Hario Mugen Review
The new Hario Mugen is a cone-shaped pour over coffee maker that you balance on top of a cup or decanter to make 1-2 cups of filter coffee. Sounds familiar, right? You could be forgiven for thinking the Mugen is just a tweaked-up version of the classic V60 but it’s actually much more interesting than that. Here’s why:
What is the Hario Mugen?
Whilst looking remarkably similar to the V60 (Hario know good design, after all), the Mugen actually works in a completely different way to brew a cup of coffee.
The Mugen is created to fill a niche but important role; a fool-proof, single-pour dripper that requires almost no specialist technique or knowledge to master.
Whilst both the Mugen and V60 are simple in design, with the V60 there are an overwhelming number of recipes and techniques possible when brewing, and all of them require a certain level of effort and skill.
Alternatively, the Mugen can, in theory, produce a tastier cup of coffee since the V60 technique is challenging and results can be hit & miss whereas the Mugen is fool-proof & gives consistent results, regardless of the user’s skill level
So, what’s different about the Mugen brewer?
The revolutionary thing about the Mugen is that it enables the user to brew a delicious filter coffee without any need to bloom, pulse or stir. You simply pour the water straight in, all at once and wait for the brewer to do its thing. It’s a time-saver for the busy coffee lover and a game-changer for accessibility.
The other nice touch is the longer, oval shaped bottom plate which is designed to fit a broader range of servers, decanters or mugs. Or it can be removed completely if preferred. The funnel opening of the Mugen is much narrower than a traditional V60 so is potentially easier to balance whilst brewing.
The Science behind the Mugen
The Mugen requires the same paper filters as a V60, but its star shaped ribs change the way the water behaves when poured into the dripper. The filter paper sits tight against the walls of the brewer, preventing any side-channelling and making sure all the water is directed down through the bed of coffee. This creates a higher extraction, while the star-design slows the flow of water as it progresses from the top to the bottom of the brewer. This means there’s no need for pulsing the water input – leaving you free for morning-multi-tasking!
Mugen Pour Over Recipe
Since its release, baristas have been experimenting with different brew methods for the Mugen. The beauty of its design is that if you want to engage in typical techniques of blooming, multi-step pours and stirring etc you absolutely can. But if you want to use it in the most simplistic way; you can take it easy, and also be guaranteed of consistently delicious results.
Hario's recommended recipe for the Mugen comes from 2016 World Brewers Cup Champion, Tetsu Kasuya:
- 25g finely ground coffee
- 300g water at 93°c
- 15 second pour, 90 second brew time.
Leave the brewer to do its magic! It should take 90s for all the water to drain through, leaving the coffee grounds evenly distributed around the sides of the dripper. If it take less than 90 seconds, adjust your grind finer. If it takes more than 90 seconds your grind needs to be coarser.
Watch the video for a full demonstration of the recipe and to see the Mugen at work.
The bottom line:
Hario’s Mugen brewer is a clever bit of kit with impressive practical applications. We think it will help beginners get into manual brewing in a really engaging and accessible way. It would also appeal to those who love a filter coffee, but don’t enjoy the precision and labour intensive techniques required with a traditional V60.
However, to be frank; if you already own a V60 and have mastered using it to make consistently great coffee; the Mugen probably won’t offer you anything new. But if you want a fool-proof, hassle-free way to make coffee it could be the answer to all your prayers.
It’s available in both ceramic (white) and black resin, displaying all of Hario’s usual flair for combining practicality with the elegantly simple. The concept solves some genuine problems, and the result is a desirable piece of kit that is flawlessly designed and easy to use. It’s easy to overlook the genius of the Mugen, hiding behind its simplicity. But the joy of it is that it makes a well-rounded and complex cup of coffee, whilst reducing almost all margin for user-error. Which is really quite an achievement!
Shop Hario Mugen:
Hario V60 One Pour Dripper MUGEN (Plastic)
Hario V60 One Pour Dripper MUGEN (Ceramic)
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