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:

Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System Is the Only Coffee Maker You’ll Ever Need

Amazon
Amazon

Update: The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System is on sale for $120 ($40 off) for Sam's Club members until May 19.

For people who just want a cup of joe to help them get out the door in the morning, the French presses, Chemexes, Aeropresses, Moka pots, and other specialized devices that coffee aficionados swear by probably seem more overwhelming than appealing. Ditto the fancy cappuccino machines at local cafes. That’s where Ninja’s new Hot & Cold Brewed System comes in: It was created to give coffee addicts a myriad of options with minimal fuss, not to mention minimal equipment. And it makes tea, too!

“Coffeehouses are known for having an endless selection, but current at-home brewers haven't given users the vast variety of choice we thought possible, and certainly not all in one product," Mark Rosenzweig, CEO of SharkNinja, said in a press release. "The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System changes the category entirely. This innovative system is more than just a machine you use in the morning; it's your all-day brewing partner.”

The Hot & Cold Brewed System comes with two baskets: one for coffee and one for tea. It knows what you're making to make based on the basket you insert, and the available options for that basket will light up. The machine allows the user to make six different sizes of coffee or tea, from a single cup all the way up to a full 50-ounce (10-cup) carafe.

And of course, as the name suggests, the system can make both hot and iced beverages. For coffee, it has five brew options: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, and specialty (a concentrated brew for milky drinks like cappuccinos). If you’re making tea, you can choose between hot and cold brews optimized for herbal, black, oolong, white, or green tea.

When you select an over ice or cold brew, the machine automatically doubles the strength of your beverage so it doesn't get overly diluted by the ice cubes in the carafe. Even better, the Ninja can make cold brew in just 10 to 15 minutes, whereas other systems and methods typically take hours. (Hot coffee is brewed at 205°F, while the cold brew is made at 101°F.) And the system has a hot and cold frother that folds into the side so you can make barista-level lattes, too.

These bells and whistles sound impressive on paper, but how do they perform in real life? Ninja sent me Hot & Cold Brewed System to test for myself.

Ease of Use

Though it might look like something developed by NASA, the Hot & Cold Brewed System is designed to easily work with the twist of a dial and the push of a button, and it delivers. From loading in the correct amount of grounds with the system’s “smart scoop” to picking what type of brew you’d like, it’s simple enough to use even while bleary-eyed in the morning. It’s also easy to schedule a delayed brew so you can do the rest of your morning routine while your coffee brews. (Here’s the only drawback I can think of about this machine: When it starts brewing, it’s kind of noisy—loud enough to make my cats jump. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you live in a small apartment and plan to brew coffee so that it’s ready right when you wake up, it might be something to consider.)

The system even tells you when it needs to be descaled. The “clean” button will light up, at which point you simply fill the water reservoir with descaling solution and water and press the clean button. A countdown lets you know how much longer the clean cycle will last.

Taste and Flavor

I swapped out an old, cheap coffee maker for the Hot & Cold Brewed System, and the difference was immediately noticeable. Whether hot or cold, the coffee made by the H&CBS was a better, smoother cup of joe. That’s due to what Ninja has dubbed Thermal Flavor Extraction automated brewing technology, which, according to a press release, “knows the precise temperatures, correct bloom times, and proper levels of saturation for every possible beverage combination to ensure a great taste every time.”

Whatever tech they use, it works. The coffee I make in this machine is consistently tasty. The rich brew setting works exactly as advertised, too, providing a richer, bolder flavor than the classic brew.

Features and Accessories

One of the best things about the H&CBS is the fact that it cuts down on waste significantly. Unlike other machines, it doesn't require any plastic pods or paper filters. Instead, it comes with two permanent filters, one for coffee and one for tea.

And the cold brew function is a game changer if you prefer iced coffee to hot. Not only does it brew quickly, but it eliminates the messy cleanup that comes with making cold brew yourself.

Typically priced at $230 for the thermal carafe version (or $200 for the glass carafe), the Hot & Cold Brewed System is significantly more expensive than a simpler drip coffee machine. But if you’re a cold brew addict looking to treat yourself, it’s worth it. Consider springing for the slightly more expensive thermal carafe model, which will keep your java hot or cold for hours. (I’ve left ice in it overnight and found cubes the next morning.)

You can get the Hot & Cold Brewed System on Amazon, Walmart, Macy's, Sam's Club, or directly on Ninja’s website starting at $160.

Attention Aspiring Astronauts: Arlo Skye Now Has Space-Themed Luggage

Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

While some travelers are preoccupied with getting their luggage through airport security, the designers at Arlo Skye are thinking bigger. As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the brand's new line of suitcases is inspired by space travel, with high tech features and a sleek, futuristic look.

Arlo Skye was founded in 2016 by alumni from Louis Vuitton and Tumi Inc. They set out to create luggage that emphasized design, with luxury polycarbonate suitcases available in trendy colors like rose gold and custom monogramming.

The company's Space Collection may be its most stylized line yet. It comes with a removable, 10,050-milliamp-hour charger with USB C and A ports for charging phones and other devices. The chrome-colored case is 22 inches tall, 9 inches deep, and 14 inches wide and weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

Space Collection suitcase from Arlo Skye
Arlo Skye

Depending on what type of space traveler you are, you can get one of three designs laser-etched on the bottom of your luggage. There's Moon Shot, Team Human, and Occupy Mars; each engraving comes with a short ode to space and a small picture of its respective celestial body. Like other suitcases made by Arlo Skye, these bags are zipper-free and made from polycarbonate with an aluminum frame.

Whether you're a globetrotter or an aspiring astronaut, the Space Collection from Arlo Skye makes a great travel companion.

Buy it from Arlo Skye for $450.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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