kid with coffee cup

Should Kids Drink Coffee?

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We generally consider coffee to be an adult pleasure. It has its place in the mornings preceding busy days, late into the night when you’re cramming for a university exam, on the kitchen counter of every office, during casual meetups with friends. But then the day comes when your 11-year old wanders into your home office asking if they can have a sip of your coffee. Can they? Should they?

When I was a kid, I coveted the drink that my grandmother made whenever her friends came over. I coveted the coffee-soaked biscuits that they were enjoying while I was forced to settle for orange juice and dry, unsoaked biscuits. When I was a kid, they would tell me that if I drank coffee, I’d grow a tail.

Obviously, your child won’t grow a tail if they have coffee, but there’s a good reason why we get asked this question so often. The main ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which has psychoactive and physiological effects on the body. If it gives adults that kick they need in the morning, what does it do to kids? Let’s take a look at what scientific research and experts have to say about kids drinking coffee in terms of whether they should, when they can, and what the limit should be.

Coffee, Caffeine, and Kids

The main active ingredient in coffee that causes concern over child use is caffeine. While it’s a myth that caffeine can stunt growth, there are other reasons why the young, developing brains and bodies of kids won’t benefit from drinking coffee. Rather, caffeine can cause some harm when consumed at an early age.

To begin with, there’s really not too much research on the extensive consumption of caffeine in children because, duh, who is going to force kids to do something potentially dangerous? However, there is enough research and expert opinion for us to get a general idea of what the problems are with exposing kids to caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, and cacao. Less naturally, kids have access to caffeine through soda and energy drinks. Still, caffeine itself has proven to have some positive effects on the adult body. For instance, moderate coffee drinking has been directly associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. It can even reduce the risk of some types of cancer or developing type 2 diabetes. However, the first problem is that these benefits haven’t been proven to apply to children drinking coffee.

The second problem is that caffeine is a drug. Sure, it’s the world’s favorite drug and one of the safest ones you can enjoy – but it is nonetheless a drug. As it’s a stimulant, the psychoactive effect that caffeine has on the brain is keeping it alert and concentrated. However, this can also have negative side effects, especially on children.

kid with coffee cup
That’d better be milk in her cup.

The Negative Side Effects of Caffeine on Children

A 2017 report by the USA National Coffee Association showed that about 37% of youths between 13 and 18 years of age consume coffee on a daily basis. But what can caffeine do to the developing, adolescent body and brain? Here are some of the potential negative benefits:

1. Disrupted sleep patterns and insomnia

Proper sleep is key for the growing, developing body of a child (child here includes adolescents, of course). Youths should be getting about 8 hours of undisturbed sleep every night to maximize their growth and development. However, teens that drink coffee regularly have reported sleeping less and waking up feeling much more tired in the morning. Plus, while adults have a higher threshold, kids can develop insomnia from drinking even less coffee regularly. If that’s the case for teens, imagine what high caffeine intake would do to a prepubescent child.

2. Psychological overstimulation and anxiety

According to research, while caffeine does improve concentration in children, it also increases their chances of developing anxiety. In fact, a study done on adolescent rats showed that increased caffeine intake during adolescence resulted in a higher risk of developing anxiety in adulthood. It also showed that early access to this stimulant increased the chances of rats seeking out more stimulating drugs later on in life.

If you’re saying rats aren’t people, you’re right. But oftentimes, science has been able to draw a connection between rat and human behavior – and that’s true in this case also. Research conducted on human young adults showed that increased caffeine intake from energy drinks can cause anxiety as well as a propensity to seeking other brain-stimulating drugs later in life.

It’s not all bad, though – there are certain doses of caffeine that have been deemed acceptable for kids – but we’ll get to that a bit later. First, let’s take a look at another problem that accompanies kid-coffee drinking which isn’t caffeine. Namely…

Coffee Beverages as Vessels for High Sugar Intake

One of the main issues with child and teen coffee drinking is the sugar that comes with a lot of the “special” coffees you’d get in places like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Fine, so there’s both caffeine and sugar in a can of Coke, but some of the coffee-based barista specials you get at these stores are much, much worse.

I remember when I first started drinking coffee as a teenager I was getting it in the form of a Frappuccino from Starbucks. My mother was very vocal against my new favorite drink, and apparently it was for good reason. A grande Caramel Cocoa Cluster Frappuccino at Starbucks has 68g of sugar! Can you imagine that much sugar in a single beverage? The total caloric count of this drink is 450 calories, which is nearly a quarter of the total daily intake for a child or young adult. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, offers a Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin latte that has 55g of sugar. This is more than you’d get from a 16-oz serving of Coke. And unfortunately, these are the coffee-based drinks that kids are most commonly drawn to. They’re not (yet) fans of the nuanced bitter and bold flavors of coffee, so they get their caffeine fix in the form of unhealthily sweet desserts.

But let’s put this amount of sugar in some context. According to the American Heart Association, children older than 2 and below 18 shouldn’t consume more than 25g of added sugars per day. These drinks contain more than twice the maximum recommended value. The insane amounts of sugar that accompany these drinks can endanger a child’s health and at the same time increase their risk of developing childhood obesity.

The Bottom Line: Should Kids Drink Coffee?

This is where we get to the not-so-negative side of the answer. So far we’ve covered the possible negative effects that caffeine and coffee-based beverages can have on kids and teenagers. However, coffee, and indeed caffeine, isn’t the enemy. The answer to whether kids should be drinking coffee is the same answer given to most other dietary questions: the key is moderation.

While the AAP says that caffeine doesn’t have a nutritional place in a child’s diet, a little bit of coffee won’t hurt either. And really, when it comes to parenting, imposing too many restrictions can end up having an adverse effect on the child’s relationship to pleasures and experiences, or, worse yet, an adverse effect on the child’s relationship to the parent.

Experts say that in general, kids that don’t suffer from disrupted sleep patterns and aren’t showing early signs of anxiety can comfortably enjoy approximately one cup of coffee per day. This would be about an 8-oz cup of joe. As most adults should limit their intake to 200-300mg of caffeine on a daily basis, the number gets cut in half for kids. About 70-100mg of caffeine in a child’s daily diet (this should include soda or sport’s drinks – so there shouldn’t be both soda and coffee in a single day’s intake) will do just fine.

Still, if you can, it’s best to postpone introducing coffee to your kid’s diet as late in adolescence as possible. And sharing a few sips of your own cup of coffee with your kids won’t cause any problems, either.

A Few Words Before You Go…

The main question when it comes to kids and coffee arises from the ingredient in coffee we all love so much – caffeine. But it’s not just coffee that contains caffeine – it’s also soda and sport’s drinks to a lesser degree, and energy drinks to a higher degree. If anything, you should try to limit your child’s intake of energy drinks, as lots of studies have shown that they pose more of a threat to kids’ health than coffee. This can easily be attributed to the fact that they’re more marketable to children than coffee is.

When it comes to coffee, once your tween or teen starts showing interest in drinking coffee, try to keep them off sugary beverages loaded with calories and try to limit their intake to a single, modest cup containing no more than 100mg of caffeine per serving.

Best K-Cup Coffee Reviewed

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If for some reason you’re using K-Cups, you might as well use great K-Cups. While they are a scourge on the environment, and their inventor himself has gone on record saying he regrets ever inventing them, they’re basically unavoidable these days. Almost every office you’ve worked at has one. And lots of busy (or lazy) people have them on their kitchen counters – they are compact, they take next to no time to operate, and require practically zero effort on your part to produce a cup of coffee.

In any case, good things usually take effort. That’s why coffee lovers generally look at instant coffee and K-Cup coffee with a mixture of disdain and pity. And if you’ve drunk regular K-Cup coffee before, you too have figured out that it’s a far cry from the flavor you’d get using other coffee makers. Luckily, we’re here to introduce you to the best K-Cup coffee, so that you don’t have to compromise taste or eco-friendliness for convenience.

So, let’s take a gander at the best K-Cups coffee, which offer great taste, a strong caffeine punch, and aren’t just drinkable – but also enjoyable. Keep in mind that – if you care about the environment as we do – you’ll be happy to know that we’ve only included eco-friendly, compostable recommendations! You may also wish to consider getting a reusable K-Cup filter.

Best K-Cup Coffee in 2020

Before we get to our reviews, here’s a quick look at our top recommendations:

Overall Best: SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest

SF Bay Coffee OneCUP Organic Rainforest Blend 80 Ct Medium Roast Compostable Coffee Pods, K Cup Compatible including Keurig 2.0 (Packaging May Vary)

Our top pick has it all: flavor, quality, eco-friendliness, and affordability. This medium-roasted coffee blend offers beautiful notes of dark chocolate and sweet berry, giving you a well-bodied cup of coffee. The coffee pods are plant-based and thus 97% biodegradable.

In other words, you get all the taste of proper coffee and all the convenience of a K-Cup without any of the guilt! Neat, right? The SF Bay coffee company also offers a lot of variety, so if you prefer dark roasts – as many people do with K-Cups – you can choose from an array of dark and medium-dark roasts (like the dark French Roast or the delicious Fog Chaser).


The SF Bay Organic Rainforest Blend is some of the best tasting K-Cup coffee you can find. Unlike regular K-Cups, which use a sort of diluted coffee formula in the capsules, the SF coffee pods are filled with freshly roast, ground coffee, which allows for a flavorful result. This particular blend is made with 100% arabica (the good kind of beans) medium roast coffee, which delivers a full-bodied cup of coffee adorned with acidic notes. It has delicious hints of sweet dark berry, jasmine, and lovely dark chocolate.

The SF coffee pods made it to the top of our list also thanks to their excellent quality. The beans used are of certified organic origin and are also certified Kosher. The blend is made using beans from the most popular coffee-growing regions: Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala, and Indonesia. As the pods are packed with freshly ground coffee, if you keep them in a well-enclosed container in your home, you’ll never have to be subjected to stale-tasting coffee.

We love that these K-Cup pods are eco-friendly. The pods are made of plant-based materials that are commercially compostable. This means that you can get the convenience of a single-use coffee pod without the negative, wasteful impacts on the environment.

You may assume that high quality would come at a ridiculous price – but this is far from the truth in the case of the SF K-Cup pods. Their price per pod is quite affordable, which gives you excellent value for your money. In fact, it’s the most budget-friendly option on our list!

Lastly, the SF Bay Coffee company is a family-run company, which cares about their legacy to the world – so they back their quality with a satisfaction guarantee.


The taste of the coffee isn’t always consistent – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just keep in mind that since the company is always creating the blends, the taste of the coffee will vary based on the most recent batches of beans.

