Top Japanese Coffee Makers Reviewed

Japan is well known for its rich history of tea ceremonies, honed for centuries. Though the coffee wave in Japan started a bit later, the Japanese style of coffee brewing contains the same precision and attention to detail.

Some Japanese coffee brewers look like pieces from a scientific laboratory, and you can’t help but notice them lined up on the counters of specialty coffee shops. So if you’ve laid your eye on those cool-looking gadgets – a siphon, pour-over, or a slow-drip coffee maker, you are in the right place! Let’s find out how they differ and which is the best Japanese coffee maker out there.


A siphon coffee maker is one of the home’s most impressive coffee toys. Though stovetop models are available, most siphon coffee makers run on actual fire. As a result, the brew time is longer than that of a standard drip coffee maker, and everything about it is complex. Still, the draw of siphon coffee is a fun-to-watch process that yields exceptional flavor.

Though the siphon method of brewing coffee was invented in Europe in the mid-19th century, the Japanese coffee scene has made it theirs since then. The Japanese style of siphon brewing differs from how the siphon brewing is done elsewhere.

The basic design of a siphon coffee maker involves two glass chambers connected by a tube. You start by putting water in the lower chamber and lighting the alcohol or butane burner to make the water boil.

Meanwhile, the ground coffee is already waiting in the upper chamber, in the Japanese method of making siphon coffee. Using the American method, you add the ground coffee after the hot water bubbles into the upper chamber.

After the hot water has finished moving to the upper chamber, stir the coffee grounds. Having the coffee grounds in the water is called total immersion. It is also a feature of the French press brewing method.

Then, you extinguish the burner. As the lower chamber cools, it forms a low-pressure siphon that pulls brewed coffee down from the upper chamber, through a filter, into the lower chamber.

coffee siphon

You might feel impressed and proud when you successfully make this process happen. However, when shopping for coffee gadgets, it is always important to consider whether you are buying components that need to be replaced regularly.

Siphon coffee makers can have some significant drawbacks in this regard. First, most use a cloth filter, not paper filters usually sold in grocery stores. Though the cloth filters are intended to be washed and reused, they eventually wear out and must be replaced.

Most also use alcohol or butane fuel to heat the water, though stovetop and electric versions are available. The aspect of open flame can be attractive, but alcohol or butane is just one more supply you need to keep track of.

The flame might remind you of the great outdoors, but you are not camping your siphon coffee maker with you. Though they are usually made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass, glass is still fragile. Due to this fragility, these coffee makers are generally not dishwasher safe and not easy to clean.

A siphon coffee maker is typically not the most convenient way to make coffee, so you should know what you are getting into before buying one. The caffeine content is similar to drip coffee, but the complex, full-bodied flavor is advantageous.

When you are willing to do absolutely anything for the perfect cup of great-tasting coffee, you might be up for the challenge of siphon coffee.

Hario Technica

Hario "Technica" Glass Syphon Coffee Maker, 600ml

One of the leading manufacturers of Japanese coffee makers, Hario, started making glassware for scientific laboratories. That could explain why the Hario Technica Syphon Coffee Maker looks like a laboratory equipment.

The upper and lower chambers are made of heat-resistant borosilicate glass. The rest of the design gives the complicated nature of making siphon coffee an efficient and practical look.

It comes in three cups (360 milliliters, or about 12 ounces) and five cups.

The Hario Technica comes with an alcohol burner, though some users swap it out for a butane burner.

  • Produces smooth coffee.
  • Impressive design.
  • Leading Japanese brand.
  • Comes in two sizes.
  • Requires alcohol for a wick burner or an additional butane burner to function.
  • It takes time to prepare.
  • Costs more than competing brands.

Check Price on Amazon

Yama Glass Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker

Yama Glass Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker, 20-Ounce, Clear

Besides Hario, Yama Glass is another name common among the best Japanese coffee makers. While Hario usually goes for the laboratory look, Yama sets itself apart with attention to detail.

The Yama Glass Siphon Vacuum Coffee Maker is a solid contender in the siphon coffee field. It comes in one size: five cups, or 20 ounces (just under 600 milliliters), and the price of the Yama Siphon is competitive with its rival from Hario.

Like the Hario Technica Syphon Coffee Maker, the Yama Glass coffee maker also uses heat-resistant borosilicate glass. However, Yama’s aesthetic is less clinical, with a warmer and more human feel.

