Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Pinpoint 250
Where do you start if you want to start with full immersion brewing? We hand-picked four of the coolest immersion coffee makers for this article.
Immersion brewers can be found in cafes and restaurants and are perfectly suitable for home brewing on your kitchen counter.
Immersion brewers are a tried-and-true alternative to pour-over drippers and are simple machines that don’t need many extras.
This makes them perfect for people who are new to making coffee by hand or want an easy way to make great coffee at home.
Two primary methods for manually brewing coffee are full immersion and pour-over.
Immersion Brewing/Picking the Brewing Device
This is the first decision you’ll have to make when selecting a brewing device: Which method do you prefer? As you’ll see, the method you choose affects not just the characteristics of your brew but also how much money you spend, how much time and energy you expend brewing coffee, and how much more equipment you may need.
Full immersion (also known as immersion brewing) is the same method as steeping tea.
The water is poured in all at once, completely submerging the grounds.
The water then percolates through the grounds, extracting taste and textural ingredients.
The grounds are filtered from the coffee at the very end of the brewing process.
Pour-over brewing, on the other hand, involves pouring water over the grounds and passing it through a filter.
The idea here is to add water throughout the brew cycle gradually.
The water carries the flavor, texture, and compounds of the coffee as it washes over the grounds.
Full immersion is the most basic setup and technique.
4 of the Coolest Immersion Brewing Coffee Makers
1. The French Press
(aka Press Pot, Coffee Press, or Cafetière)
The French press, known by many other names around the world, is most likely one of the oldest immersion brewing devices that uses a filter.
I say “likely” because no one knows precisely when or where the method originated.
According to some sources, the press was employed in France as early as the 1850s.
Before filters, individuals boiled their coffee grounds and water in the same pot. According to legend, a Frenchman noticed that his water was boiling one day but had forgotten to add the coffee.
When he poured the coffee in, all the grounds floated on top of the water, rendering it unfit to drink.
The Invention of French Press Immersion Brewing
The ingenious Frenchman found a metal screen, placed it on top of the pot, and pressed it down with a stick to capture the coffee—voila, he had created a French press for immersion brewing!
The Frenchman never looked back after the coffee tasted excellent (possibly because it wasn’t boiling and charred to hell).
A 2014 New York Times piece validates this story regarding the period covered.
According to the article, in March 1852, two Parisians—a metalsmith and a merchant—received a joint patent for a device that utilized the fundamental principles of the French press.
The patent described the filter as a flannel-punctured tin piece coated on both sides.
This filter was attached to a rod the user was supposed to insert into a cylindrical vessel.
Does this sound familiar? Despite this, the press did not become widely known in Europe until the twentieth century, and according to some sources, the first “official” French press was not patented until 1929. When Italian designer Attilio Calimani filed his invention for an “apparatus for preparing infusions, particularly coffee
Faliero Bondanini, an Italian, modified the design and filed a patent for his own “coffee filter pot” in the 1950s.
He began producing the device, and its popularity spread across Europe thanks to distribution by prominent kitchenware firms such as Bodum.
However, it took the press even longer to achieve popularity in the United States.
French presses are available in various sizes and materials, including glass and plastic, nearly anywhere kitchen goods are sold.
Although the French press has been improved over the years, modern units still use the same marvelously simple design: pour, wait, press, and enjoy.
As a result, the approach is ideal for novices or those seeking more straightforward handcrafted coffee.
There are no particular skills or kettles required for the French press. You can go about your morning as usual while the coffee boils.
The French press is also one of the most versatile coffee-making tools. It can be used to make cold brew, tea, and even froth milk for café au lait or hot cocoa.
Consider the French press if you like a cooking tool that can be utilized in various ways.
The only disadvantage is that it is tough to clean. But that’s no excuse—to avoid a buildup of grinds and oils, I propose a thorough cleaning (yes, by disassembling the plunger) after each use.
How does it work?
Because the coffee grounds are in contact with the water for a relatively long period when using a French press, it is critical to use finely ground coffee.
This will slow the extraction rate and prevent you from getting bitter, over-extracted coffee.
Because the (typically metal, usually mesh) filter does not capture all of the grounds, it is critical to consume or serve the coffee as soon as possible—the fines that land up in your cup will continue to extract.
The longer the coffee sits, the more likely it will be over-extracted. However, fines are not without merit.
They contribute to the mouthfeel of the cup, making it thicker and more velvety, which, unlike paper-filter methods, contributes to the special French press quality that many people appreciate.
The French press process yields a one-of-a-kind cup every time. French press coffee is typically bolder and richer than other types of coffee, bringing out the darker aspects of the beans, such as chocolate, earthy, or flowery overtones.
Much of this is because a French press filter allows the essential oils in the coffee to remain in the brew—there is no paper filter to trap them.
