The 17 Best Filter Coffee Machines. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews


Filter coffee machines are often overlooked in the UK, when it comes to coffee machines as a whole, they often don’t get a look-in behind pod machines and bean to cup coffee machines, but filter coffee machines are a great, inexpensive and simple way to enjoy great quality filter coffee. 

I even get emails from people telling me they love filter coffee, and asking me what espresso machine or other type of coffee machine they should buy ;-). Obviously, if you love filter coffee, and you want a coffee machine (rather than a manual brewing setup) it’s really a filter coffee machine you should be looking for, but given that you’re here, reading this, there’s no need for me to tell you that :-).

So, you’ve decided that you want to buy a filter coffee machine, and you’re wanting some help figuring out which are the best filter coffee machines to look at, well you’re in luck, as that’s exactly what this post is all about!

 

Best Filter Coffee Machines.

 

If at this point you’re questioning yourself in this regard, and you’re actually not quite sure if you do want to be looking at a filter coffee machine, then the question to ask yourself is very simple, do you want to drink filter coffee? 

Filter coffee machines make filter coffee, and OK that much is obvious, but some people don’t seem to be aware of the fact that filter coffee is different from other types of coffee, such as cafetiere coffee or Americano.

One of the most common questions I get in this regard is from people who bought a bean to cup coffee machine, who prefer filter coffee, and who aren’t happy that the black coffee they’re drinking via their chosen machine doesn’t taste like filter coffee, or vice versa (they’re wanting Americano from a filter coffee machine).

Filter coffee and Americano may look similar, and they can taste similar (this just depends on the filter coffee and Americano you’re comparing and how they were produced) but they’re different. Americano is made by mixing espresso with hot water, filter coffee is made by filter brewing coffee, and these are two different brew methods, with different results. 

Generally speaking, I tend to think of Americano as being stronger than filter coffee, and I think this is an assumption many would make. It’s not actually true though, as with many assumptions.

Where taste is concerned, whether filter coffee or Americano is more intense, simply depends on the recipe and brew method of the filter coffee you’re comparing, and the level of dilution of the Americano. Americano can be as intense as you want it to be, simply by changing the dilution, and filter coffee can be made to whatever coffee to water ratio you prefer.

Someone emailed me the other day about this, asking how much water they should add to their espresso for Americano, and my answer was – as much as you like.

It’s just a case of tasting and seeing what works for you. Some people will say that 1:1 is the right dilution, for example a 40ml shot of espresso and 40ml of water, while this would be far too intense for many people to enjoy. Some will add double, triple or quadruple this amount of water – in fact, some coffee shops dilute their Americano far more than this, for example one double shot mixed with 300 – 400ml of hot water.

If I’m having breakfast at a hotel, including coffee from a bean to cup machine, I’ll nearly always end up adding at least one espresso to the Americano, because dishwater strength Americano doesn’t make me happy. When I’m making my own (which is most of the time), I add the amount of water for whatever strength I’m in the mood for, and that’s one of the great things about Americano, it’s very easy to add a bit more water if it’s too strong. 

So when people say that filter coffee is more mellow than Americano, they’ve probably tasted a fairly standard 60g of coffee per litre of water filter coffee, and a stronger Americano, but you can make weaker Americano and stronger filter coffee. 

I’ve actually tasted filter coffee that was brewed really intense, to something more like lungo intensity, and I’ve tasted Americano that has been diluted to “coffee flavoured water” territory, so it’s not necessarily true that Americano is stronger than filter, or vice versa.

So if you’re thinking of espresso vs filter coffee based on intensity, this isn’t necessarily the best thing to base your decision on, as you can tweak the intensity of both brewing methods to best match your preferences. 

What does appear to be the case, is that filter coffee has a higher caffeine content than espresso.

Espresso is extracted at a much higher concentration, so a double espresso made with around 18g of ground coffee will end up as an espresso of about 40ml, containing roughly 100 – 140mg of caffeine (a very rough guestimation, it’ll depend on the coffee you’re using, and the dose).

If you top that up with hot water to make an Americano for example, of course, the caffeine content isn’t going to change regardless of how much water you add.

If you make a cup of filter coffee, however, from the same weight of the same coffee, you’d end up with a cup of coffee with over 50% more caffeine – according to James Hoffmann’s testing in this video.

 

James recorded average caffeine levels of 110mg of caffeine in espresso, and 170mg in filter coffee, quite a surprising figure. This was with pourover, but from testing others have done, I’m fairly confident that filter coffee machines will extract almost the same level of caffeine.

If you’re thinking Americano may be what you’re really looking for, then you’ll need an espresso machine rather than a filter coffee machine, these posts might be worth a read:

Best Home Espresso Machines Best Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

Don’t go From Memory of Bad Coffee Experiences!

You might think you don’t like a particular type of coffee because you tasted it at some point and it wasn’t for you. If this is the case, I’d highly recommend just trying that coffee, that you don’t think you like, a few times before concluding that this is (or is still) the case.

When I started getting into speciality coffee, I didn’t think I liked filter coffee at all, and it’s simply because when I thought “filter”, I thought of the overly bitter-tasting filter coffee I experienced in the hotels and meeting centers in which I consumed a lot of filter coffee during the late 90’s and early 00’s.

I was a trainee sales rep back then, and it was a very well-established old fashioned company, and as a result, the meetings they had were very old fashioned, often in big old hotels in conference rooms with decor (and filter coffee machines I suspect) from the 80s.

That filter coffee was very intense in flavour, I’d go as far as to say acrid, and this will be because it was often big tins of very dark roasted pre-ground coffee, that had been brewed and had been sitting in the pot on a hot plate for quite some time before hoards of sales reps (usually with hangovers, as these kinds of meetings often happened the morning after “sales meetings”), don’t get me wrong, back then that thick dark jolt was a godsend, but it’s not a taste that would make me excited about the thought of buying a filter coffee machine.

The best filter coffee machines these days don’t tend to have hot plates, so that’s a good thing – some still do, but you don’t have to use them, and my advice would be to brew into an insulated carafe or travel cup to keep your coffee warm, rather than using a heat source such as a warming plate.

The main difference, though, between that filter coffee and the coffee I’d brew via a filter coffee machine or pourover filter brewer these days, is the coffee itself. If you’re using great quality, freshly roasted high quality speciality coffee, you’d actually have to work quite hard to make it taste bad!

Talking about tales of poor coffee, I think the most surprising tasting coffee I’ve had, was on the set of the TV show Benidorm.

I used to be a TV extra, and somehow I ended up landing a short gig in Benidorm lounging by the pool in the background or walking through the hotel reception, I know, a difficult job but someone had to do it ;-). It was great fun, I have to say, but the coffee, hmm. I’ve never tasted coffee quite like it, before or since. It was in massive metal urns, it was that thick you could almost chew the stuff, like hot treacle.

I couldn’t decide if it was amazing or terrible, I mean, it was terrible but amazingly terrible, there was something majestic about its terribleness – it actually hurt the roof of my mouth like Marmite does (I love that stuff!). It was only the extras who were given the luxury of this marmite hot treacle style coffee, by the way, the poor cast and crew had to make do with coffee from a very well-known brand of pod coffee machine ;-).

The same is true of Americano, though. You might think it tastes like crap because you had an Americano somewhere and it tasted disgusting. I had an Americano at a cafe not long ago, and the fact that the shot was done in 12 seconds already had me very worried, but the fact that the “barista” (I’ve put that word in quote marks for obvious reasons) then poured about half a litre (I’m not kidding) of water over a double shot, meant I couldn’t taste how bad it was, it just tasted like hot water with a light coffee flavouring.

