Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 13:43
One of the best ways of brewing coffee is to use a manual coffee maker as they absolutely, and undeniably, get you the very best out of your beans as you can and will have control over some or all of the variables associated with brewing coffee.
The result is a cup of coffee brewed perfectly and exactly as you want it to be. Some manual coffee brewing methods can even be described as meditative.
Pro Tip: To get the best out of your specialty single origin beans, use a manual coffee maker!
Keep reading as we dig down and get deeper into this topic and talk about the various methods and manual brewing techniques that get the best out of your beans.
What Is A Manual Coffee Maker?
Table Of Contents
- 1 What Is A Manual Coffee Maker?
- 2 Types Of Manual Coffee Makers
- 2.1 #1 Manual Coffee Maker No 3
- 2.2 #2 Pour Over Coffee Maker
- 2.3 #3 Drip Over Coffee Maker
- 2.4 #4 Chemex Coffee Maker
- 2.5 #5 Moka Pot (Stovetop Coffee Maker)
- 2.6 #6 AeroPress Coffee Maker
- 2.7 #7 Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- 2.8 #8 Manual Espresso Maker
- 2.9 #9 Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
- 2.10 #10 Vietnamese Coffee Maker (Phin)
- 2.11 #11 Percolator
- 2.12 #12 Rok Manual Lever Espresso Maker
- 2.13 #13 Siphon Coffee Maker
- 2.14 #14 French Press
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions About Manual Coffee Maker
- 3.1 What Is A Manual Coffee Maker Called?
- 3.2 Is Manual Drip Coffee Better?
- 3.3 What Is The Difference Between Manual And Automatic Coffee Machines?
- 3.4 What Is The Best Manual Coffee Method?
- 3.5 What Is A European Coffee Maker Called?
- 3.6 What Is The Cleanest Way To Make Coffee?
- 3.7 What Are The Disadvantages Of Drip Coffee Maker?
- 3.8 What Is The Most Energy Efficient Way To Make Coffee?
- 4 Frappé-Ing It All Up – Manual Coffee Maker
A manual coffee maker is a device which you use to turn coffee grounds into a delicious and tasty cup of coffee with either hot or cold water depending on the type of coffee being brewed.
Manual brewers come in all shapes and sizes and usually require the use of a filter of some kind to ensure the grounds do not get into your cup of coffee. By far, the best type of filter is a metal filter as it does not filter out any of the coffee oils.
A French press, coffee maker, a drip coffee maker, moka pot, percolator, Chemex, Aeropress are all fine examples of manual coffee makers.
Types Of Manual Coffee Makers
There are many different types of manual coffee makers in which you can use to brew your cup of coffee. Each have their pros and cons.
Let’s talk about the various devices that you can use to brew an excellent coffee.
#1 Manual Coffee Maker No 3
The manual coffee maker No 3 is a coffee brewer that is a 3 in one that combined a French press, drip coffee maker and a cold brew coffee maker.
It is a space-saving device that does a reasonably good job at producing good quality cuppa Joe with all 3 brewing methods.
Below I detail all three of these methods in detail.
#2 Pour Over Coffee Maker
Pour over coffee is a rather excellent and enjoyable way for brewing coffee. It produces a very clean, crisp coffee. The whole practice when done correctly is very meditative in practice when you are slowly controlling the pour over with a technique using a gooseneck kettle and the required pencil thin stream of water and pouring in a slow and controlled circular manner.
It requires patience and practice.
To brew a great pour over coffee technique is king, queen and duke. You will need to grind your beans to a medium coarse size, and put them in your metal cone filter or cloth filter. Heat your water to 92C to 96C (195F To 205F).
With a gooseneck kettle, which is by far best, slowly pour your hot water in a circular fashion and with a thin pencil like steam. Pour only until your grounds are wet and then pause for 20 to 25 seconds to allow your grounds to bloom.
Blooming is the degassing of your grounds and helps them to bring out the flavors. Once bloomed, continue to pour your hot water slowly over your grounds in a circular motion. Do not flood your beans.
#3 Drip Over Coffee Maker
A drip coffee maker is the most common, most familiar way of brewing a cup of coffee and was very much the go-to way of brewing in the 70s and 80s even in low to mid-end coffee shops prior to the days of gourmet coffee becoming the thing.
Drip coffee machines are great at making batches of up to 10 and even 12 cups at a time. More modern drip coffee makers like a Keurig have a combo machine with a K-Cup capsule for pod based coffee and gourmet coffee.
A drip coffee maker you add your ground coffee to the filter area. Fill your water reservoir with cold water which will be heated up by the machine and eventually drip over your grounds which make their way into the carafe.
Often the carafe has a hot plate below it which keeps your coffee warm.
