Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Dominic has been dealing with coffee almost all his life long: in his teenage years he worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing his knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after the graduation, he managed to open his own small coffee bar, which turned into a chain spread all over the state.
The coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks, and many people love to have a fresh cup of coffee. For some of them, making their own cup of coffee using a manual coffee maker is something that they enjoy to do because it is very easy, quick, and they can control many of the variables in the brewing process.
In our search for the top ten best manual coffee makers, we reviewed over the 38 products on the market. At the top of our list, we have the Kalita Wave Stainless Steel Dripper 185. It truly packs a lot of punch with its small frame, durable stainless steel design, and of course, the best tasting coffee. We also present to you nine other incredible manual coffee makers in this article in the hopes of giving you great options for your coffee tasting preferences.
Top 10 Manual Coffee Makers Review 2020
We’ve spent over 59 hours reviewing and analyzing the top manual coffee makers on the market, and we’ve identified a few key features. First, we looked at the type of coffee maker. There are some conventional coffee drippers, but we also took a look at a French press and cold brew coffee makers. The capacity of the coffee maker was another important factor as you’d probably want to know how much coffee will be brewed. The dimensions and the weight of manual coffee makers are essential because you will need a place to store it in your kitchen. Lastly, we considered the materials because we wanted to know how durable they are and how easy they are to clean. All of our research has been distilled down into a detailed review of each product, which is followed by our buying guide to help you answer any questions you may have about choosing the best manual coffee maker.
One of the best manual coffee makers on the market is the Kalita Wave Stainless Steel Dripper. This manual coffee maker is notoriously known for being efficient and simple to use. It holds 16-26 ounces, or roughly 3-4 medium-sized cups of coffee and is made of pure stainless steel, which makes it easier to clean. It boasts a sturdy and compact design, measuring out to almost five inches tall and wide.
The Wave sets itself apart from many other coffee drippers because, unlike them, the Wave doesn’t just come equipped with a single hole where the coffee is drained. Rather, the Waves comes with three holes, which creates a much more efficient extraction process for smoother tasting coffee. Having three holes from which the coffee can drain reduces the amount of waiting time as well.
However, some people say that the capacity is quite small for bigger companies. Seeing how one load can make 2-3 cups of coffee, we’re calling the Kalita Wave an amazing manual coffee maker for two persons.
Simple, compact design
Stainless steel makes it easy to clean
Three holes make the brewing process more efficient
Another great manual coffee maker and a big favorite amongst many coffee-creating enthusiasts is the AeroPress Coffee Maker. Hailed as being one of the most versatile manual coffee makers around, the AeroPress can make a regular cup of coffee or something stronger, like an Espresso-based beverage. The AeroPress has an eight-ounce capacity, which is the perfect amount for a medium-sized coffee cup. The composition of the AeroPress is of a higher-quality plastic material that should be durable enough for some time but make it hard to clean and lacks the proper heat retention that other coffee makers have. It has a sleek design with a long body that measures about one foot.
The AeroPress is a dynamic hand-pressure coffee maker that makes the perfect amount of coffee for one person. What it lacks in terms of quantity of coffee produced is made up for by the high quality of coffee it makes. The process itself is very straightforward and very quick, and you should be able to brew yourself a cup of coffee in under two minutes using the AeroPress.
One of the names synonymous with manual coffee-making is Chemex. With the Chemex Eight Cup Classic, you can brew a big batch of fresh coffee. It is the classic coffee dripper, and its simple design will leave you wondering why people love it so much. A big part of the charm comes from the special Chemex classic filters that are thick and help to create smoother coffees by keeping out the bitter oils from the grinds. The thick filter can also withstand a larger intake of water because it prevents the water from going through the ground coffee too fast. Unfortunately, some users reported that they received the wrong filters.
With a capacity of 40 ounces, you’re going to get a lot of coffee from one brew using the Chemex. As the name entails, you can get eight, albeit small (5-ounce) cups of coffee with one full batch. Because it’s virtually just one big piece, cleaning the Chemex is fairly easy and requires little to no maintenance thanks to its very simple and elegant design.
