In a rush? My choice of the best Japanese coffee maker is Hario V60.
So you’ve heard about some pretty cool Japanese coffee makers?
Well, there’s more where that came from.
In this article, I’ll share with you some unique but very functional designs. I’ll review the best Japanese coffee maker out there, as well as its close follow-ups.
Let’s get straight to the point.
Best Japanese Coffee Maker: Top 11 Picks
- The Hario V60 (Best Overall)
- Yama Siphon 8 Cup Stove Top Coffee Maker (Best for Large Households)
- The Kalita Wave (Best for Travel)
- ZERO JAPAN Ceramic Coffee Dripper (Best for Drip Coffee)
- Yama Glass Cold Brew Maker (Premium Pick)
- Hario Glass Technica Siphon Coffee Maker (Best Design)
- Osaka Glass Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Tea Maker (Most Affordable)
- Makita Rechargeable Coffee Maker (Best On the Go)
- Nispira Iced Coffee Cold Brew Dripper (Best for Cold Brew)
- Hario Woodneck Drip Pot (Fastest Brewer)
- Panasonic NC-A56-K Automatic Water Purification Coffee Maker (Best Automatic)
The Hario V60
The V60 by Hario is probably the most popular Japanese pour over coffee maker. And its reputation is well deserved.
Right off the nat, it’s clear you don’t need to decipher the manual in order to use this coffee maker. Shaped like a cup of coffee, the V60 actually goes on top of your mug. Then, you place the filter, add coffee grounds, and pour water. That’s pretty much it.
Now, I’m not saying using this dripper is a brainless operation. You do want to have a light hand when pouring, as well as to make circular movements. This ensures all the grounds are evenly saturated.
With that being said, the V60 makes your job easier by featuring a single hole in the center. That way, no matter how you’re moving the kettle, water remains in contact with coffee enough for proper extraction.
The only not-so-great thing about this dripper’s shape is the fact that it requires special filters. Well, to be clear, you can use regular paper filters, but you’ll have to cut them to fit, which can be a hassle.
- It’s made of ceramic, which is durable and great at retaining heat
- Comes with a price tag that doesn’t break the bank
- You can choose between 2 sizes, depending on how much coffee you drink at a time
- It’s dishwasher-safe, so you don’t have to wash it manually
- Requires special filters or altered regular paper filters
Yama Siphon 8 Cup Stove Top Coffee Maker
Want a cool stovetop brewer that can make enough coffee for the whole household? This siphon brewer by Yama is definitely worth your consideration.
But first, let’s get one thing out of the way. I know this coffee maker is labeled as an 8-cup, but that’s actually misleading. With a bit of math, it turns out that a single cup would be 4 ounces. With that being said, this brewer can make about 5 cups of 6-ounce coffee at a time.
What I like about this stovetop coffee maker is that you can use it on both gas and electric cooktops. What’s more, you get a diffuser with the purchase that allows you to use it on coil burners as well.
This coffee maker is slightly annoying to clean. Removing the grounds and getting to all those hard-to-reach areas can be a bit of work. But since it’s dishwasher-safe, you don’t actually have to clean it manually.
Furthermore, I’m not thrilled by the angle of the handle. It’s leaning downwards, meaning your hand can be quite close to the heat source. You need to be careful when removing this coffee maker from the stovetop.
- Makes about 5 cups of coffee at a time, so it’s suitable for the whole family
- Can be used on different types of cooktops
- Dishwasher-safe, saving you the hassle of washing it in the sink
- Made of borosilicate glass, it’s extremely sturdy and durable
- The handle is pretty close to the heat source
The Kalita Wave
The Kalita Wave is a great coffee maker for travel. It’s tiny and lightweight, making it easy to fit in your bag or backpack without weighing you down.
While it may appear on the thinner side, this coffee dripper is by no means flimsy. It’s made of stainless steel, so it’s built to last. That’s why you can just pop it into your bag and forget about it.
The material choice also makes it dishwasher-safe. Not that it’s hard to clean anyway, but having the option to not wash it manually is always a plus. And if you are doing it yourself, a bit of mild water and soap will do the trick.
The Kalita Wave isn’t designed to make a large batch of coffee. This is the larger model available, and it can make up to 3 or 4 cups of coffee at a time. On the brighter side, brewing takes only a few minutes.
One thing I don’t like about this coffee dripper is that you can’t use regular coffee filters. The unique shape of Kalita requires you to buy special Kalita filters, which adds up to the overall cost of using this coffee dripper.