Drip coffee provides a good, clean traditional old-fashioned coffee taste. If you are making a large batch, be aware of stale coffee and burnt coffee brewing away.
A solution for the latter is to use a thermal insulated carafe.
#4 Chemex Coffee Maker
A Chemex is a beautiful and artistically designed coffee maker, so much so that there is a Chemex coffee maker that is a permanent feature at the NYC Museum of Modern Art. In all essence, it is a pour over method that is much easier to manage.
Just put your filter inside it, add your grounds and then your hot water. Use medium-sized grounds and water from 195F (92C) to 205F (96C). Be very careful as your Chemex is very breakable. It could be made with stronger, reinforced laminated glass in my opinion.
#5 Moka Pot (Stovetop Coffee Maker)
there is not a home in Italy or Spain that does not have a moka pot. Going into an Italian or Spain home and not seeing one is like going into an Englishman’s home and finding a tea pot!
A moka pot, while not brewing an espresso as such due to the lack of pressure. What you will get is a very good, dark, deep and tasty cup of coffee.
Add very finely ground coffee to the filter area and water to the bottom. If you want it to be a little better, start with warm water and not cold or hot. The ideal starting temperature for brewing a perfect moka coffee is 70C (160F).
#6 AeroPress Coffee Maker
The Aeropress is certainly a piece of coffee brewing equipment that cheap enough to buy and take advantage of and makes better quality coffee when on the go and business trips. It is the newest brewing method having only been invented in 2005.
It is literally insane how many positive reviews it has with 16,000+ and an Average of 4 stars or more on Amazon. It’s quick, easy to use, easy to clean and does pull a reasonably good shot of espresso and thus good for all the espresso based drinks like a latte.
There is literally no limitation to the type of coffee drinks that you can make.
Like a home espresso machine it functions using very finely ground beans. Just add a tablespoon or scoop (provided). Add hot water to the marking for how many cups you want to make.
Put the filter in place and place your Aeropress over your mug, stir the coffee for 10 seconds or so and then carefully with an even pressure push down on the plunger to force your hot water down and through the grounds and filter and into your mug.
#7 Cold Brew Coffee Maker
I am a huge fan of cold brew. I’ll go a bit further and confess to being a big fan of double brewed cold brew coffee and cheekily brew it in a manner that ensures I get both the high and low temperature flavor compounds.
Cold brew coffee makers come in two varieties: full immersion and suspended grounds. By far the better extraction of the flavor compounds is by using a full immersion method. Make extra cold brew and make ice cubes with the excess that you make; this will prevent melting ice from watering down your brew.
To make cold brew you ideally need two containers, one for brewing and one for putting your finished cold brew in as you simply can’t leave your cold brew sitting there with the grounds after you have brewed it as it will only continue to extract your coffee.
Use a very coarse ground size is what you should use and simply add them to your cold brew container and brew them overnight for 12 to 24 hours. Use water that is cold as possible, literally ice-cold. Be sure to taste test after 12 hours and every few hours after that
#8 Manual Espresso Maker
There are many ways of making an espresso and by far the best way is by using an espresso machine be it a professional one or a home espresso machine.
Even though they are machines and not strictly speaking manual coffee makers I have included espresso machines in this list as the initial set up you need to dial in some key settings for temperature, pressure, etc. and keep an eye on the flow to get good crema.
You also need to keep checking and keep an eye on your machine continually producing top quality espresso shots and thus there is a strong manual element to an automatic espresso machine and thus are more correctly referred to as semi-automatic espresso machines.
There are a lot of different espresso drinks, some 40+ that I detailed in another article.
Manual espresso machines are a lot more complex and require you to control all the variables for every shot you pull.
#9 Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
A Turkish coffee is unique and made with the Ibrik and leaves the very, very fine grinds in them. It is strong and unfiltered. You can add seasoning like cardamom or cinnamon to bring out a great taste.
The grind size is much smaller than an espresso at 50 microns. A very flour-like grind. Add your grinds to water and bring it to a boil and let it simmer. This is the point to add your grinds and cardamon or cinnamon.
The grounds settle at the bottom of your cup. A Turkish coffee is a very strong coffee.
#10 Vietnamese Coffee Maker (Phin)
Having spent 3 years in the great South Eastern Nation of Vietnam and their quite fantastic and unique coffee culture.
A Caphe Phin, the Vietnamese way of enjoying a slow, and great drip coffee. The “Phin” sits on top of your cup and drips away, slowly brewing, dripping into your cup. It’s like a cool, old school way of enjoying a drip coffee.
Percolators and percolated coffee are a brewing method that existed long before drip coffee machines ever did. The plus points of the very familiar brewing method is the way it is very hands-off and does result in a very strong aromatic cup of coffee.