This Yama model comes with an alcohol burner, but you can swap it for a butane burner.

  • Fun brewing process.
  • Produces strong coffee.
  • Competitive price.
  • Only one size.
  • Easily breakable.
  • Cleaning is time-consuming.

Check Price on Amazon

Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon

Yama Glass 5 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon (Syphon)

Do you want the excitement of siphoning coffee without wrangling an alcohol burner? The Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon can get you the best. It works on both gas and electric stovetops. Like other siphon coffee makers discussed here, it has a capacity of five cups, or 20 ounces (just under 600 milliliters).

As long as you have regular access to a stove, not dealing with an alcohol or butane burner is quite convenient. Though, you still have the other touchy components of the siphon coffee-making process to contend with.

After brewing, the upper chamber comes off the coffee maker so that you can use the lower chamber as a pot to serve coffee.

The Yama Glass Stovetop Coffee Siphon is the most affordable siphon coffee maker. If you plan to make stovetop coffee, you might also look at Moka Pots, though their output is more like espresso.

  • Makes smooth full-bodied coffee with no bitterness.
  • Fun brewing experience.
  • No additional fuel is needed.
  • Affordable price.
  • A plastic handle can melt on a gas stove.
  • Made of thin, fragile glass.

Check Price on Amazon

Pour-over coffee makers

Pour-over coffee makers are among the most simple coffee makers available, sometimes called manual brewers. They are perfect for someone new to specialty coffee because you can get a reasonably good quality brew without getting everything perfect.

Some of them are one-piece funnels that sit over your mug and hold a paper coffee filter with coffee grounds. All you do is pour hot water over the coffee grounds. The brewed coffee will flow through the funnel’s bottom into your mug.

When choosing a coffee maker for regular use, you need to consider whether you need any additional components and if they are easy to buy where you live.

kalita wave coffee filter

Some pour-over coffee makers have built-in filters, making your task even easier. Either way, pour-over coffee makers are great for travel because they do not require electricity. All you need is a portable coffee grinder and a reliable source of hot water.

Pour-over coffee can have higher caffeine content than drip coffee makers. Be aware of this, so you don’t overdose on caffeine.

Overall, it is a simple enough brewing method. It could be a good place for you to work out the details of grind size if you are new to the specialty coffee world. While the Hario V60 will benefit from a medium-fine grind, the Kalita Wave will do better with a medium-coarse grind.

Manual brewing using freshly ground coffee beans will get you a decent-quality cup even if you are not an experienced brewer. Once you get the hang of it, you can start experimenting with different pour-over recipes and perfect your craft so you make the best coffee every time.

Hario V60Hario V60 Copper Dripper

The Hario V60 is the basic funnel-style pour-over coffee maker. Hario makes them in various materials, including ceramic, acrylic, glass, and metal, so you can choose what suits your style.

The name V60 comes from the 60-degree angle of its triangular cone. It has one hole at the bottom of the cone through which brewed coffee drains.

The ceramic Hario V60 version comes in two different sizes, 200 ml and 300 ml, which translates to about seven ounces and 10 ounces, respectively.

The acrylic version of the Hario V60 is cheaper, but ceramic might do a better job retaining the hot water temperature. Ceramics also does not interfere with the flavor of the coffee in the way that plastic sometimes can.

Either way, the interior of the Hario V60 has distinctive vertical spiral ribs that give the coffee room to bloom when it makes contact with hot water.

Meanwhile, a challenge with making pour-over coffee is often knowing when to stop pouring the water in to avoid overflow.

Cone coffee makers can generally sit on the top of a mug well enough to do the job. However, you can get a Hario V60 glass coffee pitcher, similar to Chemex. Once you brew your coffee into the carafe, you pour your coffee into your cup.

  • Made of high-quality porcelain.
  • Resistant to rapid changes in temperature.
  • Unique grooves ensure proper coffee extraction.
  • Relatively low cost.
  • Requires special paper filters.
  • Small brewing capacity.

Check Price on Amazon

Kalita Wave


Kalita Wave 185 Drippers


Like the Hario V60, the Kalita Wave is a simple funnel-like pour-over coffee maker that sits easily on your mug of choice. However, the Wave has a flat bottom, while the Hario V60 and other competitors have a cone shape.