So if there’s any coffee you think you don’t like because of one particular experience, don’t let that one bad Americano or bad filter coffee, for example, define that coffee. 

Now, I’ll stop waffling – and I’ll start introducing you to what I think are among the best filter coffee machines in the UK in 2024.  If you do want more info on filter coffee, though – scroll to the bottom of this post for my big filter coffee FAQ.

I’m splitting the suggestions into two categories, premium, and cheap or “budget”. This is because these are basically the two categories for filter coffee machines, there’s no real in between, there’s what I refer to as the normal, run-of-the-mill, low-cost filter coffee machine, and then there are the premium options, so I’ll suggest what I think are the best for both types.

Best Cheap Filter Coffee Machines

These are what I think are the best options if you’re looking for a “normal” low-cost filter coffee machine on a small budget. If all you’re looking for is a machine that makes filter coffee, with normal features which generally include timed brewing so you can set it to have a pot of filter coffee ready for you when you wake up, and if you’re looking at spending something in the region of just under forty quid to just under a hundred, then this is the section you’ll want to spend the most time in.

Personally, I’d recommend just having a quick look at the premium section below, too, so you can see what kind of features this kind of machine offers. Also, if “premium” or “speciality” wasn’t really high on your list of priorities, but come to think of it, you would like to be able to enjoy barista quality speciality coffee literally at the touch of a button, I’d recommend at least looking at the Sage Precision Brewer, which is the filter coffee machine I have, as the amazing user friendliness and cup quality of this brewer makes it a great choice, in my humble opinion.

 

Russell Hobbs 20680 Buckingham Filter Coffee Maker

Russell Hobbs 20680 Buckingham Filter Coffee MakerRussell Hobbs 20680 Buckingham Filter Coffee Maker

Check Price – Amazon 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.25L of coffee 
  • Quick heat up time
  • Reuseable filter
  • Glass carafe 
  • Hot plate
  • 24 hour auto brew timer 

My Observations

This is a filter coffee machine that has sold very well in the UK over the past decade or so, it’s one of the best selling low-cost filter coffee machines, and it’s not hard to see why this is.

It’s very cheap, it’ll brew from 250ml – 1.25L of coffee at a time, it has an auto brew timer function, and it looks pretty good. 

It comes with a reusable filter, or you can use paper filters if you prefer.

Quick tip: Most filter coffee machines come with a reusable mesh filter. Just buy some paper filters and taste the difference. If you don’t like the idea of paper filters (re sustainability) then try a reusable fabric filter. Both will produce better tasting filter coffee than most of the mesh filters in my humble opinion.

It has a 1.25L brewing capacity, and if you believe the blurb that’s enough for 10 coffees – and it is if you drink 125ml cups of coffee ;-).

A standard UK “builders mug” when filled up to about an inch from the rim, is about 280-300ml. I can’t imagine that anyone drinks 125ml cups of filter coffee. I think most people probably drink 200-300ml cups of filter, so being realistic, this will brew enough for 1-5 decent sized cups.

Going through the reviews, the one thing I’d be put off by with this machine is the glass carafe appears to be prone to breaking, and the cost of the replacement carafe is almost half the cost of the filter coffee machine including the carafe, which seems a bit steep.

 

Melitta Look V Filter Coffee Machine

Check Price – Amazon

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.25L of coffee 
  • Removable water tank
  • Programmable keep-warm time
  • Durable Borosilicate glass carafe 
  • Hot plate

My Observations

This is a fairly low priced filter coffee machine, and overall I think it’s fairly good for the price. You can spend a bit more on the timer version if you need the brew timer option, but if you’re looking for a lower cost filter coffee machine from a very well known filter coffee brand, then this machine is worth a look.

Melitta invented filter coffee, by the way, so they should know what they’re doing 😉 – and overall, Melitta coffee machines have a decent reputation. 

This machine has some obvious positives, including a less flimsy carafe than some other low cost machines. Auto limescale protection, programmable water hardness, auto descaling, 3 keep warm settings. 

The thing I don’t quite understand is the aroma selector.

It’s implied that by selecting mild or strong you can change the strength of the coffee, but I can’t get my head around how this would actually work, and the comments in the reviews would indicate that it doesn’t actually do anything. 

Surely the only way you’d change strength would be to change the coffee to water ratio. I suppose it could be that contact time is increased at the “strong” setting? I’m not sure if this is the case or how that would work, I can’t find anything about it except for comments from users who say it doesn’t do anything at all.

The fact that it has three keep warm settings I think is a good thing. When you keep a pot of coffee on a hot plate, after a while the taste will start to deteriorate, so if you have a hot plate that is constantly on, you have the potential for ruined coffee. 

I know this from experience. Years ago when I started my first business, I had a tiny little office in an old mill converted into office space, in which I had a small desk, PC, and a filter coffee machine (I actually think it was a Melitta but I can’t remember for sure). 

That office had a very distinctive smell, of bitter coffee. Everyone would comment on it even when just walking past the door ;-).

The reason was, I’d brew a full pot of coffee, leave it on the (always on) hot plate & forget about it. An hour later, I’d have an office with a very strong bitter coffee smell and very bad tasting coffee. I’d drink a bit of it, grimace, brew a fresh pot & do the same again ;-).

I would highly recommend that if you get this coffee filter machine, you just use the 20 min keep warm function if you’re going to use any. 20 minutes is just about the maximum I think you really want to keep a pot of coffee on a warming plate. 

 

Russell Hobbs Chester Grind and Brew Filter Coffee Machine

Check Price – Amazon 

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.5L of coffee 
  • Freshly grind your own coffee beans
  • Quiet Brew Technology
  • Reuseable filter
  • Pause and Pour option
  • 24 hour auto brew timer 
  • Glass Carafe

My Observations

This is the first bean to cup filter coffee machine to feature in this best filter coffee machine run down. 

The very cheapest electric burr grinders start at almost the same price as the Chester Grind & Brew, so this is a very low cost option for both grinding and brewing your filter coffee.

Looking through the reviews, this is one of the coffee machines that appear to come out of the box with a very strong plastic odour which is difficult to get shot of.

Quick tip: Thoroughly wash all of the washable parts (carafe, filter, filter holder, water tank) with hot soapy water, and leave it to soak. Rince it all off, and get a 250g bag of very cheap coffee beans from any supermarket (Aldi sells some really cheap coffee beans), it’s OK, you’re not going to drink it.

Make a few full pots of coffee using this coffee, just keep going until you’re through the entire bag, pour it all down the sink. You should have now got rid of the “new machine smell” and you can put decent coffee beans in it & start brewing coffee you’re actually going to drink.

This is a filter coffee machine with lots of users, and there are a huge number of helpful tips and guides within the reviews. If you go for this machine, I’d highly recommend going through these reviews and printing off some of the guides provided by other users, as some of them are very well written and helpful. 

Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew

Check Price – Amazon  

Features

  • Brew up to 1.5L of coffee 
  • Freshly grind your own coffee beans
  • Stainless steel conical burrs with 3 grind settings
  • Adjustable strength settings (dose)
  • Brew timer
  • Reuseable filter
  • Glass Carafe

My Observations

When it comes to bean to cup filter coffee machines, that is, filter coffee machines with an integrated grinder, there aren’t all that many options, and from what I’ve seen, this is probably the one I’d go for, at the time of writing, if I wanted bean to cup filter coffee.