Traditionally these are stovetop coffee brewers and more commonly are now electric versions of that.
#12 Rok Manual Lever Espresso Maker
This I love and like Siphon coffee. It offers the means of theatrics and a pretty cool way of serving sexy coffee and a great way of impressing your date. The 9 bar (130 PSI) pressure is produced via a lever-based system.
Master this, and you will literally not need an espresso machine!
#13 Siphon Coffee Maker
A siphon coffee is not only a fantastic way of making coffee and is very visual, very much like science lab, science geek stuff.
It is a very subtle way of brewing coffee and the water is gently boiled and, in my opinion, just so much better when an alcohol burner is used, at least for visual purposes.
I do enjoy Siphon coffee, but I am not a big fan of it due to using a cotton cloth filter which filters out some of the oil which in turn ends up detracting slightly from the flavor. I really need to find a way of using a metal filter.
You can expect a well-balanced cup of coffee.
Water is heated to a point in which it turns into vapor and is siphoned into the next chamber where the grounds are. The water vapor then combines with the coffee grounds re-appearing as water and releases the brewed coffee back to where it originated as a fully brewed cup of coffee.
It is very visual, the classic Belgian way with the counterbalance is outstanding. A real crowd please.
It is also known as vacuum coffee due to the vacuum process.
#14 French Press
The humble French press is my favorite way of brewing coffee. As simple as it is, this device is absolute genius. It allows you to have complete control over the water temperature, extraction time, and grind size.
In all essence, you have complete control over the variables, and thus you can have an influence over the resulting cup of coffee and how it tastes.
This is what I use when enjoying, and spoiling myself with specialty single-origin beans.
Freshly Grind your beans to a medium-coarse or coarse grind and put your grounds into your French press. Lightly shake your press to ensure an even distribution of your grounds and add your hot water. Lightly immerse them and then stop to allow them to bloom.
Once your grounds have bloomed, slowly add your water to your press. Once your French press is full, stir your grounds gently for a minute and then press down on your plunger until it is just below the waterline.
Let your coffee and water mix sit for around 4 minutes to extract. Remember to taste and test it a few times to ensure you get it right. Once it is ready, push down on your plunger evenly and slowly until it reaches the bottom.
Pour and enjoy your coffee. Don’t let any excess coffee sit in your French press; decant it to a thermal flask. If you leave it there it will sit there and over extract.
Frequently Asked Questions About Manual Coffee Maker
What Is A Manual Coffee Maker Called?
There are many names for manual coffee makers like a French press, pour over, siphon, moka pot, coffee percolator and many more such as the ones listed above. All of them are easy to use and brew great coffee with.
Is Manual Drip Coffee Better?
The brewing process involves making coffee using a special manual drip coffee called a pour over is better, the best way of brewing coffee manually.
When you brew coffee using the pour over method, you get more total dissolved solids in your cup than any other brewing method – manual or automatic.
What Is The Difference Between Manual And Automatic Coffee Machines?
With a manual machine you have full control over all the variables associated with coffee brewing and can make the adjustments as you see fit from grind size to brew time and temperature as well as the coffee to water ratio.
What Is The Best Manual Coffee Method?
I have two favorites: the French press, which is a fabulous coffee brewing technique that uses full immersion methods of extracting the coffee. My other favorite and the one I use for expensive single origin light roast and blonde roast coffee beans is pour over coffee.
The constant flow of fresh hot water helps to extract the nuanced and intricate notes and flavors from your coffee beans.
What Is A European Coffee Maker Called?
There are many coffee makers that have their origins in Europe, namely a French press, Siphon coffee maker, espresso machine and a moka pot.
What Is The Cleanest Way To Make Coffee?
The cleanest way to make coffee is the pour over method. Your final cup of coffee is clean, fresh and crisp tasting.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Drip Coffee Maker?
The disadvantages of a drip coffee maker is the final cup of coffee is actually good to just better than average. You have no control over the variables and cannot customize the brewing method to get the coffee that is perfect for you.
While it is not perfect, I’ll make it clear that the final brew is not bad either.
What Is The Most Energy Efficient Way To Make Coffee?
Many of the manual brewing methods that don’t require electricity other than heating your water are energy efficient. These include a French press, siphon coffee maker and pour over coffee.
Frappé-Ing It All Up – Manual Coffee Maker
Which manual coffee maker is the best for you will depend on what kind of coffee you make most often and what kind of beans you buy.
If you make a lot of espresso based drinks then most certainly an espresso maker be it a semi-automatic or fully manual lever based one. If, like me, you love single origin coffee then a French press is what you will be looking for.
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