- Lightweight and compact, this brewer is great for traveling
- Made of stainless steel, it passes the test of time
- Brews up to 4 cups of coffee within a few minutes
- Easy to clean, either by hand or in a dishwasher
- Requires special filters, which adds up to the cost
ZERO JAPAN Ceramic Coffee Dripper
This coffee dripper by Zero Japan has a unique design that not only looks good, but works well.
Like a classic Japanese dripper, it’s shaped like a cup, with an interestingly-looking ergonomic handle. At the bottom, it features double holes that allow the coffee to drip through at the right speed.
At the base, you notice there are openings on each side. The so-called peek holes allow you to check the coffee level inside the cup, avoiding overflow. What’s more, the holes also let the steam escape, so you don’t get splashed by it once you remove the dripper.
This coffee dripper is made of ceramic, which is led free and doesn’t retain odor. True, it’s more fragile than metal, but only if you drop it on the floor. And thanks to tiny tabs on the base, this dripper locks in when placed on top of a mug.
This is quite an affordable coffee dripper. Plus, it uses regular #2 or #4 paper filters, which are cheap and readily available at practically any store.
The only thing I find slightly annoying is that it’s designated for smaller cups. A mug that’s more than 3.5 inches in diameter won’t work.
- Side openings let you avoid overflow and sudden steam splash
- It’s made of ceramic, which holds heat but doesn’t retain odor
- Very affordable compared to most picks on this list
- Works with standard #2 or #4 paper filters
- Only fits cups with less than 3.5 inches in diameter
Yama Glass Cold Brew Maker
I can safely say that this is one of the best-looking coffee makers I’ve ever seen.
Yes, it’s expensive and requires assembly. But it looks like an alchemist’s lab, and I think that’s well worth the price and hassle to set it up.
But enough for the looks, let’s talk about the performance, which is just as impressive.
The top chamber is where you pour water. Yama recommends adding ice to ensure better extraction, and that really does wonders in making a tasteful cup of coffee.
The middle is where you put your grounds. It features a ceramic filter which ensures you get no grounds in your cup.
At the bottom, the large 32-ounce chamber is where your cold brew is collected. I like the fact that you also get a lid for the bottom decanter. You can place it in the fridge and pour coffee directly from it.
On its way to the decanter, coffee passes through a spiral with a valve. The valve allows you to adjust the drip frequency from 1 to 1.5 seconds, which controls the boldness of your cold brew. And what’s also great is that brewing takes no more than 3 to 4 hours!
- It’s large enough to make 6 to 8 cups of cold brew at a time
- Makes cold brew in just 3-4 hours, instead of the typical 12+ brewing time
- Adjustable rate lets you control extraction speed
- Features a reusable ceramic filter
- It’s very expensive
- Assembly requires time
Hario Glass Technica Siphon Coffee Maker
Even at first glance, the design is the first thing you notice. But this siphon coffee maker is more than just an eye candy.
Given it’s made by Hario, a well-known Japanese glass brand, it’s clear this is a sturdy coffee maker. Made of borosilicate glass, it can easily withstand high heat. Other parts are made of stainless steel, which also adds to its durability.
This coffee maker doesn’t require a stovetop to brew. Instead, it comes with an alcohol burner. This type of burner is great because it doesn’t alter the flavor of coffee (unlike gas). Furthermore, it’s an affordable alternative, and you can buy denatured alcohol in any store.
There are 2 models available – with 3 and 5-cup capacities. But don’t rely on the cup sizes, as Hario defines a single cup as 4 ounces big.
To put it this way – the smaller option is for a single user. If you make coffee for your partner as well, get the larger one.
I like how this siphon brewer is easy to clean. You can rinse it under the sink or place the glass parts on the top rack of your dishwasher.
- Made of sturdy materials, this coffee maker is built to last
- Uses an alcohol burner, which is an economical and practical alternative to stovetops
- Glass parts are dishwasher-safe
- Comes in a 3 and 5-cup capacity, you can choose the model that better suits your needs
- Too small for more than 2 people
Osaka Glass Cold Brew Coffee Maker & Tea Maker
Who says that a coffee maker needs to cost an arm and a leg? This model by Osaka proves my point.
It comes with a stainless steel filter, which lets coffee oils through while retaining all the particles inside.
This makes your coffee full-bodied but also slightly stronger. This can be both a positive or negative feature, depending on how you like your cold brew.
This simple design can also be used for making tea. Made of borosilicate glass, this brewer is durable, resistant to thermal shock, and doesn’t retain odor or residue. What you get is a clean cup of coffee, every time.