It has an amazing number of Amazon Reviews, and with products with that number of reviews, it’s very easy to get a good feel for a machine even just by looking at the mix of star ratings, if you spend some time reading through them you’ll probably get the impression I have, which is that this is a pretty decent machine for the money. 

Re the money, just keep in mind that this is very, very cheap.

The kind of burr grinder this machine has is the same that you’ll find in the grinders costing from around £60-£100, and here you’re buying the grinder, and the filter coffee machine, including the electronics to handle auto-brewing, etc., the water tank, the glass carafe, the heating plate.

The fact they’ve managed to do all that for this kind of price is very impressive, but I wouldn’t be expecting super high build quality – just keep in mind that the carafe may be a bit brittle, and there are likely to be a few cons. The most commonly reported being that the glass carafe is on the brittle side, but now they have brought out the AromaFresh with a stainless steel carafe which is much more sturdy!  it doesn’t come with a reusable mesh filter (I don’t like them anyway so that wouldn’t bother me), and the brew timer settings need re-setting if you unplug it.

 

Aigostar Filter Coffee Machine

Aigostar Filter Coffee Machine.Aigostar Filter Coffee Machine.

Check Price – Amazon  

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.5L of coffee 
  • Keeps warm for 30-40 mins
  • Reuseable filter
  • Glass carafe 
  • Hot plate
  • Easy to clean
  • 24 hour auto brew timer 

My Observations

This is a very popular, very low cost easy to use filter coffee machine. If you’re simply looking for the best value for money with a big max brew (1.5L) capacity, easy single-cup function (the anti drip feature works really well), brew timer to have coffee waiting for you when you wake up, and permanent filter so you can still make coffee when you run out of paper filters, then for the price, this is a great option. 

A quick note on the permanent reusable filter, it’s worth tying this – because if you like the taste of the coffee it makes then it makes sense to use it, to save the cost (and environmental impact) of using paper filters, but please don’t use the permanent mesh filter, dislike the taste of the coffee and determine that this filter machine makes horrible coffee.

I’ve seen this kind of comment in the past, on various filter coffee machines that come with one of these filters, and it just comes from a misconception. These reusable filters are there if you need them, or if you choose to use them, but they do result in quite a different taste and mouthfeel. If you’re grinding your own coffee (and I’d highly recommend that you do) then you can counter this to at least some degree by changing the grind size, but if you’re buying pre-ground then obviously you can’t do that. 

For me, what makes filter coffee filter coffee, is the paper filter. When you start trying to use other stuff such as nylon mesh or stainless steel, you’ll end up with a different result, mainly a different mouthfeel although it can impact on extraction and therefore taste, too. So, by all means, give these a try, but if it results in a cup of coffee that you would describe as “muddy” or is displeasing to you for any other reason, just grab yourself some paper filters.

If you read through the ridiculous number of reviews for this machine, you’ll find that generally speaking the comments are really positive, most people are pleasantly surprised as they took a punt at this very cheap filter coffee maker with the upfront understanding that they may be making a mistake, to find that it works really well, is mega simple to set up and use, it makes hot coffee, it’s fairly quick, and it’s just as durable as any other similar (often quite a bit more expensive) filter coffee machine. 

The water tank has a reading in cups, but be aware that a “cup” in this case is classed as 125ml (1500 ml split into 12), just over 4 fl oz, which is roughly what I’d class as about half a cup of filter coffee. If you’re using a cup slightly more dainty than a builder’s mug, you probably want to allow for about 250ml per cup, if you’re using standard builder mugs, around 285 ml per cup should be about right.

The instructions are a bit daft ;-), slightly nonsensical, but who needs instructions anyway? Actually, as it turns out, I do. My wife knows what I’m like for not being a fan of “RTFM”, she’ll often remind me that I really should read the flipping manual, I’ll usually say nah no need, she was proven very much correct yesterday.

I’ve had my car for almost a year now, and I was amazed that in this day and age, a car that is so modern in many other respects, doesn’t have a button to fold in the wing mirrors or to angle them, it all has to be done by hand! I parked it at an angle yesterday so the steering wheel was in a different position, and I noticed this weird-looking button… no, not the ejector seat, but a button which, you guessed it, folds the mirrors in and angles them… I’m sure this is on page nine thousand in the user manual, oh well, I know now!

 

Melitta Optima Timer Filter Coffee Machine

Melitta Optima Timer Filter Coffee Machine.Melitta Optima Timer Filter Coffee Machine.

Check Price – Amazon

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.2L of coffee 
  • Removable water tank
  • Brew timer 
  • Programmable keep-warm time
  • Durable Borosilicate glass carafe 
  • Hot plate
  • Auto descaling & limescale warning

My Observations

Another filter coffee machine from Melitta, the inventors of filter coffee, this is about twenty quid more than the Melitta Look V machine I mentioned earlier, and the main difference is the timer option. 

It features the same stronger glass carafe as the Melitta Look V and the calcification warning, but no “aroma selector” which I think is probably a plus, as I don’t think it actually does anything.

Just one thing to note is that the blurb on some websites does state that this machine features temperature control, and as far as I can see from the reviews, it doesn’t. 

Again, don’t pay too much attention to the number of cups the blurb states. It’s suggested that a small cup is 85ml and a large cup is 125ml. If you have scales or a measuring jug, just go see what 85ml or 125ml look like. 85 ml isn’t even a swig! 😉

If we were talking espresso, OK fair enough. But for filter coffee, most people are going to be drinking standard sized cups, 200-300ml, so you’ll get a few full cups from one brew.

Best coffee scales review

 

Geepas Filter Coffee Machine

Geepas filter coffee machine.Geepas filter coffee machine.

Check Price – Amazon

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.5L of coffee 
  • Anti Drip
  • Auto Shut Down
  • Boil Dry Protection
  • Brew timer 
  • Reuseable filter
  • Durable glass carafe 
  • Hot plate

My Observations

This is a very low cost filter coffee machine, and it has a lot going for it for such a cheap filter coffee machine.

1.5L max brew, reusable filter (or you can use paper filters of course), anti drip feature, durable glass carafe – for the price, this filter machine does offer great value for money.

As I’d expect with such a cheap coffee machine (it does make me giggle how similar the brand name sounds to “cheap-ass”) the reviews are mixed, which I think is mainly down to faulty units. There are a significant number of users reporting the machine failed after a very short space of time.

You’ll generally find that the cheaper the machine, the higher the instances of manufacturing faults. The good news is that if this happens if you’ve bought from Amazon, you can usually get a refund or replacement without any hassle.

It’s not only cheap machines that have faults, of course, any machine can come with a manufacturing fault, but the cheaper you go the more likely it is to experience a fault, so it’s a risk you take when you go for the very cheapest machine you can find, in my humble opinion – but not all that much of a risk really when you’re buying from Amazon.

Although, having said that, one of the reviewers mentioned that the fault was a leaking water tank that tripped the power. There are plenty of great reviews, too though, so I think if you’re lucky & you get one without a fault, this could potentially be a filter coffee machine offering great value for money at this price. 

If you’re unlucky though and get a faulty unit – remember, one of the benefits of Amazon is it’s fairly straight forward to return faulty goods.

