Slow, can be messy, requires paper filters, which do have their own flavor unless rinsed first.
I roast coffee for a profession, so I taste a LOT of coffee, and I am all about helping my clients get the best possible cup of coffee with the equipment they have. None of this recommending they need to drop several hundred on a grinder before they can get a better cup of coffee. I'll let them know that it will really help, but I feel a better cup of coffee is very simple to acheive for most people...meaning most casual coffee drinkers (that counts pretty much all of you out) don't know how to get the best out of what they already have. I will be adding the Melitta to my list of recommended methods to get a great cup of coffee with a minimum upgrade of brewing equipment.
I cup my coffees using two espresso machines (the outstanding-for-it's-price Nemox Del Opera, and a 2-group commercial Nuova Simonelli) and the SCAA standard cupping method, Fr. Press. There is no point in comparing espresso to drip, so I will only compare to French Press.
The Melitta is really just a large pour-over; one of the more popular methods of coffee imbibing here in the great coffee region of the PNW. There is very good reason for this, particularly if you drink coffee black. To me there is no truer test of a bean's flavor than espresso, but it seems there are still those who drink coffee, so one must learn to appreciate the cup of black. And I really do. So what's the big difference between press and pour?
It all comes down to this: you get a much cleaner cup with the Melitta method. Flavors are brighter, mouthfeel is cleaner. The taste notes are more distinct and curt, but lack the impact and lingering aftertastes you get with FP. There is less roundness, fullness, but this does not mean there is less taste, rather, there is a difference of what is happening to the tastebuds at a molecular level.
This is all due to the comparative presence or absence of sediment, colloidal particulates--matter that stays suspended in a still water column, taking days or even weeks to settle out--and oils, much of which are captured by Melitta's paper filter. Larger fines result in the sludge at the bottom of a cup of french press, the sometimes muddy mouthfeel and a more robust flavor. Oils also impart desirable flavors (which degrade rapidly with cooling) but also contain phenols and non-soluble aromatic compounds that are undesirable. They can also cause lingering bitterness, acrid flavors (as opposed to sour) an astringent mouthfeel, and a stale taste.
If fr. press is likened to the rich, full sound of a large brass gong which still reverberates minutes later, then the Melitta is a 15-pound brass bell rapped with a ball-peen mallet: pure, clear and high. Both are marvelous sounds, both have their place, and I would not prefer either of them to exclusivity of the other.
I am glad I have added the pour-over drip method to my tasting repertoire, and Melitta's equipment is quite effective for the price. It lacks the simplicity of an electric drip, but the flavor is well worth the extra effort. I wish the extraction occurred a bit more quickly; pouring a bit at a time so as not to overflow the filter can feel a bit tedious. This is not the method to use for a travel cup on your way to work. Rather, it is best suited to that cup to be enjoyed with friends, a quiet moment on the porch, or an after-dinner blend of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Oaxacan Las Plumas . For iced coffee, this is to be far preferred for making ice cubes. The flavors are more stable during air exposure in the freezer than either FP or espresso, due to fewer oils. Strictly from a price-paid to cup-quality ratio, this may be the best piece of brewing equipment I now own. Think about it.
The lady on checkout at Goodwill had a pretty garish blouse on, but I think I'm OK now. Thanks for asking.