No one really wants a Keurig. The company's coffee sucks. Its pods are environmentally wasteful, since the plastic they use is not recyclable. They're a terrible deal: a single pound of coffee purchased in K-cup form costs over $50, which (unless you like civet coffee) is pricier than even the most expensive artisanal roasts. And, hey, remind me, did we mention the coffee sucks?
Despite this, Keurig has been incredibly successful in recent years, thanks to one major advantage: The average American cares less about quality coffee than convenience. Forget pour-overs, Chemexes, and aeropresses—there's simply no easier way to brew a cup of joe than popping a K-Cup into a machine and watch it instantly fill your Big Hug Mug.
Craighton Berman's Manual Coffeemaker, or MCM, is about as close to the Keurig of pour-over as we can imagine. A countertop slow-dripper made of transparent glass, the Manual Coffeemaker might not make people stop buying K-cups, but it's a smart design and a beautiful object that does what it can to make pour-over coffee feel as simple as inserting a mug into an appliance.
A bamboo base covered in an inverted dome from the same heat-resistant glass used by a French press or a Chemex, the MCM is designed to displace the electric coffeemaker on your countertop. Basically a pour-over dock, the MCM uses standard Hario-style coffee filters to brew up to 16 ounces of pour-over at a time.
Berman isn't trying to reinvent the way we brew coffee here, but what the MCM does have in its favor over other types of pour-over coffeemakers is that its form actually demands space on your counter. That's important, because having a place on the counter in a kitchen institutionalizes it as part of your daily ritual. Even in the biggest kitchens, counter space is at a premium: You have to make tough decisions about what stays close at hand and what is going to collect dust at the back of a cupboard.
For anyone with even a remote interest in improving the quality of their morning cup of coffee, the question the MCM implicitly asks is almost stupidly rhetorical. What would you rather have on your kitchen counter? This beautiful object of bamboo and glass that makes some of the most robust and flavorful coffee you've ever tasted, or a gross black Keurig that makes coffee that tastes like the plastic it's made of?
The Manual Coffeemaker is now on Kickstarter, and one can be pre-ordered for just $70.