Since it features a silicone lid and stopper, the brewer remains airtight when not in use. This allows you to keep your cold brew fresh for up to 2 weeks.
And with a capacity of 34 ounces, you can make a large batch of cold brew, to serve the entire household. I like that this coffee maker is slim in shape, so it can fit easily in the door of the fridge.
- One of the most affordable coffee makers on this list
- Can be used both for making a cold brew and hot tea
- You can pour coffee directly from the brewer, so it’s a 2-in-1 product
- Silicone lids allow you to keep the content fresh for up to 2 weeks
- If you don’t like coffee oils in your cold brew, this might not be the best option for you
Makita Rechargeable Coffee Maker
A coffee machine powered by batteries? I was quite shocked to see this model made by Makita, which is a power tool manufacturer. But it’s actually a brilliant idea, that lets you brew coffee without having a power outlet.
The compact design lets you pack this coffee maker in your trunk and take it wherever you go. On a single battery charge, you can make up to 3 cups of coffee at a time.
Given that Makita batteries charge fast, this is actually pretty good. What I don’t like is that you have to buy a battery separately, which adds up to the cost of the machine. And it only works with Makita batteries, so you can’t use any other you might have at home.
What I do like is that this coffee maker features a permanent drip filter. This saves you the hassle of keeping a tab of the number of paper filters left. Given I always forget to restock on time, this is a nice feature to have.
I also like the boil-dry protection feature. It automatically shuts down the coffee maker if there’s not enough water in it. That way, it prevents overheating and malfunctioning.
- Powered by battery, this coffee maker can be used anywhere
- A single battery charge makes 3 cups
- Features a permanent coffee filter, so you don’t have to constantly repurchase
- Boil-dry feature prevents overheating from not enough water
- Only works with Makita batteries
- Battery must be bought separately
Nispira Iced Coffee Cold Brew Dripper
While it might appear complicated, this Japanese iced coffee dripper is actually easy to assemble. Even without checking the manual, your initial set-up will take less than 5 minutes. Of course, this also means it’s easy to disassemble for cleaning.
Of course, it’s glass, so you should be careful when handling it. I do wish the material was borosilicate instead of regular glass, but that would increase the price of the coffee maker by quite a lot. This way, it’s still rather affordable for a fancy cold brew dripper.
The capacity is pretty decent too. You can get about 6 to 8 cups in a single brew. Given the fact that it takes 12+ hours to make a batch, that gives you enough coffee for a few days.
The dripper features a stainless steel filter, which saves you the need to repurchase paper ones. Steel filter lets coffee oils through, so your cold brew is more full-bodied. But it can also be slightly bitter, so that’s something to keep in mind.
- Very easy to set up and disassemble
- Makes up to 8 cups of cold brew at a time, so it’s suitable for 1 or 2 people
- The valve control lets you adjust the dripping speed, so you can alter the flavor of your coffee
- You can add ice to the top chamber to adjust the extraction rate
- Made of regular glass, so it’s very fragile
- Because of the stainless-steel filter, the coffee will be slightly bitter
Hario Woodneck Drip Pot
If I had to describe this drip pot with one word, that would be – elegant. Just look at the details. The hourglass-shaped body features a wooden handle that comes in 2 options – olive and acacia. The handle is wrapped with a leather string for an even sleeker design.
The hourglass shape is not just for looks but performance too. The narrow part forces water to go through the grounds before dripping, ensuring even extraction.
This drip pot uses a cotton flannel filter. This filter is great for 2 reasons. It’s zero waste, and it gives a nice cup of coffee with a very rounded mouthfeel.
With that being said, maintaining this filter is a bit of a hassle. You must properly clean it after each use and then store it in the fridge in a container filled with water. This is an important step, as it ensures the filter doesn’t retain any odor or flavor.
The capacity of this drip pot is pretty good. With 16 ounces, you can make about 3 cups of coffee at a time. And it only takes a few minutes to brew the whole batch!
- With a 16-ounce capacity, you can make up to 3 cups of coffee at once
- A cotton filter is an environmentally-friendly option
- Brews quickly, with just 3 minutes needed for an entire batch
- Rather affordable, so it won’t break the bank
- The cotton filter requires a bit of maintenance
Panasonic NC-A56-K Automatic Water Purification Coffee Maker
Need a machine that both grinds and brews coffee? This model by Panasonic is such a coffee maker.
What’s more, it also purifies water from 90% of chlorine along the way. That way, you know you’re drinking coffee of optimal quality.
This coffee maker lets you choose between 2 grind options, coarse and fine. You do that by attaching different mesh filters to it. To be honest, I was expecting more grinding options for a machine at this price range, but the 2 available ones are decent.