Since the French press brings out more robust flavors, I suggest roasts highlighting the bean’s qualities rather than the roast’s.
Some coffee professionals disregard the French press, maybe because it makes producing more delicate flavors in coffee more difficult.
Others think that the French press is one of the purest coffee-making methods because it is the most similar to the cupping method, a highly organized process used by coffee professionals to evaluate new coffee.
2. The AeroPress
The AeroPress is the only coffee equipment produced by a firm better known for producing flying discs.
It is the culmination of years of research by engineer Alan Adler, the creator of Aerobie and designer of the company’s iconic flying disc (as well as all of its other products).
He aimed to develop a contraption that produced the ideal single cup of coffee. Despite being a relative newbie to the coffee world (introduced in 2005), the AeroPress is well-liked for its simplicity and quickness. There’s probably no faster brewing method with such delicious outcomes. The AeroPress is lightweight and robust (made of BPA-free plastic), making it very convenient to transport.
It is also highly adaptable. There are hundreds of AeroPress recipes.
In contrast to other systems, it performs well with various grind sizes, brewing times, and water temperatures.
The coffee community even created a new method of using the equipment known as the “inverted method.” In this post, I present a technique similar to the one Adler intended and inverted.
People also enjoy experimenting with the various cocktails that AeroPress can produce.
Aeropress Can Make Espresso Drinks
According to the makers, AeroPress can make a beverage that tastes similar to espresso. Then users can add the right amount of milk to create espresso drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos.
You can also use it to make tea. I’m not convinced that AeroPress espresso beverages are legitimate, but that doesn’t mean they won’t taste delicious or that you’ll prefer them over ordinary coffee.
Give it a go! If you enjoy playing with multitasking kitchen tools, this is a device to consider.
Because of the device’s increasing popularity, it is widely available on the internet and in physical locations.
The AeroPress is available at many craft coffee shops. It is also available at most large retailers.
You also don’t need a slow-pour kettle to create delicious coffee with the AeroPress.
It is designed to drain directly into a coffee cup, eliminating the need for additional carafes or servers.
It comes in one size, but it can produce one to four servings faster than anything else on the market (including typical electric coffeemakers). Coffee made using an Aero-Press has less perceived acidity because it uses a finer grind and a lower brew ratio, increasing body while decreasing acidity.
If you are sensitive to acidity, you should consider using this gadget.
These compact, circular discs are designed to fit exclusively in the AeroPress’s narrow brewing chamber.
They are made of a material similar to the Melitta filter but lack the hole that Melitta filters frequently have.
AeroPress filters are typically available in packs of 350 for around $8 (the first 350 are included with the purchase of the device).
Unlike other paper filters, AeroPress filters hold up relatively well to reuse since their form makes them easier to rinse and dry.
If you intend to reuse an AeroPress filter, ensure it is cleaned and thoroughly dried.
The stink that often follows wetness and leftover oils does not make for good coffee.
Finally, licensed AeroPress filters are only available in white; the manufacturer advises individuals who prefer natural brown filters to construct their own.
You can cut your own out of a brown paper filter of your choice, using the white filter as a pattern.
Discs made of metal. Third-party suppliers sell AeroPress filters as well.
How does it work?
The AeroPress is a hand press similar to a large syringe. Insert a plunger and press down after pouring the coffee and water into a brewing chamber, forcing the coffee through the paper filter and the perforated plastic cap at the bottom of the brewing chamber and into your cup.
It’s similar to a French press, but there are key differences. First, the AeroPress uses circular paper filters, whereas the French press uses metal filters.
The paper filter allows you to employ a finer grind, resulting in a significantly faster extraction time than the French press.
This gives AeroPress cups a full-bodied, subtle flavor without the sludge that a metal filter leaves behind.
Furthermore, the water in the brewing chamber is pushed through the grounds by a pillow of air rather than the plunger itself, allowing for more uniform pressure.
Twist off the cap, place the AeroPress over the trash or compost bin, and plunge until the compressed puck of coffee, filter, and all, pops out.
Rinse and dry the device thoroughly before storing it for subsequent use. You may need to wash the plunger with hot, soapy water now and then, but this equipment is low-maintenance.
3. The Abid Clever
The Clever dripper, designed and manufactured by Taiwanese company Best Idea Development (or Abid for short), first appeared on the coffee scene in the late 2000s.
Unlike other immersion brewing brewers, the Clever is only available in one size and BPA-free plastic.
The Clever appears to be a typical pour-over device, with a conical shape and even a paper filter (#4 Melitta cone filters work nicely), yet it brews more like a French press.
Its design is intended to make making handmade coffee as straightforward as possible.
A conventional tea kettle, for example, will not get in the way of a perfect cup of coffee, as other devices may.
