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10 best manual coffee makers

From stove-top solutions to gallery-worthy gadgets, IndyBest finds the most effective ways of getting your daily shot

James Billington
Saturday 28 March 2015 07:00
10 best manual coffee machines
10 best manual coffee machines

Capsule coffee machines are everywhere these days but don’t let the automatic revolution take the romance out of making a great cup of Joe. You can be your own barista and craft the perfect crema-topped cup of black gold without having to splash out on fully kitted out coffee machines thanks to some outstanding manual options. We’ve filtered through the best drips, presses and plungers to unearth some belting brewers tasting leagues apart from the capsule. Take a shot on these manual makers and maybe you’ll save yourself the trudge down Starbucks or having to buy a jar of instant again.

{1} Bialetti Moka Express 3-cup Stovetop Pot: £28, Whittard

A staple in Italian delis and hip kitchens, this maker has been bubbling since 1933. Pressurised water gurgles up through grinds for a strong, espresso-like cup, as satisfying to make as it is to drink. It takes practice but it’s great.

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{2} Rok Espresso: £143, Amazon​

Budding baristas can get hands-on with this sexy, aluminium design where espresso arrives via its pressure-producing lever system. It offers theatrics aplenty and if you can nail performance you’ll get that sought after crema-topped shot.

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{3} Aerobie AeroPress: £24, Amazon

The design wizards who reinvented the Frisbee sent the coffee world into a spin with this contraption with a cult following. A simple-to-use plunger system creates pressure to extract a flavoursome, clean shot. Being cheap, quick, and mess-free makes it a no-brainer.

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{4} Handpresso Wild Hybrid: £80, Amazon

It looks like a bicycle pump, but this can build up 16-bars of pressure and fire out an espresso shot. It just requires coffee, hot water and a bit of elbow work. The result is a strong, concentrated essence that, considering the cost, convenience and compact size, is a winner.

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{5} Chemex Coffee Maker: From £37, Hasbean

You won’t find many coffee makers worthy of display in modern art museums but this is no standard drip filter. The elegant hourglass design stirs chemistry into the mix using scientifically designed filter paper for a clean-tasting pick-me-up. Comes in a range of sizes.

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{6} Cold Brew Coffee Pot: £13, Firebox

Cold Brews are all the rage for their smooth, sweet taste. Drop grinds into the carafe then leave steeping in cold water for 12 hours. You get a concentrate bursting with flavours that’s low in acid and bitterness. Works great over ice or in cocktails.

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{7} Bialetti Mukka Maculata Cappuccino Maker: £45, Amazon

It isn’t easy (or tidy) trying to make cappuccinos at home. Step forward this model that warms and foams up milk in the same vessel as the coffee. The outcome isn’t quite café thickness but it’s still a top-tasting, all-in-one solution.

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{8} Impress Coffee Brewer Travel Mug: £29, TheFowndry

This former Kickstarter project takes the idea of combining a cafetiere with a travel mug. Just add coffee and plunge down on the solid, well-made piece of kit. The triple insulation keeps beverages hot for well over an hour.

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{9} Hario Syphon Technica: £72, Amazon

Coffee geeks can channel Breaking Bad with this part chemistry set that takes a 160-year-old method of using heat to send water to the top chamber then filter back down as it cools. It’s a lot easier than it looks.

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{10} Bodum 1928 Chambord: £20, Amazon

This breakfast table stalwart might be looking over its shoulder these days but it still has its place. Good for those who prefer longer coffee to strong shots, this classic press pot makes eight cups, while keeping stray grinds at bay.

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Verdict: For its speed, simplicity and ingenious design the Aeropress seriously impresses for the price and tops our go-to choice for a quick cup of Joe. But it’s very easy to fall in love with the traditional charm and the outstanding flavour from the Bialetti Moka Pot – if you can afford the time to spare this is a cup winner. Otherwise, if you’re searching for alternative caffeine-creating pastures then the Hario Syphon can’t be beaten for unleashing your inner showman.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.