Simple, elegant design
Keeps the oils out and prevents water from going through grinds too quickly
One of the most popular ways to make coffee in Italy and many different countries in Europe is by using Moka pot. The Bialetti Moka Express is a 3-piece coffee maker (each part is called a chamber) that, when assembled, produces some of the best shots of espressos around. It is an incredibly sturdy piece of kitchenware that is made of aluminum. Because of this, it is a tad bit heavier than other manual coffee makers. It produces almost seven ounces or about three cups of espresso. Because of its design, the Moka Express will generally last you a long time and is very easy to wash.
The Moka Express brews coffee fast thanks to its three chambers. The heat from the stove will boil the water and push it upwards through the ground coffee where the extraction will take place from the top chamber. It is a reverse process compared to conventional manual coffee makers.
Along with the Chemex, the V60 is another coffee enthusiast favorite for making a fresh-tasting and smooth cup of coffee. If you have the patience, the Hario V60 Glass Coffee Dripper produces the coffee of the highest quality. It is notoriously known for the meticulous routine that is required to create the coffee and often includes a timer and precision.
The capacity of the Hario V60 sits at a good 22 ounces, which should yield about two large cups of coffee. The cone is made of glass, and the carafe below is made of plastic. When used properly, the Hario V60 will brew a coffee that is full of clear flavor enhanced by rich aromas. Another great feature is that you can brew those two large cups of coffee in about three to four minutes. Its design simplicity provides easier maintenance and cleaning.
If you don’t want to get a dripper, turn to the Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker. This is your classic French press coffee maker with its long, cylindrical shape measures out to about one foot tall. The composition of the frame of the Bodum French press is made of stainless steel, while the container is made of heat-resistant glass. The handle is also heat-resistant as well, allowing you to hold it without any problems during the coffee-making process. It is easy to clean, and all the parts of this French press are dishwasher safe for convenient cleaning.
In terms of capacity, you’ll get a lot of coffee with this French press as it easily can hold 34 ounces, allowing you to make many portions of coffee. The Bodum French press comes with a three-part filter that is built to extract all the great oils and flavors of your coarse ground coffee while preventing those coffee particles from getting in the cup. However, you won’t get your coffee as hot as you would from coffee drippers.
Made of high-quality materials
Easy to clean
The filter preserves great flavor and stops coffee grounds
Coffee doesn’t come out as hot as a coffee dripper
We can’t talk about the best manual everyday coffee makers without highlighting one that is great for the cold brew method. The Takeya 10310 Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker is a great cold brew manual coffee maker. It holds up to 32 ounces, which should get you four, medium-sized cups of coffee when it’s done brewing. It has a very modern and stylish design with the airtight lid. Its body is composed of durable plastic, and it also has a non-slip silicone handle. It is very easy to clean by hand and is dishwasher safe.
If you’re looking for instant coffee gratification, just know that you’ll have to wait at least overnight for your coffee to be ready as it will need to sit in your fridge to brew. The longer you leave it, the smoother your coffee will taste because this brewing method makes your drink less acidic.
Can brew a good-size batch of coffee
Airtight lid prevents leakage
Takes at least eight hours to make a batch of cold brew
This is something resembling more of a science project than a coffee maker. The Yama Glass 8 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon is probably one of the most amazing ways to brew your coffee. The Yama Glass is a glass stovetop brewer that can hold up to 32 ounces to produce you about eight small (4-ounces) cups of coffee. Much like the Bialetti Moka Express coffee maker, the process is reversed as the water below is heated and boiled to begin the extraction process. Once it has extracted, the coffee is then pulled down through a thick filter and back into the bottom chamber, which should have a bit of water left. The thick filter helps to keep out acidic flavors and make smooth-tasting coffee.
In terms of construction, the Yama Glass is made of plastic and glass that is heat-resistant. Cleaning it is painless as well as you can do so by hand, or you can wash it using the dishwasher. Although it has a large size, you can easily disassemble it for a compact storage.
If you’re the type of person that likes to “set it and forget it,” the OXO Pour-Over Coffee Maker is the perfect coffee maker for you. Unlike many conventional coffee drippers, where you need to pour your hot water slowly and carefully over the ground coffee, the OXO Pour-Over does all the work for you. It has tiny holes that regulate the water flow and provide even distribution over the ground coffee below. This feature is called “Rain Maker”, and it basically sits on top of the cone-shaped brewer.