Best Quality: Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods B01MQN9N79

Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods

Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods, Hawaiian Coffee Blend, 12 Count (Pack of 6)

To give you some context if you aren’t familiar with the concept, Kona is some of the best-tasting and most highly valued arabica coffee in the world. It grows only in some parts of Hawaii, and it owes its sought-after taste to the special climate that accompanies the region.

So naturally, we found the best Kona K-Cup coffee on the market, and it’s Cameron’s Coffee K-Cup pods! They taste amazing and guess what – they don’t cost much either. Plus, we delivered on our promise: these pods are commercially compostable.


Cameron’s Coffee Kona blend K-Cups pods combine the simplicity of a single-serve coffee with the taste of a quality brew. Although the blend contains only 10% Kona arabica, it’s enough to give your cup of coffee the desired, delicious signature taste. The flavor is rich and bold yet smooth, with lovely overtones of chocolate and nuts. The roast is well near ideal for a Keurig’s coffee machine.

Cameron’s Coffee Kona blend offers great value for your money. While normally, Kona-based coffee blends are quite expensive, these pods are quite affordable. As we mentioned, it’s only 10% Kona – but it’s still 100% arabica. To keep the ground coffee in the pods fresh for as long as possible, keep them well sealed in a Ziplock bag.

Cameron’s Coffee pods are also one of the more eco-friendly options on the market. Rather than using plastic, the ground coffee in the pods is placed in a coffee filter which is commercially compostable. Keep in mind that industrial composting facilities aren’t available everywhere, so unless you compost yourself, it may be a bit tricky to find the adequate facility.


One drawback with the Cameron’s Coffee pods is that the top doesn’t always get properly pierced by the Keurig’s machine, so it may need a bit of help on your part – which can be considered a hassle since you’re trying to make coffee in the most fuss-free way.

Best Decaf: Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods

Tayst Compostable Coffee Pods | Decaf Roast Biodegradable K Cups Compatible With Keurig, 100% Compostable Single Serve Coffee Pod | Gourmet Coffee in Earth Friendly Packaging

Sometimes, you want coffee but you don’t want caffeine. And, most coffee lovers don’t just drink coffee for the kick in the morning – we drink it for the taste. Well, the Tayst Decaf coffee pods bring just that: all of the flavor with none of the punch.

Tayst also just happens to be one of those awesome K-Cups producing companies that deliver their delicious grind in compostable and biodegradable containers. And if you’re not a fan of decaf, Tayst also offers a broad variety of blends, roasts, and flavors: from deep and dark coffee to zany vintage vanilla.


Tayst’s Defiantly Decaf coffee pods will break down all the prejudice you may have for decaf coffee. Taste-wise, it’s not just a filler between your morning cup of java and your afternoon’s final charge. It’s an event all of its own. The flavor is dark and rich, delivering a full-bodied cup of joe. It pairs quite nicely with a splash of milk.

Tayst is another single-serving coffee pod company that has done its work in the way of eco-friendliness. The K-Cups coffee pods contain no plastic and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Additionally, the coffee is Rainforest Alliance-certified, which means that the coffee beans are harvested in an environmentally conscientious way which conserves natural resources and doesn’t disrupt the life of local farm communities, but rather supports it.


While the pods are biodegradable and compostable, they do come in some additional packaging which is a bit wasteful and will require more recycling – that is, if you’re trying to reduce waste.

Most Versatile: GLORYBREW Compostable B06XCPS9TL

GLORYBREW Compostable

GLORYBREW - 36 K Cup Variety Pack - Premium Compostable Keurig Coffee Pods - Rainforest Alliance Certified Medium & Dark Roasts Biodegradable

The Glorybrew Variety Pack Compostable K-Cup coffee pods are the most versatile K-Cups option on the market – you get three beautiful coffee blends that will suit the taste of any coffee enthusiast. The coffee blends deliver consistently flavorful cups, and they vary from medium to extra-dark roasts. And – as any coffee lover will tell you – if you’re using a Keurig’s machine, you can’t afford to go below a medium roast. Light roasts taste like watered down coffee on a Keurig’s machine. Oh, and, of course – the Glorybrew pods are compostable and biodegradable.


The Glorybrew Variety Pack will offer you a neat introduction to all the blends that the company has to offer. All three blends are made of flavorful arabica coffee, so in the end, which one’s best will depend on your unique taste. You get The Duke – a medium roast with a bright aroma and mellow aftertaste; The Knight – a dark roast that will deliver a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee; and The Noble, an extra-dark roast that will produce a beautifully intense cup of java with sublime chocolate overnotes.

The Glorybrew blends are made of high-quality coffee. They’re all 100% arabica and don’t contain any additives or preservatives.

The Glorybrew is another eco-friendly option, in more than one way. To begin with, the pods are 100% compostable and biodegradable, as they’re entirely made of organic materials. In fact, this product is certified by the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute). Additionally, it’s Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means that the beans are sustainably grown and sourced, and don’t contain harmful additives.


The bottom part of the pod’s filter is sensitive to breaking, so you may end up with some coffee grounds in your cup of coffee or your coffee machine on occasion.

Another drawback is that these K-Cups are a bit pricey.


SF Bay Coffee OneCUP Organic Rainforest Blend 80 Ct Medium Roast Compostable Coffee Pods, K Cup Compatible including Keurig 2.0 (Packaging May Vary)

The SF Bay Organic Rainforest blend is our favorite K-Cup coffee due to its excellent taste and quality – which come at quite a reasonable price. The pods deliver a full-bodied cup of medium roast with lovely dark chocolate and sweet berry overtones – and just a slight hint of jasmine. The coffee is also certified organic, which means that no harmful chemicals will make it to your morning ritual – as far as the coffee goes, at least. The coffee pods are biodegradable as they’re plant-based, so you’ll be able to enjoy your convenient, single-serve, no-fuss coffee guilt-free!

Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods, Hawaiian Coffee Blend, 12 Count (Pack of 6)

For those looking to get some high-quality arabica in the mix, Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods are the best quality Kona coffee K-Cup option on the market that combines excellent taste with affordability. Although the pods contain only 10% Kona, the rest is still pure arabica, and the blend is artfully made to allow the unique taste of Kona to pop. These pods deliver a bold and smooth cup of coffee, with notes of chocolate and nuts. The pods are commercially compostable.

Tayst Compostable Coffee Pods | Decaf Roast Biodegradable K Cups Compatible With Keurig, 100% Compostable Single Serve Coffee Pod | Gourmet Coffee in Earth Friendly Packaging

Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods. The best decaf K-Cup coffee are the If you have some experience with decaf, you probably know that decaf coffee – usually – isn’t nearly as delicious as regular, caffeinated coffee. Well, Tayst is the exception that proves the rule. The coffee grounds in the pods are darkly roasted, so they deliver a rich, full-bodied experience without the twitchiness that accompanies the third cup of coffee mid-day. In fact, the flavor is so bold that you’ll want to add some milk to it! The pods are also completely compostable and biodegradable, and the company is Rainforest Alliance – certified.

GLORYBREW - 36 K Cup Variety Pack - Premium Compostable Keurig Coffee Pods - Rainforest Alliance Certified Medium & Dark Roasts Biodegradable

The most versatile K-Cup coffee is the GLORYBREW Compostable. With this option, you get three beautiful blends for any flavor – dark and rich, mellow and smooth, and intense and chocolatey. So if you’re not sure what type of K-Cup is your type of K-Cup, the Glorybrew Variety Pack is a great way to get an idea of what your favorite roast and blend is. The pods are compostable and biodegradable, and Glorybrew is also a Rainforest Alliance member – which also means that there are no additives or preservatives in the coffee.

How to Choose the Right K-Cup Coffee for You

Now you know everything about the best K-Cup coffees on the market, which will certainly improve your opinion of just what that Keurig’s machine can do. Still, the question remains – which one is the right choice for you? Let’s go over the main factors you should consider when choosing your new order of K-Cups.

Coffee Roast

One of the main criticisms that K-Cups get is that the resulting cup of coffee tastes weak, diluted, and old. However, since we’ve filled our recommendations with filter-based pods that contain actual grounds of coffee rather than regular plastic cups which contain some sort of a coffee concentrate, this criticism mostly doesn’t apply.

The part which does apply concerns coffee strength. Light roasts simply don’t go with Keurig’s machines. Light roasts shine when it comes to drip brews or pour-over coffee. When we’re talking Keurig’s machines, you should opt for everything above medium roast, and in fact – the darker and oiler, the better. So medium, medium-dark, dark, and extra-dark roasts all work well for this brewing method. And from this generous variety, all that’s left to you is choosing which type of roast is most to your liking.

Pods Over Cups

The original K-Cups, which is what we mean by cups and which you may have used before, are different to the K-Cups pods that we are recommending. The difference between the two is in quality, taste, and eco-friendliness. That’s right, we’re not just trying to push you to be more eco-conscious, we’re also trying to give you the best tasting option.

The cups are filled with coffee concentrate which goes through various factory processes and just sort of tastes, meh at best. The best reviews you’ll find for K-Cups of this sort is that they are acceptable or that they taste like vanilla, or caramel, or whatever. But most coffee lovers aren’t just in it for a syrupy, Starbucks-inspired cup of sugar. Plus, these cups are made of plastic which is adding to the neverending piles that are suffocated land and water.

K-Cups pods on the other hand, taste way better. That’s because they’re filled with freshly ground coffee, and if you store them well, they’ll maintain that freshness until it’s their turn to be brewed. There’s no chemicals, additives, dilutants, or any of that – it’s just an easy single-serve portion of proper coffee. In fact, you’ll see that your Keurig’s machine will finally shine using these pods. Not to mention that pods are generally either biodegradable or compostable or both – so they definitely have the upper hand when it comes to reducing waste and pollution.


We talk a lot about taste, quality, and environmental consequences – but what about money? We are kind of programmed to believe that the more of these tags a product has – like “eco-friendly” or “biodegradable” or “organic”, the pricier it will be. But this isn’t always the case – in fact, it’s even less so over time. As the human negative impact becomes more obvious with each passing day, some of these selling points are becoming a norm. So, no: a biodegradable, compostable pod will not cost you more than a single-serving piece of plastic.

In any case, our top picks vary in price, and favorite K-Cup coffee also just happens to be the most affordable. Even though the blend is organic – which people may think should be priciest – it’s not the case. The current cost per pod of the SF Bay Rainforest Blend is about $0.42.

