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The Perfect Coffee Pot

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 Bunn Trifecta MBimmersion 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.v60coffeeking 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 chemexottomaticChemex 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 1ratiocoffeemaker“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.

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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 Kona Coffee Farmers at a Crossroad ;How Typica is Your Kona Coffee? ; Are Roasters Eroding the Kona Coffee Brand?; Coffee Cupping Competitions – Real or Random Chance? ; Seven Easy Steps to Become a Gourmet Coffee Taster ; How to Brew Coffee Using a Pour Over Filter; Before You Buy an Automatic Single Serve Coffee Brewer;  Siphon Coffee Brewers Suck!; Sweet Coffee;What Color is Your Coffee Roast? You can email her at #huladaddy #konacoffee



  1. Mariann Jelinek says:

    Dear Karen,
    I always enjoy your letters — thanks for the education, as well as many wonderful cups of Kona!. I’m using a Melita coffee cone and filters, manual pour over freshly ground coffee. I enjoy the process: watching the coffee grounds bloom, seeing the crema rise, and anticipating a reliably delicious cup. I’ve roasted my own beans and have ground them freshly for years. I do suppose that my water temperature varies some, as it cools from the boil before I pour and then over the course of the next few minutes … But I cannot imagine spending $550 for a single-cup brewer! It’s not the money — though of course there is that — but more the loss of a treasured ritual of my mornings.
    Thanks again for yet another good read!
    Warmly caffeinated regards,

    • Hi Mariann You are right. There is zen in doing your own pour over. But sometimes at 6am the zen gets a little fuzzy. Mahalo Karen

  2. I’ve had my Technivorm Moccamaster for 7 yrs WITHOUT A SINGLE ISSUE. It has an arm that allows the water to flow out of several holes evenly… like the perfect showerhead to perfectly saturate my perfectly ground beans (recommend the Baratza Encore… who has matched their service w/their products… and that says a LOT… NOTHING on the market compares… and at their price point… it’s 5 times the machine most are that cost 5 times the amt)… It’s ALWAYS EXACTLY AT THE IDEAL TEMPERATURE… and it’s ALWAYS EXACTLY AT THE IDEAL EXTRACTION RATE… You can even adjust the flow by opening/closing the knob on the brew basket. I’m a SNOB when it comes to equipment and I will ONLY settle for the BEST. The Technivorm engineering is, without a doubt, as close to perfection as it comes. Perhaps others have had some negative experiences… but that baffles me. The design is simple… yet genius. I can only speak for myself and my experience.. which has been top notch across the board. Oh… and if that’s not rave enough…It’s VERY easy to clean!! As is the Baratza. Anywhoooo… I bet the companies would send you one to test and I’d personally bet you’d end up keeping them for yourselves in your break room! hahahaha Cheers and Aloha, Laura (please don’t post my email thanks)

  3. Jim Boulter says:

    Aloha Karen,

    I always enjoy reading your posts, and your most recent is no exception!

    As a follow up to your comments on the perfect coffee pot (27 February 2015) — the Clive Coffee Ratio 8 coffee maker is still not shipping (I ordered one over a year ago). Apparently production has been delayed due to design and construction material issues, although the actual problems were never fully explained in the plethora of mea culpa e-mails from the designer Mark Hellweg.

    I mention this since any real world evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of this pour over machine (you list it as one of the best units available) should probably await end user comments. However, based on the promotion / advertising info it should be a great, albeit expensive, addition to the lineup of coffee makers!


    Jim Boulter
    Hollywood, California

    • Hi Jim I was under the impression that the first round of orders was sent out I will follow up on this. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Hi Jim It appears that they started to ship on January 31. On their twitter page the name someone who has received one. Hopefully you will be on there soon. It also appears that last fall they were giving samples out to professional reviewers who actually used the machines to brew coffee. Mahalo Karen

  4. Carleen says:

    Hi and thanks for your informative newsletter I agree with your comment on purchasing a decent coffee maker when you’re spending money on great coffee. You neglected to mention the Jura Capresso impressa line of coffee makers. They do it all!!! Pricey but mine has lasted 8 years so far and I love its design and the great coffee and coffee beverages it allows me to make.

    • Aloha Carleen The Jury Capresso is a good home espresso machine. If drip machines were as good or as automatic it would be wonderful. Mahalo Karen

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