The Breville Bambino Plus produces rich, flavorful, espresso with ease. It has great brew temperature control and is speedier than other machines, thanks to a roomy water reservoir that doesn’t need constant refilling and a fast heating mechanism that’s ready after three seconds. Additionally, it has an automatic setting for the steam wand, which will save you time when making lattes.
One thing to note is that this espresso machine doesn’t have a built-in coffee grinder, so you’ll want to get a high-quality burr grinder separately—consider the Baratza Virtuoso. And check out our round up of the best espresso machines to read more about the Breville Bambino Plus, along with great options for fully automatic and manual espresso machines.
Pour-overs are both the most low-tech way of making coffee and the preferred technique for serious coffee connoisseurs. This method arguably makes the most delicate, light-bodied coffee and gives you the most control over the flavor of your cup. Unlike drip coffee and espresso, pour-overs don’t require a machine—just a few manual tools. You’ll need a gooseneck kettle, a pour-over cone, paper coffee filters, and a carafe to hold your finished product. You can find pour-over coffee sets that include most of these tools, but our favorite pour-over apparatus is the Chemex brew system. With an iconic hourglass shape, it’s essentially a pour-over cone and glass carafe combined. We like the fact that it eliminates the need for multiple parts, which helps decrease room for error, and it’s different from other pour-over setups in that it allows you to make relatively large batches.
Note that this is a manual method that can be finicky and take some practice to perfect. When making pour overs, it’s even more important to weigh out your coffee with a kitchen scale and use the correct grind size to ensure the flavor of the coffee isn’t over or under extracted. Want the convenience of a drip machine with the benefits of a Chemex? Try the Chemex Ottomatic.
The French press is another beloved method for making coffee manually, but unlike the pour over, it produces an ultra-rich, full-bodied drink. Here, the water doesn’t run through the ground coffee or require a paper filter—it brews by soaking the grounds directly in hot water. This extended direct contact between the water and the beans means your drink will carry more of the aromatic oils and result in a product that has a bolder, more robust flavor. Depending on your size of French press, it’s an ideal method for making a single cup of coffee or a batch for a crowd.
The Bodum Chambord French Press features a classic glass-and-stainless steel design, and it’s among the best on the market. It’s both elegant and sturdy, featuring a fine-mesh filter and perforated plunger unit that smoothly presses into the carafe. If you’re looking for a stylish upgrade, consider another one of our favs, the Le Creuset Stoneware French Press.
If you’re a fan of strong, espresso-like coffee but don’t feel inclined to purchase an expensive machine or fuss with the learning curve, you’ll appreciate a moka pot. This stovetop percolator consists of a bottom chamber to hold the water, a filter basket for the ground coffee, and an upper chamber that collects the finished drink. Similar to espresso, boiling water—pressurized by steam—is passed through ground coffee, and the result is rich and highly concentrated. The finished product isn’t exactly an espresso, but it’s pretty close and significantly easier to make. This coffee system also doesn’t require any filters or special parts.