Published March 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.
The perfect cup of coffee calls for the perfect gadget.
The most flavorful, aromatic coffee is brewed with water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, steeped for six minutes, and many people prefer a Melitta cone since it offers control over these variables. The Clever Coffee Dripper ($12.50) is a plastic cone similar to the slightly smaller Melitta, with a couple of improving twists: It has a lid to keep water hotter than the open cone, as well as a shutoff valve that holds back the dripping coffee so that it can steep more fully, as in a French press. But because it uses a regular coffee filter, this device gives you full-bodied coffee without the French press’s sediment. The coffee releases only when you place the cone on a cup, and it stops flowing when you lift it off.
One quibble: The manufacturer claims that the Clever Coffee Dripper can make 10, 15, or 30 ounces of coffee. We brewed 10 ounces with good results; 15 ounces was trickier, as the amount of fluid lifted the grounds dangerously close to the rim. For 30 ounces you must fill it twice with water, making the first half of the coffee turn out too strong, the second too weak. But for smaller batches, the Clever Coffee Dripper is a success.