The Land of the Rising Sun has a reputation for quality design and engineering. And quite rightly so. Anywhere that makes chefs spend 5 years learning to cook rice knows about dedication and perfecting a craft.
Whilst tea has a long history and huge cultural significance in Japan, coffee has become very popular over time. After all, this is a nation that values working insanely long hours. And, just like most other things in Japan, the dedication to making excellent Japanese coffee makers has grown with the growth in coffee consumption.
We’re going to take you through the best Japanese coffee makers available. From single cup pour overs to intricate syphon coffee makers, you will be blown away by the beauty of both the coffee and the design.
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Whilst you can get pretty much every type of coffee maker you can think of from Japan, there are some that are more famous than others. Namely, their drip coffee machines, pour over cones, siphon coffee makers, and cold brew coffee makers.
So, if you’re after a top espresso maker then Japan is not the country for you. But if you’re a fan of any of these methods, then some of the best coffee makers on the market are Japanese-made. Read on as we break down the best options for each brewing method.
However, outside the Japanese coffee market, these are not the best drip coffee makers available. Especially considering you usually have to import them from Japan which pushes up the prices.
But let’s not get disheartened because what Japan does do very well is the pour-over coffee maker.
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like much thought or engineering needs to go into a pour over cone. After all, you just need to put a filter in. But it has been refined to an artform by many Japanese coffee maker companies. So now there is a vast range of aesthetically pleasing and excellent pour over devices available for you to buy – no matter where you are shopping from.
Pour over cones aren’t just great for hot coffee. You can also use yours to make the perfect Japanese iced coffee drink by allowing your coffee to drip over ice.
Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper
- Makes delicious coffee from any ground coffee beans
- Can brew some of the best tasting coffee you’ll find
- Available in a range of colors and materials
- Easy to clean
- Difficult to master the brewing technique
- Requires other equipment to really get the best out of it
- Need to keep a stock of V60 coffee filters
Hario’s name is synonymous with great coffee-making equipment. And the Hario V60 is one of the most popular pieces of coffee-making gear in the world. And it’s easy to see why this Japanese coffee maker is so well-loved:
You can choose from a variety of materials and colors. The most popular materials are metal or ceramic. Plus there is a range of kits available which include extra filters or serving jugs, and accessories like stands. If you can think of it, you can almost certainly buy it. But, let’s not get carried away – all you really need is the V60 dripper cone and the coffee filters.
This makes the Hario V60 a very cheap coffee maker to buy. And, as an added bonus, it’s easy to store and easy to travel with (if you have a metal version).
By using this Japanese coffee dripper you can brew some of the most complex and delicious cups of coffee. It doesn’t matter what whole coffee beans or roast you prefer, the V60 can handle it.
So, at this stage, you might be thinking you’ve found the one, the only coffee maker you need. The only downside is that it is very hard to truly master the pour over method, even for professionals. (Hint: Check out our Hario V60 Recipe for easy-to-follow steps including a coffee-to-water ratio calculator).
Making pour over requires your complete focus for the entire brewing process. And, if you change coffee beans, you will need to make subtle changes to your technique. Whilst there are slightly easier options like the Chemex, learning to make great pour over is learning a craft. So, if you aren’t interested in doing that, then this isn’t the best Japanese coffee maker for you.
But, once you’ve mastered the skill, the Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper offers excellent value for money. It’s a cheap product that creates great coffee at home.
Kalita Wave Drip Coffee Maker
- Easy to use pour over coffee dripper
- Makes a great cup of coffee from all beans and roasts
- Easy to clean
- Small and durable
- Filters are easily damaged
- Less flexibility than the competition
Did the Hario V60 review put you off making pour over coffee at home? If so, fear not!
There is, of course, an easier way to slide gently into the world of pour over coffee brewing if you don’t have the time or desire to perfect such a nuanced brewing process. This is where the Kalita Wave steps in. And it’s an ever-popular pour over coffee maker for this exact reason.
Using the Kalita Wave is like making pour over coffee with the training wheels on. So, if you’re new to this brewing method and intimidated by the Hario V60 (there’s no shame in that, it’s fairly intimidating), then this is the Japanese coffee maker for you.
You can buy the Kalita Wave in a couple of different sizes and various materials. Although the classic stainless steel model tends to be longer-lasting as it’s less easy to break or damage.