 

Salter EK2408 “to Go” Personal Travel Cup Filter Coffee Machine

Salter EK2408 “to Go” Personal Travel Cup Filter Coffee Machine.Salter EK2408 “to Go” Personal Travel Cup Filter Coffee Machine.

Check Price – Amazon

 

Features

  • Ultra-compact
  • Includes 420ml stainless steel travel mug
  • Full travel cup of filter coffee in approx 3-4 mins
  • Reusable filter
  • Compatible with coffee pads
  • Biscuits not included

My Observations

If you’re looking for a really simple quick and easy to use, one-cup “personal” filter coffee machine, this is one of the best. It’s very inexpensive, it’s very much tried and tested (just look at the number of reviews!), and it does what it says on the tin, well, I don’t think it comes in a tin, but if it did – I’d expect the text on the tin to say “this filter coffee machine makes big 420ml cups of filter coffee in about 3-4 minutes, and comes with a 420ml stainless steel travel cup”.

There’s really not a great deal else to say about it, it’s a very machine, the footprint is approx. 17.5 x 13  cm, and it’s about 25cm tall, it comes with a reusable filter, and it’ll make a big cup (either in your own cup or in the travel cup it comes with) of hot filter coffee, in roughly three to four minutes.

Keep in mind that this is very cheap, you can spend more than this on a travel cup alone if you want to, so don’t be expecting the best where build quality is concerned for either the brewer or the cup, but in my humble opinion, this does the job really well for the money, so if you’re looking for a small personal one cup filter coffee machine for under £30, I reckon this one fits the bill.

 

Melitta Easy Therm II 1023-06

Check Price – Amazon

Features

  • Brew up to 1.25L of coffee 
  • Clear water tank with easy to read level indication
  • Insulated jug (glass inner with plastic outer)
  • Anti Drip System
  • Machine washable reusable filter
  • Compatible with size 4 filter papers
  • Hot plate

My Observations

This is another low cost filter coffee machine from the German inventors of filter coffee, Melitta.

This looks like a fairly old school filter coffee machine, not much in the way of bells and whistles, but for a machine at this price, it’s not bad value for money at all.

This one has an insulated carafe (dishwasher safe) from Melitta, not the all glass one, there’s a glass inner and a plastic outer. It has the anti-drip feature, keep warm function (up to 40 minutes), dishwasher safe reusable filter, and very small footprint, a plus if you’re wanting a small coffee machine for an already cramped kitchen worktop, motor home or home office.

Breville Flow Filter Coffee Machine

Check Price – Amazon

Features

  • Makes up to 12 cups of coffee
  • Pause and pour option
  • 24 hour auto brew timer 
  • Water filters
  • Keep warm function
  • Glass carafe
  • Dimensions: 20cm wide, 33cm deep, 32 cm tall

My Observations

This is a very inexpensive filter machine from Breville, with a very decent 1.8L brew capacity! 

Looking at all of the features, including the auto pause and keep warm function, I think this is an interesting option for such a cheap filter coffee machine. Just keep in mind that I’ve seen some really weird dimensions advertised for this coffee machine, which seem to state that it’s 8  x 12.9  x 12.6  cm, it certainly isn’t – it looks like they’ve put CM instead of inches, it’s actually a fairly hefty sized machine compared to the other low cost filter coffee machines, at about 20cm wide, 32cm tall and just a tad under 33cm deep.

By the way, a quick explanation about the Breville Vs Sage thing. You’ll often find info on Sage coffee machines which refer to them as Breville coffee machines. For example, if you google the Precision brewer, you’ll find a Breville version too. 

The reason for this is that Breville sold the brand name in Europe in the 80s, so the Australian-designed Breville machines can’t be sold in the UK under this brand name, hence they’re sold under the brand name Sage Appliances, instead.

So the Breville machines we know of in the UK, are a completely different brand to the Sage Appliances machines in the UK, which are sold in the US, Australia and most other countries outside of Europe, as Breville machines.

 

Best Premium Filter Coffee Machines

OK so now to move on to the premium filter coffee brewers. A lot of people reading this will be expecting to pay up to £100 or a lot less, on their new filter coffee machine, and if that’s you you might just want to have a glance below to try to figure out what the heck is wrong with people that they’d spend a few hundred quid on a filter coffee machine ;-).

I do have to say, though, that even if you would be more than happy with a £50 filter machine where taste is concerned, and you don’t consider yourself a speciality coffee nerd if you do have the budget I do think it’s worth considering investing a bit more cash in a premium machine.

I don’t only say this from the perspective of cup quality, although there’s no doubt that the three premium brewers I’m including below will deliver this in spades (well, cups, but you know what I mean), but also when it comes to build quality and therefore longevity. Generally speaking, I’d expect all three of the premium brewers below to far outlive the very cheap filter coffee machines above.

Whether they’ll outlast them to a degree that matches the price difference is another matter, but there is without a doubt a huge difference in build quality with these brewers vs the aforementioned budget filter coffee machines, and this can also make for a nicer brewing experience, in addition to better cup quality, and better durability/longevity. 

 

The Sage Precision Brewer Filter Coffee Machine

Check Price – AmazonCheck Price – Sage Appliances

Check Price – John Lewis Check Price – Clumsy Goat

 

Features

  • Brew up to 1.7L of coffee
  • Sturdy metal insulated carafe
  • Multiple presets & customisable brew settings 
  • More control over the brew than any other filter coffee machine *
  • Swap out the filter cone with your favourite pour-over filter
  • PID temperature control
  • 3 flow rate settings
  • Easy speciality coffee (gold cup) button
  • Small cup detection for brewing single cups
  • Comes with flat and cone filter baskets
  • Cold brew function
  • Steep & release technology
  • Small cup detection 
  • Flat bottom and conical filter brewing

*At the time of writing, I’ve never come across a filter coffee machine that gives the level of precision that the precision brewer gives, including the control over brew temperature, bloom volume & time and flow rate.

 

 

My Observations

This is an amazing filter coffee machine from Sage, and if I was going to buy a filter coffee machine for use at home or in my office/studio, it would be this machine.

I did, in fact ;-), I own one of these, and it’s a great filter coffee machine, one of the best overall if not THE best. The fact that the legendary James The Hoff Hoffmeister Hoffmann uses one of these as his daily brewer, is really all that needs to be said about it!

I’m not saying that about James Hoffmann because of his huge status on YouTube, by the way, I’m saying it because of his palate.

This guy is an ex-world barista champion, his coffee palate is exceptional as is his coffee knowledge – he’s probably forgotten more about coffee today than I’ll ever know. So I actually bought my precision brewer without hesitation when I heard that this is his daily coffee brewer.

In my opinion, this isn’t the best filter coffee machine in every single area. I think there are specific areas where other similarly priced premium filter coffee machines excel slightly, but for me, the Sage precision brewer is the best in most important areas.

There are other filter coffee machines on the market that I think do a better job in specific areas, for example, the markings on the water tank aren’t very precise, the water tank isn’t removable, and the jug retains a bit more coffee then I think is ideal, but none of these things are all that important in the grand scheme of things, and I’ve not yet come across another filter brewer that ticks so many boxes on the brewing side of things, which are the most important things of course.

As I’ve said in many other blog posts and videos about Sage coffee machines, Sage doesn’t tend to make coffee machines the same as other manufacturers.

Instead, they develop a clear goal for what they want to produce, and they then get to work making it possible, which often involves completely rethinking the way things are done, and inventing components. 