The OXO comes with a special water tank where you simply pour all your hot water, and it filters down through the tiny holes. It has a capacity of approximately 12-14 ounces, which is good enough for two medium-sized cups of coffee. It has a very compact design and can easily be stored just about anywhere in your kitchen. Its body is composed of plastic, which holds the heat fairly well but can be difficult to clean in the long run because of its white color.
Takes all the work out of manually creating coffee
The modest design of the Osaka Pour-Over makes this sleek-looking drip coffee maker one of the most ergonomic on the market. With a 37-ounce capacity, you’ll be able to get 3-5 cups of medium-sized coffees. It is a bit bigger in size because of its single-piece hour-glass shape. In terms of materials, it is composed of a stainless steel cone filter along with a lid and borosilicate glass carafe that retains heat well and keeps acidic flavors out of your brew. However, it takes a bit more storage space.
What sets apart the Osaka Pour-Over Coffee Maker from other coffee drippers is the usage of their stainless steel cone filter instead of using a traditional paper filter. Using the steel filter prevents you from spending money on the disposable filters, as well as enhances the flavor profile of the coffee. Because the filter is made from stainless steel, it makes it that much easier to clean and will not stain or rust.
Creates a good-size batch of coffee
Steel filter is easy to clean, and it enhances the flavor
Don’t need to buy paper filters
Can be hard to store because of its long, single-piece body
We’ve reviewed the ten best manual coffee makers, and as you can see, there is a wide variety of ways to create a fresh cup of coffee manually. From traditional coffee drippers to percolators, syphons, and French presses, you can see that the options to make coffee are almost endless. If you’re finding it hard to choose the right manual coffee makers for you, we’ll take you through different features and give you more information to help you decide.
Things to consider before choosing the best manual coffee maker
If you’re looking for a manual coffee maker that is right for you, there are many different things to think of. First, we will start with the type of coffee you want to drink. Next, we will take a look at the capacity of the coffee makers and their dimensions. Finally, we will discuss the materials they are made of, how long they can retain the heat, and so on. Let’s start!
Type of coffee you want to brew
Ultimately, when choosing the best manual coffee maker, it really boils down to what kind of coffee you prefer to drink. If you’re a no-frills type of person, you’ll probably settle for a regular coffee from a drip coffee maker. Coffee drippers like the Kalita Wave and the OXO Pour-Over, can give you all you want. They provide even water distribution and are easy to wash.
The capacity of your manual coffee maker is another important consideration because it will help you determine how much coffee you’ll be able to make per load. We’d like to point out that more is not necessarily better. It really depends on the type of coffee you will be making.
If you’re looking to make regular drip coffee, the higher the capacity, the better. But if you want to make espressos, you won’t be drinking it like you would regular coffee, and a smaller capacity will suit you just fine.
For a bigger family, any manual coffee maker that has at least a 25-ounce capacity is great as you’ll be able to get at least 3-4 cups of medium-to-large sized coffees. Coffee drippers like the Chemex Classic and the Osaka Pour-Over are perfect options.
Remember that the higher the capacity, the longer it will take to brew your coffee. It will take roughly anywhere from three to six minutes.
Generally speaking, manual coffee makers are not very big in size. Compared to coffee making machines, these manual units are more compact. The smallest manual coffee maker on our list is the Kalita Wave. It is around three inches tall without a carafe. The largest one is the Bodum French Press, which is about 12 inches high. While they are not all the same in size, overall, they are easy to store in your kitchen.
The construction of those models varies much. We saw ones that are made of stainless steel, durable glass and plastic materials, aluminum, and silicone. Here, we have manual coffee makers that are made of BPA-free materials, such as the Takeya Cold Brew, and the Hario V60.
You can find models with polypropylene handles and heat-resistant collar that always remain cool and allow you to grab your coffee maker without any worries when you want to pour a cup of hot coffee.