When using the Kalita Wave you have a much greater margin for error than the Hario V60 ceramic coffee dripper. This is because it restricts the water flow out of the filter. Plus, the ridged edges keep the air flowing as well as helping you keep the temperature right whilst brewing.
If you find the flavors of pour over a little too “delicate”, then the Kalita could be your answer. It brews a slightly stronger coffer than more traditional drip coffee makers.
That said, it does have limitations on the grind size you can use. And it will pretty much always brew a stronger cup than other similar drip coffee cones. But these are small downsides that can be overlooked
Overall, the Kalita Wave offers up a great budget option in a classic design that will keep everyone happy. It’s a strong contender for newbies to the pour over coffee world. Plus, it’s so cheap that you can easily graduate to the V60 if you feel more confident in your skills after 6 months.
Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
- Great design
- Good for both pour over beginners and experts
- Makes a rich, full-bodied brew
- Re-usable filter which is better for the environment and your wallet
- Available to buy in 2 sizes
- The coffee filter needs special storage
- Brewing style doesn’t suit lighter roasts
The Hario Woodneck Drip Pot falls somewhere in between a pour over and drip coffee maker. Whilst it looks like a Chemex, the resulting brew resembles a French press coffee, yet it’s easier to clean. Confused?
Thankfully using the Hario Drip Pot is very simple for beginners and for coffee pros alike. You can expect a very rich, full-bodied cup of coffee, better suited to darker roasts.
Plus, it will look great on your countertop. The slightly odd shape will attract interest and the wood accent gives a more rustic look, not a chemistry lab like the siphon coffee makers. As an added bonus, the filters are re-usable too.
The Woodneck features a wide opening at the bottom, similar to the Hario V60. However, the V60 requires a level of precision that only comes from a lot of practice. Whereas the Woodneck filter controls the flow much better, giving you a much larger margin for error.
Whilst this makes the Woodneck better for usability, it does mean you won’t be able to enjoy the light and zesty coffee of a more delicate roast. Instead, it accents the rich, chocolatey tones of the coffee thanks to the slower extraction style that is closer to steeping than some pour over.
You will also have to store the filter in a tub of water in the fridge. But that’s hardly a chore, especially as it means you don’t need to buy endless paper filters.
Unfortunately, buying the Hario Woodneck will set you back a lot more money than a pour-over cone. However, this is still a top choice for Japanese coffee makers so shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you like a darker roast or a more chocolatey coffee then the style you’ll get from your drip pot coffee maker will be very pleasing. Even though it costs more than pour over cones and some French press coffee makers, it’s still not expensive. And it looks 100x better. So we’re calling it good value even if you only base it on looks.
Siphon brewing can produce incredibly complex and rich coffee due to the total immersion of the grounds, like a French Press or AeroPress. But it has the added bonus of consistent temperature control, like the pour over method.
These glass contraptions look very complex but are actually relatively easy to use. Plus, they look absolutely incredible whilst in use, giving the feel that coffee brewing is some arcane knowledge that only a few possess, and you’re one of them! We’ve picked our favorite coffee syphons from Japan.
Read Next: Best Siphon Coffee Maker
Hario Glass Technica Syphon Coffee Maker
- The 5 cup size is ideal for two “mugs” of coffee
- Heat resistant borosilicate glass
- Easy to clean
- Makes a rich, well-balanced cup of coffee
- Great design which will be a showstopper on your kitchen counter
- No need for an external heat source
- Time-consuming to use
- The cloth filter is difficult to clean
- You will need to practice to perfect the technique
Those clever people over at the Japanese coffee brand, Hario, also make a siphon coffee maker.
Boasting its own alcohol burner to heat the water, the Hario Technica Japanese coffee siphon looks like it walked straight out of a science experiment and into your home.
Where you benefit is getting total control over the brewing process so you can tinker with all the different aspects to your heart’s content. Change up the grind size, temperature, and coffee to water ratio to get your perfect cup of coffee.
The only downside is that the alcohol burner is quite slow at heating the water. So you might want to give it a little “jumpstart” by using pre-heated water from a kettle. But as a self-contained coffee maker, this is a great option.
Don’t get us wrong, using a classic siphon coffee machine isn’t the easiest way to make coffee. And you could definitely argue that it isn’t the best way to make coffee either.
But that’s not really the point with the Hario Technica because it makes brewing coffee fun.
It’s fun to play around with the ratios of coffee and water, the grind, the temperature. And it’s fun to watch the water bubbling up then being sucked through the grounds. You can feel like an alchemist trying to create gold out of base metals… or just someone working to perfect the flavor extraction from your favorite beans. It all depends on what brings you joy in the coffee brewing process.