The next stop on the scale is Cameron’s Kona Blend – which again, you’d expect to carry a salty price due to the coveted Kona coffee in the blend. However, it costs only about $0.50 per pod. The Tayst Decaf Pods are pricier, costing around $0.77 per pod, and the Glorybrew Variety Pack is by far the costliest, with pods that cost $0.84 apiece. As prices are subject to change, make sure you check the latest price when choosing.

Brewing The Perfect K-Cup Coffee

The appeal of Keurig’s machines is the simplicity. All you do is insert the K-Cup, press a button, and pick up your drink-ready cup of java a minute later. However, there are a couple of steps you can take to make sure that you get a great cup of coffee every time…

Choose The Right Roast

We’ve gone over this – go for at least medium, up to extra-dark. The best way to have control over the roast is either to get one of these awesome pods we’ve been talking about, or to get a reusable K-Cup filter which you can fill with a fresh grind of your own choosing every day. The latter is a bit more work but will deliver some great tasting coffee.

Regularly Clean Your Machine

With any brewing method, you’ll need to clean your coffee maker regularly. Otherwise, stale coffee and bacteria will accumulate and affect the taste of your coffee for the worse. To keep your taste buds safe from trouble, you should regularly clean your Keurig’s machine. And don’t worry, by regularly, we mean once every two months or so.

The easiest, most foolproof way to clean a Keurig’s machine is to run a cycle of white vinegar through it (no coffee – just vinegar). You can also do half water, half vinegar. Then, send two more cycles of pure, regular water to get rid of vinegar residue. I do the same thing with my Moka pot to prevent the bitter taste that accompanies old coffee buildup.

A Few Words Before You Go…

We hope that our reviews and buying guide have been useful in your search for the best K-Cup coffee for your Keurig’s machine. We tried to create a list for you which doesn’t compromise taste or eco-friendliness for convenience and price. In a nutshell, we tried to bring you the best of the best! If you want to learn more details about each K-Cup variety, follow the links to the Amazon sites.

And since we have you (not that we have you), check out our product reviews, guides and recipes, which are sure to bring the best of the restaurant/coffee shop experiences into your own home.

What To Do With Old Coffee Beans

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

We all love coffee, and we all hate waste. And with the mounting hills of garbage ending up in oceans, we’re all becoming increasingly conscious of avoiding adding onto those vile piles, the products of neverending consumerism. So even though coffee beans break down into the soil and even add to its structure, throwing them into a plastic bag and then in the trash will slow down this natural process, turning coffee – the gift that keeps on giving – into an accomplice against nature.

Luckily, there’s so much you can do with old coffee beans! Whether we’re talking about stale beans that you discovered in the back of a cupboard, or used ground beans that stay behind after you’ve drunk your cup of java, there’re lots of ways you can repurpose them. From composting them to give the plants in your garden a boost, all the way to turning them into natural beauty products, coffee can do it all.

Without further ado, let’s look at 6 smart ways in which you can reuse coffee grounds.

There are many useful ways to reuse old coffee beans

1. Use Coffee Grounds To Fertilize Your Garden

If you have a garden – even if it’s a little nook of potted plants on your balcony – you can use coffee grounds to fertilize it. The soil in gardens almost always needs a little help. Either it doesn’t contain enough essential nutrients for the growth and wellbeing of the plants, or those nutrients get absorbed from the soil as the plants grow.

Old coffee beans have some wonderful properties that make them a beautiful addition to the soil. They contain a good deal of nitrogen, as well as much-needed amounts of potassium, magnesium, copper, and even phosphorus. Some coffee beans can also help add calcium and iron.

There are some flowers, like roses, hydrangeas, and camellias which simply love coffee! It helps them flourish and satisfies their need for nitrogen. Fruits such as blueberries and cranberries also benefit from the nutrients that coffee grounds add to the soil.

Some other benefits of fertilizing your garden with coffee is that coffee attracts earthworms – which are amazing for the soil, and they also may aid in the absorption of heavy metals from contaminated soil.

To fertilize your garden with used coffee beans, you can simply sprinkle them on top of the soil around your plants. Alternatively, you can bury them about 6-8 inches into the soil near the plants.

Keep in mind that it’s best to use used coffee grounds rather than stale coffee beans for fertilization. This is because used coffee grounds lose their acidity in the brewing process, and end up with practically neutral pH value, which is ideal for most gardens and plants.

2. Add Old Coffee To Your Compost

Both coffee grounds and stale coffee beans make an excellent addition to your compost. If you don’t already compost, composting is a great, natural way to add essential nutrients to your plants. This is done by composting organic food scraps, which you can also combine with stuff like leaves, biodegradable paper, branches, cut grass, garden weeds, and so on. As the organic matter composts, it creates humus: a dark, nutrient-rich, soil-like material.

Adding humus to the soil not only increases its nutrient content but also helps it retain more of the nutrients and more water. It’s a party for your plants!

In any case, coffee has time and again proven to be an excellent addition to any compost pile. To begin with, the coffee’s nutrients and their properties allow them to additionally extract more of the benefits of the other organic matter in the compost pile, so compost that contains coffee is richer in nutrients than compost without coffee, with only kitchen waste.

Another wonderful benefit of adding coffee beans or grounds to compost is that it reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of the compost while helping it achieve the highest nutrient quality. Good for your plants, good for the environment!

You can add coffee grounds to your kitchen waste compost, or you can create a compost pile by layering ⅓ leaves, ⅓ grass clippings (fresh, of course!), and ⅓ used coffee grounds.

3. Get Rid of Unwanted Bugs and Gastropods

Some bugs, like bees and bumblebees, are a very much welcome – in fact desired – presence in your garden. They are incredible pollinators, helping your garden grow and your plants flourish.

However, there are bugs and gastropods (snails and slugs) that will only do harm to the plants, i.e. eat them. To keep these little guys away from your flowers and plants, just sprinkle the coffee grounds around the flower beds. Coffee grounds are an excellent insect repellent, as the caffeine and diterpenes found in coffee are somewhat toxic to bugs. Snails and slugs hate to come into contact with coffee, as well.

But it’s not just the plants that will get a break from pests thanks to coffee. Coffee is also a great way to deter that enemy to all mankind, ruiner of good sleep, punisher of the sweet-blooded, the dreaded mosquito. Plus, it repels fruit flies and beetles, too! You can just put some used coffee grounds in bowls around your balcony, garden, or sitting area to keep pests far away.

4. DIY Body Scrub from Coffee Grounds

Why waste money on questionable beauty products (both in terms of ingredients and ethics), when you can make your own body scrub using coffee grounds? You can use coffee grounds to exfoliate your body, getting rid of dead skin and rejuvenating your epithelial cells.

Coffee – both in the form of old, stale beans and used coffee grounds – has a wonderful effect on the skin. Not only does its texture help renew the surface of skin cells and get rid of dirt, but it also has antioxidant properties due to its caffeine content. Antioxidants are very healthy for the skin and can help protect it from exposure to the sun (this is no way substitutes SPF though). Coffee also increases blood flow, which keeps the skin looking fresh and young.

There are several ways you can use coffee beans to exfoliate. If you’re lazy, or just can’t be bothered, simply mix the coffee grounds with some water or coconut oil, and then scrub the paste all over your clean body. Rinse. Feel good.

If you’re not lazy and like indulging in spa-treatment-grade-self-care, you can take the DIY coffee body scrub a step further.

For high-grade pampering, combine equal parts (usually about half a cup) used coffee grounds (or ground stale beans), brown sugar, and coconut oil. You can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract for good measure – it really adds to the scent and feel. Mix everything well together, and rub the paste into your pre-washed body. Allow it to sit for about five minutes, and rinse it off. Enjoy feeling silky smooth and smelling like a dessert.

You can also freestyle and mix coffee beans with honey (for lip exfoliation), almond oil, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, and whatever you think tastes and smells good – just make sure that it’s also great for your skin.

Just remember one thing: avoid using this DIY coffee scrub on your face. The skin on your face is a lot more sensitive than the skin on your body and you risk being too rough on it.

5. DIY Anti-Cellulite Treatment with Coffee

No matter how much we take care of ourselves, it’s difficult to skip cellulite altogether, especially as we grow older. The vast majority of adult women have at least some amount of cellulite on their bodies, and although it’s completely natural, not everyone appreciates its presence.

So, to reduce the appearance of cellulite on your body you can also use a DIY coffee-based treatment. As caffeine stimulates blood flow, it will encourage blood circulation in the affected areas, reducing the appearance of cellulite. Plus, the antioxidants in the caffeine will encourage more collagen production, causing your skin to look younger and smoother.

Simply take used coffee grounds or grind stale coffee beans and mix them with water or coconut oil. If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use almost any other oil – we generally say coconut because it has the most benefits for the skin. Once you’ve mixed those two, scrub on the affected area for about 10 minutes. Repeat this twice a week to see long-term results. Keep in mind that nothing can completely get rid of cellulite, bit scrubs like this one can decrease its visibility and severity.

6. Scrub Your Pots and Pans

Trying to get rid of stubborn food residue from cooking? You can scrape your pots and pans clean from burnt eggs, or any sort of caked-on food using coffee grounds. The texture of coffee grounds helps clean kitchen utensils thoroughly.

Simply pour some grounds into the utensil, and scrub it with a sponge or a steel scrubber. Just make sure that you’re not scrubbing a non-stick pan, as this method can permanently damage it.

A Guide to the Different Types of Coffee Roasts

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Coffee is all about taste. Sure, it’s the world’s go-to beverage for a morning pick-me-up, thanks to its stimulating caffeine content, but most of us don’t drink coffee just to get a kick out of bed. We drink coffee because of its unique, delicious flavor.

However, coffee beans don’t exactly come out of the ground with that signature taste we all know and love. The key to bringing out that characteristic, rich flavor of coffee is roasting.

In any case, there’s no single type of coffee roast. Whether it’s in a specialty coffee shop or just the local market, you’ve noticed that there’s a variety of coffee roasts, ranging from light to dark, and each of them has a unique flavor. To help you decide what type of roast you’re into, let’s take a look at the different types of coffee roasts, as well as how roasting changes the taste of the green coffee beans.

What’s Coffee Roasting?

Roasting green coffee beans triggers a chemical reaction that changes the taste of the coffee, turning it into a consumable product. While unroasted green beans have a similar makeup to roasted coffee – like the amount of caffeine, protein, sugar, and acid – they lack the beautiful taste that roasted coffee has been giving us since roasting became a thing in 15th-century Persia and the Ottoman Empire.