Also, the coffee grinder is quite loud. This means it might wake up your household when you try brewing coffee early in the morning.
You also have 2 extraction options, labeled as “mild” and “rich.” The difference between them lies in steaming time, and that depends on the grind size you’ve chosen.
This brewer does take a bit to make coffee – about 5 minutes. But when you take into consideration the amount of time it takes to purify water, that’s actually not slow.
One thing I especially like about this coffee maker is the automation. From grinding to cleaning the mill, it’s all done with a few presses of a button.
- Completely automatic, from grinding to cleaning the mill
- Purifies water, so you get a more flavorful cup of coffee
- Automatic heat-off function prevents overheating
- Makes up to 5 cups at once
- The grinder is quite loud
- Offers limited grinding options for a machine at this price range
What to Consider When Buying a Japanese Coffee Maker
As you can see, there are tons of different Japanese coffee makers out there. So how does one choose the best model? Well, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind.
Type of Coffee Maker
You’ve probably noticed there are no percolators or espresso machines on this list. That’s because those types of coffee aren’t as popular in Japan.
The most popular brewing methods in Japan are:
- cold brew drippers
The first 2 brewers make a relatively similar type of coffee.
With pour-overs, what you get is a bright and acidic cup of java.
What’s more, this type of brewer is generally on the more affordable side. At the same time, it offers quite a bit of control over your brew.
However, they require filters.
While some offer the option of a reusable filter, many require you to constantly repurchase paper ones. What’s more, certain models require a specific type of filter, which often aren’t that affordable.
As for siphon coffee makers, they use a vacuum to create coffee. And as a result, you get a very smooth and intense cup of coffee.
Siphon brewers look cool but are also usually expensive. And given they’re made of glass, handling them can be stressful.
But they don’t require you to constantly buy new filters. Furthermore, the lack of ones makes your coffee much purer.
Finally, the 3rd most popular type is a cold brew coffee maker, which comes in all sizes and shapes.
These are generally made of glass, although you can find plastic ones at a lower price range.
Cold brew coffee has a full body and less acidity than coffee made with other methods.
IN A NUTSHELL
The most popular Japanese coffee brewers are pour-over, siphon, and cold brew dripper.
Do you have enough place on the counter for a coffee maker? The size is definitely something to consider.
Most pour-over brewers are attached to the cup, so they take up very little storage space.
On the other hand, siphon coffee makers tend to be pretty tall. Make sure to measure the space between the counter and the wall cabinets before settling for one.
Cold brew drippers come in various sizes, and you can definitely find something that fits even small kitchen spaces.
IN A NUTSHELL
Pour-over brewers are the smallest and siphon the largest. Cold brew drippers fall somewhere in between.
Another thing to keep in mind is the material.
The most popular options are:
Most siphon brewers are made of glass, either regular or borosilicate. Of them, the latter is a much more durable but also expensive option.
When it comes to pour-overs, all 3 materials are used.
Ceramics is a durable option. It also retains heat but not odor, so your coffee is piping hot and without additional flavoring.
Plastic is the lightest, and it’s most suitable for traveling. But, it can absorb odor and flavor, so your next cup of coffee may retain some of the taste from the previous one. (Yuck!)
As for glass, we can’t deny it’s usually the best looking. And like ceramic, it doesn’t retain smell and taste.
IN A NUTSHELL
Ceramics and glass are the best material for coffee makers since they don’t retain the coffee taste. The plastic is lightest and suitable for traveling but can absorb the flavor of the coffee.
Most Japanese coffee makers are designed to make just a few cups at a time.
But that’s still something to keep in mind. Are you making coffee just for you, or for other members as well?
Generally speaking, pour-overs are designed for brewing a single cup. Some larger models may brew up to 2 or 3 cups at a time.
Cold brew drippers, on the other hand, are usually made for brewing a larger batch at once.
You should know that Japanese coffee makers define a cup size to be 4 ounces. So a brewer with a 20-ounce capacity will be labeled as a 5-cup maker. But in terms of US sizes, that’s 3 or 4 cups at most.
IN A NUTSHELL
Pour-over brewers are great if you want to make a single cup, while cold brew drippers are made for brewing large batches.
The Final Verdict
As you can see, there are tons of great and beautiful-looking Japanese coffee makers on the market.
But one that stands out is the Hario V60.
It’s simple and affordable, but very durable.
It also comes in 2 sizes, but it’s compact, so you can easily store it in the cabinet.
And most importantly, it makes a hella good cup of coffee.
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