It's been too much of a hassle to use my french press everyday for coffee. Getting the water temperature right, cleaning the filter, waiting for the coffee. Just too much work. I started looking for a reasonably priced, compact and well-made coffee maker. After a bit of looking, I came across this machine by Zojirushi.
Zojirushi is normally famous for their quality rice cookers and water boilers. They have a "premium" line of products branded as "Zutto". Apparently it means "always" in Japanese.
Here it is. There are two horrible things that most coffee makers have that this one doesn't: glossy black plastic and poorly done stainless steel garnish. I'm also not a fan of sliver paint but the execution here is not bad. The build quality is also better than coffee makers I've used and everything is laid out in a logical way. It's not to say that it feels premium in any way. It's well built like a Honda is well built.
Has a small footprint. Compared with my tiny 3-cup french press here.
Clean. I removed a warning sticker which revealed the gate mark on the top. Not sure which is more of an eyesore.
The 5-cup pot. There is a warming plate under it like all coffee makers.
Now this is the extremely clever part. The coffee isn't held inside the machine, it's held inside the pot. Soon you'll realize why this is superior.
The filter and coffee sits here. No more stupid baskets that you fill up and insert into the machine.
And the water tank is here under the lid.
It's also removable. Why every coffee maker in the world doesn't do this is completely beyond me. The plastic also has a subtle tint that gives the illusion of the water being crisp and clean.
After the coffee and water have been replenished, the power switch is pressed.
The water is then boiled and dripped through here. That black protrusion even has a carbon filter built-in. This photo reveals the brilliance of this design. The ideal temperature to brew coffee is at about 94C. This is why it is recommended to not pour boiling water on coffee. Zojirushi has made it so that the water is cooled by the air before reaching the coffee. The result is instantly noticeable.
Steam escapes from the slit at the top.
And the coffee begins to drip. Thanks to the longer trip of the water, the resulting coffee is at a perfect temperature. It can be consumed instantly unlike the tongue scalding coffee most products produce. Even the warming plate is designed to maintain the coffee at a warm, but not boiling temperature.
The culmination of the unique drip mechanism is the best cup of coffee I've seen a coffee maker make. It's brilliant. The bitter acidic taste you get from other machines is eliminated and it is at the prefect temperature immediately after brewing.
This is one of the rare cases where a product has over delivered and just left me in love. It also makes you wonder why there are so many poorly designed machines out there. The Zutto makes it feel like it's inevitable that a coffee machine should be designed this way.