Several chemical reactions occur when green beans are roasted. One of them is the Maillard reaction – a chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars – which is also responsible for the beautifully popping flavors and colors of seared steaks, caramel, toasted bread, marshmallows, cookies, chocolate, and even beer!

Guatemalan green coffee beans in their natural habitat

The different types of coffee roasting are a result of how long and at what temperature coffee beans are roasted. In general, beans are roasted by quickly increasing their internal temperature to high degrees, and then being quickly cooled to end the roasting process. Unlike green beans, roasted beans have that scent that, to us, is coffee, and are crunchy, since all the moisture has been removed.

For the most flavorful cup of coffee, you’ll want to use freshly roasted and ground beans. You can always ground your beans yourself by getting a great little manual coffee grinder for your home.

The Different Types of Coffee Roasts

Let’s take a look at the different types of coffee roasts, what temperature they require, how they taste, and what some popular roast names are in each category.

The different types of roast: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.

Light Roasts

The first step on the coffee-roasting ladder are light roasts. Light roasts are brightly colored, have the highest level of acidity, and in general retain most of the coffee’s original features.

Light roasts are achieved when the bean is pulled out from the heat after the first crack. This usually means that lightly roasted beans reach an internal temperature between 356°F and 401°F.

Although people usually think the darker the bean the higher the caffeine content, green beans and therefore light roasts have the highest caffeine content, as the caffeine content decreases with continued roasting and higher temperatures.

Light roasts have a light brown color and don’t have any oil on the bodies of the beans, as they haven’t been roasted long enough for the oils to seep out.

Light roasts have the taste of a toasted grain, and have a slightly pronounced acidity. They also have a more fruity scent, which makes the origin of the coffee bean more easily detectable for the coffee connoisseur. Although you can use any roast for any coffee brewing method, coffeeshops usually prefer using light roasts for milder coffee types, such as pour-over coffee and drip brews.

Some popular light roasts are Cinnamon, New England Roast, Light City and Half City.

Medium Roasts

Medium roasts are apparently the favorite of people in the United States, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as the American roast (although George Carlin had a different take on an American roast, amirite?). Overall, medium roasts strike a delicious balance between body and acidity.

Medium roasts are roasted longer than light roasts, and thus reach a higher internal temperature which is somewhere between 410°F and 428°F. Medium roasted beans usually reach this temperature after the first crack, and right before the beginning of the second crack.

Medium roasted beans have less caffeine than light roasts, but more caffeine that medium-dark and dark roasts.

Medium roasted coffee has a brown (sometimes specified as medium-brown) color, and no oil on the surface of the bean. In terms of taste, medium roasts have a stronger and sweeter taste than light roasts, but they also have less of that grainy scent. Overall, the aroma, flavor, and acidity of light roasts are quite beautifully balanced, which is probably why medium roasts are a popular favorite.

Some popular roasts in the medium category are American roast, Breakfast Roast, City Roast, and Regular Roast.

Medium-Dark Roasts

Medium-dark roasted beans are dark brown, with finally some oil beginning to show on the surface. This is because they’re roasted just long enough to get the essential oils moving, bolden the flavor, and activate a whole new host of seductive scents that tickle your sensations. Medium-dark and dark roasts have a richer taste and bolder bodies.

Medium-dark roasts generally reach an inner temperature of about 437-450°F. This happens around the beginning or middle of the second crack. The longer, hotter process allows for the taste and aroma of roasting to become more pronounced.

Medium-dark roasts have a rich, almost spicy, full-bodied taste – certainly heavier than that of light and medium roasts – with aromas and flavors that are fully unleashed. In this process, the acidity in the flavor virtually disappears. Rather, medium-dark roasts have a unique bittersweet aftertaste.

Keep in mind that while light and medium roasts have more pronounced acidity, medium-dark and dark roasts have a more pronounced bitterness. So next time you’re at a coffee tasting (perhaps in the coziness of your kitchen), pay attention to this difference and see which one tickles your fancy.

Some popular medium-roasts you may have come across are Full City, Vienna Roast (which borders on a dark roast), and After Dinner Roast.

Dark Roasts

Darkly roasted coffee beans have the darkest color, which can range from dark brown, like the color of dark chocolate, to almost black. They have quite a bit of oil on the surface, which gives the beans a lovely sheen. Dark roasts offer a rich, full-bodied, smokey, and almost burnt taste which is a result of the roasting process, so the original taste of the green coffee bean is pretty much gone at this point.

To create a dark roast, the beans need to reach the highest internal temperature, which is  somewhere between 465 and 480°F. This temperature comes either at the end of the second crack, or sometime after. However, beans are almost never roasted beyond 490°F, as at that point the coffee bean loses all positive flavor characteristics, and starts tasting like charcoal or tar. Blegh.

As we’ve mentioned, the aroma of dark roasts can be attributed to the roasting process, so the origin flavors and acidity of lighter roasts are lost. As it’s the most roasted bean, dark roasts have the lowest caffeine content, and also the bitterest taste.

Due to the boldness of the flavor, dark roasts are often the go-to option of baristas for making espresso and espresso-based beverages like lattes. Dark roasts are a great choice for espresso-based drinks as their rich taste is excellently complemented by creamy, silky milk and froth.

But there’s even variety among dark beans. The roast can range between slightly dark to charred, so make sure you check what kind of dark roast you’re getting before purchasing the beans.

In fact, the body of the coffee will depend on the exact temperature, or point, where the bean was removed from the heat. The body is fully developed at the beginning of the second crack, but begins to diminish right after that. So for instance, one dark roast, like Full-City Roast, will have a much fuller body than another dark roast, like Italian Roast, due to the higher temperature and roasting time of the latter.

Dark roasts have been quite popular in Europe, which is why some common roasts in this category include French Roast, Italian Roast, Viennese Roast, Spanish Roast, Espresso Roast, Continental Roast, or European Roast. Some other, less obvious dark roast varieties are High Rost and New Orleans Roast.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, our guide on the different types of coffee roasts has helped you get a better idea of what you’d like to try next, or how your favorite bean comes into being.

At the very least, knowing all this can help you look mighty smug on your next trip to the coffee shop.

How To Grind Coffee Beans

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If there’s one thing that all coffee lovers will agree on, it’s that every promising cup of java starts with the single most important ingredient: freshly ground coffee. No matter what your favorite coffee beans are, the only way to get the most flavor in your morning cup is grinding them yourself, then and there.

However, nothing is too simple when it comes to coffee. As every brewing method requires a special technique, there’s also nuance and finesse when it comes to grinding. For starters, there are different types of coffee grinders with their own advantages and disadvantages. Then, various brewing methods require different degrees of coarseness – some will require that your coffee grounds are coarse, while others demand that your beans are practically pulverized.

With all that in mind, let’s get to the bottom of everything you need to know about how to grind coffee beans.

Types Of Coffee Grinders

Let’s start off with the main types of coffee grinders. This can give you a good idea of what to expect performance-wise as well as price-wise.

Blade Coffee Grinders

Blade coffee grinders are the most widespread, familiar type of coffee grinder. They’re sold almost everywhere for affordable prices, so there’s a good chance that there’s one stowed away somewhere in grandma’s home. My grandmother actually tried to force-gift me her old blade coffee grinder, but luckily, she couldn’t find it. Naturally, she blamed her caretaker. But why am I saying luckily?

Well, the way blade coffee grinders work is through a rapidly spinning – you guessed it – blade that cuts and hacks the coffee beans. The issue with this method is that they do a very uneven job. You won’t be able to expect a consistent grind for any type of coffee. Plus, the motor in the grinder may heat up, so you’ll end up with a chunky grind that won’t taste very good, either. This is because the heat in the motor destroys the coffee’s essential oils.

So, to reiterate: the pros of blade coffee grinders is that they’re cheap and easy to use. They’re usually corded, so you just plug them in, and they do the rest. The cons are that you’ll get an uneven, possibly burnt grind. Blegh.

Burr Coffee Grinders: Flat Disk

Of the two types of burr grinders we’ll talk about, the first one is flat disk. This type of burr grinder uses two rapidly spinning disks that grind the coffee evenly. So when it comes to a uniform, precise grind, flat disk burr coffee grinders are definitely a step up from blade grinders.

However, flat disk coffee grinders have the same failing as blade grinders when it comes to overheating. If the disks heat up, they’ll have an adverse effect on the coffee’s essential oils, which will mess up its taste.

Burr Coffee Grinders: Conical

The solution to overheating comes in the form of conical burr coffee grinders. They are generally pricier than flat disk options, but they’re well worth the extra buck. Conical burr grinders operate more slowly, keeping the motor and blades cool, thus preventing the coffee beans from heating up.

Rather than flat disks, these burr grinders use a conical disk that grinds the coffee perfectly, every time. It’s also easy to adjust the precise type of grind you want, everything from extra-coarse to extra-fine. This is why they’re an ideal choice for fine grinds, like what you’d need to make a Turkish coffee. Most coffee shops use this type of coffee grinder.

Manual Coffee Grinders

Manual coffee grinders, also known as hand grinders or hand coffee mills, are a smart way to save money and get a uniform grind. They work on the same principle as burr grinders, except instead of using electricity, you use your wo/man power. In other words, they’re hand-operated.

A manual coffee grinder with a conical burr is a great budget-friendly solution for uniformly ground coffee

The best manual coffee grinders use a conical burr mechanism that prevents the disks, and thus the coffee, from overheating. They also ensure that you get a beautifully precise grind ranging from coarse to fine. The main downside of manual coffee grinders is that they require more time and effort than corded alternatives. Plus, you won’t be able to grind coffee for more than 5 cups of coffee, at most, at a time. Still, a manual grinder can be a meditative addition to your morning ritual and a handy companion for camping.

Choosing the Right Coffee Grinder

Some things to consider when choosing the best coffee grinder for your home is price and performance. If your priority is getting a precise, uniform grind (which it should be) you should opt for a grinder that uses a conical burr. If you want to grind coffee for more people and have extra money to spare, you may consider a corded conical burr grinder. If you’re on a tighter budget, don’t grind too much coffee at once, and don’t mind the extra workout, you should look into a manual coffee grinder.

Different Types Of Grinds

The type of grind you want from your coffee beans will depend on the type of coffee you drink, or rather, your go-to brewing method.

Coffee grind is different from coffee roast. The roast of a coffee bean refers to how roasted it is when you buy it. Basically, it’s all about how long the coffee has been heated and at what temperature. (Or, if you buy green coffee beans, how long you roast it for.) Choosing a roast depends largely on your taste, while choosing a grind depends on the coffee brewing method.