Depending on the manual coffee maker you choose, some come with disposable filters, while others come with steel filters that you can wash and use again. For coffee makers that come with paper filters, you usually get a fair amount of them to use before you’ll have to replenish your supply through the manufacturer’s website or third-party sources. It’s important to note that not all paper filters are the same! A good example of this is the Chemex Classic, which comes with much thicker filters.
If you don’t want to fuss with paper filters, then we suggest you consider a coffee maker that comes with its own reusable filter that is made of steel, like the Osaka Pour-Over.
How it retains the heat of the coffee
It’s important that when you make coffee with your manual coffee maker that it stays hot. Most of these coffee makers do a good job of keeping your coffee hot. Do not forget to close the lid if you have one included. Next, the glass jars will do a great job at keeping your drink hot for a while.
You can take it one step further by warming up your carafe before you begin the brewing process. Simply pouring hot water into your carafe through the paper filter is a great way to pre-heat it, so that it will do a better job of keeping the coffee warm.
Easy to clean
All of the coffee makers we reviewed are relatively very simple to clean. Some of them are even dishwasher safe, and that makes the cleaning process more convenient and fast. Most of these manual coffee makers are very easy to disassemble. They are compact, so the whole process will not take much time.
All you will need is dish soap, sponge, soft cloth and baking soda for metal parts. You can also use lemon juice if you like.
What else to look at?
We’ve identified the main things such as its size, capacity, and type of coffee maker it is, but there are other things to take note of. Measuring spoon can be really handy to reduce the guesswork and increase precision. You may also want to check whether the manufacturer offers a warranty for their product. For example, the Bialetti Moka Express comes with a 2-year warranty, so you can be sure that this is a reliable product.
The price of a product can definitely play a role in your decision-making process. You’ll be glad to know that there is no need to break the bank to buy a manual coffee maker. Unlike the coffee machines, which can often cost hundreds of dollars, for the most part, these manual coffee makers will have you a significantly lower price tag. We’ve divided the prices into three groups and have included the examples of each group.
The coffee makers that brew the strongest cup of coffee are the AeroPress Coffee Maker and the Chemex Classic. The AeroPress focuses more on creating strong and smooth tasting espresso beverages that can really give you a kick. The Chemex Classic can make some strong coffee without bitterness thanks to the thick filters it uses that do a fantastic job of keeping the oils out of your coffee. This helps to make your coffee extremely clean and fresh, as well. You can also experiment – adjust the coffee-to-water ratio and choose darker coffee roasts.
It’s unavoidable that some of the manual coffee makers are made of plastic, but fortunately, most of them are BPA-free. If we are talking about plastic parts like handles, they don’t contact with hot water and, therefore, are not dangerous at all. It is safe to pour hot liquids in BPA-free reservoirs and leave it there as long as you like. Make sure to check the description of the product. If the manufacturer states that the plastic parts are BPA-free, you can go for that model without any worries.
Making coffee with your manual coffee maker is an imperfect science. If you haven’t done it before, it can require a bit of trial and error to understand how long it takes to make a cup. Generally speaking, making coffee with the models we’ve reviewed doesn’t take a long time. Since they vary in capacity, the smaller the coffee maker, the less time it takes to brew your coffee. You can expect the entire process to take roughly three to six minutes before you get to enjoy your drink. While this not really a whole lot of time, we recommend that you focus on understanding the brewing process right because you’ll probably want to enjoy a coffee that appeals to your taste than something that was hastily made.
In our review, we’ve identified ten of the very best manual coffee makers on the market, while three of them really stood out to us the most.
The first is our Editor’s Choice, the Kalita Wave. This manual coffee maker is incredibly durable and easy to clean thanks to its stainless steel design. It sports three holes for even water distribution, providing a consistent and smooth taste for every cup.
The second place goes to the AeroPress. It is by far the most versatile manual coffee maker we reviewed, and its specialty lies in its ability to brew fantastic espresso-based drinks.
Our final favorite coffee maker is the Chemex Classic. There’s a reason why it is used in thousands of coffee shops around the world. Its thick filter does a wonderful job at preventing bitter oils from getting in your coffee so that you are left with smooth, clean, and fresh tasting coffee. While it is more on the expensive side, don’t forget that you are getting a top-notch manual coffee maker with a bunch of filters included.