Best Japanese coffee makers of [year]

Best Japanese Coffee Makers of [year]

You may have seen some weird and wiggy Coffee Makers on your last trip to Japan. Generally, they are huge fans of the drip style coffee. But often they are not satisfied with your ever day, manual drip. They like to slow things down a little, make the process something of a science. Indeed, many Japanese coffee makers look like contraptions that wouldn’t be out of place in a science laboratory beside the beaker and the bunsen burner. This style of coffee is especially associated with the Kyoto coffee makers. Kyoto has always had a reputation for needing to be more refined than the rest of the country, so why should coffee be any different?

If you don’t want to make your own, check out our post about how to say and order coffee in japanese, otherwise here is our list of our favorite Japanese Coffee Makers of [year].

Types Of Japanese Coffee Makers

There are three main types of coffee makers that Japan is generally more well known for Siphon, Drip Filter or Cold Brew.

Japanese Siphon (or Syphon or Vacuum) Coffee Makers

Japan is well known for making high quality Siphon or Vacuum style coffee makers. 

This style of coffee making turns the whole experience into something like a science experiment you used to at school with Bunsen burners and beakers. It was originally invented in Germany in the 19th century, and it feels like it reflects the ideas we have around German scientific efficiency of the time (and the ideas of modern Japanese efficiency too). 

It’s not the way you would go about making coffee every single time you want a cup, but it’s a great way to make a fine drop, using some fancy contraptions when you have guests or just want to do something special. 

I won’t go through the whole process here but you can see someone doing it real time in this video.

The upshot is that you heat liquid in a container below, which rises up to a container above. You then put ground coffee in the liquid at the top, which again filters back down to the bottom after you turn the heat off, leaving you with your brew. Phew, you might need a coffee break after making your Japanese style coffee…

Probably the most well known Japanese Coffee Maker brank for siphon or vacuum coffee is Hario, but there a range of options. Non-Japanese coffee makers are really getting in on the Japanese style drip now too…

Recommended Japanese Siphon Coffee Makers

Japanese Drip Filter Coffee Makers

Drip coffee is probably the most popular way of making coffee in Japan.  Based around the idea of pouring hot water through ground coffee placed over a pot or cup, this style of coffee is, logically, also referred to as pour-over-coffee making. It can also be referred to as the Melitta process, after the 1908 German inventor of this style of coffee making, Melitta Bentz.

You even see disposable drip coffee bags in Japan pretty regularly.

Drip coffee makers can be further divided into manual and automatic systems: 

Drip Filter Cones

The most simple kind of Drip coffee maker is the filter cone. The material of the cone can add various flavor colors to the coffee depending on what you use (metal, porcelain, paper etc.)

Once again, Japanese Hario Cones are generally pretty good.

 

Ceramic Japanese Coffee Cones

I’m particularly into Japanese ceramic coffee cones. Japan has such a long and wonderful history of making fine ceramics associated with the rich tradition of tea. But why should the green stuff have all the fun? From the 1980s, Japan started experimenting with making porous ceramics that combine ancient firing traditions, like those from the Arita region, with modern techniques. The result is filters that bring a unique flavor to your brew that you really can’t get any other way. Here’s one:

The Hario Drip Filter Cone

A classic style cone filter coffee maker.

The Hario Drip Filter Cone coffee filter is an excellent choice for those looking for a traditional cup of hot coffee. It’s a good choice for beginners because it’s straightforward and easy to understand. It’s also good if you’re only trying to make a single cup of coffee.

The cone filter is the oldest method of making coffee. It works by filtering the coffee through a mesh screen. The mesh screens are made of various materials, all of which influence the flavor in one way or another. An easy solution for a making a delicious coffee.

Cool Japanese Drip Coffee Devices

Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

This is the easy way to do it. With this style of coffee being so popular around the world, you couldn’t say that Japan leads the way in this style of coffee maker. But with Japan being a country with a love of both drip coffee, technology and automation (just look at the number of vending machines there are in Japan) there are quite a few Automatic Drip Coffee Makers from Japanese brands including PanasonicTiger and Siroca.

Japanese Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Japanese cold brew coffee makers are also among some of the finest in the world. Personally, I love having a cold coffee on hand in the fridge at all times, partly because it saves you having to go through the whole coffee making process every single time you want a quick brew.

Kyoto Style Coffee Makers

Japan has some serious cold brew apparatus. In particular, the multi-level “Kyoto” style brewing systems are spectacular.

Traditional cold brew coffee makers work by steeping coffee grounds in water for long periods, hours, which is then filtered out.

Kyoto cold brew systems vary from this in that the water is not directly “mixed” with the coffee itself, but slowly drips through the grind. It is a slow process of letting cold water seep through the beens to bring out the complex flavors within. 

The theory here is that the kyoto style cold brew coffee maker will focus on the flavor from the top of the bean, which is considered to be the area that gives you the riches flavor.

It also means that you get a more “pure” flavor as you don’t introduce any gas by-product from heating the Coffee beans again in the brewing process. You get a truer flavor. 

Some would say drinking an iced coffee from a Kyoto style Yama Glass coffee maker is like the difference between listening to a vinyl record and compact disc.

Also sometimes referred to as “Japanese Towers”, the Kyoto coffee makers resemble elaborate chemistry equipment.

You can imagine one coffee boffin saying to another at a coffee conference. “That’s not a coffee maker, this is a coffee maker”. Kyoto cold brew makers make an event out of the coffee making process, but they’re not cheap…and also not the best option if you are regularly trying to make multiple cups of coffee…

If you want something eye-popping, and you willing to pay the price for a top line Japanese Coffee Maker, go for the Yama. Or a siphon. If you want something simple that is practical to use every day, go for the cone filter that you can just pour water over the top.

Whichever way you go, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the makers listed here.

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

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