So, the grind of a coffee is how coarse you grind it. Grind can range from being quite coarse to being extra-fine, or pulverized. Let’s take a look at the different types of grind, and what coffee brewing method each grind is suitable for.

Coarse Grind

A coarse coffee grind is when you get the largest granules of coffee. Coarsely ground coffee approximately has the size of store-bought bread crumbs. This type of grind is good for brewing methods where the coffee is exposed to hot water for longer periods of time, as the larger particles prevent the beans from being over-extracted, which would cause the coffee to taste bitter.

The most popular brewing methods that use a coarse grind are percolators and French Presses. Cold brew is made with an extra-coarse coffee grind.

Medium Grind

A medium grind falls somewhere between coarse and fine grind and has a similar size to granulated sugar. It’s the most common and versatile grind, so it’s used for lots of different brewing methods. It’s also the most common grind you’d get if you bought your coffee pre-ground at the store.

Some popular brewing methods that use medium grind are drip coffee makers, AeroPress, pour-over coffee makers, as well as siphon and vacuum brewing.

Fine Grind

A fine grind, which is sometimes referred to as espresso grind, has the approximate consistency of powder. It’s generally used for brewing methods in which the hot water goes through the coffee more briefly. The fineness of the grind ensures that the coffee gets extracted, and the brevity of its contact with hot water ensures that the coffee doesn’t get over-extracted.

Fine grinds are used for making espresso or coffee from Moka pots. In Moka pots, for instance, the water gets heated up in a bottom chamber, travels quickly through the middle chamber where the ground coffee is placed, extracts it, and moves to the top chamber, where a beautiful, flavorful cup of joe is ready and waiting. As with espresso machines, here, too, the contact between hot water and coffee is brief.

Fine grinds are also used for electric drip and filter brew coffee makers. Using a fine grind for something like French Press would possibly over-extract the beans and leave lots of sediment in your cup of java.

Extra-Fine/Pulverized Grind

Extra-fine or pulverized grind is the finest type of grind which has the approximate consistency of fine flour. This type of grind is most generally used for preparing Turkish coffee. With Turkish coffee, the grind itself stays in your cup. To prepare Turkish coffee, you mix the pulverized grind with cold water into a coffee pot, place it on a stovetop, and let it cook for several minutes until it rises. Then, you pour the entire contents of the pot into a cup without filtering out the coffee residue. The coffee itself is rich and flavorful, while the super-fine sediment stays at the bottom of your cup.

Not all coffee grinders are capable of producing a grind this fine, so if you are a Turkish coffee lover, double-check your potential grinder’s capabilities before buying it.

Best Manual Coffee Grinder: Our Top Picks for 2020

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Being picky about your coffee is one of the milestones of adulthood, as silly as that sounds. It’s kind of like how you only accept intensely sweet milk chocolate as a dessert when you’re a kid, and then slowly start developing the taste for more subtle flavors as you grow older – like tiramisu or scones.

So when you start consciously tasting the difference between one coffee bean and another, one brewing method and another, and so on, you realize that no matter what your favorite cup of joe entails, it always starts with the same prerequisite: freshly ground beans. Freshly ground beans enable all the intricate notes of your coffee to pop and be beautifully extracted for your drinking pleasure.

That all being said, to have freshly ground coffee in your home you need to have a grinder. Electric grinders are great, but sometimes they’re pricey and usually they’re quite bulky, so they’re not a viable option for traveling. That’s where a manual grinder, or hand grinder, also referred to as a coffee mill, enters the picture. The best manual coffee grinders offer excellent performance and a sturdy build, so they’ll last you for years to come. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our favorite manual coffee grinders for 2020, where there’s something for every budget and preference.

Make sure you read our buying guide at the end of the grinder reviews, so you’ll know exactly what to look for in the right grinder for your needs and preferences.

Best Manual Coffee Grinders in 2020

Before we get to our detailed reviews, here’s a quick overview of our top recommendations:

Best Overall: Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder

Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder Wooden Mill with Cast Iron Burr, Large Capacity Hand Crank, Portable Travel Camping Adjustable (Brown wood)The Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder is our top pick and favorite recommendation for most people thanks to its excellent performance, sturdiness, decent bean capacity, and great design. All in all, the Akirakoki combines functionality and style in this lovely travel-friendly, affordable coffee grinder.


The Akirakoki produces excellent results, so you can always depend on it for a flavorful fresh grind. Its grinding is more consistent than many electric grinders, and it certainly produces better results than cheap, flimsy manual grinders. The Akirakoki’s burr is made of cast iron that doesn’t produce heat which can ruin the taste of your coffee by messing up its essential oils. Plus, the cast iron is rust-proof and won’t leave a metallic aftertaste in the grind.

You’ll love how easy to use the Akirakoki is. In order to adjust the fineness of your grind, you can just shift the screw under the base of the grinder. It works well for all sorts of grinds, like fine for espresso or coarse for French press. The crank handle is quite ergonomic, providing leverage for easy hand grinding, which means you won’t feel like your arm’s about to come off by the end of your grinding session. Plus, it’s designed for practically silent operation.

The Akirakoki doesn’t fall short when it comes to capacity, either. While a lot of manual grinders sacrifice capacity for the sake of compactness, the Akirakoki has both. It has an 85 gram-grind capacity, which is enough for three to four cups of coffee. At the same time, it’s compact enough to take with you wherever you go.

Cleaning and maintaining this grinder is simple enough. You can disassemble it in a matter of seconds for a thorough cleaning session, so you can get rid of the residue from yesterday’s grind in a couple of minutes.

Overall, the Akirakoki offers excellent value for your money, as it’s affordable and durable at the same time. As we already mentioned, the burr is made of sturdy, premium cast iron that will last you for years and won’t have an adverse effect on the taste of your coffee. The body of the grinder is made of a single piece of high-quality wood, which ensures that it will never crack.

Last but not least, this grinder has a beautiful design. The wood isn’t only sturdy, but it also gives the grinder an elegant, rustic look. You can get the Akirakoki in brown wood or No products found..


Grinding will take time, patience, and elbow grease – but this is the case with most manual grinders, anyway.

Best Quality: Zassenhaus 'Santiago' Manual Coffee Mill

Zassenhaus 'Santiago' Mahogany Beech Wood Manual Coffee MillOf course the best quality manual coffee grinder comes from, as the manufacturer points out, fine German craftsmanship. And in truth, the Zassenhaus Santiago coffee mill is nothing but craft: it produces a high-quality grind, it has a beautiful mahogany finish, and comes with a durable mechanism that has the best warranty we’ve seen on the market – 25 years! The Zassenhaus also happens to be our priciest recommendation, but it’s a great choice for the coffee-loving aesthetes.


The Zassenhaus manual coffee mill is quite versatile when it comes to grind fineness. It has a very broad range of grind settings thanks to the large size of its adjustment dial, which will allow you to control the fineness of the grind until you get it just right. It can even get you a consistently high-quality grind for Turkish coffee or espresso, which require the finest possible grind of any brew.

The consistent results are largely due to the high-quality, conical, carbon steel grinding mechanism. It doesn’t allow heat to build up and affect the essential oils of the coffee grounds negatively. It’s this mill’s grinding mechanism that’s backed by a 25-year warranty. So although the mill is pricier than our other recommendations, you can be sure that it will last you for a very, very long time.

The Zassenhaus has a beautiful design reminiscent of retro coffee mills. You can get it in a mahogany and gold finish, black beechwood and gold finish, black stained beechwood, and natural varnished beechwood finish.

The Zassehnaus is easy to use – it works just like traditional lap coffee mills. Sit back in a comfortable chair and place the grinder in your lap, between your thighs, and grind away! The sides of the mill are designed to fit snug and comfortable as you work. Alternatively, you can also grind on the kitchen counter. The ground beans end up in a cute, little front drawer compartment. The capacity for ground beans is around 40 grams, which is enough for two to three cups of coffee.


One thing to keep in mind is that the Zassenhaus is the priciest recommendation on our list. Although the price is justified by its quality, it’s not a good budget-friendly pick.

Another possible drawback of the Zassenhaus is that it’s a bit bulkier than our other recommendations, so it may be the best choice for travel (and it weighs nearly 2 pounds).

Best on a Budget: Hario Skerton Plus Coffee Mill

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill - 'Skerton Plus' Manual Coffee Grinder 100g Coffee CapacityOur favorite budget-friendly manual coffee grinder is the Hario Skerton Plus Coffee Mill. While the Skerton Plus is quite affordable, it’s by no means cheap or flimsy – rather, it can give you the best value for your money. The Hario Skerton Plus is quite sturdy, easy to use, and has a bigger coffee grind capacity than most manual coffee grinders.


The Hario Skerton Plus offers a broad range of grind settings, from fine to coarse. While it won’t produce a grind fine enough for Turkish coffee, it does well with a near-espresso fine grind. It’s also a great choice for coarse grinds, like you’d need for French press and cold brew, as it generally gives quite consistent results.

The Skerton Plus is an especially good choice for folks that need a coarse grind, as it’s designed for smooth operation even when it comes to coarse grinds. It features a stabilizer plate, which prevents the burr shaft from wobbling when you grind, which especially happens for the coarser settings. The stabilizer keeps the movement more restricted, and the non-slip rubber base at the bottom keeps the grinder from slipping off the counter.

The Skerton Plus has one of the highest hopper capacities you’ll find in a manual coffee grinder. The top bean chamber can fit around 80 grams, while the bottom chamber can fit around 100 grams of ground coffee, which is enough to make up to five cups of java. This is quite convenient when you’re making coffee for your family or friends, as you won’t have to fill up and operate the grinder more than once. Plus, the Skerton Plus comes with a can cap container, so you can cap your freshly ground beans and take them with you to work, on a picnic, and so on.

Overall, the Skerton Plus is quite durable. It’s made of stainless steel, high-quality glass, silicone, and BPA-free plastic, which make it sturdy and great for everyday use. In fact, Hario is a famous Japanese glass manufacturer (Hario means “the King of Glass” in Japanese), which is no stranger to the coffee scene. They’re also the company behind one of our favorite pour-over coffee makers.

The cool thing about the Skerton Plus is that while the materials in its build are sturdy, they’re also quite lightweight. This makes the Skerton an excellent choice for travel. Plus, the crank handle detaches easily which makes it an even more attractive portable option.


Adjusting the grind size can be a bit of a hassle, as you’ll need to dismantle the handle in order to adjust the grind. However, if you aren’t planning on changing the grind size too often, this shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Another thing to keep in mind is that getting a finer grind will take more time and effort – which again, is the case with most manual coffee grinders.

