Recently we have started to feature special coffees in our French Press and it has been a big hit.  We normally brew a Medium Roasted Latin American Coffee, an African coffee of some sort and then a dark roasted Sumatra in our drip brewer.  So we brought in some direct trade from Costa Rica, a  couple of Peaberries, some Kenya AA.  Our French Press sales have benefited greatly. 

To build on this newly developed interest in interesting coffees, we are thinking about bringing some type of brew on demand in.  If it were you, and you had to choose, would you rather have a 3 basket pour over station, a siphon vacuum pot or a couple Chemex coffee makers?  And why?

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Pour over, hands down. It teaches your baristas control and to be consistant in the drinks they produce. You literally cannot rush it and makes you focus on timing, organisation and how to keep a steady hand. I love making them, yes it might take a little longer, but a hand crafted drink always makes the customer feel special. They see you've taken the time and effort to make it, they'll go away feeling good. Look into Aeropress too, it's not flash and more for home use, but so far it's gone down a storm where I work.


I've had amazing coffee with all these brew methods mentioned.  If you're looking to make single cup coffee per customer than pour overs are great.  With the siphon, it definitely has great eye appeal and awesome conversation starters.  But with the siphon, it might be too much coffee for one person.  It's great for 2-3 people.  Only thing with the siphon, it does take some time prepare and has important parts that can easily be thrown away if staff doesn't know better.  It's a good idea to have extra glass parts for it.  Chemex is just awesome and I do enjoy the metal cone filter. It's easy and hard to screw up. 

I agree with Andrew, you really should look in to an aeropress. Especially if you have customers that love the french press.


Anywho, at our caffe we actually have all three of those options available at all times. It makes an awesome display on the bar. But I would say, if you can't have all 3, go with the pour over. Yeah the siphon looks stinkin AWESOME but hardly anyone will actually ask for it. Chemex is rad but its just like a larger scale version of a pour over.


My vote is pour over all the way :) you won't regret it!

Keep in mind each barista has to be trained on whatever you go with, and hopefully they are all consistently good with it. I think v60 and Chemex are heavy on risk; I've had many mediocre coffees from these.

Have you considered Clevers? Much easier to achieve consistency, but still a bit of show. Kalita Waves are just making their rounds here, but IMO they're easier than v60s and you get a comparable (if not better) cup.

And unless you want to invest thousands on superheated halogens, siphon is a bad idea, I'd think.

Since March of 2010, we've been doing brew-to-order cups exclusively.  PourOver (beehouse, v60), French Press, AeroPress, EvaSolo, AbidClever, Syphon & Chemex.  No one method is truly "easier" than the other.  Each requires knowledge and separate skill set to do correctly.


Some seem to think that you "cannot rush" the pourover when it's the most "cheatable" brew method of the lot - which is why I think it is the most popular amongst "third wave" baristas.


A French press requires 4 minute steep times, syphon requires full attention and care, a Hario V60 pourover can easily be underextracted brewed in 2.0-2.5 minutes.  Heck, you can even get the brew time down to 1.5 minutes if you're really trying.


This is why we've seen massive deployment of the V60 across 3W cafes - it's easy, quick and gives the customer the illusion and perception that they getting something "special" - which truly is half the battle.


If you're seriously thinking about pourover service, then I think the beehouse is the way to go.  The tighter holes means that the water is restricted, forcing longer brew times and more readily into the 3.5-4.0 minute brew cycle for proper extraction.



Although my cafe has siphon, Chemex, Clever, French press, and Aaeropress, I'm a sock pot advocate.
If I had to choose 1, Chemex with the Kone all the way. Super clean cup, easily repeatable method. Ive been able to do everything from 12oz brews up to 24oz with no problem. Only waste is the grounds, and the Coava guys are awesome to work with. 

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