The right brewer for you / by Bryan Hibbard

Everyone approaches coffee from a different perspective. Some people have lots of time and little money. I have a brewing method that is time and skill extensive, but is pretty cheap. Some people have lots of money and no time. I have an automated brewing method that will set you back quite a bit but can produce an amazing cup, every time. The end result is the same. A great cup of coffee in your own home. A little knowledge goes a long way as there are a multitude of terrible coffee brewers out there, and some that are ridiculously expensive for what they are.

1. The Geeves and Wooster: You are Bertie Wooster and Geeves is played by the Bunn Trifecta. This is an amazing, automated full-immersion brewing device. Just supply it with good ground coffee and water and it will do the rest. It produces one cup at a time and it allows you to set the infusion time and turbulence cycle. These machines have been very popular in high-end coffee shops, because they can produce a perfect cup of coffee with very little input from the barista. And the infusion time and turbulence cycle can be profiled for each different coffee. Bunn has now released a home model that will set you back about $550.00 (the pro models cost around $3000.00). This is your K-cup maker on steroids, and it can produce a perfect cup with a minimum of effort.

2. The Geeves and Wooster (light): So you still want lots of convenience but you are not interested in dishing out $550.00. The Bonavita 8-cup coffee maker is an excellent option. It retails at around $170.00 and it out-performs far more expensive machines because it is focused on quality where it is important and simplicity where it is not. It works like your average drip coffee maker, but the major difference is that it gets the water to 205 degrees and sprays it evenly over the grounds resulting in an even and full-flavored brew. It also comes with a glass-lined thermal carafe that will keep your coffee hot for hours. One thing it doesn't have is a warming plate, and that is a good thing, because reheating brewed coffee brings out all of the worst flavors in the coffee oils.  This coffee maker is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (one of only 4 automatic coffee brewers that meets their standards). This coffee maker does not come with an over-night timer, but then again if you are going to the trouble to make great coffee, you wouldn't want to grind your coffee and leave it sitting in your coffee maker all night anyway.

3. The middle ground: French Press. I love the French press because it is very forgiving. Coarse grind, add your water and let it steep, then press and pour. You can get one for as little as $20.00. I suggest Bodum brand because their quality is always high. This requires a bit more work. You do have to boil water and you do have to remember to push the plunger down. But, if you forget about it and brew it longer than you were planning, it will still be a good cup. And if you want to be fussy, you can use a high quality grinder and follow stringent parameters to produce a perfect cup. But the nice thing is, you don't have to be so stringent if you just want a good daily cup of coffee.

4. The chemist: Pour-over coffee. Pour over coffee is the simplest in concept, but it requires you to get all the parameters right in order to produce a good cup. Many coffee professionals will tell you that the pour-over method is the best way to get the prefect brewed cup of coffee. While the brewer is usually less than $30 (you can pick up a plastic one for $3.00), you absolutely need a good grinder and it really helps to have a gooseneck kettle for slow-steady pouring. There are many different options out there, Chemex, Hario, Beehouse, Bonmac, etc. Every company has their own design and most of them make great coffee. It comes down to personal preference. This is my method of choice, but then again, I have the extra time to spend producing a perfect pour-over cup.

There are many other options out there. But this gives you a general overview. If you are tired of your auto drip coffee maker, or your K-cups, trying something new. Whether you want more convenience, or more control there is a wealth of options out there for you.