There are a lot of coffee makers on the market. Some automate most of the brewing process for you. Others are totally manual. In our opinion, the best coffee makers in terms of brew quality are manual ones like the French press and, especially, the pour over coffee maker.
Whether you are looking for a single serve coffee maker or one that can brew a whole pot, manual is the way to go for high quality. However, it is definitely more labor intensive so if convenience is a high priority, an automatic drip coffee maker may be more up your alley.
In this article, we will take a more in depth look at four of the most widely used coffee makers today.
This is the most standard coffee maker today. It’s an automated machine that takes most of the work out of the process. While no machine is going to be able to replicate what a manual method can accomplish, they aren’t worthless.
Different models have different features that can make things very convenient for those who are pressed for time including programmability that allows you to have fresh brewed coffee ready and waiting when you wake up.
So if convenience is your top priority, this is your best option. A few tips to get the best quality you can out of a machine:
The key benefit of this machine is that it is easy to use. Throw in the ingredients, push the button, and walk away. If your morning schedule is hectic, those minutes you save not having to brew the coffee manually can mean the difference between being late and being on schedule.
If you can stand to wake up even just 15-20 minutes earlier, though, you will have a more rewarding coffee experience if you choose to go with one of the manual methods discussed below. Machine coffee does not have the richness or complexity of flavor.
The French press is a great little device that brews a beautiful cup of coffee with little effort compared to other manual methods. It’s not as easy as pushing a button but the process is simple to learn. All you need to do is:
An important note on the French press: if you don’t plan to drink the coffee immediately after the brew time is over, you still need to pour it out of the press and into another container such as your coffee cup or a carafe.
If you leave it in the press, the grounds will continue to diffuse into the coffee until you end up with a bitter, unpleasant brew.
The two most important keys to brewing a delicious batch of French press coffee are temperature and grind.
Getting these things right is as easy as measuring the temperature and monitoring your grounds as you grind them (or setting your grinder to the correct setting if you have one that offers that feature).
Beyond that, you don’t have to be as careful about pouring as you do with the pour over method and filtration is just a matter of pushing the plunger down. So, as far as manual methods go, this is the easiest one to get the hang of.
If you’re just starting out with manual coffee brewing, we recommend a French press.
Pour over coffee offers the richest and most complex flavor profile of any brewing method. It’s also versatile enough that you can customize a unique brew recipe and technique that perfectly suits your tastes.
This method puts you in complete control of every stage of the brew. The upside of this is that you can fine tune the brew almost endlessly until you reach the perfect cup. The downside is that it takes some practice to get this method right.
The basic process is as follows:
As you can see the process is a little more involved but it’s also a lot more flexible. You can experiment with technique at just about every step and when you taste the coffee after, you’ll be able to taste exactly what happened where (so you can detect mistakes and figure out what you did right).
If you are willing to practice and experiment, the pour over method is definitely the most rewarding method that will give you the most delicious coffee. But if you need convenience and speed, opt for a different coffee maker.
Cold brew is a method of making coffee that uses no heat. It’s ideal for hot summer days when you still need your caffeine fix but can’t bring yourself to swallow a cup of steaming hot coffee.
The method is better than making iced coffee for two main reasons. First, most cafés use stale, old coffee in their iced coffee so you aren’t getting the best flavor. Secondly, even if you use the freshest of hot brewed coffee, the ice will still melt which throws off the water to coffee ratio and leaves with you a watery cup of joe.
Cold brewing is simple:
It’s a similar process to sun tea. You can get a specialized cold brew coffee maker or you can improvise using the equipment you already have in your kitchen.
Choosing between these 4 methods can be difficult. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of each that you have read about to help you make the best decision for your needs.