Selecting a top coffee maker can end up saving you over $1,000 a year! Selecting the wrong one; however, can end up costing you not only money but also an eternity to wash away the bad aftertaste.
For this reason, we compiled a list of the best 15 drip coffee makers available on the market. In order to do so, we tested and reviewed 32 different coffee brewing systems over a period of 6 months.
Is there anything worse than falling in love with a new coffee maker and then realizing it will cost more than all your kitchen appliances put together?
If you care about coffee, you might have assumed that finding a good coffee maker is going to cost a lot of money.
But that’s not strictly true.
In fact, we tested several of the most highly rated coffee makers under $100 and found that most, if not all, did an excellent job!
Best Coffee Maker Under $100
The DC-3400 by Cuisinart is our top recommendation if you are looking to spend under $100, but also want to get a programmable machine that makes good tasting coffee. Here is why we love it:
- Brew strength control functionality
- Fully automatic, 24-hour programability
- Auto-off & Brew pause features
- High quality stainless steel
This is the best drip coffee maker that I tried. There also seems to be consensus around Coffee Dorks members – something that does not happen too often. Truth be told, the taste was exquisite even though it did take several attempts to work out how best to use the machine.
It is a pricey unit, but not ridiculously expensive. The quality of the machine is very sturdy and durable, so in that regards it justifies the price.
It’s neither too big nor too small, it sits nicely on my counter and fills an 8-cup carafe, which is ideal for most people. 14 cups is a bit extravagant but sometimes a 2-4 cup carafe isn’t enough.
As I said, the taste really is exquisite. Bonavita use a fantastic pre-infusion mode (to freshen up your ground coffee) and then top of the range showerhead water dispersers to ensure an even saturation. It’s no way near as quick as 3-minutes, like the BUNN models, but it isn’t as slow as 10-minutes like some others on this list offering high quality coffee. It really is an all-round best buy.
And just to top it off, the carafe lid, filter basket and showerheads are all dishwasher friendly so there’s very little washing up!
- BEST OVERALL!
- Great tasting coffee in a reasonable brew time.
- It’s durable and well-made.
- Cleaning this beauty is actually a treat!
- It does one function very VERY well, rather than many functions poorly.
2. CuisinArt DCC-3200
Let’s get one thing clear: being on a budget doesn’t mean you want to skimp on quality! That’s why I’ve picked the DCC-3200 from CuisinArt as the best budget buy.
It’s a small, rectangle box that easily fits into any kitchen no matter how cluttered. It also comes in a range of grey colors, for the interior design conscious.
For a budget buy, it’s quite impressive that this little machine can make 14 cups in one go. And those 14 cups will be of a pretty good standard thanks to the charcoal water filters.
The carafe is glass with an easy to grasp handle it stays warm with the hot plate but if you’re super fussy about temperature then you’ll be disappointed with this machine. Try warming up the carafe before making the coffee.
As far as the technology goes, CuisinArt have included all the essentials: self-clean, beeps to tell you it needs decalcifying, auto starts and changeable auto-turn off for the heating plate (up to 4 hours). So, it does all the basics without anything too extraordinary.
- The carafe isn’t thermal and the temperature control isn’t overly precise.
- No choice when it comes to brewing strength.
3. OXO On Barista Brain
Of all the coffee brewers on this list, the OXO On Barista Brain by far made the best cup of coffee. I don’t mean a really good American coffee house standard. It was more at an Italian, freshly ground cup of coffee prepared in the beautiful rolling scenery of Tuscany standard.
You can make a total of 9 cups of heavenly coffee from this machine, or program it for just 2 (trust me, you’re going to want more than 2 every morning once you’ve tasted it).
The carafe is simple yet effective; a thermal stainless steel with a sturdy lid.
This coffee machine is so precise with the temperature that you really don’t need to worry about it staying warm for hours and hours. The temperature and brew cycle is controlled by a micro processor. Yes, this drip coffee machine is also a computer.
It stops and starts throughout the brewing cycle (it’s not overly quick) and uses the showerhead-type water dispersers to achieve maximum saturation. The result? Amazing coffee.
- To get the best flavor you’re required to invest in top-notch coffee, which just adds to the budget (it’s not the cheapest drip coffee maker).
- It’s not the quickest to brew because OXO
focusmore on quality than speed.
Top 14 Drip Coffee Makers for 2019
3.OXO On Barista Brain
Hamilton Beach 49980A
BUNN NHS Velocity Brew
BUNN GRB Velocity Brew
Black + Decker CM2035B
Zojirushi Fresh Brew Plus
Mr. Coffee Simple Brew
MoccaMaster KBG Polished Silver
How To Select a Coffee Machine Under $100
$100 is enough to get you a coffee maker from a good coffee manufacturer… but it’s not going to be the top-of-the-range model.
When you’re searching for a coffee maker under $100, here’s what you should expect:
- Basic controls. Simple LCD screens and buttons rather than touchscreens and dials.
