Five Best Coffee Makers

Whether you do drip, plunger, AeroPress, pour-over, percolator or use a pod brewer, there are more ways to make a good cup of coffee than we could ever highlight. Nonetheless, some methods are better than others, and you didn't hesitate to let us know. Here are the top five coffee makers, based on your nominations.

Photos by Mat Honan, Don LaVange, Ty Nigh, Lauri Rantala, and Bill Rice.

Plunger

Ah, the venerable plunger. Also known as a French press or a cafetière, it's a tried and true method of making a delicious cup of coffee that extracts an exceptional amount of flavour from coffee beans in a short brewing time. It's relatively speedy and easy to operate, and if you want to brew a few cups at once, it's a great option.

A relatively fresh coarse grind, good water, and some brewing time at your disposal are all you need. A plunger gives the drinker complete control over the brew time and the end-strength of their coffee. Various models and types exist, from the ever-popular Bodum models to the affordable IKEA Upphetta and the dual-filtered Espro, and prices vary depending on the size and brand you choose.

Aerobie AeroPress

The history of the AeroPress is almost as fun to read as the AeroPress itself is to use. We love the portable, single-cup maker, and have walked you through how to brew the best cup using one. Many of you nominated the Aeropress because it's fast, cleanup is a snap, and you get a quick, well-extracted, delicious cup in a matter of minutes (seen in the video above, although clearly it's a bit of an exaggeration).

The shorter brewing time and disposable paper filters may be a cause for concern to some, but filters are widely available in severallarge packs, and the fact that the AeroPress uses air pressure to extract more flavour from the (relatively) finely ground coffee in the chamber makes for a more well-bodied cup.

Pour-Over Brewing

Pour-over filtration brewing isn't new, but it has surged in popularity recently, partially due to a whole new group of people discovering the method. Pour-over brewing is fairly simple: a glass or plastic cone is mounted on top of a carafe, and a paper or cloth filter is used to store the coffee in the filter. You then boil water to the proper temperature, and slowly pour the water over the freshly ground coffee you put in the filter. You have control over the amount of coffee that goes into the filter, and the temperature of the water, but not of the level of extraction.

The end result is a stronger extraction than you might expect because of how long the water stays in contact with the coffee as it passes down through the grinds and through the filter into the carafe below. You also get a more well-balanced cup but one that's still smooth, blending the characteristics of drip and pressed coffee. Detachable filter models are surprisingly portable, and can be used with thermoses, any available carafe, or even right into your coffee cup.

Technivorm Moccamaster

The Moccamaster is a handmade thermal pot that represents a significant upgrade to traditional drip models. The Moccamaster aims to bring the temperature of the water up to the proper level in an independent heating area, away from the coffee and the carafe, and only then introduce the water to the coffee stored in the filter bed above the carafe. The Moccamaster earned a nod from Cooks Illustrated Magazine, a significant feat for a drip maker.

Bialetti Moka Pot

The Moka Pot (also known as the Moka Espresso or the Moka Elite) was invented in the early 1930s and have been producing killer coffee ever since. It's incredibly popular in Europe and Central and South America. When brewing with the Moka pot, water in the bottom chamber of the pot is heated and steam pressure pushes it up through a central basket that contains the ground coffee, and then finally into the top chamber where the coffee eventually rests, ready to pour. Since steam pressure is important and the water is in the bottom chamber, the pots are usually made of aluminium or stainless steel, and go right on top of the heating element when brewing. Just open the top, clean it out, pour water into the bottom, add coffee to the centre basket, and pop it on the stove. The Moka pot's classic gurgle signals that the pot is finished brewing and ready to serve. They're super-easy to use (although they get seriously hot), and while you don't get much control over the nuances of the brew, the final product has an extraction ratio more like espresso than drip, and has a flavour and balance to match.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't point out that regardless of the coffee maker you use, if you put terrible coffee into it, you're going to get an awful brew out of it. Many of you pointed out starting with quality beans and a good even grinder shouldn't be overlooked in the rush to find a great gadget to make your morning cup. In short, even the best brewing techniques can't turn lead into gold.


Comments

    I would like to know how Gale Boetticher of Breaking Bad made his brewing machine.

    Gotta admit, while I love my coffee I don't get too pedantic over how it's delivered. We have a plumbed in espresso machine (the boss very deliberately budgeted this in during an office reno last year) and I love the cup it makes. I'm also content drinking Moccona or a good cup of tea occasionally. I am interested in getting the AeroPress but I'm afraid it'll go unused.

    Percolator ( Moka pot ) is a winner for the poor man, who wants a strong coffee.

    At home, I use an Aldi coffee machine, which for the money is the bees knees. While away (camping, work, whatever ) Its hard to go past the percolator. Find a coffee you like, and throw it in an airtight container. Fill it up with water, throw in a few table spoons of coffee and chuck it on the heat. 5 mins later you have enough coffee for a few cups (depending on what sized unit you have). = Caffine buzz for the next 3 hours.

    -Shaun

      Moka Pot is not a percolator. The traditional percolator boiled the water which shot to the top of the machine and then flowed back down through the grounds over and over again. The coffee produced was stewed to within an inch of it's life.

        My parents had a pyrex percolator for a long time, and I always loved watching the coffee bubbling about on the stove. You can still find them intact at op shops from time to time. I have a vintage enamel corningware percolator now and I use it from time to time. It's not the best coffee you'll ever make, but it still beats instant.

    I use a kettle and the cheapest instant coffee I can find. I assure you that when it comes to coffee, you get what you paid for...

    The moka pot is the winner for me. My old work had a $3,500 automatic coffee machine (non pod) and my $15 moka pot made the superior brew. I've done a fair amount of experimenting to get it right and I disagree with the article saying that you don't get much control. If you take lifehacker approach to one of these things, you can weave some pure caffeinated magic. I don't the get fuss about pod machines and am glad they weren't in the list. They're the instant coffee version of ground coffee.

    Same here.

    God damn do a I love a good cup of coffee but god damn I can't afford a GOOD cup of coffee.

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