6 Pour Over Coffee Brewers Perfect For Your Daily Grind

iStock.com/Probuxtor
iStock.com/Probuxtor

There’s a bit more to making a high-quality cup of coffee than picking out the perfect beans. There's the right water, that magic ratio of water to coffee—and the right equipment. For the past decade, baristas, both professional and aspiring, have been gravitating toward manual, single cup coffee-making methods. The biggest perk of brewing manually? Having more control over the process means that you can brew the perfect cup, regardless of what that means to you.

Whether you’re into the infusion method of coffee brewing (in which ground coffee is fully immersed and steeped in water, like tea) or percolation, more commonly called the “pour over” (in which water is continuously poured over the ground coffee), there's a manual coffee brewer guaranteed to upgrade your morning cup.

1. Hario V60

Pouring water into a Hario V60 brewer to make coffee
Hario, Amazon

The Hario V60’s lightweight feel, ease of use, and ability to produce quality coffee have made it a mainstay in specialty cafes and home kitchens all over the world. Hario, a Tokyo-based company, launched their first home product in 1949—a glass filter coffee syphon. Since then, Hario has received a number of design awards for its products, but the V60 has become its crown jewel.

Shortened from “Vector 60”—referring to the 60 degree angle of its side—the cone-shaped Hario V60 is a dripper known for its inner coiled ridges and large open-ended bottom. It's a design that helps provide a uniform extraction, as the spiral ridges guide the water to naturally agitate and seep through the coffee.

Get it on Amazon for $19 and at these other retailers:

2. Chemex

A Chemex brewer and box
Chemex, Amazon

In From Russia, With Love (1957), Ian Fleming writes:

Breakfast was Bond's favourite meal of the day. When he was stationed in London it was always the same. It consisted of very strong coffee, from De Bry in New Oxford Street, brewed in an American Chemex, of which he drank two large cups, black and without sugar.

That’s right. One of James Bond’s favorite gadgets was no more than an ordinary household coffeemaker—the Chemex. The manual brewer utilizes the pour over method of brewing coffee, which produces coffee that is much richer, more flavorful, and smoother.

In 1941, Dr. Peter Schlumbohm, a German chemist, invented the Chemex coffeemaker. Though it was originally marketed as a useful wartime device, the brewer has since been turned into a permanent fixture at many museums and galleries, including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and even the Smithsonian. It's considered one of "the best-designed products ever made," as Inc. magazine declared in 2014.

Get it on Amazon for $41 and at these other retailers:

3. Kalita Wave

A Kalita Wave brewer
Kalita, Amazon.

The Kalita Wave is unique in that it’s among the very few pour over devices with a flat bottom. (Most—like the aforementioned V60 and Chemex—are cone-shaped.) The Kalita Wave looks like a Hario V60 that’s been cut in half; it has the same convex opening and angled walls, but its bottom is a flat floor with three tiny holes drilled into it. This design allows for a smooth, intense extraction.

Get it on Amazon for $23.

4. AeroPress

An Aeropress brewing kit
Aeropress, Amazon.


No brewing device has captivated the coffee industry like the AeroPress. Need proof? There’s even a World AeroPress Championship. The competition functions independently of the World Barista Championship and Brewers Cup, a distinction that no other brewing device can claim.

Invented in 2005 by Alan Adler, the AeroPress was designed to create the strongest, smoothest, most flavorful cup of coffee in the shortest amount of time (about one minute, according to its inventor). The device uses the saturation method of brewing, in which grounds are fully steeped in water inside a plastic cylindrical container. A plunger is then inserted into the top of the chamber, creating a vacuum. Then, the user presses down on the plunger, using air pressure within the device to compress the extracted coffee through a mesh filter.

The AeroPress is most similar to a French press, however, it shouldn’t be confused for one. There are a few big differences between the two devices. First, the AeroPress uses a disposable paper filter (or a reusable stainless steel mesh filter), which removes most of the coffee solids. A French press, on the other hand, uses a coarse wire or nylon mesh filter. Secondly, air pressure is used to extract the coffee by pushing air trapped in the chamber through the coffee grounds. With the French press, the mesh filter acts as a plunger that pushes the ground coffee through the water. Last, the AeroPress requires a much shorter brewing time and produces a much cleaner cup of coffee (free of the sediment that French presses are notorious for).