- Easy programming. Your programming choices are usually yes or no. Regular or bold. 1-4 cups or a full carafe. There’s rarely the opportunity to finetune these brewers for temperature, grind size, etc.
- Simple carafes. Glass and stainless steel are the norms. You’re unlikely to find borosilicate glass and double walled, vacuum-sealed stainless-steel carafes at this price range.
- Mesh filters. Most will require paper filters, even if there’s a gold-tone permanent filter included, especially if you’re using fine grinds.
- Plastic components. Most reservoirs will be made of plastic, as will many of the internal and external components, plus the lid and handle of the carafe. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll look tacky, however!
Although the exterior may vary from one model to another, at this price range all the coffee makers from reputable brands use effective showerhead technology to dispense water onto your coffee grinds.
For $100 you’re also going to come across unheard of brands, both online and in stores. In our experience, these are just not good quality. They’re the only or top model from a company that started a year ago and probably won’t see the year out.
Even though you’ll be getting one of the cheapest models from the well-known coffee brands at $100, you’ll have better guarantees for quality and reliability compared to obscure brands.
Cuisinart DCC-3400 Coffee Maker Review
- Fully automatic and programmable
- 12-cup (60oz) thermal stainless-steel carafe
- Regular/bold strength setting and warming plate
The Cuisinart may not have the most features, but it does have a level of quality in construction and performance that most coffee makers under $100 can only dream of.
In the box you’ll find: the sturdy programmable coffee maker with auto-shut off, programmable timer, brew pause, strength selector, warming plate and cleaning alert. It has a permanent gold-tone filter, but you can add or replace paper filters too. Ground coffee, no pods.
You can brew up to 60oz in one go into a stainless-steel carafe that sits nicely on a warming plate (temperature not adjustable).
Cleaning is simple; the stainless-steel carafe goes straight in the dishwasher and the unit will alert you if it needs descaling.
This coffee maker has all the basic features you need to program your coffee and keep it warm, with components made from materials that will last. The “expert coffee making technology” is nothing revolutionary, but it does its job well. It gives you a good cup of coffee without costing you an arm and a leg!
15. MoccaMaster KBG Polished Silver
The KBG drip coffee maker is an impressive machine. The version I tested for a few weeks was the polished silver model 59616 with the stainless-steel carafe which holds the heat for a long time. Some versions will come with a glass carafe, so check with the retailer before you make a final purchase.
The Moccamaster has several main features, including automatic drip-stop when you pull out the carafe (saved me a lot of cleaning!) and a 10-cup pot that holds 1.25 liters of coffee. But, the feature that lands this coffee maker at 15 on this list is both it’s best and worst feature: the hot plate.
The hot plate will keep the coffee at just the right temperature for over an hour. If like me, you can’t guzzle 1.25 liters in 10 minutes this is ideal. However, I soon discovered that the hot plate will auto switch off with no warning before I get a chance to finish the pot.
Great for busy families who need a large pot of coffee to stay warm in the morning, not great for the individual who wants hot coffee throughout the day.
- The retro styling is attractive! The machine is also fairly compact, so ideal for smaller kitchens.
- 5-year warranty available with all products from MOCCAMASTER.
- Easy to clean and maintain with automatic drip-stop and replacement parts easy to find.
- The unique hot plate keeps coffee at just the right temperature WITHOUT burning the coffee.
- Hot plate only keeps the coffee warm for 100 minutes, then auto shuts off.
- Paper filters sold separately – running this machine is not cheap in the long run, however considering the quality it is at a fantastic price!
- Replacing parts can get expensive when bought directly from MOCCAMASTER.
14. Mr. Coffee Simple Brew
This tiny drip coffee brewer is one of the cheapest on this list. It claims to make 4 cups but I found that it only filled up my mug twice: but that was ok, seeing as I was only making coffee for myself.
Mr. Coffee have designed this compact drip coffee maker for the 9-5 worker. Program the clock to start making coffee in the morning and you can save a few minutes before heading out the door. The compact size is ideal for the single worker, but not really suitable for families or coffee connoisseurs.
You get what you pay for. It’s not going to brew you the best cup of coffee that you’ve ever tasted, but it gets the job done and as long as you’re using good quality coffee you’ll be ok. To save even more money, Mr. Coffee also sell permanent filters to save you buying paper ones for this model.
- It’s cheap and cheerful! Perfect if you’re on a budget.
- Not much coffee made – ideal for individuals who don’t like to waste coffee and don’t have space for a humungous machine.
- Wake up to the smell of coffee: programmable clock can be set to turn on the coffee maker.
- Cheap quality – this coffee brewer will break with heavy/careless use.
- Daily use will wear this machine down quickly: most people replace this machine every year or two.
- It claims to be 4 cups worth, but in reality, it’s only 2 or 3.
