Mornings can be the absolute worst, especially before caffeine. But there’s something about the right cup of coffee that can make the demons seem less monstrous and more like minor nuisances that you can easily snuff out with the sole of your shoe. Those tiny black beans, when ground down and showered with boiling water, are capable of transforming even the most dreadful souls into fully functioning members of society.
It’s no wonder then that every week there seems to be a new development in coffee gadgetry, from ultra-portable French presses to tannin-preserving filters. But there’s been one area that’s in dire need of improvement—the eyesore of an automatic coffee maker hogging space on your counter. Nine times out of 10, the antiquated machines produce a sub-par brew because of poor heat distribution and useless gimmickry. Luckily, the newly released Bodum Bistro Pour Over Coffee Machine is here to help.
Besides sporting a beautiful hourglass shape, the superiorly designed machine hopes to be a smarter coffee maker than the one sitting in your kitchen. The bare bones Bistro Pour Over (there’s no timer, no clock, and only one button) sucks up water with a spiral movement, heats water to the appropriate temperature, and showers it evenly over the grounds so there’s complete saturation for a well-balanced brew.
The resulting blend drips out from the reusable stainless steel filter and into a vacuum-sealed 40-ounce thermal carafe with a double-walled interior that keeps it warm for hours, nixing the need for an embedded hot plate—the reason your regular automatic drip coffee is more bitter than Minka Kelly’s high school boyfriend.
Simplicity is the Pour Over’s best asset. Fill the water vat (similar to the one in your office’s Keurig machine), pour your grounds into the stainless steel filter, press the lone black button on the machine and in about eight or 10 minutes the machine spits out its brew. I thought there would be an issue matching the carafe with the drip cap, resulting in spillage. But the machine senses whether the carafe is in its right place and won’t start if its not. Smart. I also liked that when you removed the carafe, it stopped dripping so if I didn’t want a full pot, I didn’t have to have one. Oh, and the coffee tasted great, too. Seriously — well balanced and clean. And speaking of clean, the reusable filter was simple to clean, so long as you don’t mind tapping it against the rim of your trash can to loosen a few stubborn grounds.
Simplicity may be the Pour-Over’s worst asset for certain coffee drinkers. The lack of any programmable settings makes it difficult for the person who likes their coffee waiting for them when they roll out of bed or emerge from the shower. And the machine itself has other flaws, too: It had a tendency to spill. Mistakenly bump the drip nozzle when you remove the carafe and expect to have a burnt hand that smells like coffee for the next four hours.
The Pour Over makes a great cup of coffee – that’s the most important thing. It’s also small, looks great, and has some really smart features. If you want a programmable machine, this isn’t for you, but, if you’re looking to update your drab drip machine with a more modern appliance, it’s a great choice. $150; bodum.com