Get it on Amazon for $32 and at these other retailers:

5. Siphon Filter

A glass siphon filter brewer
Hario, Amazon

It may look like something straight out of the laboratory of a mad scientist, but the siphon filter is a popular staple in kitchens across the country. (It even made an appearance in a famous scene from the hit TV show Breaking Bad.) Besides espresso machines, siphon filters—also referred to as vacuum pots, Florence siphons, or French balloons—may be the most elaborate coffee brewers on the market. They require close attention and quick, careful technique on the part of the user, but the reward is often worth the extra effort.

How does a siphon work? In short, science. A siphon is made up of two stacked chambers—the bottom one filled with water and the top one filled with ground coffee—suspended over a heat source (usually either a Bunsen burner or stovetop). By heating the bottom chamber, pressurized vapor forces the water to rise into the upper chamber, where it is mixed with the ground coffee. After a while, a drop in vapor pressure allows gravity to take over the process, and the brewed coffee drops back into the bottom chamber through a filter that divides the two chambers.

Get it on Amazon for $73 and at these other retailers:

6. CLEVER COFFEE DRIPPER

A clear plastic Clever coffee brewer
Clever, Amazon

The Clever Coffee Dripper is a cone-shaped brewer (similar to the Chemex or Hario V60) that functions like a full immersion device (such as a French press or Aeropress).

The ground coffee rests inside of the cone-shaped chamber while water is poured over it. A rubber stopper at the bottom of the chamber restrains the water from passing through, keeping it contained in the chamber. After a few minutes of saturation, the user places the dripper on top of their cup, which opens the stopper to release the now-brewed coffee into its intended container. The result is a full-bodied cup of coffee that has very little sediment and features a much richer flavor profile.

Get it on Amazon for $22 and at these other retailers:

11 Patriotic Products to Celebrate the Fourth of July

Amazon
Amazon

Whether you’ll be lounging by the beach or grilling in your backyard this Independence Day, don’t forget to show off your all-American spirit with a little swag. Here are 11 products to help you celebrate Fourth of July—all of which would pair nicely with your collection of presidential bobbleheads.

1. Declaration Of Independence Signatures Mug; $15

Mug decorated with the signatures from the Declaration of Independence.
CafePress, Amazon

The names of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence are on display on this ceramic coffee mug. Studying the signatures each morning might inspire you to perfect your own John Hancock.

Find it: Amazon

2. Stars And Stripes Cufflinks; $55

Cufflinks with images of stars and stripes on them

Cufflinks Inc., Nordstrom

Brighten up your wardrobe with a splash of American pride. One half of this cufflinks set is striped red and white and the other is blue and spangled with stars. Together they make a patriotic accent piece.

Find it: Nordstrom

3. Fireworks Light Show Projector; $41

Portable fireworks light projector.
Uncle Milton, Amazon

If you want a low-hazard Fourth of July that still delivers thrills, consider getting a light show projector. When it’s pointed at a wall, the device displays vibrant fireworks animations accompanied by realistic sound effects. And it works indoors, so you can count on your Independence Day party ending with a light show no matter the weather forecast. (There's also a Disney version available for just $20.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Inflatable Cooler; $14

Inflatable American flag cooler filled with ice and drinks.
Fun Express, Amazon

When preparing for a picnic or barbecue this Fourth of July, don’t bother breaking out your tiny roll-away cooler. This 54-by-28-inch inflatable trough holds enough bottles and cans to keep your party going well past sunset. Once the cooler has been drained and deflated, it folds neatly for easy storage.

Find it: Amazon

5. American Trivia Cards; $15

Even players who paid attention in American history class might find this game challenging. Each box comes with 150 cards of United States trivia. Some questions—like what was the first state to grant women the right to vote—highlight important moments in our nation’s history. Others—like how many columns the Lincoln Memorial features—are a little more random.

Find it: UncommonGoods

6. U.S. Navy Blanket; $200

The U.S. military has been going to Faribault Woolen Mill Co. for its blankets for over 100 years. This one is crafted from 100 percent wool and weighs 3.5 pounds. The design is inspired by the blankets supplied on Navy ships—and if it’s tough enough for the Navy, you can bet it will withstand a Fourth of July picnic. We like the gray version, but it comes in several different styles and colors.

Find it: Faribault Woolen Mill Co.

