This is the first in a series called “Everyday Coffee”, in which I put four highly-rated coffeemakers through everyday, real-world testing.
We have a long-lasting love-hate relationship with coffeemakers.
Your great-grandparents likely used a French press, siphon, or pourover. Probably involving fire. They’re all great brewing methods with their own strengths and weaknesses. They take a bit of effort to do correctly, but they can easily coax out the rich, full-bodied flavor of coffee.
Your grandparents likely used an electric percolator. And it was terrible. It produced hot, dark liquid that contained caffeine. Technically, it was “coffee”. But if you weren’t careful, it would burn and over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter pot of awfulness. Most electric percolators have a window of roughly 30 milliseconds between “still brewing” and “LOL RUINED AGAIN”.
Thanks to some new liquor laws, Pennsylvania beer distributors are now able to sell beer in any quantity. In response, some retailers are changing up their offerings or hours, while others are closing up shop. Unfortunately, my favorite local place to buy bottles — Holy Hound Bottle Shop in York — is among the latter.
It’s been nearly a year since Grandpa’s Growler — legendary only for its subpar draft selection and laughably awful food — was unceremoniously shuttered. In its place stands York Street Grille, which opened just this past December. After giving them a few months to work out any opening quirks, we made our way down to see what, if any, improvements have been made.
The best coffee is the stuff you make by hand. But I don’t always have time to dedicate to crafting that perfect pourover. Mornings en route to work, for example. So when I saw the OXO Pourover Coffee Maker, I had to give it a shot.
Long story short, the art of making a really good cup of coffee involves a few critical factors. The water needs to be between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. You need the right amount of grounds. You need the right amount of water. You need the proper saturation and turbulence. It gets a little more complicated than that, but too much or too little of any of the above and your joe will come out bitter, bland, or worse.
I am a coffee snob. My French press is my weapon of choice. But when I saw the Ninja Coffee Bar on sale (refurbished) for around $90 at Ollie’s and Woot, curiosity got the best of me. I had to try it out.