When it comes to your morning cup of joe, most people drink coffee brewed in a standard drip machine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but most baristas and coffee experts agree that other brewing methods extract better flavor from the beans.
The problem is the way drip machines are built. Because the hot water drips into the center of a bed of coffee grounds, the grounds directly under the drip end up being over-extracted, which leads to bitter flavor notes in the coffee, while the grounds around the edges are under-extracted.
Thankfully, using a drip machine is not the only way to make coffee. A wide variety of coffee makers have solved the extraction problem in a number of brilliant ways. Here are five coffee makers that will help you make a better cup of coffee at home.
1. SterlingPro French Press
One of the simplest alternatives to a drip machine is a French press. Coffee from a French press generally tastes better because the ground beans actually steep in the hot water, giving the water more time to extract the flavor of the beans. French presses are also simple to operate: just boil water, grind the beans, stir them together in the French press, and wait.
One of the top French presses on the market is the SterlingPro press, a simple, gorgeous device that reliably makes great-tasting, full-bodied coffee. Unlike most French presses, it uses a double-screen filter, so you don’t have to worry about finding coffee grounds at the bottom of your mug. It’s also easy to take apart and clean when you’re done. You can buy the SterlingPro press here.
2. Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker
The Aeropress might look more like something you’d find in a science lab than a kitchen, but make no mistake: This thing produces some of the best-tasting coffee around. That’s because it uses full immersion as well as pressure to extract the flavor of the beans.
Here’s how it works. You put a micro-filter in the cap and screw it onto the bottom of the Aeropress chamber. Then you set the Aeropress directly on your coffee mug, add freshly ground beans and hot water, and give it a stir. Next, you put the plunger in the chamber, creating an air-tight seal, and apply pressure to the plunger for about 25 seconds.
The plunger will force the coffee through the filter and into your mug, leaving a “puck” of coffee grinds in the Aeropress. Then you simply remove the cap and discard the puck. It’s quick and easy, and the best part is that it produces a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee without the bitterness of a drip machine.
If you only need one cup of coffee at a time, the Aeropress is an excellent choice. You can buy one here.
3. Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
Many people enjoy espresso, or just strong coffee in general, but they don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end machine. A stovetop espresso maker is a much more affordable solution that produces great-tasting strong coffee.
The Bialetti Moka Express is one of the best stovetop coffee makers on the market. Made in Italy by a company that’s been honing its craft for over 80 years, the Moka Express is a simple, elegant device that brews up a bold, tasty cup of joe without the cost and hassle of a dedicated espresso machine. You can buy one here.
4. Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper
For a more hands-on approach to brewing a rich, well-balanced cup of coffee, you might want to try a pour-over dripper. They’re incredibly simple to use: Just place the dripper on top of your mug, put in a filter and your favorite coffee grounds, and pour in the hot water. The trick is to make sure you wet all of the grounds evenly as you pour, avoiding the over-extraction problem caused by drip machines. It only takes a minute, and you end up with a superior cup of coffee bursting with smooth flavor.
The Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper is great because it’s simple, affordable, and comes in a variety of colors. And unlike some of its competition, it uses standard coffee filters you can find in any grocery store. You can buy a Bee House Ceramic Coffee Dripper here.
5. PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker
You might feel like you’re back in science class when you use the PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker. It looks complicated, but it’s actually very simple to make a delicious cup of coffee. Simply fill the bottom carafe with water, add the coffee grounds to the top, and secure the filter in the middle section. Then set it on a hot stove and watch the magic begin.
The heat from the stove creates vapor that pushes the water into the top chamber, where it mixes with the coffee grounds, pulling out just the right amount of flavor. Once all the water makes it to the top, remove the device from heat, and the vacuum pressure forces the finished coffee through the filter and back into the bottom chamber. Voila!
Coffee made in a PEBO is known for being rich, complex, and completely free of coffee grounds. And because it’s made in vacuum-sealed device, it retains all of the oils and flavors of the coffee beans. You can buy a PEBO Vacuum Coffee Maker here.