I’ve Tested All the Best Coffee Makers from the Last 35 Years — The One I Use at Home Costs Just $15

published Aug 26, 2019
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When it comes to coffee, I am INTO it. I drink it every day — morning, noon, and even at night! (One of my pet peeves is when coffee isn’t served after a dinner party.) And yet, when it comes to my coffee maker, it’s as basic as you can get. Of course, this surprises many people — especially considering I built my career out of testing coffee makers and microwaves. I’ve had my hands on the fanciest, most advanced machines: machines that do most of the work for you, brew to the most specific temperature, or win awards. They’re all fine. They’re just not my cup of tea (er, coffee?). For more years than I’m going to admit, I’ve been brewing coffee with a super-simple Melitta pour-over setup that I perch over either a carafe or a mug. 

The Easiest Way to Do the Pour-Over Method

A cult following has recently developed around the so-called “pour-over” cooking method, which can get very technical if you want. I don’t fuss with the exact weight of the coffee grinds, the temperature of the water, or the time I spend pouring. I use about two tablespoons of coffee per five ounces of water — the well-established ratio for a full-bodied and rich-flavored cup. By the time the water brews in my kettle and I carry it to the filter, it’s at the ideal brewing temperature, and, because I’ve ground the beans for a manual filter, the brew drips down in the perfect amount of time. It couldn’t be simpler and it makes my gold standard cup.

The Pour-Over Coffee Maker I Prefer

I use the inexpensive Melitta Pour-Over Coffee Maker & Glass Carafe Set, with a 10-cup capacity. To make one cup, I simply use the filter set over a mug. You can also purchase the Signature Series 1-Cup Pour-Over Coffee Maker in plastic or porcelain for brewing directly into a cup. 

The Accessories I Like for Pour-Over Coffee

Now, one of the drawbacks of pour-over coffee is that it doesn’t necessarily have a built-in mechanism to keep the coffee hot (unless you’re brewing into an insulated carafe). I have several work-arounds for this problem. If I’m just making single cups for myself from a pot over a morning, I use the microwave for quick reheats. I know that’s an unpopular option, but trust me ‚ a zapped cup is tastier than a cup poured from a carafe that’s been sitting on a warming plate or even in a thermal carafe.

I’m also a huge fan of these Bodum Bistro Coffee Mugs. Thanks to their double-wall construction, they keep java hot longer, and I swear, make the coffee taste better, too. When I’m brewing a pot for a group of friends for brunch or after dinner, when I’ll be offering refills relatively quickly, I set the carafe on a flame tamer and set the whole thing over a stovetop burner to keep it warm.