Even if you don’t use the Hario Technica every day, having a syphon coffee maker makes an excellent ornament. Then, you can bring it out whenever you have time to play.
A cold brew coffee maker works by immersing your coffee grounds in cold or room temperature water for an extended period of time. This slow extraction produces a totally different style of coffee compared to hot brewing.
What you get is not an iced coffee where a regular cup of coffee has been left to cool then drunk with ice. Instead, the brewing process produces a less bitter, smoother cup of coffee. And you can batch make your cold brew coffee so you always have some waiting in the fridge.
Not all coffee beans are created equal.
If you want to get the best out of your Japanese Cold Brew Coffee Dripper, you need to start with the best coffee beans for this style of brewing.
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
- Very easy to use
- Re-usable filter – cost-effective and better for the environment
- The coffee pot fits nicely in your fridge
- Makes ready to drink cold brew
- Takes some tweaking to get right
- Low capacity compared to making cold brew concentrate
If you’re bored of seeing Hario products, then you’re in the wrong place. Hario is the top dog when it comes to Japanese coffee makers.
On those hot summer days when your morning is crying out for an icy coffee, you need the Hario Cold Brew Coffee Pot. Making cold brew coffee at home doesn’t need to be complex nor does it require messing about with funnels and filters. Instead, you can simply add ground coffee and cold water to the Hario Mizudashi and you’re done.
The Mizudashi comes with a reusable mesh filter and easily fits in your fridge thanks to the compact design. So, this Hario coffee maker is ideal if you’re looking for the ultimate convenience in cold brewing.
Using the cold brew coffee pot makes a ready-to-drink cold brew coffee, rather than a concentrate. So, you can simply pour a cup and go, rather than worrying about dilution. Or, you can pop it in a whipped cream dispenser and make nitro cold brew coffee.
Some people do prefer to make cold brew concentrate as this means you essentially get double the amount of finished coffee. However, if all you need to do is fill a basket and then chuck it in the fridge, doing it twice as often really isn’t exactly a chore.
One thing to bear in mind is that you will need to tweak your cold brew recipe as the grounds can’t move as freely as they could in a standard mason jar. So, you may need to grind slightly finer to add more grounds to the filter basket in order to get the same punch. But, after making a couple of batches, you should nail it.
It may seem odd buying something for making cold brew when you can just use some big jars and coffee filters. But for those who don’t already own this coffee gear, having something that is easy to use, is purpose-made, and doesn’t cost much more is a great option.
Not only does the Hario Mizudashi mean you don’t have to mess around with mason jars and filters, but you will also have self-contained, ready-to-pour cold brew always on hand. Plus, the low price makes it cheaper than a couple of big mason jars are coffee filters. So, it’s a win-win.
If you’ve been shopping around, searching for information on the best Japanese coffee makers, you will almost certainly have come across Yama Glass. So, why do we not include the Yama Glass Siphon Coffee Maker here?
Simple. Yama Glass is a Taiwanese coffee company, not Japanese.
Don’t get us wrong, Yama Glass makes incredible coffee makers. In fact, they feature more than once on our list of the best siphon coffee makers. Not only can you expect delicious, rich syphon coffee but you can also get a superb Yama Glass cold brew maker. Their products make great coffee and look amazing too. But they are definitely not Japanese coffee makers.
Japan has a rich history, culture, and customs surrounding tea. In fact, the Japanese tea drinking ceremony dates as far back as the 9th century.
Coffee, on the other hand, was originally viewed with skepticism. Due to its foreign origins, coffee was associated with Western identities. However, in the 1960s it grew in popularity amongst business workers.
Around the world, coffee shops hold social significance. And the same is true in Japan where they were the meeting place for political movements throughout the late 20th century.
Whilst Hario makes a range of other coffee products, which are almost universally excellent, the V60 will remain the flagship of Japanese coffee making for a long time. This is thanks to its simple perfection and the nuanced flavors you can draw out of your favorite coffee beans.
Generally, Japanese coffee equipment is simple and elegant. The focus is placed on the user to perfect their technique, seeing it as an art form and integral skill, rather than doing everything for them. Which is, weirdly, the complete opposite of Japanese toilets.
Whether you love pour over, syphon coffee, or cold brew, you will be blown away by the quality of Japanese coffee makers.
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