This is certainly the case with the Precision Brewer. This machine is perfect for anyone who loves filter coffee, whether you just want to press a button and walk away with a fantastic cup of coffee, or you want to really get involved in customizing the brew to find your perfect cup.

The brewing controls are where this machine really shines. Not only in the unique (at the time of writing, at least) level of control this brewer gives you over the important brew variables, but also when it comes to the simple fast buttons where all of these variables have already been optimised for you.

So you can control the flow rate of the brew, the bloom time and the bloom volume, and the brew temp (in one degree C increments), and you can create your own pre-programmed “My Brew” setting, so once you find your preferred setting you can simply use that each time. This will probably appeal to you if you’re getting into the home barista hobby, but if you’re not interested in coffee as a hobby, the “gold brew” button is a pre-programmed button that gives you these variables set to SCA standards, so you can literally just press the gold brew button if you want the best results without any thought. 

Similarly, if you’re not interested in faff (what the home barista hobby appears to consist of to the uninitiated) but you just want a strong coffee, you can press the “strong” button, or if you’re in a rush, the “fast” button.

It’ll do an overnight cold brew, too, which is great if you like cold brew. 

You can also have your coffee ready for you when you wake up, and OK, that’s not exactly a new thing, most of the much cheaper brewers have this, but the fact that it has this in addition to all of the other amazing stuff this does, is great.

The Carafe is a sturdy insulated stainless steel jug, which means no warming plate is required to keep your coffee warm, and it also means it’s less likely you’re going to have to buy a replacement carafe than with machines with glass jugs.

But if you want to brew directly into your cup, or travel mug – you can simply place this under the filter instead of the carafe, and the Precision detects this and changes the way that it brews in order to deliver a single cup. 

Overall, I don’t think there is a better filter coffee brewer on the market, at the premium end of things. So if you’re looking to spend this kind of money on one of the higher-end filter machines, personally I think you’ll struggle to find one better than this where performance is concerned, and in particular when it comes to getting the best cup quality with minimal effort. 

There are other premium machines that I think will deliver similar potential cup quality, but with emphasis on the word “potential”, because brewers such as the Technivorm Moccamaster, Wilfa Svart Performance & so on I think have the ability to produce very similar cup quality in the right hands, but usually don’t give such an easy option for great cup quality or the same level of simple control over the key brewing variables.

For more information on the Sage Precision Brewer, please see this post:

The Sage Precision Brewer Review

Technivorm Moccamaster KBG Filter Coffee Machine

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Features

  • Brew up to 1.25L of coffee
  • Copper boiling element
  • Brews at SCA approved temperature
  • Solid Aluminium build
  • Iconic Style
  • Auto drip stop
  • Half jug brew function
  • Huge range of colours

My Observations

I absolutely love the look of the Moccamaster machines, they look so cool & retro. Technivorm has been making these filter coffee machines since the late 60s, and they’ve not strayed too far away from the original design, which makes gives them a retro yet authentic and unique look. 

They’re very solidly built machines too, the KBG is made from aluminium.

The hot plate has two heat settings, which is fairly unique, filter coffee machines generally just have one heat plate setting. 

This isn’t a cheap machine, which to be fair it really can’t be when you consider the materials used, but these are solidly built machines, so this isn’t a machine you might have for just a few machines. I’d think anyone investing in any Moccamaster machine would be buying a filter coffee machine to use for years, decades even.

A quick look at the Amazon reviews gives a good indication of what kind of machine this is, you’ll have to look very hard to find negatives, most people who own this machine appear to love it, and are very generous when it comes to describing the design and the coffee it produces.

A common question I’m asked is where I stand when it comes to Sage Precision Brewer Vs Technivorm Moccamaster, and a very quick response to this is that they’ll both make great-tasting filter coffee, the precision brewer gives you a lot more control, a lot more user-friendliness, the Moccamaster has a more retro style.

This is similar to comparing two of the most popular but hugely different espresso machines, the Gaggia Classic Pro & the Sage Bambino Plus.

The Moccamaster machines, like the Gaggia Classic, feature unique timeless design, and the overall focus is on doing the important things very well and doing them reliably for years to come. The Sage machines are completely at the opposite end of the spectrum, similarly priced, but featuring state of the art design and features. 

I’ve said in previous posts that this comparison is similar to the comparison between the Land Rover Defender and the Tesla Model X. I couldn’t imagine someone swapping from one of these to the other and being happy.

So if you’re looking for high-tech features, user-friendliness and modern design, you’d probably be best with the Sage Precision Brewer. If you’re looking for a workhorse, designed simply to brew decent filter coffee, and to keep doing so for years to come, then a machine like the Moccamaster may be right up your street. 

OK, so these are what I believe to be the best options in the UK at the moment if you’re looking for a filter coffee machine. If there’s a machine that isn’t included above that you’d like to find out more about, please let me know.

So now I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions, first about filter coffee machines, and then about filter coffee in general. I used to have a separate filter coffee FAQ but I decided to move it to this post and stick it below, to keep everything filter coffee related in one place.

 

Wilfa Svart Performance Filter Coffee Machine

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Features

  • Brew up to 1.25L of coffee
  • Detachable water tank
  • Adjustable flow control
  • Very quiet brewing
  • 5 year warranty

My Observations

Designed with the input of Tim Wendelboe (World barista champ 2004), the Wilfa Svart Performance is a premium filter brewer well worth a look for that fact alone. I think it’s a cool-looking brewer, a lovely minimalist design, and the fact that the water tank is removable, I think is a very good design feature, it’s something I really wish the Sage precision brewer had, as filling up one container to go fill another container with seems a bit of a faff.

The water tank recommends how much coffee to add for each water level, which is a simple but very clever little feature. It’s very simple to use, there’s literally just an on/off button and a flow restrictor at the bottom of the filter cone.

This is a glass carafe with a hot plate, which seems to divide people, there are some people who just don’t like the idea of brewing into a thermal carafe without a hot plate, they feel that the temperature is zapped from the first part of the brew, so if you’re in this camp then this will be a big “tick” for you. Some people, on the other hand, don’t like the idea of their coffee sitting on a heat source, and they’d prefer a thermal carafe without the heat plate, so if that’s you, this might not be the brewer for you.

As with the precision brewer, it uses all the water you put in the tank for each brew, so you’re using clean fresh water each time (as long as you fill it with clean and fresh water, of course). This doesn’t give you control over brew temp or bloom, but the temperature is very stable, and you do have control over the flow rate.

 

Best Manual Pour Over Coffee Makers

OK so this post is mainly about filter coffee machines, but if you’re on a super tight budget, or if a manual option just suits you better for other reasons, a manual filter coffee maker may be more suitable for your specific requirements. 

Manual filter coffee makers are known as pour over coffee makers, and pour over filter coffee is filter coffee, as is coffee that has been made with a filter machine, the difference is that you heat and pour the water manually.

Pour over filter coffee has quite the cult following, it’s not as popular in the mainstream as filter coffee machines, bean to cup coffee machines or pod machines, but a lot of that is simply down to the fact that there is skill involved, and the “mainstream” coffee drinker usually wants to just press a button and walk off with decent coffee, which is fine of course, each to their own. 

Other than the fact that you have to heat the water up via a kettle, though, pour over filter coffee is actually very quick and simple to do, you don’t have to pick a pourover cone that requires real skill, and pour over is very cheap to get into, and can result in amazing tasting filter coffee!