Best for Travel: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable Settings Stainless Steel Conical Burr Hand Coffee Bean Grinder Capacity 40g, French Espresso Hand Crank Coffee GrinderOur top recommendation for travel is the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder – it’s small, lightweight, and easy to operate. The JavaPresse is also quite simple to clean and provides a consistently uniform grind, no matter if you want it coarse or fine. The JavaPresse’s capacity isn’t too high, though, so it will be a hassle to use regularly in the home, for multiple people, and on a daily basis. The capacity of the JavaPresse is around 40 grams, which makes it suitable for up to two small cups of coffee.


First things first – the JavaPresse is truly great for travel. Not only is it very lightweight (about 9.4 ounces) and compact (measuring 1.8 x 1.8 x 7.5 inches), but it’s also the perfect portable companion as the hand crank is removable and easy to pack up. Plus, the sturdy stainless steel build will prevent it from getting damaged in your backpack or suitcase.

Using the JavaPresse is quite simple and straightforward. It features a built-in adjustable click-based grind selector with 18 settings which will allow you to manage the fineness or coarseness of the grind. You may need to play around with the settings a little bit to find the perfect grind.

The grinding mechanism on the JavaPresse is designed to produce consistently great results. It comes with a patented, ceramic, conical, combo burr grinder blades, which are made to last up to five times longer than regular stainless steel ones.

Last but not least, you’ll have ease of mind choosing the JavaPresse thanks to their excellent customer support team. If you experience any issues with your grinder, the folks at JavaPresse will immediately send you a new grinder without any additional charges. Plus, when you buy a JavaPresse grinder, you get a code that allows you to redeem a free bag of tasty coffee beans!


While the customer support team is great, quality control isn’t the best. At least if your first grinder is faulty, you’ll get a second one that works.

Another possible drawback of the JavaPresse is that it only grinds small quantities, so it may be a hassle to use on a daily basis if you’re grinding for more than one person.


Our overall favorite manual coffee grinder that combines price, functionality, and style is the Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder. You can always depend on this hand grinder to get consistently fine or coarse grounds that will be as flavorful as possible. The Akirakoki can fit around 85 grams of coffee, which is enough for up to four cups of java. It costs $54.99, which is quite reasonable for the quality you get. The Akirakoki is perfect for travel, but it will also look beautiful on your kitchen counter.

Our pick for the best quality hand grinder is the Zassenhaus 'Santiago' Manual Coffee Mill, and the 25-year warranty on its finely crafted grinding mechanism makes it clear why its title is justified. You can always depend on the Santiago to get a perfect grind – although it may take a couple of tries to find the right adjustment. This is one of the few hand grinders that can produce the finest possible grind for Turkish coffee and espresso. The design is truly beautiful, and you can choose from various mahogany and beech wood options. Of course, quality comes at a price, and the Zassenhaus costs Price not available, but that changes depending on which finish you choose. It has a capacity of 40 grams, which is enough for up to three cups of coffee.

The best coffee grinder if you’re on a tighter budget is the Hario Skerton Plus Coffee Mill. The Skerton Plus costs $41.95, so it’s not cheap, cheap, but it’s as low as you can go for a great quality manual grinder. The Skerton Plus has quite a high capacity for coffee – around 100 grams – which makes it an ideal choice for multi-person homes and holidays, as you can grind enough coffee for everyone in your party with a single go. The Skerton Plus is sturdy and lightweight at the same time, so it’s another good portable option.

When it comes to the best option for travel, we picked the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder for its super lightweight and compact design. It’s the lightest option on our list and comes with a detachable handle which makes packing it up easy. Operating the JavaPresse is quite simple, thanks to its click-based grind adjustment settings. It produces a consistent grind thanks to its ceramic, dual-blade burr mechanism. While it’s a great portable option, the low coffee ground capacity of the JavaPresse makes it a less than ideal option for multiple people. It’s reasonably priced, costing $34.99 on Amazon.

How to Choose the Right Manual Coffee Grinder

Now you’re familiar with the best manual coffee grinders on the market. However, the question remains: which one is the right choice for you? Here are some of the main factors you should consider when picking out your new hand grinder so that it can be perfectly tailored to your needs.

Size and Portability

While all manual coffee grinders are quite small, they’re not all as small and compact. Consider whether you want a manual grinder for your home or one that you can take with you wherever you go.

If you want a grinder for daily use in your home, bulkiness and weight aren’t very important. However, if you want a portable hand coffee mill to take on your travels and camping adventures, you should opt for something which is small, lightweight, and sturdy enough to survive the road. Having a detachable handle is always a plus!

Coffee Grounds Capacity

The capacity for coffee grounds with these manual grinders ranges from about 40 grams to about 100 grams. If you’re only grinding coffee for yourself, a small-capacity grinder will do the trick. However, if you’re grinding for multiple people, or want a fresh batch of ground beans for multiple cups of coffee (even if it’s just for yourself – who lives on a single cup a day, anyway?), you’d do best to pick one of the larger-capacity grinders.

With 40 grams, you can usually create up to two cups of coffee, while with 100 grams, that number can go up to five. (It all depends on the coarseness of the grind and the brewing method you’re using.)

Build and Durability

Make sure that your coffee grinder of choice is made of sturdy, durable materials that can stand the test of time. Especially if you want a grinder which you’ll use on a daily basis, you’d better opt for something that’s high-quality and comes with a good warranty.

If you’re looking for a grinder that you’ll only use occasionally, like when you’re traveling, you can sacrifice top-quality for affordability, as the grinder won’t go through as much wear and tear anyway.

Grind Settings

What’s your favorite type of coffee to make at home? Do you use a French press, an espresso machine, a pour-over coffee maker, cold brew, or a Moka pot? Depending on your go-to brewing method, the fineness of the grind will change. For instance, espresso and Turkish coffee require the finest of grinds, while cold brew and French press require coarser grinds.

We ask this question because it’s important to consider when choosing your new grinder. Make sure that your grinder of choice has the necessary grind settings to achieve the perfectly fine or perfectly coarse coffee for your favorite brewing method.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, our reviews and buying guide have been helpful on your journey to finding the perfect manual coffee grinder for the freshest cup of coffee, both in your home and on the road. Make sure you check all the additional information about the products on their Amazon sites, including their warranty, grind setting specifications, and current prices.

Make sure to check out our other product reviews and guides, where you’ll find the results of our meticulous market research, all to bring the best products to your home. You can also check out our recipes which will have the scent of your favorite coffeeshop wafting throughout your home.

Want to see our favorite manual coffee grinders one more time before you go? Here they are! Happy grinding!

Best Pour-Over Coffee Maker: Reviews of Our Favorites in 2020

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You don’t have to dough out a lot of money for an expensive espresso machine to get great-tasting coffee in your home. A simple and elegant solution is a pour-over coffee maker. Pour-over coffee makers are easy to use, affordable, and most important of all – allow you to create a cup of java that has all the notes and flavors that can be extracted from a good coffee bean.

With a little bit of skill, like knowing how to get the right water temperature and at what pace to pour the water over the coffee beans, you will be the composer of your own coffee symphony. Plus, you’ll always have control over how much coffee you want to make, and how strong you want the flavor. Of course, to get the most subtle flavors from this method, you’ll need to have the best pour-over coffee maker first.

Luckily, we’re here to help you find just that: the best pour-over coffee maker to buy in 2020. We scoured the market and rounded up the top four options for the perfect cup of joe. We reviewed them in detail so you know what to expect from performance, price, and maintenance.

Make sure you read our handy buying guide at the end of the article, where we’ve outlined some important factors you should consider when deciding which pour-over coffee maker is the best choice for you.

Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers

Before we get to our reviews, here’s a quick look at our top recommendations:

Best Overall: Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper

Kalita Wave Pour Over Coffee Dripper, Size 185​, Makes 16-26oz, Single Cup Maker, Heat-Resistant Glass, Patented & PortableThe Kalita Wave 185 made it to the top of our list for its wonderful performance – it consistently makes flavorful coffee with detectable, intricate notes. The unique wave design and flat bottom allow for just the right amount of coffee to be extracted, to get a full-bodied cup of coffee. It’s a great choice for both professionals and beginners in the world of coffee-making, as getting a perfectly-balanced cup doesn’t require much technical know-how.

You can get this pour-over coffee dripper in one of three materials: glass, stainless steel, and porcelain.


The Kalita Wave 185 features a smart design that allows it to consistently produce a flavorful cup of coffee. Cone drippers require carefully selected grounds and pouring skills to get a great cup of coffee, but this isn’t the case with the Kalita. The bottom of this dripper, where the coffee beans are placed, is flat, which gives more space for the water to drain while providing uniform extraction. Additionally, the bottom has three holes through which the water drips evenly.

The design of the Kalita makes it really easy to use. That’s why it’s a great choice for beginners, as they won’t have to time and measure the pouring of water to get great results.

But the great design doesn’t end with the dripper itself. The special Kalita filters that are to be used with the dipper have a patented wave design which minimizes the contact between the filters and the sides of the dripper, i.e. the brewing space. This creates a kind of a water pool on top of the bed of beans which helps maintain uniform extraction, preventing the possibility of a bitter-tasting outcome from over-extraction.

The Kalita is quite small, yet you can use it to make about three to four cups of coffee. You place the dripper over a cup or carafe and put between 26-45 grams of coffee (depending on how many cups you want to make). Then, you start with a single short pour to help the coffee bloom, and once the bubbles die down, you simply fill up the dripper to the top and wait for it to drain a couple of times until you have the desired amount of coffee. This means that although it won’t take up space in your cupboard – or backpack, it’s also a great portable option! – you’ll still be able to make enough coffee for the whole family.

Lastly, the Kalita is compatible with most cups and carafes. As the full length of the bottom is about 4-inches, you can easily place it on most regular containers without worrying about the coffee spilling over or the dripper sliding in.


To get the best results with the Kalita, you also need to purchase the wave-y Kalita filters. The drawback here is that they’re a bit pricier than other filters and not as easy to find in stores, so you’ll have to purchase them online.

Best for Pour Over Pros: Hario V60

Hario V60 Ceramic Coffee Dripper Pour Over Cone Coffee Maker Size 02, WhiteThe Hario V60 is a long-standing favorite for pour-over coffee lovers, and for good reason: it embodies everything a traditional pour-over coffee maker should be. The durable material and design of the dripper are ideal for getting that perfect cup of pour-over coffee. However, it’s not enough to have a great tool in your hands to create something beautiful: you need a master to get the best possible results. In this sense, the Hario V60 is a great choice for pros that are ready to spend the time required for a proper brewing cycle, doting over the dripper with a gooseneck kettle.


