Recommended coffee maker for infrequent use?

I just broke the carafe to my automatic drip coffee maker, and I'm debating whether to replace the carafe for $20 or buy something else. (The maker itself still works fine but isn't anything fancy.) Do any of you have experience with the pour-over filters, like the Chemex? I'll soon have a house full of guests for over a week, so I need something that will make 6+ cups at a time. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • Posted by: EmilyC
  • June 11, 2011


the_matt June 16, 2011
I used a Melitta cone-filter (set it on top of the pot with a filter, pour hot water out of a tea kettle in) forever, and those are totally solid if you want drip, but I don't know that I'll ever leave the french press behind ever since I converted.

Especially if you're making it infrequently, no need to invest in an sort of electronic gadget, since the time savings are minimal.
EmilyC June 15, 2011
Thanks Syronai -- the toddy sounds right up my alley! And jenmmcd -- thanks for the tip; I never in a million years would've thought to stir the beans after adding hot water!
jenmmcd June 15, 2011
One note about french press coffee -- at least something I found. I had one for YEARS and could never get a good cup of coffee out of it. It always tasted weak and watery. I knew it was a case of "it's me not you" b/c every other french press coffee I'd ever had was amazing and definilty not watery. I grind my own beans, so I knew that wasn't it. I did some online research and found that the problem was I wasn't stirring the beans after I added the hot water. That was the ticket! Anyway, just a simple thing, but it made all the difference for me and I thought I'd point it ouf for a new french press user.
beyondcelery June 15, 2011
@EmilyC: One really cool thing you can do with a French press is make toddy (cold press coffee). Here's how (for a 8-cup press):

Very coarsely grind 1/2 pound coffee beans. Pour 1 cup cold water into the bottom of your French press. Add half the ground coffee (do not stir!). Add 2 more cups of cold water. Add the rest of your ground coffee. Add 2 more cups cold water (fill about 1" from the top). Do not stir! If some of the grounds aren't wet on the top, take the back of a spoon and gently pat them down so they're saturated. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid or a plate and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. Press with your French press filter.

This makes a strong, very caffeinated (caffeine is water-soluble) cold coffee concentrate that can be diluted with cold water, ice, cream, etc. The beauty of this is the coffee isn't bitter at all because of the long cold extraction method. The toddy will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.
cookinginvictoria June 15, 2011
You won't regret owning the French Press -- we have one in addition to an automatic drip coffeemaker. I love the taste of French Press coffee!
EmilyC June 14, 2011
Many thanks to each of you for your helpful advice! I purchased an 8-cup french press, so I'm all set for company (at least in the coffee making department!).
creamtea June 12, 2011
I use the clear plastic Japanese filter cone over a thermal carafe, with Chemex filter paper. I've used Melitta cones, French press, and Chemex, and the Japanese method is my current favorite. I boil water, let it cool very slightly, then wet the grounds. The second pour-over, I fill the cone with the boiled water, then stir the the slurry with a small spoon to extract the most flavor. This is making me want a cup right now, too bad it's after midnight...
latoscana June 11, 2011
Another vote for french press - requires no finesse, makes excellent coffee.
beyondcelery June 11, 2011
For a large number of people, I'd go with replacing your carafe or getting a Chemex. The Chemex will take a bit more finesse to make excellent coffee, but with a little practice you'll be very pleased with the results. (You just need to be extra precise with your measurements and pour.) While a french press is very useful and portable, they do have the drawback of potentially over-brewing your coffee. If you don't pour all the coffee out immediately after pressing it, the remaining coffee will continue to extract oils and flavors from the beans that will eventually make your coffee bitter and off-tasting.

Another option, more expensive and with the same potential for over-extraction as the french press (but really cool!), is the eva solo:
I love these because of their beautiful design and excellent extraction. Just pour out all the coffee once it's finished extracting and you'll adore it. Yes, I'm a coffee nerd.
pierino June 11, 2011
I agree with Brandon on the french press. Inexpensive and no filters. But you will need to use a fairly coarse grind of coffee---you do this part yourself, right?
drbabs June 11, 2011
OH! I love the french press idea, too!
vvvanessa June 11, 2011
i second the french press idea. i don't drink coffee, but i own one for when guests are in town. the coffee's always good, and the press tucks away nicely.
brandon June 11, 2011
get a french press. They make great coffee and you dont have to leave it out on your counter
drbabs June 11, 2011
We rent a beach house every summer, and they have a Hamilton Beach BrewStation. We always bring our favorite coffee. What i like about it is that there's no carafe so no burned coffee bottom if everyone is getting coffee at different times. here's a link to their least expensive models. They make bigger, better ones, but this is probably all you need:
mtrelaun June 11, 2011
Although I agree with gt9 that replacing the carafe is probably the most sensible way to go, I have to recommend the Chemex as an excellent substitute because 1) it makes delicious coffee, and 2) when it's not in use, it makes a beautiful vase.
gt9 June 11, 2011
Chemex makes good coffee, but it will cost you more than the 20 bucks you replacement pot costs. Non automatic drip coffee makers demand more attention while brewing cause of the slow pours. With a houseful of guests I would repalce my broken pot and buy some really good coffee
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