 

Hario V60

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Hario V60 is a manual filter coffee brewer, from Japanese manufacturer Hario. It’s called V60 because it’s v shaped at angles of (approx) 60 degrees. You can get them in a few different sizes to be used with different sized filters for different sized brews, and you can put them on top of single cups or servers/carafes. The 02 size is the most commonly used.

The V60 is a single holed cone shaped dripper, and it gives a lot of control over the brew to the Barista. For this reason, they’re very popular among pro baristas, including competing baristas, and also among home baristas. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that the level of control you have over the brew does mean it’s more possible to make a bad brew with the V60 than it may be with other options.

If you’re just wanting to stick your coffee in, pour the water on top, and remove the device when it’s done, V60 isn’t for you – I’d look at the clever dripper or Kalita wave if this is what you’re after. 

The V60 is one of the very cheapest manual filter coffee brewers, though, so you may want to get one just for when you do have the time and inclination to get a bit more geeky with the process, and then get something like the Kalita Wave for when you need simplicity and speed.

 

Kalita Wave

 

 

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Kalita is also a Japanese manufacturer, and their filter coffee maker may look similar to the V60 – but actually, it’s quite a different animal. It’s a flat bottomed filter device, with three holes, and the result of this is that the grind size and the filter holder controls the flow, the pour has little to do with it.

This is very different to the V60 where the pour makes quite a bit of difference to the brew, and for this reason, I think the Kalita Wave is better for people who don’t want any geekery with their coffee, or for use in a situation where there’s no time for that.

For example, when I used to actually have to work for a living (I mean, come on, I play with coffee machines, etc., I can’t really call this work) I would have loved to spend time and effort making a coffee with a V60 to get the best results every time, but I just didn’t have the time for this, so usually in the office, I’d brew with Aeropress because I think that’s a great solution when time is of the essence. If I really wanted pour over in the office, I’d have used the Kalita Wave.

I have one of these Kalita waves, and it’s a lovely little pour over coffee maker, incredibly simple to use, and you really can make some lovely coffee with it, if you use lovely coffee beans to start with of course. Just keep in mind that when you buy the filters for it, just go for the filters that are specifically for the size of Kalita you go for, so if you go for the 155 (the standard single cup size), then look for 155 only filters, like these:

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Speaking of great quality coffee beans for pour over, by the way, check these out:

Best coffee for Pourover Coffee Machines

 

Chemex

Chemex.Chemex.

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Although it may sound like some kind of an ointment you may be embarrassed to ask for at the local pharmacy, Chemex is actually a very popular filter coffee brewer. 

The name for this coffee maker does seem a bit odd until you come to learn that it was invented by a Chemist. Peter Schlumbohm invented masses of products, and the Chemex was initially supposed to be a multi-purpose device, which could brew coffee and also be used as a filter device in laboratories, so the “Chemex” name does make more sense in that context.

On the one hand, the Chemex seems clever mainly because it’s both the filter holder and the server, meaning that you don’t need a separate jug or server – but Chemex fans will be quite annoyed at the notion that this is the main benefit of this brewer, and I’d agree, as there’s no denying the Chemex is a great filter brewer.

It’s just such a clever design, it’s very aesthetically pleasing, such a cool looking brewer – and some will say it’s the best ever manual filter coffee brewer. 

As with the V60, the user has a lot of control over the brew with Chemex, and the pouring pattern is very important, so if you’re not looking for theatre, ritual and geekery, and you just want to pour & soar (hehe, I just made that up, aren’t I clever?) then the Chemex might not be the right filter maker for you.

 

The Aeropress

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Some may say that the Aeropress isn’t a filter coffee maker, so it doesn’t belong here – but, hmm, it’s a tricky one.

Aeropress was invented by Alan Adler, who invented the Aerobie flying ring, and it’s kind of a hybrid brewer. It does filter the coffee, and it does use paper filters (although you can buy metal reusable filters if you prefer) but it’s also a full immersion process like cafetiere. 

It was invented to be used as a really fast way to brew a really decent, espresso-style short concentrated shot of coffee to then be diluted with hot water or milk.  Very soon after it was launched, however, it was hugely well received by Baristas who found their own method, most of which involve using the Aeropress upside down, known imaginatively as the “inverted method”.

Using it as per the instructions is actually similar to normal dripper filter brewing, only you’re brewing with much smaller brew ratios for a much more concentrated coffee, and you’re manually applying some pressure via the plunger rather than just allowing gravity to persuade the water through the coffee grounds.

Using it the way most third-wave baristas do usually involves a bit more time and a bit more process including a blooming phase and a steeping phase.

For coffee suitable for AeroPress see:

Best coffee for the AeroPress

For me, Aeropress coffee is very similar to filter coffee, but it can also resemble cafetiere coffee – depending on the filters you use. If you use the paper filters it comes with (and you can leave one filter in there and use it up to about 12 times on average, I’ve found before it rips) it’s close to filter coffee, and if you use the reusable mesh filters you can get with a slightly larger mesh size, it’s you get a slightly fuller mouthfeel, closer to cafetiere.

 

 

What the FAQ you need to know about filter coffee machines.

How much water and coffee should you use?

Using the right amount of coffee and water (brew ratio) is crucial to the overall taste, with any coffee brewing method. With filter coffee machines as a general rule, I recommend a starting point of about 60g of coffee per litre of water.

This doesn’t mean you have to use a litre of water of course, if you want to brew half a litre, just use half the amount of coffee, and so on.

This is one of the first things to address if you’re not happy with the taste of the coffee you’re getting from your filter coffee machine – if you’ve got the ratio way out, then anything else that you try isn’t going to make much of a difference. When I say “way out” – you don’t have to stick to 60g per litre, but you’ll probably find that you need to be somewhere in this general ballpark.

Here is a great video that explains it perfectly:

Should I really buy a coffee machine in 2024?

I think this question is questioning the validity of filter coffee machines these days, given the huge amount of other options. 

My simple answer to this question is, James Hoffmann’s daily coffee machine is a filter coffee machine (the Sage precision brewer, at the time of writing) – if that doesn’t make filter coffees valid in 2024, I’m not sure what does.

If you don’t know who James Hoffmann is, well – you must have been trapped for quite some time on an otherwise uninhabited planet after your colleagues thought you’d kicked the bucket, but actually, you grew some potatoes and blew some stuff up, and they came & rescued you – the end. Welcome back to earth :-).

To those who haven’t watched “The Martian” – great film, I’d recommend it – apologies for spoiling the ending. Some other stuff happens, though. Fun fact, I have a mate who worked on that movie, Hi Steve if you’re reading this. 

Going back to James Hoffmann, he’s one of the world’s most knowledgeable people when it comes to coffee. He’s previously won the World Barista Championship and is the author of best-selling coffee book, The World Atlas of Coffee, he’s co-founder of Square Mile coffee roasters, and he’s a mega-successful YouTuber too.

He could use any type of brewing method he chooses including coffee machines costing thousands of pounds, but he chooses a filter coffee machine that costs a couple of hundred pounds.

You don’t need to spend that much as there are some really good machines that cost a lot less, but the point is that the fact that someone this knowledgeable about speciality coffee uses (daily) a filter coffee machine shows that they’re a very valid coffee brewer.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy a filter coffee machine, though. I’m just answering what I think is the main driver of this question, i.e. the overall validity of this brewing method. The real answer to this question is – probably, as long as you like filter coffee. 

