The best way to brew gourmet coffee is still by hand in a french press, siphon or a pour over. However, automated coffee brewing methods are getting better. The perfect automated coffee brewer besides brewing a fantastic cup of coffee should be fast, convenient, easy to clean, always brew at 200 degrees F and provide a four minute extraction. So far no coffee pot meets all of those criteria. If you want fast, convenient and easy to clean, as in a pod/capsule brewer, you have to give up 200 degree brewing and a four minute extraction. If you want a four minute extraction, you have to give up convenient and easy to clean. However, as customers are buying better coffee and demanding better coffee brewing, automated pots are getting closer to manual brewing.
The old Mr. Coffee style drip brewers are obsolete. They didn’t make good coffee, anyway, because they didn’t consistently brew at 200 F and they had a short extraction time. However, they were convenient and easy to clean. It is ironic that when automated drip machines were introduced they replaced the Cory and Silex coffee pots that most cafes and restaurants used. Cory and Silex were vacuum pots and they did provide a 200 degree brew and a four minute steep. However, they were harder to clean and the server had to pay attention to them while they were brewing.
There are commercial machines on the market that are as convenient as the Mr Coffee style machine, always brew at 200 F and provide a four minute extraction. But they brew big batches of coffee and are expensive. The technology is slowly filtering down to home coffee makers. A number of coffee machines now provide 200 F water for brewing. A few home brewers are also doing an initial wetting of the coffee grounds before brewing starts.
Major brewer companies have jumped into the market with automatic pour over machines that pulse 200 F water into the brew basket. However, while these machines brew a great cup of coffee, some of them have entered the marketplace too fast and have serious design and quality control problems.
The best gourmet coffee makers on the market right now are:
Bunn Trifecta MB The Trifecta MB is a automatic french press. In addition to the normal total grounds immersion like a french press, the Trifecta MB adds a turbulence cycle where the grounds are agitated as they brew with an air infusion which also oxygenates the coffee brew. At the end of the cycle, the coffee slurry is forced through a filter. This is a single cup machine that brews between 6 and 12 ounces of coffee at a time. This machine has been on the market for about two years and gets excellent reviews for design and coffee quality. The price is about $550.
Hario V60 Coffee King. It is being sold by Amazon and a couple of other companies directly from Japan. It is called an automatic pour over but all drip coffee makers are automatic pour over brewers. The difference with the Hario is that the water supply is constantly at 200 F and the brew water is pulsed into the filter to give a long extraction. The price is approximately $200.
Chemex Ottomatic Chemex has created an automatic pour over machine that is compatible with any one of its Chemex brewers. The Ottomatic Coffeemaker heats water to 200 F, pre-infuses the grounds, and then automatically pulses water into the filter. It also has a hot plate to keep your remaining coffee warm. The brewer will fill a 3, 5, 6 or 8 cup Chemex carafe. The advantage of the Chemex over the Hario is that it uses the Chemex filter paper which produces an extremely clean cup of coffee. The brewer costs $350.
Ratio Ratio is a start up company that has created an elegant, simple pour over brewer. There is only one button on the machine. Push the button and the machine computes a brew schedule based on how much water you have added to the cylinder. The company advertizes that “Ratio is smarter than your average coffee maker.” You can brew up to 40 ounces of coffee (5 eight ounce cups) It comes with a custom designed metal filter, however, it can also use Chemex filters. The machine is a work of art with die cast nickel-plated aluminum, Oregon black walnut and borosilicate glass parts. The brewer costs $480.
There are several other automatic pour over brewers on the market that make a great cup of coffee. Some of them are the Brazen Plus, Bodum Bistro B, Kitchen Aid Automatic Pour Over, Technivorm Mocamaster, Wilfa Coffee Maker and the Bonavita 1900. However, each of them have reviews filled with complaints that they have serious design problems or that they failed within a few days after they were purchased.
If you are buying gourmet coffee at up to $150 a pound it doesn’t make sense to ruin the flavor by using a Mr. Coffee style drip brewer. Gourmet coffee lovers have a choice, brew coffee by hand or pay for an expensive automated machine.
Karen Jue Paterson is the owner of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, a 33 acre coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii. Hula Daddy is the winner of the 2014 Kona Coffee Cupping competition. Karen is a member of the Hawaii Coffee Association, the Kona Coffee Council, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association, the Holualoa Village Association and the Specialty Coffee Association of America. She is also the author of a number of articles on Kona Coffee including: Coffee Fraud http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=2337: Kona Coffee Farmers at a Crossroad http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=696 ;How Typica is Your Kona Coffee? http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=710 ; Are Roasters Eroding the Kona Coffee Brand?http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=952; Coffee Cupping Competitions – Real or Random Chance? http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=1670 ; Seven Easy Steps to Become a Gourmet Coffee Taster http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=1785 ; How to Brew Coffee Using a Pour Over Filter http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=1754; Before You Buy an Automatic Single Serve Coffee Brewerhttp://www.huladaddy.com/?p=1899; Siphon Coffee Brewers Suck! http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=2026; Sweet Coffee http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=2144;What Color is Your Coffee Roast? http://www.huladaddy.com/?p=4 You can email her at email@example.com #huladaddy #konacoffee