Coffee brewing can be as simple or complex as you desire. Aficionados will go to the extremes to extract every last bit of flavor potential a coffee has to offer. To such folks, the time, energy and expense is justified. I guess like it is for consumers of fine wine. To others, a good cup of coffee to get the day off to the right start is critical however the time, energy and expense to get there is measured.

Even the simplest devices can produce a phenomenal cup of coffee, but may take more time. A drip coffee maker (depending on class of machine) may take the least amount of time, however, may produce good or great coffee depending on water temperature and water quality. All-in-one machines (grind, dose, and brew) are the fastest but may produce varying levels of quality based on age of coffee, consistency in grind, and consistency in dosing (weight of ground coffee)

We have identified some of our favorite classes of devices and machines below. We are not providing specific recommendations or making product endorsements for any machine or device manufacturer. Our purpose is to provide thoughts on features and functionality you should consider when purchasing a coffee brewer.


A single cup AeroPress brewer paired with an electric kettle and small gram scale can produce a phenomenal single cup of coffee. Great for road trips, camping, or a single afternoon cup of coffee when you have a few extra minutes to make that cup. Have a phone? Get the app with loads of recipes (brew style, ground coffee dose, AeroPress technique, and timer) from world champion brewers. Yes – there are competitions associated with using this device to make a championship worthy cup! Fun and great coffee at the same time.

While not a complex device, there are several important features to look for when choosing a French Press. Screens and filters attached to the plunger should keep the coffee grounds from entering the brew during and after plunging. Not many people like ground coffee grit in their cup! Screens and filters need to be cleaned, as does the press container, so removable parts achieve higher scores than ones that are not removable.

Paired with an appropriate electric kettle and a gram scale to weigh your coffee dose, this is a great multi-cup brewing solution for home, office, road trips or just about anywhere.  A glass French Press is pretty, but trust me when I say – “the glass carafe can break”.  I now use a double walled stainless steel French Press.

french press

Chemex is brand name for a pour-over device used to brew coffee. It has become popular due to its shape and brewing style. Insert a filter in the top, add ground coffee, then apply water using appropriate technique (bloom stage, then slow application of remaining water). When finished brewing, remove the filter and you now have a “decanter” of coffee.

Pour over technique is challenging to master. If water is not applied properly, it will “channel” though the coffee bed and not provide appropriate extraction. Technique is critical if you desire consistent coffee taste. One benefit is the use of filters so cleanup is much easier than a French Press.

Device sizes vary from single cup pour-overs to multi-cup Chemex carafes. Pick one that suits you and give it a whirl. Practice your pour over technique to achieve consistency. A nice pour over kettle and gram scale will help you achieve consistency.

Drip coffee makers have been around for decades. Prices range from $30-$40 to 10x that and more. Features that we look for include certification from the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA); decanter size, bloom/pulse periods, and spray head style. All of these matter if you want a drip style coffee maker that will produce great coffee. If you just want coffee and aren’t all tied up in flavor, then a $30 model may suit your needs.

For proper coffee extraction, your drip coffee maker must have a boiler that will consistently heat water to 200-202 degrees F. Sour or bitter flavors in your coffee is attributed to under or over extraction. Yes, grind size matters. And so does water temperature. If your drip coffee maker allows for a bloom period, it will produce better coffee than one that doesn’t (provided water temperature is right). Proper distribution of water over the bed of coffee grounds will prevent most channeling and produce better coffee.

The phrase, “you get what you pay for” applies to drip style coffee makers. Choose one based on what is important to you!

drip coffee maker