7. American Flag Cornhole; $90

Two American flag cornhole boards with bean bags.
GoSports, Amazon

Baseball faces some stiff competition from cornhole for the title of No. 1 American pastime. This lawn set includes four blue bean bags, four red bean bags, and two boards decorated to resemble the American flag.

Find it: Amazon

8. U.S. Map Cutting Board; $20

Wooden cutting board in the shape of the U.S. map.
Totally Bamboo, Amazon

This 100 percent bamboo board eschews the traditional rectangle shape in favor of the outline of the American mainland. You can either keep it in the kitchen and use it as a cutting board or bring it out to the party as a serving platter for fruits, cheeses, and other hors d'oeuvres.

Find it: Amazon

9. Boston Tea Party Tea Sampler; $15

Six piles of loose-leaf tea.
Solstice Tea Traders, Amazon

A sip of one of the teas in this sampler will put you in touch with your inner revolutionary. Each of the six loose-leaf varieties—bohea black tea, oolong, congou black tea, souchong, singlo, and hyson—was among those tossed over the sides of British ships during the Boston Party. Whether you drink the tea or chuck it into the nearest harbor is up to you. (If you're looking for something to put on display, UncommonGoods also sells a slightly pricier, more elegant option with five teas.)

Find it: Amazon

10. State Map Prints; $27 and Up

A poster featuring a colorful map of Wisconsin
Bri Buckley, Society6

These unique prints by Bri Buckley highlight the beauty of each U.S. state in vibrant color. Each state map is available in both a modern and a vintage style, and like most Society6 art, the design is also available on tapestries, shirts, pillows, tote bags, and more.

Find it: Society6

11. Bald Eagle Pool Float; $15

A man and a woman ride a bald eagle pool float
Swimline, Amazon

Cool down the patriotic way this Fourth of July. This massive 8-foot-by-6-foot bald eagle pool float can fit up to two people comfortably, and will look great floating around your pool during your backyard barbecue.

Find it: Amazon

A version of this article first ran in 2017. It has been updated for 2019.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Turn Your Phone Into an Instant Camera With KODAK's New Handheld Printer

KODAK
KODAK

Instant cameras are all the rage, but when you're already carrying a high-end camera everywhere you go in the form of your smartphone, the idea of carrying around an extra gadget might seem like more work than it's worth. You don't have to choose between the convenience of your phone's camera and the fun of having a tangible memento. KODAK's new SMILE digital printer combines all the fun of using filters and image editing on your phone with the delight of having a printed copy of your photo.

Blue, green, black, red, and white KODAK SMILE printers printing photos
The KODAK SMILE line of instant digital printers
KODAK

The handheld Bluetooth printer—which is roughly the same size as KODAK's SMILE instant digital camera—lets you edit photos on your phone, then print your image instantly on 2-inch-by-3-inch sticker paper. Using the KODAK SMILE app, you can add Instagram-esque filters; rotate images and change contrast, brightness, and other characteristics; and add stickers, text, doodles, and borders.

Most uniquely, you can add augmented reality elements to your photos, so that when you (or someone else with the KODAK SMILE app) point the app at the physical print, the image is replaced by a short video clip. The effect is something like the moving photographs in Harry Potter—you can surprise your friends by asking them to view a photo through the app's AR function, then watch their delight as the still image begins to move.

The KODAK SMILE app
KODAK

KODAK sent Mental Floss both the SMILE instant camera and the SMILE printer to test, and while there's a lot of fun in snapping photos on an instant camera and accepting whatever weird flaws that photo might have (though you can do some light editing on the SMILE camera before printing), in our opinion, the breadth of image-editing features and convenience of being able to print photos you've already taken on your smartphone makes the digital printer the better option if you're trying to choose between the two.

This is especially true if you're going on vacation or trying to capture a night out on camera; it's just easier to whip out your phone rather than break out another camera, and it's easier to edit photos on your phone than to manipulate photos on the SMILE instant camera's small screen.

Blue, black, green, white, and red KODAK SMILE instant-print cameras
The KODAK SMILE line of instant-print digital cameras
KODAK

The SMILE printer is available on Amazon and Walmart for $100 and comes in five different colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. The SMILE instant-print digital camera is also $100 on Amazon and Walmart and is available in the same colors.

While the camera and the printer both come with a starter pack of sticker-backed ZINK photo paper, you can get 50 refill sheets for $24 when you run out.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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