Whether you do like filter coffee though, will depend on whether you’ve experienced filter coffee brewed well, using decent quality coffee. So if you’re not sure if you like filter coffee, I’d recommend getting yourself to a speciality coffee shop where they serve filter coffee. If you have a local roastery with a coffee shop attached, this can be a great place to go.

Just keep in mind that if you want decent coffee out, you need to put decent coffee in. And on that note, here’s a completely shameless plug for my own, high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans that suit your filter coffee machines:

Best coffee for filter Coffee Machines

How to grind coffee for a filter coffee machine

The easiest thing to do is to buy a packet of pre-ground coffee from the supermarket BUT there is a much better way to capture the amazing flavour that brewing with a filter coffee machine can produce.

Buying pre-ground is a significant step up from instant coffee because you will be brewing your coffee for the first time.

An often overlooked fact is that instant coffee has been brewed already and then frozen before being broken down into the granules you find inside the jar, often many months before you grab it off the shelf in the supermarket.

But there are several issues with pre-ground that will stop you from getting the maximum flavour from your coffee.

The first is freshness. Coffee always tastes best when it is ground just before you drink it so if you can, always buy fresh coffee beans and grind them yourself with a coffee grinder.

See my video on why you should grind your own coffee beans:

If that sounds a bit scary and not something you have ever done before, it is a lot easier than you think and takes literally a few seconds to turn coffee beans into ground coffee ready to be added to your filter coffee machine.

There are a multitude of different options for grinding your own beans that range from a few pounds to hundreds of pounds but that’s outside the scope of this article if its something you want to investigate further I have several articles that can help you choose the best coffee grinder for your needs:

Best Burr Coffee Grinders  

Best Manual Coffee Grinders  

See my youtube video on the Best Cheap Coffee Grinders:

Using a coffee grinder will not only ensure you drink the freshest possible coffee but makes sure you control a very important variable that can make the difference between an average cup of coffee and a great one and that is grind size.

The supermarket pre-ground stuff is normally ground so that it accommodates and is “suitable for all coffee machines”.

There’s a technical term for this kind of information, which is: tosh. It’s pure marketing because they don’t want people with different types of coffee machines not buying their coffee so, they just say it’s fine for all machines.

The truth is that different brewing methods require different grind sizes.

Turkish coffee requires a super fine grind, espresso with traditional machines requires a fine grind, but it’s completely different with each coffee and each machine. 

For filter coffee, you need a grind size that is more coarse than for espresso because the water needs to make its way through the coffee on its own using gravity (while the water is under pressure with an espresso machine) and “filter” its way through the grounds and into the pot or mug below.

What coffee is best for a filter coffee machine?

This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on what you mean by that, and depending on what you do actually mean, there may be no answer to that question at all…

If you literally mean what kind of coffee is best for filter, i.e. what coffee beans work best for filter coffee, and you’re not talking about grind size, then there’s no answer to this, other than: “whatever you find you prefer”.

The answer to this for me is that it depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I just feel like a no-fuss, easy drinking filter coffee – and for that, I’d usually look at what coffee I have in my coffee drawer, and I’ll usually look for a washed processed medium roast, and I’ll try my best to pick one that isn’t overly acidic. 

Re my “coffee drawer,” we have one of those Ikea cube storage things, and usually, at least one of them is stuffed full of coffee, I drink my own coffee from The Coffeeworks, and I have several coffee subscriptions, so I usually have plenty of freshly roasted coffee beans in one of these drawers.

Best Coffee Subscriptions

Coffee Flavours By Origin

Best coffee for filter Coffee Machines

If I’m feeling in the mood for something a bit more interesting, I’ll usually look for a natural processed coffee with interesting flavour notes. For me, these kinds of coffees can sometimes be amazing, sometimes they can be a bit too interesting, and difficult to drink. 

This can depend on many factors, including how it’s brewed, and what mood I’m in, sometimes I’m just not in the mood to drink particularly interesting, challenging coffee, and sometimes I really am.

So what coffee is best for you will depend on you, your tastes, and what kind of coffee you’re in the mood for at the time.

 

Kev’s Filter Coffee FAQ

Below is an absolute shed load (which is a lot, but not as much as an S-tonne, and definitely not as much as an F-tonne) of info about filter coffee. This was previously sitting on its own page, but it was feeling a bit lonely and needed a friend, so I introduced it to the best filter coffee post, and they’re getting on so well that they’re thinking of getting a dog.

What is Filter Coffee?

Filter Coffee, made via V60Filter Coffee, made via V60
One I made earlier… this was made via V60, pourover.

Drip filter coffee or just ‘filter’, or ‘drip’ coffee is made by hot (usually just below boiling) water, pouring either manually (pourover) or via an electric filter machine, through ground coffee beans which is then filtered usually via a paper filter.

It’s often referred to as drip filter of course because a filter is used and the coffee drips from the filter into the cup or jug.

What is the difference between Cafetiere or French Press coffee Vs. Filter Coffee?

Cafetiere / French press pot is a ‘full immersion’ filter coffee process. The grounds are fully immersed in water for a while, before being separated by plunging the filter – which literally just moves the coffee grounds to the bottom, by the way, there’s no pressure being applied by the plunger.

The filter in a cafetiere is a metal coarse mesh filter, which separates the grounds from the extracted coffee, but allows a lot of the coffee solids into the resulting cup of coffee. This leads to a coffee with a heavier mouthfeel than with filter coffee with a paper filter, as the coffee slowly drips though leaving the majority of the coffee solids behind.

Best CafetieresBest coffee for cafetiere  

What is the difference between pourover drip filter and automated electric drip filter?

There is actually little difference in process, both manual and electric work by hot water pouring over ground coffee beans sitting in a filter. The difference is that with a machine, the machine controls the brew, you have very little to do with it other than the grind size and the coffee you’re putting in.

With manual pourover, you have more control, you can bloom your grounds if you like (pouring a small amount of water over the grounds, just to cover them, and leaving for 30 seconds or so before continuing to pour), you can pour your water in stages, you can pour your water at a specific temperature. This control is taken away from you to a large degree when you use an electric filter machine, although this is something that Sage has tried to introduce with the Sage Precision Brewer.

Many baristas prefer the manual method vs. electric as it gives them complete control over the process, although it is easier and less labour intensive to brew via an automatic electric filter machine.

Just keep in mind that most of the electric filter coffee machines have a jug with a hot plate to keep the coffee warm, and the longer it sits on the hot plate, the worse the taste will be. I know this from experience, several years ago I had an electric filter coffee machine in my office, it was just me in the office, so there would be a big jug of filter coffee on the hot plate for quite a while, and it would taste really crappy after a bit! It was commodity pre-ground coffee that I was using back then though, so it wasn’t as good to start with.

 

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What is the difference between filter coffee vs. espresso?

Espresso Vs Filter Coffee.Espresso Vs Filter Coffee.

There’s a lot of differences, but the main difference between espresso and filter is brew ratio.

The brew ratio is the amount of water used relative to the amount of ground coffee, and while a usual ratio for espresso is 1:2 – 1:3, so 18 of coffee to 36g – 54g of espresso, it’s usually more like 1:15 – 1:16 with filter coffee. 

Ratio isn’t everything, though, the extraction process is different so the resulting coffee is different. With espresso, the coffee is extracted from ground coffee beans by pushing water through the ground coffee beans under pressure.

Espresso is a very small shot of very strong coffee, with a characteristic ‘crema’ on the top which looks a bit like the head on a pint of Guinness.