Also, the Kalita Wave has three holes for brewed coffee to drain, while the Hario V60 and many competitors have one large hole. It helps to produce a more consistent cup of coffee.

The Kalita Wave is made of stainless steel and is more expensive than the metal version of the Hario V60.

Manufacturers of coffee brewing equipment would like you to buy their proprietary coffee filters instead of the generic ones at the grocery store, and Kalita is no exception. Of course, you could probably substitute a generic paper filter for a Kalita brand coffee filter, picking the kind with a flat bottom, but be aware of this issue.

  • Suitable for a beginner home barista.
  • Durable stainless steel.
  • The flat bottom allows even coffee extraction.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Costs more than competitor drippers.
  • Requires special paper filters.
  • Small brewing capacity.

Check Price on Amazon

Osaka Pour-Over

Osaka, Pour Over Coffee Dripper Starter Set, Color Series – Full Brewing Kit For Pourover Coffee Maker Lovers; Carafe, Filter, Measuring Spoon And Drip Tray - 4 Cup (20oz./600ml) Capacity (Blue)

The Osaka Pour-Over has a unique idea of combining a reusable stainless steel drip filter with a borosilicate glass carafe. A carafe attached to the coffee filter addresses a common frustration with making pour-over coffee at home. Once you set your filter cone on your mug, knowing how much water you can pour in without overflowing can be tricky.

The carafe on the Osaka Pour-Over has a 20 ounces capacity, which works out to about four cups. Therefore, it is a great coffee maker for families. In addition, the carafe is suitable for serving, with a thoughtful heat-blocking panel allowing you to grip it while it’s still hot.

The Osaka Pour-Over is cheaper than the Kalita Wave and most Hario V60 variations. You get more for your money, and the reusable stainless steel drip filter keeps you saving well into the future instead of spending on single-use paper filters. Avoiding paper filters might give the coffee a cleaner flavor as well.

  • Heat-resistant borosilicate glass carafe.
  • Stainless steel reusable filter.
  • The attached container prevents overflow.
  • Mesh filter can get clogged if not cleaned regularly.
  • Not suitable for finely ground coffee.

Check Price on Amazon

Hario Woodneck Drip Pot

Hario Woodneck Drip Pot, 480ml, Acacia Wood

The Hario Woodneck Drip Pot is similar to a Chemex coffee maker. It has the same sort of wooden holder with a leather strap. What sets it apart from Chemex is its flannel cloth filter, which preserves the flavor of the coffee beans.

While the cloth filter is reusable, it will eventually need to be replaced. Therefore, when buying coffee gadgets, factor in the costs and convenience of acquiring replacement parts.

It is nice to have the glass pot included, as that minimizes the risk of overflow when a filter cone sits directly on the cup of coffee it’s filling. In addition, the pot doubles as a carafe, so you can serve coffee after brewing, and the heat-resistant wood neck makes it easy to handle.

The Hario Woodneck Drip Pot comes in 240 ml and 480 ml, which translates to about 8 and 16 ounces, respectively.

  • Unique design.
  • Reusable cotton filter.
  • Coffee retains the oils so you get a rich flavor.
  • Easy to clean.
  • The cloth filter can get moldy if not maintained properly.
  • Fragile glass.

Check Price on Amazon

Slow-drip cold brew coffee makers

Slow-drip or Kyoto-style coffee makers are not to be confused with regular cold brew coffee, where coarse ground coffee is left to steep in cold water for 12 to 24 hours.

Instead, a slow-drip coffee maker is a complex system of glass chambers, often resembling laboratory beakers. No electricity is needed, as the flow of gravity does all the work.

While some slow-drip coffee makers are encased in elaborate wooden towers, having the tower is unnecessary unless you want it for a dramatic look. Some slow-drip models are more compact and do just fine.

All you need are three separate chambers, usually glass, connected. The uppermost chamber contains ice. As the ice melts, water drips into the next chamber containing coarsely ground coffee beans.

What then drips from there into the bottom chamber is cold coffee that has captured subtle flavors from the coffee beans. The resulting slow-drip coffee tends to be sweeter than other brewing methods.

slow drip coffee maker

Some models of slow-drip coffee makers have an adjustable valve to control the speed of the drips. The fastest version of a slow drip coffee brewing process takes three to four hours, while some ways of making Kyoto-style coffee take up to twelve hours.