The Hario V60 is designed for a hands-on pour-over brewing experience. There’s a large, single hole at the bottom which means that the taste of your coffee will change based on how slowly or quickly you add water to the beans. If you enjoy those several meditative minutes measuring water temperature and then timing the pour, you’ll love the Hario, and what it has to offer. You can brew one to three cups with a single brewing cycle.

The Hario is also designed so as to give you the most flavorful cup of java. The conical shape will allow floral and fruity notes to be more detectable in your beverage, while the spiral ribs allow the coffee grounds to expand as the coffee is extracted.

Like the Kalita, the Hario also gives the best results with the same brand’s proprietary filters. However, they’re cheaper than the Kalita and also more widely available in coffee shops and stores.

The Hario offers great value for your money, as it’s quite affordable yet durable. The sturdy ceramic dripper retains heat so that by the end of the brewing process, your cup of joe will still be piping hot.

Last but certainly not least, the Hario boasts one of those simple, yet elegant looks that are hard to pass up on. True to form, it’s manufactured in Japan. In addition to ceramic, you can also get the Halio in a heat-resistant borosilicate glass design, which is the most beautiful, or in plastic, which is the best for traveling.


Filters other than the Hario filters designed for this pour-over coffee maker, don’t work with the V60 and often end up tearing at the bottom.

Most Eco-Friendly: LHS Paperless Pour-Over Coffee Dripper

Pour Over Coffee Dripper Stainless Steel LHS Slow Drip Coffee Filter Metal Cone Paperless Reusable Single Cup Coffee Maker 1-2 Cup With Non-slip Cup Stand and Cleaning BrushThe LHS pour-over coffee dripper is our favorite eco-friendly option as it doesn’t use any paper filters – the cone itself is the filter. And no, it won’t spill! If you don’t have the opportunity to compost, and you feel guilty every time you throw out a paper filter, the LHS is a sweet little environmentally-conscious option. The LHS is also the most budget-friendly pour-over coffee maker on our list.


The LHS is designed to bypass the needs of a paper filter. The cone is made of mesh stainless steel, which won’t allow coffee to drip from the sides. The base contains extra-fine wire mesh, which prevents much residue from ending up in your cup of coffee.

You can use the LHS as a reusable metal filter for an existing pour-over coffee maker, or as a standalone pour-over coffee maker. It comes with a wide, detachable metal base, i.e. cup stand, which fits over most regular-sized mugs or travel canteens.

The LHS is a great portable option. It’s quite lightweight and compact, measuring about 8 cm over 13.5 cm, so it can easily fit in your backpack. Plus, the stainless steel material is quite sturdy, so it won’t bend and get deformed while you’re traveling. You can make one to two cups of coffee at a time.

Lastly, the LHS is quite easy to clean and maintain. Once you’re done making your cup of coffee, you can just throw away the beans, rinse the filter, and wipe it. It comes with a little brush which you can use for more thorough occasional cleaning. Plus, the LHS is dishwasher-washable, so you can also just stick it on the top rack of your dishwasher.


While the LHS is made from stainless steel, its type of stainless steel alloy (18/8 grade) includes about 18% chromium and 8% nickel. While this is common in cookware and generally deemed safe, some people prefer 100% stainless steel. So if you’re in that category, this dripper may not be the best option for you.

Best Design: Hario Woodneck Drip Pot

Hario Woodneck Drip Pot, 480ml, Olive WoodWe’re back to this Japanese manufacturer for the best designed pour-over coffee maker: the Hario Woodneck Drip Pot. The style is timeless, elegant, and slick – it will look beautiful in any home or office. But the Hario Woodneck is not just a pretty face – it uses a delicate cotton flannel cloth instead of regular filters to produce a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee. One downside of this pour-over coffee maker is that it’s quite pricey.


The Hario Woodneck Drip Pot is truly wonderful for coffee lovers that want to taste every last bit of what a coffee ground has to offer. The drip cloth has smaller holes than any metal or paper filters, so the coffee grounds get more extracted before the water passes through the mesh. It does take a bit longer than paper or reusable metal filters, but the resulting coffee is well worth an extra minute or two.

Rather than changing the taste of the coffee like some paper filters, the drip cloth allows intricate notes to dominate the taste of your cup of java. The slow extraction allows for the coffee oils to pass through to the end result, and aid in the creation of a rich, full flavor.

Much like the Hario V60, the Woodneck Drip Pot is also a great choice for hard-core pour-over coffee enthusiasts. The unique brewing process takes devotion to the method, time, and patience – but the delicious cup of coffee you get makes the effort negligible.

The Hario’s beautiful look is a combination of the woodneck glass pot, the featured filter with a wooden handle, and the delicate cotton flannel drip cloth. Together, they give this pour-over coffee maker a timeless, rustic look. You can choose from 240 ml or 480 ml-capacity options, and from dark wood and olive wood alternatives. The 240 ml is suitable for up to 2 cups, and the 480 ml is suitable for up to 4 cups.

Thanks to its reusable cloth filters, the Hario Woodneck is another eco-friendly option. The initial purchase comes with one drip cloth. Once it wears out, which should be about 6 months or so, you can order a set of three cloth filters.


The Hario Woodneck is the priciest option on our list, so it’s not a good idea if you’re on a budget.

Additionally, the glass is a bit fragile, so you’d best handle it with care.


Our overall favorite pour-over coffee maker is the Kalita Wave 185 Pour-Over Coffee Dripper for its consistently excellent performance in making a flavorful, rich cup of coffee. The Kalita Wave’s design makes it a very forgiving little tool, which makes it a great choice for beginners. Even if you don’t get everything right, your coffee will come out tasting pretty good! While the Kalita is reasonably priced at $27.13, one possible drawback is that the Kalita proprietary filters are a bit pricier than regular filters.

The best pour-over coffee maker for pour-over coffee aficionados is the Hario V60, as it will give you everything you need in order to get the most intricate, delicious cup of coffee. But this dripper isn’t as forgiving as the Kalita Wave – you’ll need to have the necessary skill and knowledge on how to create that perfect cup of coffee. The Hario also offers excellent value for your money, as all three options – plastic, glass, and ceramic – are durable and affordable. The plastic is the cheapest, the ceramic the priciest, at $22.50, while glass sits between the two.

Our favorite eco-friendly option is the LHS Paperless Pour-Over Coffee Dripper, as it doesn’t use any paper filters. Rather, the stainless steel which the dripper is made of contains mesh which functions as a filter. It’s also quite compact and lightweight, which makes it a great portable choice. The LHS pour-over coffee maker is the most budget-friendly option on the list (except for the Hario V60 plastic), costing $12.59.

The pour-over coffee maker with the most beautiful design is the Hario Woodneck Drip Pot. It has an elegant, classy look and it’s made of glass and wood. A lovely addition to this coffee maker is the cotton filter which is reusable. The tiny holes in the cloth allow for a beautifully extracted cup of coffee that emphasizes all the delicate notes contained in the coffee beans. However, the Woodneck Drip Pot is also the priciest recommendation on our list. The 240 ml versions are cheaper than the 480 ml versions. Out of the 480 ml pots, the olive wood one that we have featured in our review costs $49.95.

How to Choose the Right Pour-Over Coffee Maker

Alright, so now you know what the best pour-over coffee makers are on the market – but which one is the right choice for you? Here are some tips on what to look out for when choosing a pour-over coffee maker that will suit your needs and preferences.

What’s Your Skill Level?

As you may have realized, not all pour-over coffee makers are as forgiving as the Kalita Wave. Some, like the Hario options, require that you’ve familiarized yourself with the pour-over method quite well in order to get the optimal cup of coffee. Plus, if you’re already a pro, you may want to opt for a coffee maker that has the versatility necessary to allow you to adjust the brewing process to your taste.

Of course, you may also be willing to learn, so just think over how much effort you’re willing to put into coffee brewing before settling on a coffee maker for yourself.

What’s Your Desired Capacity?

The pour-over coffee makers on our list have different capacities when it comes to how many cups of coffee you can brew at a time. Check out how much each option can yield, and see if that suits the needs of your home or office.

What’s Your Budget?

In the conclusion, we tried to give you a general idea of how much each pour-over coffee maker costs, but you should still check their current prices on Amazon. In any case, you don’t need to pay a lot of money to get a great coffee maker. The Hario V60, for instance, is quite affordable and still yields wonderful results.

Are You Stationed, or on the Go?

If you want a pour-over coffee maker for your home, any of our recommendations will do. However, if you want something that you can take with you while traveling, you should look for an option that’s lightweight, compact, and not likely to break. The LHS and the Hario V60 plastic dripper are the best portable options and great camping companions.

What Accessories Does Your New Coffee Maker Need?

Some coffee makers don’t require much, other than a hot water source. Others, on the other hand, may require that you have a gooseneck kettle from which to slowly pour water in small quantities. Additionally, some drippers need specific paper filters, while others rely on reusability.

Check what your pour-over coffee maker of choice needs, and see if you have it. If not, think whether you’d be willing to invest in it.

How Much Time You Got?

Each coffee maker has a different brewing time. This is often based on how many drainage holes they have, and how dense the mesh of the dripper or filter is. Check how long the brewing process for each pour-over coffee maker is, and decide if you can fit it in your schedule.

How Does Pour-Over Coffee Taste?

The wonderful thing about pour-over coffee makers and the reason there’s such a thing is pour-over coffee die-hard fans, is that it has a very unique, flavorful taste. The slow extraction of the beans during the measured brewing process produces a clean, light, and well-balanced cup of coffee that has all the intricate high and low notes of the coffee bean.

This means that pour-over coffee will take your taste buds someplace new, allowing you to finally make sense of those descriptions that accompany coffee beans, like fruity or flowery. Essentially, pour-over coffee prevents over-extraction and bitterness, so you only get the crisp flavor of the coffee bean.

A Few Words Before You Go…

Hopefully, our recommendations and buying guide helped you find the right pour-over coffee maker for your needs, preferences, and taste. Make sure you follow the links to the products to check their current prices and find answers to any additional questions you may have about the material, warranty, or brewing process. Soon enough, you too will be enjoying your delicate cup of joe!

You can also check out our other product reviews and guides, or try some of our favorite coffee shop grade recipes that will be the perfect addition to your cup of pour-over coffee.

Want to see our favorite pour-over coffee makers one more time before you go? Here they are! Happy brewing!

Macchiato vs Mocha: What’s the Difference?

