French press? pour-over? Java pros explain their coffee-maker picks.
If there were a choose-your-own-adventure guide to finding a coffee maker, there would be at least three choices that would determine the plot.
First, immersion or pour-over? A French press makes an immersion brew, in which water sits with the coffee, while pour-overs allow the water to briefly pass through the grounds.
Then there’s time: Do you want the morning ritual of a multiple-step process, or do you need to push a button and get out the door?
Third, how much coffee do you need to make? Will a one-cup pour do the trick, or do you need a big pot?
Sometimes, though, the answer is not either-or but both-and, says Brian Jones, author of the book “Brew: Better Coffee at Home” and co-founder of a coffee-roasting company. “There’s no rule against having several different brew methods,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to switch up the method depending on your mood, your company or the type of coffee you’re brewing.”
His go-to choice most mornings is a Hario V60 Drip Brewer ($25 at surlatable.com). “It’s a round pour-over dripper with spiral ridges to help with water flow while brewing,” Jones says. He likes a lighter, cleaner flavor profile, which the pour-over offers.
As the design director for HGTV Home, Nancy Fire circles the globe to find trendy goods and inspiration. When she’s home, she likes to use the Williams Sonoma Double-Wall Glass French Press ($50 at williams-sonoma.com).
“It is so durable, and it always keeps the coffee hotter for longer,” she says.
Every morning, Adam Mahr, owner of the gift and housewares shop A Mano in Washington, D.C., steeps his coffee grounds in the Espro Press P7 ($80–$120 at seattlecoffeegear.com).
He grinds his beans just before brewing to preserve their oil. He then heats water on the stove, cutting it off right before it boils, and heats the stainless-steel press with hot water before putting in the grounds. The unique double filter of the press keeps the grounds from sludging up the coffee.
“Every morning, I go down, feed the dogs, make my coffee, watch ‘Morning Joe’ and then begin my day,” he says.
When drinking at home, Bailey Manson, education and service program manager for Intelligentsia, a hip coffee roaster based in Chicago, prefers his thrift-store Chemex.
“I like the clarity and cleanliness that I get from a paper filter,” he says.
For something similar, he recommends the Six-Cup Glass-Handle Chemex ($43.50 at chemexcoffeemaker.com). The glass neck makes for better ergonomics, he says.
Georg Riedel, the 10th-generation owner of the wine-glass company Riedel, spent a year “drinking coffee, learning about coffee, serving coffee,” he says, as part of his research to design a glass that best highlights the characteristics of coffee, especially the fine, frothy crema.
“When you are trained to examine aromas and flavors, then it does not make a difference if you drink wine, soda, juice, coffee or tea. Everything that is aromatic comes with a basic structure,” he says.
Different machines produce the crema differently, but Riedel prefers any De’Longhi machine, and especially the Nespresso CitiZ Espresso Machine by De’Longhi ($180 at bestbuy.com).