Chicago’s Manual Coffeemaker No. 3 Makes Damn Good Coffee

This is elite-level home coffee prep

By Michael Nolledo

The Manual Coffeemaker No. 3 Makes Damn Good Coffee
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13 July 2017

Finding a good cup of coffee in Chicago isn’t hard these days.

Sure, there’s still a Starbucks on every corner, but it probably sits adjacent an indie shop hawking beans of a much more rigorous pedigree. And yet, there’s still a better way: making your daily cup at home, where you can control the quality (roasts, brew times, gear, techniques) and — most importantly — the price.

Now, for all the deliberation over whether the best cup comes from a Chemex or a French Press, or a Hario V60 or that thing that looks like a Swedish penis pump, we found something better. And it’s made right here in Chicago.

It’s called the Manual Coffeemaker No. 3.

Pro-level drinkers, some details: what you’re looking at is a large-format, 3-in-1 coffee brew system made from the same thermal shock-resistant borosilicate glass as Chemex. A pour-over dripper and French Press kit allows you to brew anyway you choose, while the latter doubles as a make-do cold brew system, which beats the ol’ Mason jar and fine-mesh bag trick.

You may be wondering why No. 3? Where’s No. 1 and 2?

It was back in 2013 when designer Craighton Berman crowd-funded the Manual Coffeemaker No. 1. Naturally, then came Coffeemaker No. 2, which was picked up by CB2. There was a Tea Maker No. 1 in there somewhere, too, but who cares about tea, right?

What makes No. 3 better than 1 and 2 combined is its versatility. Also the fact that the size of the carafe can caffeinate a crowd. And, of course, we love any kitchen gear that can be proudly displayed on the counter.

Now you’ve got the perfect brewer, you’ll need the perfect beans. So we asked Berman himself for his favorite local-specialty roasters, along with the coffee shops where you can pick up their goods.

Metric Coffee
“These guys are really making waves in Chicago, popping up in cafes and restaurants all over the place. We're working with Metric to select and roast a custom coffee to ship to all backers of the No. 3 project! If you haven't been to their cafe on Fulton, stop in and you can peek into the roasting works while sipping on some Nitro cold brew on their huge sidewalk patio.”

Gaslight Coffee Roasters
“Still my favorite cafe environment in Chicago — their Logan Square cafe just feels comfortable and worn-in in all the right ways. They roast all their coffee in-house and always keep it fresh. Grab a cortado and kick it at the bar where you get the best view of the room.”

Halfwit Coffee Roasters
“Everyone knows the Wormhole in Wicker Park for the Doc Brown Delorean in the cafe, but they were the first multi-roaster cafe in Chicago when they opened — they take the drinks as serious as the decor. Their roasting brand Halfwit kicks out some of the best beans, but the cafe also has a guest roasters available as well, so you can also try an out-of-town perspective.”

“The gorilla in the room — these guys are definitely the biggest ‘craft roaster’ in Chicago [Ed. note: see here] — but they also have over 20 years of quality that they built themselves. If it weren't for Intelli, the craft coffee world would not be where it is today. Head to the Monadnock location and get a bag of beans and the most expensive pour-over they offer (and a savory scone by Floriole). You won't be sorry. And pro tip: go on a Tuesday and buy a bag of coffee and you get all kinds of discounts on the beans and coffee — trust me on this.”

Nota bene: Wanna try before you buy? You'll wanna head over to the Lost Arts this Saturday, July 15, where Berman will be demoing the brewer for the caffeinated masses. 

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