Slow-drip cold brew coffee makers are not ideal if you want a quick and convenient cup of coffee. However, some users let their slow-drip coffee maker run overnight to have coffee ready in the morning.

The slow drip brewer will produce a cold beverage with higher caffeine than regular drip coffee. You can serve it over ice or heat your cold brew coffee if you feel like it.

These Kyoto-style Japanese coffee makers could be worth the investment for brewer who wants to try to cultivate the perfect flavor.

Nispira Iced Coffee Cold Brew Drip Tower

Nispira Iced Coffee Cold Brew Drip Tower Coffee Maker Wooden, 6-8 cup

The Nispira Iced Coffee Cold Brew Drip Tower is an elegant structure. It comes in 600 ml (six to eight cups, or 20 ounces) and 2500 ml (25 cups, or 85 ounces).

You don’t have to drink all that at once if you get a large size. Cold brew coffee can be refrigerated, so if you’re going to go into the trouble of making coffee using this slow process, you might as well make a lot at once.

However, either model of the Nispira tower is an investment. You get an elegant wooden frame and an adjustable valve to control the drip rate at the higher end of the range.

Remember that the wooden frame takes up quite a bit of space, so it may not be great for a small kitchen. However, if you are after a conversation piece that will inspire people to ask about your coffee brewing activities, this might be it.

  • Vintage-looking wooden frame.
  • Easy to assemble and clean.
  • Brews sweeter, less acidic coffee.
  • Makes up to 8 cups of coffee.
  • Made of fragile glass.
  • Can be tricky to assemble.
  • Needs to be handled with care.

Check Price on Amazon

Bruer Charcoal Cold Drip Coffee System

Cold Bruer Drip Coffee Maker B2 BlackThe Bruer Charcoal Cold Drip Coffee System comes in one size that makes about 20 ounces of cold brew coffee. It translates to the 5-cup capacity typical to many coffee makers.

This coffee brewer has an adjustable valve and can complete the brewing process in as little as four hours. The Soulhand might be a little faster, but this coffee maker is competitive with the Soulhand in many ways.

The Bruer’s simple color scheme would blend in well in many kitchens. This coffee maker looks like an average kitchen appliance, which might make learning a new coffee brewing method seem less intimidating.

It’s less cute than its competitor from the Soulhand, but it lacks the bamboo ring that some Soulhand users have found fragile. It gets the job done without a lot of fuss.

  • Compact design.
  • Simple brewing process.
  • Adjustable valve for fine-tuning coffee strength.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Made of fragile glass.
  • Need to monitor drip rate.

Check Price on Amazon

Though these Japanese coffee makers are manual, some are still quite complex. So before you invest in something complicated, do your fair share of tasting at coffee shops to see what makes the biggest difference in your enjoyment of a fine cup of coffee. Don’t blow $100 or more on a big drip tower if a $20 piece of pour-over equipment is all you need to make the kind of coffee you like best.

japanese coffee makers

Which Japanese coffee maker is right for you?

Of the three types of Japanese coffee makers discussed here, a siphon coffee maker is the most fiddly to use. Getting things right can take some time and effort, but once you get used to it, you can enjoy your coffee brewing ritual on the weekend or impress your guests with this intricate device. 

However, if you laid your eye on the siphon, bear in mind that the boiling water it uses (just like Moka Pot and percolator) does not allow it to extract all the intricate notes of specialty coffee. So if flavors and aromas are more important to you than the nice coffee toy to play around with, pour-over may be a better option.

Pour-over is the best type of Japanese coffee maker for beginner coffee drinkers. Cone-shaped pour-over coffee brewers are inexpensive and easy to handle. They will also make your cup of coffee quicker than the other Japanese coffee makers reviewed in this article.

Slow drip is in the middle in terms of complexity. If you spend a lot of money buying cold brew or iced coffee at coffee shops, learning how to make your Kyoto-style slow-drip coffee might be worth an investment. Even though it takes a few hours to brew your coffee with this device, the best part is that you can set up your slow drip machine to brew coffee overnight while you are sleeping.

Whatever you decide to try to level up your coffee-making routine, even the more elaborate Japanese coffee makers usually possess an elegant underlying logic. Just work through it one step at a time, and you will be on the road to making delicious coffee at home.

About The Author