Earlier this year, the company that creates the Java Maestro metal filter cone contacted me and asked if I would be willing to do a review on their product in exchange for them sending one over. It has taken me awhile to get around to putting my thoughts together on paper but after a busy summer, I am ready to discuss this nifty little brewer.
The Java Maestro is a metal pour-over filter cone about the size of a V60. It is available on Amazon for $17.99. Unlike some of the other metal filter cones on the market, the Java Maestro is used as a stand-alone brewer (not as an accompaniment insert like the popular Able filter cone).
I realize that there are quite a few stainless steel pour-over cones of strikingly similar design on Amazon. Although they are similar, I cannot vouch for them as I have not held them in my hand and brewed with them.
Metal versus Paper Filtration
The differences between metal and paper filtration is something I have not talked much about on the blog thus far.
Paper filters produce a cleaner cup of coffee that has less body. This is because the paper is designed to remove the sediment and some of the oils. There are varying degrees of thickness in paper filters and thus the amount of sediment and oils removed will vary from brewing method to brewing method (Chemex filters versus Hario V60 filters for instance). Many coffee drinkers are used to the type of coffee a paper coffee filter produces and thus prefer it.
Until recently, most people’s experience with a metal filter was the French Press. Most of the metal filter cones (the Java Maestro included) produced a cup of coffee with less sediment than a traditional French press coffee. Coffee that has been filtered with a metal filter should have a fuller body because it contains more oils than a paper filtered coffee.
With pour-over metal filtration, the metal screen is there to simply keep the coffee grounds from getting into the cup; nothing is removed from the coffee. This can be a pleasant and eye opening experience if you have not dabbled much in metal filters (or unpleasant if you prefer paper filtered coffee).
The Java Maestro
I will have to admit that I have not used any of the other metal filter cones on the market so my review is simply a comparison to methods that I own (which is bountiful).
I found the Java Maestro a bit hard to dial in when I was first starting using it. This was one part inexperience with metal pour-over cones, one part personal preference of paper filtered coffee and one part sporadic (inconsistent) use. I brewed a lot of under extracted cups of coffee when I first started experimenting (they all tasted popcorn-y which is something I don’t typically experience with under extracted brews). Once I started using it more, I started to make better coffee and began to really enjoy brewing with it.
What I liked about the Java Maestro
- I think that the Java Maestro is a great price. For 18 dollars you get the opportunity to play around with metal filtration. It may not be up to the same quality of the Able filter cone but the Able cone is $60.00 (and maybe it is, I don’t have one to compare).
- I also found the Java Maestro useful for filtering my cold brew coffee (worth 18 dollars in itself). It doesn’t clog nearly as easily as a paper filter and does a great job of removing the sediment. Before I acquired the Java Maestro, I would do a two-part filtration with cheese cloth and paper. Using the Java Maestro is a lot more convenient.
- I was also able to use the Java Maestro to filter my French Press coffee (kind of like a stainless steel Clever dripper). Instead of pouring from the French press directly into a mug, set the Java Maestro on top of your mug and filter your coffee for a second time. This will get rid of that French press sediment but still give you a full immersion coffee.
What I didn’t like about the Java Maestro
There isn’t much that comes to mind in the cons category for the Java Maestro. What you see is what you get. If you strongly prefer paper filtered coffee, then this might not be for you.
Cleaning is a little more intensive (for me) than a standard V60. With the Java Maestro, you need to be diligent about rinsing out the filter right away. I also felt the need to deep clean the Java Maestro more frequently. This might be more from a general paranoia about hidden oils tainting the coffee than something tangible but there was still a fair amount of grime that came off last time I soaked it in Joe Glo.
Java Maestro Tips and Tricks
- Dump the grounds and rinse the filter immediately after use. If you let the coffee grounds sit in there, it will take some scrubbing or a Joe Glo bath to get it clean again. You do not want to have old oils dried onto the mesh interior.
- Use a medium/fine grind (less than paper filter grind) and small pulses. My best results were with 30 grams of coffee and 500 grams of water. I used about ten small pulses over 4-5 minutes and kept the water level low.
- If you do not like the results, don’t give up. I wasn’t really that impressed with the Java Maestro until I sat down and focused on brewing a better cup of coffee with it. It may take some experimenting but you can brew some great cups of coffee with the Java Maestro. Stick with it and fiddle with the variables.
Overall, I would recommend the Java Maestro. It is a great price and a pretty versatile brewer. At some point, I would like to do a comparison between the Java Maestro and a more expensive metal filter cone. For now, I’m satisfied. The Java Maestro brews a great cup of coffee, it is a great way to experiment with metal filtration and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Two thumbs up for value and versatility.