Brewing Coffee Manually

Better coffee. One cup at a time.

Need a New Coffee Maker?- OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker Review

When OXO approached me about sending me their new 8 cup coffee maker for review, I was a little leery. This is a manual brewing blog after all and I have been championing manual brewing methods for the last six years. After some deliberation, I decided a sponsored OXO 8 cup coffee maker review could be fun. The auto drip coffee maker scene has seen some changes since I last visited the subject in 2014. Let’s see what this new wave of automatic brewers is all about. 

OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker Pros and Cons

The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is a lovely looking coffee machine. I had the brief (fleeting) fancy to shoot an unboxing video on my YouTube channel when it arrived but I abstained. The branding and the machine itself are beautiful, a nice appearance upgrade to many of the automatic coffee makers out there. 

I spent a month or so testing this brewer and evaluating it. I made coffee for the office* with it, I made lazy Saturday morning coffee with it and I made one and two cup batches with it. My overall impression is that it is a well made and thoughtfully designed machine. 

I did not prefer coffee brewed with the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker to my usual pour-over ritual but if you are looking for an automatic coffee maker, this one should be seriously considered. Here are the pros and cons of this automatic brewer:


  • Looks great- As I mentioned above, this coffee maker is beautifully designed and doesn’t need to be hidden in your kitchen’s appliance garage (if you have one of those). 
  • Can brew a single cup (it is pretty good too)– This is a very nice feature. The achilles heel of many “golden cup” automatic coffee makers is that they brew their best coffee with a full batch. The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker makes a great single cup of coffee. 
  • SCA certified brewer- I will talk a little more about this feature later but this basically means it has been tested by the Specialty Coffee Association and it meets their standards.
  • Thermal Carafe (no heat plate)– Sitting on a heat plate is bad for coffee, this coffee maker includes a thermal carafe that keeps your coffee warm without scorching it and ruining the taste. 
  • Good size (not overly large)- Compared to some of the coffee makers in it’s class, the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is a reasonable size (14.8″L x 9″W x 16.125”H). It fits neatly under upper cabinets and leaves space on the counter for other things. 
  • Reasonably priced (compared to other SCA brewers)- While the price of this coffee maker will vary, this coffee maker is on the lower end of the price scale for SCA certified brewers. (You can check the current price here).
  • More convenient than manual brewing- If you are looking for convenience, brewing with an automatic coffee maker like the OXO 8 cup coffee maker is certainly a little less time consuming and intense than manual coffee brewing. 
  • Can brew good coffee at full capacity- This coffee maker brews a good cup of coffee at full capacity with golden ratio (1:16.6 coffee to water ratio) dosages. This is important because a common automatic coffee maker “hack” is to brew at about 75% capacity so you can fit all the coffee grounds in the brewing basket without it overflowing. 


  • Small capacity- The OXO 8 cup coffee maker maxes out at eight 5 fluid ounce cups of coffee or about 1183 mL of coffee. This is an amount that can be reasonably brewed in a large Chemex
  • Limited filter options- This coffee maker is a flat bottom brewer. It also comes with an insert to brew smaller batches with a Kalita 185 filter. It would be really neat if they made a v60 insert that could be sold separately. I was able to use my Bairro Alto Air with the filter basket removed (it took a little finagling). 

What filters does the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker use? The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker uses standard sized flat bottom filters for larger batches and Kalita 185 filters for smaller batches. For large filters, I recommend using Melitta’s white coffee basket filters

  • Not a manual brewer- It can be hard to give up the control and ritual of manual brewing for the consistency and ease of an automatic coffee maker. I enjoy coffee brewed manually over coffee brewed with this machine. 
  • Needs a little intervention to brew the best cup- I found this coffee maker brews its best coffee when I stir the coffee bed in between the bloom cycle and the brew cycle. (Maybe that is just the manual brewer in me wanting to participate). This is quite common with automatic drip coffee makers and manual brewers alike.
Continue reading

A Guide to Coffee Gifts- How to Buy Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Buying gifts for coffee lovers can be a bit overwhelming . The coffee gift space is vast. It runs the spectrum from punn-y cat mugs to the super obscure Bripe, a manual coffee brewing pipe. How do you find the right gift for a coffee enthusiast? Hopefully I can help.

How to Buy Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Finding the best gift for a coffee enthusiast starts with some observation. Not all coffee lovers are the same. Some are really into espresso, some are into pour-overs, some just really love good coffee. There are coffee nerds, coffee snobs and the ‘everyman’ coffee lover. You can start by observing what your gift recipient values.

A great way to make these observations is to turn a conversation towards the coffee sphere. Most coffee lovers will like to talk about their passion, so ask them a few questions. These questions can be simple, direct or more covert.

Where do you go from there? The more you know about the person you are buying a gift for, the easier it will be to pick a gift.

If you don’t know much about your coffee enthusiast, don’t despair. Here are some ideas from a wide range of the spectrum. From coffee subscriptions to coffee artwork, the Brewing Coffee Manually blog has you covered.

Continue reading

How to Make Mud Coffee- What even is Mud Coffee?

While I was doing some research for another post, I got lost down a somewhat obscure rabbit hole (something not unusual for me). I came across some information on a style of coffee most commonly referred to as “Mud Coffee”. It was intriguing. Mud coffee meets the basic definition of a manual brewing method so I felt compelled to head to the brewing coffee manually labs and do a little experimenting. 

I should mention that mud coffee is not the same thing as the popular coffee substitute, Mud\WTR.  

Let’s get one other thing clear. There is no mud in this beverage. Please excuse the misleading nature of the cover photo.

Well, what is mud coffee and how do you make it? I will give you my version in the post below. 

What is Mud Coffee?

Mud coffee is manual coffee brewing at its most basic. To make it,  combine hot water with ground coffee in a mug or glass. Drink your coffee once it cools and the grounds have (hopefully) sunk to the bottom.

It is pretty simple. 

There are quite a few origin stories surrounding mud coffee. The Polish, who call it “Kawa Plujka,” claim it was a result of learning to make do with what you have. In Indonesian, it is called “Kopi Tubruk.” They add a little sugar to the mix. People have also referred to Turkish and Greek coffee as mud coffee, although they use an Ibrik and also include sugar. 

Since brewing mud coffee is about the simplest form of making a cup of coffee, I am not surprise there are a few cultures who claim it’s origin.  

For the purpose of this post, I am going to be exploring the Polish, “Kawa Plujka” version. I put my own mark on the recipe by nailing down some important parameters like coffee dosage, water temperature and grind size. 

Kawa Plujka roughly translates to “Spit Coffee.” This is a reference to the fact that if you drink a cup of this coffee down to the dregs, you will get a mouthful of coffee grounds and have to spit it out. (Something you may have already experienced if you get a lot of drive-thru coffee.)

Continue reading
« Older posts