It’s also meant to drain directly into a coffee mug, eliminating the need for additional carafes.
Cleaning is significantly simpler than other immersion methods, such as the French press, because you only need to remove and discard the filter. The Clever is great for someone who appreciates the cleaner taste of paper-filtered coffee yet prefers the ease of immersion techniques.
You can also use it to make iced coffee. One disadvantage of the Clever is that it is less commonly available than other brewing devices.
Most large merchants do not stock it, and while you might be able to find one for sale in a small coffee shop, they are rare.
However, it is easily obtained via the internet.
How does it work?
Although it is shaped like a cone dripper, the Clever is still a full-immersion brewing method, with the grounds and water steeping together for the brew cycle.
The device’s base is impermeable, so the slurry will not drain unless you activate the release mechanism by placing it on top of a carafe or coffee cup.
Pour the water into the Clever, wait for it to brew, then place the device on your cup to drain.
Some experts believe that the Clever loses too much heat during brewing. Others argue that the design clogs the filter too frequently with fines, extending the contact time and potentially resulting in over-extracted coffee.
Andreas and I both believe that the heat-loss argument is flawed. Professionals’ “cup” coffee generally sits for 12 to 15 minutes, uncovered, before being tasted, and heat loss is rarely acknowledged in that context. But we’ve found that putting finer grounds into the Clever can cause the filter to get clogged.
4. The Siphon
For almost a century, people have used the siphon (also known as a vacuum pot or vac pot) to produce outstanding coffee.
It all began in 1830 when S. Loeff of Berlin submitted a patent for the device. Still, it wasn’t commercially successful until the 1840s when a Frenchwoman named Marie Fanny Amelne Massot modified the design and patented it under the moniker Mme.
Vassieux. Her design was aesthetically pleasing, with a metal frame holding two vertically hanging glass globes, the upper one crowned with a crown.
The siphon’s design has evolved, but its fundamental principles have not. Even now, the brewing process appears to be tailored for theatrics (or at least a science experiment).
The siphon has been designed to be on display, possibly entertaining visitors in a Victorian parlor someplace.
This could explain why there has been a revival in the coffee community in recent years.
Many siphons are now sold by Hario and Yama, two Japanese businesses that sell a wide range of coffee equipment, as well as the well-known coffee brand Bodum.
They are available in several sizes, including three-cup, five-cup, and eight-cup variants.
If you do not buy a stovetop type, keep in mind that siphons require a heat source occasionally supplied separately.
The butane-burner types are less expensive, but flameless heat sources for the siphon can cost several hundred dollars or more.
If you choose a stovetop type, you should purchase a heat dispersion plate to place between the device and the burner.
Bodum Is our Choice
The Bodum brand is accessible at higher-end retailers such as Crate & Barrel, while the Japanese brands are more likely to be found online. Indeed, one main disadvantage of the siphon is its high cost. But it’s a lot of fun to use! The entire device is delicate and should be handled with care, so if you’re clumsy, this is probably not the device for you.
Although the siphon isn’t the most practical gadget, I’d argue it’s one of the most reliable methods of preparing coffee because so much of it is automated. There’s little human participation aside from selecting a dose and reading a temperature. While not a manual brewing method, KitchenAid makes an automatic siphon.
The siphon filter
Minor, circular cloth filters are required for the Hario and Yama siphons. The Bodum model includes a built-in plastic filter. Although the cloth filter is reusable, you must handle it carefully if you want it to operate correctly and last a long time.
When using a cloth filter for the first time, boil it for a few minutes before brewing. After use, rinse and store it in the refrigerator in clean water.
The filter should be soaked in clean, warm water for around five minutes before each use.
It’s also good to boil your cotton filter constantly to keep it fresh. Spoiler alert: your coffee will taste like a filthy sock if not correctly cared for.
How does it work?
The siphon employs an immersion brewing approach. However, it differs from other immersion procedures.
A heat source heats the water in the lower globe. The pressure differential finally forces the water up through a glass stem into the top chamber, known as the hopper.
When the temperature in the hopper has stabilized (about 202°F), it’s time to add the coffee grounds.
The water appears to be boiling, but it is not—it is agitated by the air sucked through the stem and into the hopper.
The heat source is removed when the brewing process is finished, and the pressure changes again, pushing the brewed coffee back into the bottom vessel.
The filter in the hopper stops the grounds from escaping into the bottom chamber. As a result, the brew is smooth and creamy, with no sediment.
Immersion devices are easier to master than pour-over devices since they require less technique and equipment.
Immersion brewing is set-it-and-forget-it coffee. Pour-over devices demand technique to deliver enough water at the right time.
Precision pouring is most straightforward with a gooseneck kettle. Immersion brewing requires less attention to detail, so if you want to avoid investing in extra equipment, choose pour-over.