Some people will read this and say ‘No sh1t Sherlock’, but not everyone knows this. I was in a cafe a while ago, down in Cornwall on holiday, in a lovely place called St Agnes, and I nearly laughed out loud when the guy in front of me looked into the takeaway cup at his small shot of espresso, and then looked at the Barista with a completely vacant expression, and asked ‘is that all I get?’.

The Barista explained to him that this is what he’s asked for, an espresso. The customer explained that he thought an espresso was a large coffee, and it became apparent that he was actually wanting an Americano, so I’m not surprised he was confused when he looked down at his tiny Espresso ;-).

Espresso is the base of Americano (mixed with water), and Cappuccino (mixed with steamed, frothed milk), Flat White (mixed with steamed frothed milk but a more fine micro foam texture distributed throughout the cup, with less foam on the top, giving the entire cup a texture) and other coffee drinks.

For more info about the different types of coffee :

Different types of Coffee

So espresso is much stronger concentrated coffee that can be diluted with milk or hot water, but due to the way it’s made, it doesn’t taste the same as filter coffee when diluted with hot water.

What does filter coffee taste like?

It depends on the coffee you’re using, but generally speaking, filter coffee has a cleaner taste and mouthfeel than other brewing methods. It’s finely filtered, so it is more like tea in mouthfeel than cafetiere coffee which goes through a much less fine mesh and contains more solids.

 

What about caffeine content?

Espresso expert Michael York covers this in-depth in his post Caffeine Content: Espresso Vs Drip Coffee,  and the short answer is that it’s about volume. Espresso is intense and packs a high caffeine punch, but a double espresso is roughly five times smaller in volume than a cup of filter coffee, so there’s more caffeine in a 300ml cup of filter coffee than in a 40ml double espresso. 

What are the different ways to brew filter coffee?

There are filter coffee machines, of course, covered earlier in this post, and there are several different types of manual filter coffee makers.

When it comes to manual filter coffee brewers, the most popular are:

 

 

Is filter coffee better for you than other types of coffee?

Well, this is a very tricky thing to quantify, really – but more of the lipids (fats) found in coffee,  cafestol and kahweol, are filtered out with filter coffee vs most other brewing processes, particularly cafetiere / French press.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends really, on which study you look at. there are studies which seem to point to cafestol and kahweol having a negative effect, and there are also studies which seem to show that these fats are actually partly responsible for the positive effects of coffee that have been reported in recent years in terms of potentially helping to prevent serious medical problems, so who knows?

Who invented filter coffee?

Melitta Bentz, Inventor of Filter Coffee.Melitta Bentz, Inventor of Filter Coffee.

 

 

I did. Just kidding. It was a German woman by the name of Melitta Bentz (full name: Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz ) who invented the paper coffee filter, waaaaay back in 1908.

Back then there were two main ways to brew, one was a full immersion brewing process, in which coffee grounds were mixed with water in a pan and then the lid filtered out the grounds. The other was an early filter method involving putting the grounds in a linen bag and pouring hot water over it.

There were already ceramic and metal filters being used at this time, but they didn’t do it for Melitta. She wanted to find a way to brew coffee without getting so much of the grounds in the cup, and a method which produced a less bitter taste – and she did!

She invented paper filters, patented her invention, and then put her husband and sons to work to sell them. I mentioned Melitta earlier when I was talking about filter machines – this is the very same company, it’s still going strong & still family-owned I believe!

Do pod coffee machines make filter coffee?

No, single pod machines like Nespresso, Tassimo, Dolce Gusto, etc., work in a similar way to espresso machines, in that they force hot water at pressure through the coffee grounds. Most pod and disk machines do use ground coffee beans, but this isn’t what you could call filter coffee. 

For more on Pod machines see:

Best Pod Coffee Machines

Is instant coffee filter coffee?

In short, no. Instant coffee is coffee that has already been brewed and is frozen, smashed into granules, and then dried, basically. 

How the coffee is actually brewed before it’s dried, will depend on the manufacturer. Big manufacturers of instant coffee like Nescafe’ & Jacobs Douwe Egberts keep their cards fairly close to their chest when it comes to how their processes work exactly, but most instant coffee manufacturing plants, as far as I’m aware, use a brewing process that is very specific to making instant coffee, which involves being brewed under pressure.

Once it’s brewed, the coffee is heated to reduce it down into a conveyor-fed sheet of thick coffee-extract, which is fed into a freezer where it’s dropped down to around minus 40, and then the huge continuous sheet of frozen coffee extract goes through an industrial smasher upper (that’s the technical name for it, I’ve not just made that up, honest guv). The final stage is putting the granules into a vacuum chamber to dry the frozen coffee granules.

Is Americano the same as filter coffee?

No. Americano is espresso diluted with hot water.

As I mentioned earlier, espresso is a different brew process, and the ratio of coffee to water is very different, and the same is true with Americano although once the espresso has been diluted with water, it’s going to be closer to filter coffee ratio than espresso ratio.

As you’re adding the water to the espresso (or the espresso to the hot water, whichever way around you prefer) with Americano you can easily control the ratio, try different ratios of hot water to espresso and see what you prefer.

See how to make a great Americano:

How should I know what a great drip coffee should taste like?

That’s a very good question, well of course it is, I asked it ;-).

As with all brewing methods, I believe that the very best way to experience how it should be done, to gauge how well you’re doing when you brew at home, is to go to a well respected speciality coffee shop that serves filter.

As a coffee lover, trips to coffee shops can be educational as well as enjoyable, as you can get an idea of how different coffees should look and taste when you’re being served by a professional skilled Barista.

Don’t be afraid to ask your Barista about the coffee either, most will be flattered if you tell them that you want to know how the heck they made it taste so good, and many will offer you advice about making better coffee yourself, although I wouldn’t advise trying to pick their brains too much if it’s particularly busy.

I was in Takk in Manchester once when someone was asking for advice on how to brew via Aeropress, and the Barista brought one out to their table and gave them a demonstration! He did go on to sell them an Aeropress and a couple of bags of coffee, so he didn’t waste his time ;-).

How much filter coffee per cup?

So as I mentioned earlier, this is called the brewing ratio, the amount of coffee to the amount of water – and a good place to start is around 60 grams (2 ounces) of coffee per one litre (35 fluid ounces) of water. 

You’ll need to know the capacity of your cups if you want to work out how much coffee you’ll need to make one cup, but let’s assume that you’re using a fairly standard 10 ounce “builder’s mug” You’d want about 18 grams of coffee per cup. 

Can you make filter coffee without a filter?

Well, you need something to filter the coffee, if it’s filter coffee you’re making. If you’re making cowboy coffee, for example, boiling coffee in a massive metal jug, you need some way of separating the grounds, and this is often done by dropping some cold water into the jug to sink the grounds, but this wouldn’t be filter coffee.

If what you’re meaning is that you’ve got your filter coffee machine or manual pourover filter device but you ran out of filters and you’re wondering if there’s some way you can still brew, you’d need something to use as a filter. I suppose if you have a brand new, clean dishcloth or tea towel, something like that, you could potentially use that as your filter, with a manual filter holder, although I’m not sure how it’ll taste.

If you have an electric filter coffee maker and you run out of filters, some of them come with a mesh reusable filter. I’m not a big fan of them, generally speaking, I usually find filter coffee made using these mesh filters doesn’t quite taste right, but each to their own.



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