's time for a little physics. Making coffee is actually a combination of physics and chemistry, so it's no wonder. There are three factors that affect how much heat can be lost through a dripper when making filter coffee:

  • Conductivity - measures how quickly heat transfers to and through the dripper.
  • Heat capacity - how much heat energy it takes to change the temperature of the dripper
  • Surface heat loss - how quickly heat is released from the dripper to the atmosphere


As some of you may well know, plastic is a good insulator, and conversely metal is a good conductor. Glass and ceramic fall somewhere in between. It follows that a plastic dripper can retain heat longer.

This tells us that plastic wins through conductivity - but by how much?

V60 material Plastic Glass Porcelain Stainless steel
Conductivity (W/mK) 0.2 1 4-5 16

(The thermal conductivity coefficient λ (lambda) has a unit of W/mK and expresses the ability of the material to conduct heat from the warmer part, i.e. the hot water, to the colder part, i.e. the decanter)

As you can see from the table, porcelain is 20-25 times more conductive than plastic. This means that the heat will go from the boiling water to the ceramic V60 much faster.


Next we need to think about how much energy, i.e. heat from the water, the decanter is able to absorb. This is the specific heat capacity. The specific heat capacity is the amount of heat required to heat 1 kilogram of a substance by 1 temperature degree. Respectively, the heavier the V60 was, the more water it would need to heat. Because V60s are differently heavy from material to material, but the amount of water used to brew for a given amount of coffee is the same, the heating of drippers varies.

The main unit is called SI and is measured in joules per kg per degree - J-kg-1-K-1

Material Plastic Glass Porcelain Stainless steel
Specific heat capacity (J/kgK) 1250 753 1085 490

From the table we can see that plastic requires more heat energy per kilogram to raise the temperature by a given amount. However, a typical ceramic Hario V60 weighs four times as much as a plastic dripper, so it absorbs approximately 3.5 times as much heat as the whole at the same temperature change.


Just as we observe how quickly and how much heat is absorbed into the dripper during coffee brewing, we also observe how quickly and how much heat is released into the air. The rate of flow depends on the surface temperature. More conductive materials, such as metals, will transfer heat energy to the surface faster. Once the heat is at the surface, materials with a lower specific heat capacity will heat up to a certain temperature. So a plastic with lower conductivity and higher specific heat will lose significantly less energy during heat transfer than other materials.

The rate of heat loss depends not only on the material, but also on its structure, shape and temperature. That is why we can find drippers on the market with a curved surface that holds heat better. Steel radiates the least, but this is balanced by the fact that the high conductivity and low specific temperature mean that the surface temperature rises much faster. In addition, the maximum heat loss due to radiation is about half that of heat transfer.


On the market we can also find drippers that are made only of metal construction with the absence of walls, thus behind them stands not the Japanese Hario, but the brand Barista & Co. The air with a conductivity of approximately 0.02 W/mK is the best insulator among those mentioned above. By using an open grid type structure, the amount of material in contact with the filter is to be minimised. These structures can help retain heat to some extent. However, even in these cases, the best material from which the drippers are made is still ultimately plastic.

If you want something unglamorous, you can also look for drippers from Barista & Co. The wall-less design will make sure that you don't lose too much heat while your filter is brewing.


All along, I've been comparing drippers primarily on paper. In the end, however, I have a demonstration of what it looks like when someone decides to try all this out in practice. That someone is Taylor Nowakowski of Canada's Eight Ounce Coffee. Taylor has taken the Hario V60 in all the finishes it comes in, so he's added glass to plastic, ceramic and stainless steel. He measured the entire process using a thermometer that he placed between the paper filter and the dripper.

And how did it turn out? The biggest differences were seen during preinfusion, or flowering, and a few seconds after. The glass dripper absorbed the least heat during the bloom. As expected, as quickly as themetal V60 absorbed heat, it also lost it. Pouring water during extraction had almost no effect on heat retention in the drippers.

You can see how the temperatures varied throughout the extraction in the graph below.

The heat loss in the second half of the extraction for the metal filter is very noticeable compared to the other designs. Source: Taylor Novakowski | Eight Ounce Coffee


If you're one of those who need a dripper that can withstand bumps and travel, I recommend choosing from durable and lightweight stainless steelor plastic options .

If, on the other hand, you're looking for a dripper with a nice look that will beautify your coffee nook in addition to making great coffee, then aporcelainversion will be the right choice. Just be careful not to break it right away when you show off your new beauty to your surroundings.

Different sizes, different colours and different materials. It's not easy to choose, but once you have your V60 at home, you'll want to make coffee several times a day. It's just fun. Plus, the subtle taste of the coffee will undoubtedly dazzle you. Source.

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