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Whether you’re trying to prove your friend wrong over what the difference between macchiato and mocha is, or you’re trying to figure out what to order on your next trip to the coffee shop, you’re in the right place.

The truth of the matter is, these two drinks are quite different – their similarity mainly lies in the fact that they’re both espresso-based beverages. However, because their names sound slightly similar, people sometimes confuse them.

So let’s find out what a macchiato is and what a mocha is, so you’ll decide which one is more to your taste.

What Is a Macchiato?

The original Italian macchiato, also known as espresso macchiato, is basically an espresso shot with a spot of foam, or frothed milk, on top. In fact, macchiato in Italian means stained or spotted – which is exactly what this drink is – a spotted shot of espresso. The initial conception of macchiato was to highlight the bold, full-bodied flavor of the espresso shot with a spot of creamy milk froth. Alternatively, a macchiato can be stained with a splash of steamed milk and then completed with a dab of foam.

However, as the macchiato traveled to the United States and other countries worldwide, the way the drink was made started to change. In a lot of American coffee shops, for instance, a macchiato is closer to a latte in that more steamed milk is added. In this version, the milk is the star or the show rather than the espresso. To make an American macchiato, a full amount of milk is steamed and poured into a mug, and then the espresso shot is slowly added into the milk, diffusing it and creating layers as it goes.

In some other European countries a macchiato is prepared like a cappuccino with one part hot water, one part steamed milk with froth on top.

So, what about the taste? The versions of macchiato which are truer to the original and don’t use too much milk, really help accentuate the bold taste of the espresso shot. Of course, this may be too intense for people that prefer milky drinks. You can always try to recreate an original macchiato in your home with a high-quality, affordable milk frother.

What Is a Mocha?

The name mocha doesn’t come from the Italian espresso tradition, nor does it come from the Italian language. Rather, it comes from the Mocha (or Mokha) region in Yemen that’s famous for producing one of the most delicious, flavorful coffee beans in the world. Historically, also, Mocha was a key part of the global coffee trade for centuries. After all, the tradition of coffee drinking that we know today emerged from the Middle East. The first known coffee consumers were the Sufis, a Muslim mystic sect, from the region of present-day Yemen.

In any case, it’s not quite clear how this espresso-based beverage was named mocha, as there’s little relation to what the drink has come to mean. At best, we could draw a parallel between the natural chocolatey flavor of the Mocha bean and chocolate being the key ingredient – next to coffee – in the mocha that’s offered in coffee shops today.

So – what’s a mocha? A mocha unites the two beautiful, complementary tastes of coffee and chocolate, creating a coffee drink that’s ideal for chocolate lovers.

Mochas are made by adding chocolate sauce to an espresso shot and then adding a full amount of steamed milk. Some coffee shops also add foam, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.

This mocha is made with espresso, chocolate syrup, milk, and chocolate shavings!

So, while a macchiato is much less sweet, and only uses milk to help the espresso flavor pop, a mocha is quite sweet thanks to the chocolate syrup. Plus, it uses a lot more milk than a traditional macchiato, which means that espresso comes second or third in the story. In a nutshell, a mocha is a favorite among people who like espresso, but need some strong backup to diffuse its boldness. Places like Starbucks like to take it a step further into non-coffiness, by offering additional syrup options like peppermint, salted caramel, vanilla, nutmeg, and so on.

Ristretto vs Espresso: What’s the Difference?

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The menus of most coffee shops will always include a host of espresso-based beverages. From latte to Americano, macchiato to cortado, we’re used to expecting the difference between these drinks to stem from how much hot water, steamed milk, or froth they each contain – if any. Their common unifier is always that full-bodied shot of espresso.

But now, all of a sudden, you hear about ristretto. How is a ristretto different from an espresso? In this case, the difference boils down to the process of coffee extraction. Let’s see what each of these beverages is, and how they’re made. In the end, it’s these factors that account for the final difference in flavor.

What’s an Espresso?

An espresso is usually the basis for most coffeeshop drinks, like all the ones we mentioned above. More recently, however, baristas have taken to using ristrettos as the basis for these same, milky beverages – but we’ll get into that a bit later.

So an espresso is a 30 ml shot of coffee made with a (surprise!) espresso machine. High-pressure, piping hot water goes through about 7-9 grams of finely ground coffee beans for anywhere between 25 to 30 seconds. The result is an intense, strong shot of coffee that can be drunk on its own or added onto. A lot of coffee shops that make big drinks use double shots of espresso or doppio.

Some people that drink espresso straight like to add a bit of sugar to soften the strong flavor.

An espresso has three layers: the bottom is the darkest, and also known as the “body.” The middle is lighter, and is referred to as the “heart.” Finally, the top of an espresso is adorned with a thin, light-brown layer referred to as “crema,” which accounts for the almost creamy finish and deep aftertaste of an espresso shot.

What’s a Ristretto?

The main difference between a ristretto and an espresso is in the brewing process. Namely, the time and the amount of water used for each beverage differ, while everything else in the method is the same. So to make a ristretto, you use the same process and the same amount of coffee as you would for an espresso. However, you only use half the amount of water that you’d use for an espresso, so a ristretto is only about 15 ml per shot. Plus, the extraction time is shorter, lasting only about 15 seconds.

The resulting shot is not only different from the espresso in quantity, but also in flavor.

The main difference between ristretto and espresso is the amount of water and extraction time.

What Are the Differences Between a Ristretto and an Espresso?

So because of the shorter extraction time and smaller amount of water, a ristretto is different from an espresso in overall quantity, caffeine, and flavor.

Quantity-wise, we already covered that a ristretto is half the size of an espresso, about 15 ml. Some coffeeshops which have started using ristrettos to make milky coffee drinks as well, usually use a double shot.

In terms of caffeine, the shorter extraction process yields a shot with a bit less caffeine than an espresso. The variance in caffeine content is quite small, however.

The most important difference, of course, is taste. Due to the shorter extraction time and smaller amount of water used, the taste of a ristretto is stronger, bolder, and more concentrated. However, a ristretto has a sweeter finish than an espresso.

While a ristretto must sound quite beautiful by now, it’s also, unfortunately, easier to mess up than an espresso. As the extraction process is shorter, beans that are not finely ground may result in an under-extracted cup of coffee, which is sometimes unpleasantly bitter.

Ristrettos In Milk-Based Drinks

Some coffee shops prefer using ristrettos in milk-based drinks like lattes and cappuccinos since the milk and cream complement the sweet finish and bold flavor of the ristretto really well. They come together as a flavorful balance between strong and sweet. If you prefer a sweeter finish in your coffee, you may ask your barista to use a double ristretto instead of an espresso, and see what happens!

In fact, some popular coffee shops already use ristretto for certain beverages. Starbucks, for instance, prepare flat whites with ristretto shots rather than espresso shots.

If you want to enjoy good coffee in your home, but aren’t ready to sacrifice money and kitchen counter space for an espresso machine, you can always experiment with flavors and beans using a great pour-over coffee maker.

Cortado vs Latte

Appliances Reviewed is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Most urban coffee shops offer the same array of coffee drinks on their menu. And in this broad, seemingly never-ending list of caffeine-infused deliciousness, it’s always a couple of variables that are dancing around the same, main component of the perfect cup of joe: espresso.

Today, we’ll take a look at two espresso-based beverages that often get confused: the elegant, laconic cortado and the smooth, velvety latte. We will learn what makes them similar, and what sets them apart so that you know exactly what to order on your next trip to the local café. Or, you’ll know exactly what to do if you’re trying to recreate these coffeeshop classics at home.

What Is Cortado?

A cortado gives a Spanish twist to the usually Italian-crafted array of espresso beverages. You see, “cortado” means “cut” in Spanish. The drink is named cortado, or cut, because you cut that wonderfully acidic shot of espresso with some steamed milk. Unlike most Italian milky takes on the espresso, the cortado contains less foam and is generally made without any frothed milk. Any thin layer of foam that adorns a cup of cortado is the result of steamed milk.

The taste of the cortado is a beautiful balance between coffee and milk, combining that flavorful espresso punch with the smooth, silky taste of steamed milk. It’s the ideal choice for coffee lovers that like a strong cup of java, but don’t want to be knocked to the ground by the bold taste of an espresso shot.

How Do You Make a Cortado?

A cortado is made of equal parts espresso and flat steamed milk. This makes the drink quite short – when you add the espresso and steamed milk, the drink averages a total of 3 – 4 ounces.

As you can see, this cortado contains a very thin layer of foam. And if we’re being honest – it’s a bit on the milky side.

While frothed milk, or foam, in lattes is often optional, cortados are traditionally made without any foam. The most you’d get is a thin, foamy layer that’s come out of the steamed milk.

What Is a Latte?

The word latte, as you may have suspected, means milk in Italian. The name makes perfect sense, as a latte is one of the milkiest espresso-based beverages you’ll come across. One of the main differences between a cortado and a latte is the amount of milk. A latte uses twice as much steamed milk as a cortado. Another difference is that while frothed milk (foam) isn’t a must in a latte recipe, it’s an optional ingredient that baristas often choose to add. Cortados never really come with additional foam – unless you specifically ask for it.

As you can see, lattes come with more milk than cortados, and a nice, foamy finish.

Lattes are the perfect choice for people who prefer experiencing the intense flavor of the espresso through a veil of silky, velvety-smooth steamed milk. A lot of coffee shops also offer lattes with different flavored syrups, like mint, vanilla, caramel, and so on. (But why would anyone ruin their coffee with a syrup? What am I, twelve?)

How Do You Make a Latte?

A latte is generally made with one part espresso and two parts steamed milk. The steamed milk is also slightly aerated in the process, so it comes with a thin layer of foam on the top (perhaps a bit thicker than a cortado). If you prefer having foam on your latte, you can specify this to your barista, or you can create it at home using an affordable, handy milk frother.

As a latte comes with more milk than a cortado, it’s also a larger cup of coffee. The size of a latte starts at 6 ounces, but can also go all the way up to 20 ounces in coffee shops like Starbucks, where a coffee drink seems to count only if you can barely carry it. Of course, in these cases, baristas also add a second shot of espresso to maintain the balance between espresso flavor and silky-smooth milk.

Recapping the Differences Between Cortado and Latte

So, what are the differences between cortado and latte? Let’s recap:

  • A cortado has a 1:1 espresso to milk ratio; a latte has a 1:2 espresso to milk ratio;
  • A cortado usually has no foam; a latte may contain anything from a thin to a generous layer of foamy, frothed milk.
Join Our Newsletter

Never miss a thing! Our newsletter is the perfect way to stay informed about the latest recipes and reviews that we publish.