Tetsu Kasuya vs Tetsu Kasuya

This is Tetsu.

Here is his performance at the 2016 World Brewers Cup held in Dublin, which, by the way, he won.

Tetsu is the creator of the eponymous Tetsu 4-6 recipe for making V60 pour over coffee, a technique that gained global recognition after he won the 2016 competition. Below is a less animated and more laid-back version of him, explaining the details of his recipe in more detail. He’s speaking in Japanese this time, so you might need to turn on captions.

And here is a June 2019 video where Tetsu demonstrates his still-under-development recipe, which he informally calls the “Only Bloom” technique. It’s a fairly long video, and if you want to skip to the recipe itself, he demonstrates it from 3:42 to 6:25 with Patrik Rolf giving a short recap from 7:38.

If you haven’t already seen it, I would encourage you to watch the entire 15-ish minute video and see how two top-tier coffee professionals talk shop. It’s just such a wholesome and heart warming conversation between two humble and knowledgeable individuals who clearly have the utmost respect for each other.

The Tetsu 4-6 is the go-to recipe that I use to brew my V60 pour over coffee every morning and produces cups that both The Wife and I enjoy. But since Tetsu is now experimenting with a drastically different technique than the one he perfected in 2016, I thought it’d be interesting to conduct a head-to-head comparison between the two.

What will be the result of the Tetsu vs Tetsu competition?

Will Tetsu beat Tetsu?

Or will Tetsu beat Tetsu?

I opened my trusty bag of Mt Whitney Costa Rica, and brewed using my usual Tetsu 4-6 recipe:

  • 25gm medium ground coffee (I used 3-6-0 on my 1Zpresso JX-Pro)
  • 400gm water for a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:16
  • 94°C water temperature
  • Bloom 3x coffee weight (i.e. 75gm) in 45secs
  • Remainder of 40% (i.e. 85gm) in 45secs
  • Pour 3 pulses of 80gm each in 45sec intervals
  • No stirring, no swirling, no nothing
  • Resulting bed will be relatively flat, but not totally flat
  • Full drawdown around 4’00”

Then I used the same beans and followed the recipe in his 2019 video demo:

  • 25gm finely-ground coffee (I used 3-3-0 on my 1Zpresso JX-Pro)
  • 300gm water for a coffee-to-water ratio of 1:12
  • 95-96°C water temperature
  • All 300gm water poured within 15secs
  • First 10secs circle pour, next 5secs centre pour
  • No blooming (or as he says: “only bloom”), no stirring, no swirling, no nothing
  • Resulting brew bed will not be flat, and will have a lot of grounds left on the edges
  • Full drawdown around 1’30”

According to Tetsu, the resulting cup should taste much sweeter, at the expense of a shorter aftertaste. Achieving consistency will be a challenge, as he says his results are “sometimes good, sometimes not good.”

The final brew beds of both recipes were starkly different, as can be seen in the side-by-side comparison below.

The Tetsu Only Bloom tasted exactly as advertised — sweet with a short aftertaste. While it still retained sufficient body, the taste was very clear; almost too clear perhaps. The chocolatey notes of the Costa Rica were completely gone, and it was almost tea-like. Very interesting, but also a bit strange.

The Tetsu 4-6 had a much stronger body and mouthfeel, with a more pronounced chocolatey taste that was slightly bitter and no dominant sweetness. It tasted more like how I’d expect my pour over coffee to taste like.

So, which Tetsu won?

It’s actually quite hard to say. Both were very different, but still good. Both The Wife and I scored them 8/10, and she had no particular preference between the two. I felt that the Only Bloom edged out the 4-6 slightly, likely due to my preference for fruitier cups nowadays. It would be interesting to do this same comparison using good Ethiopian beans.

At this moment, I think I’ll still stick with the Tetsu 4-6 as my daily driver, and mix it up with the Only Bloom occasionally to introduce some variety. The lower yield using 1:12 is a bit of challenge though, since I do like a decent-sized cup every morning. Increasing the dosage could cause flooding in my Hario 02 dripper, given the super aggressive pouring.

It was interesting to see such a distinct difference when using the two recipes, and I’m keen to see how other recipes stack up. So far, I’ve tried the Hoffmann, Tetsu 4-6 and Tetsu Only Bloom but am aware of others like the Osmotic Flow, Taiwanese One Pour etc that I plan to test drive in future.

And the coffee journey continues…

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