13. Zojirushi Fresh Brew Plus
Your first impression of the Fresh Brew Plus Coffee Maker can be intimidating. There are quite a few buttons on the front panel and with added functions (hot and iced coffee from the same machine!) we were a bit terrified of getting it wrong.
Luckily, Zojirushi know what they’re doing. They included a very easy to follow instructions manual that allows you to make coffee in a matter of minutes. The hot coffee it made was neither amazing nor terrible, just simply a good cup of coffee. The iced coffee function is impressive – usually, you need a separate machine for that – and it’s what really makes this drip coffee machine stand out on this list.
But, it’s not perfect. Cleaning the machine isn’t as simple as giving it a quick wipe and chucking the pot in the dishwasher. When it beeps at you to let you know it’s in need of a wash, you will need to take the time to clean this in the sink.
- Large pot really does hold 12 cups!
- Brews both hot and iced coffee.
- Instructions manual and buttons are very easy to use and understand.
- It holds 12 cups of hot coffee, while only 6 cups of iced coffee.
- Not great with unfiltered water and will need cleaning regularly – the pot isn’t dishwasher friendly.
- You can find better coffee machines at a similar price on this list.
12. Black + Decker CM2035B
What I liked most about this 12-cup thermal coffee maker was that I could pick how many cups I wanted to make. Most of the time, I made 3 or 4 cups (which turns into 2 or 3 good sized mugs) but knowing I could make a full 12-cup pot, should I have guests staying, is great.
That being said, this coffee maker was a let-down simply because, it over-promised and under-delivered. The carafe is pressurised – hence why this coffeemaker is labeled as thermal – but it honestly didn’t feel that it stayed warmer longer than any other coffeemaker without a hot plate.
Being stainless steel means that it’s unlikely to break. But also, you won’t be able to monitor how much coffee is going in, like with a glass carafe.
The other great feature of this coffeemaker is the function that allows you to choose the strength of the brew. It actually makes a huge difference to the taste which is perfect for fussy drinkers!
- Holds a large amount of coffee – but can be programmed easily to make less so you won’t waste a drop.
- You can choose the strength of the brew due to the
EvenstreamShowerhead water dispenser.
- 2-year warranty with every purchase.
- Despite promoting the drip-free lip on the carafe, we still managed to get drips all over the
- Replacing the carafe is almost as expensive as buying a whole new coffee maker system and the lids alone are hard to come by.
- Many people have trouble with the programming in this coffeemaker which seems to deteriorate with heavy use – at Coffee Dorks we used it for a solid month and had no such problems, however.
11. BUNN GRB Velocity Brew
The GRB model from BUNN is the older of the 2 Velocity Brew machines featured in this list: it’s a classic that many people rely on.
The main focus of the Velocity Brew range is the speed at which they can produce a full pot of coffee. 3 minutes. That’s a full 10-cup pot, not just one cup. The flavor is nothing special but seeing as it only took 3 minutes, it’s quite impressive.
It works best with coarsely ground coffee, but you can order a special filter head for finely ground coffee – I highly recommend doing this as it improves the taste tremendously. I only wish this was included from the get-go.
It can occasionally overfill and spills a bit when you move the carafe around, but overall it seems to be a sturdy, everyday coffee maker that’s perfect for all users.
- Brews a full pot in 3 minutes, which is 2-minutes slower than the majority of other drip coffee machines.
- It’s a simple, no fuss machine. It has one job and it does it well!
- The other model has some design improvements.
- You need to order some special BUNN filters to fit the machine.
- Can be a bit tricky to move around and may spill everywhere – be careful.
10. BUNN NHS Velocity Brew
The NHS model is a step up from the GRB model… despite there being very few things changed. Even the prices are similar. The main difference is in the design, and believe me, it makes a big difference.
The carafe has a different pour style and the reservoir lid style now slides to the side rather than pulls open. This solves one of my big issues with the GRB model, as it sloshed coffee around everywhere until I got used to using it.
Besides that, they’ve not really changed much. You can still expect to have a 10-cup pot of coffee made in 3 minutes and as long as you use a good quality coffee, you can expect a decent cup.
There’s no timer on this maker and no real change in how you operate the machine, so I’m pleased to say that BUNN have been very reasonable with the price. It’s a mid-range, reliable and super quick drip coffee maker.
- Only 3 minutes for a full 10-cup pot of coffee.
- Less sloshing around with the coffee and a great pouring tip that reduces the chance of spilling coffee everywhere.
- You need basket type filters, rather than your usual supermarket bought ones.
- There was an odd burnt smell the first few times I used the machine (brand new). Luckily this was gone by the end of the week.
9. Cuisinart DCC-3400
This coffee machine boasts both customizable flavors and super-hot coffee at the same time. It’s advertised as holding 12 cups, but I found the carafe to only hold 9 or 10 at most.
The carafe is double walled and thermal so this unit doesn’t come with a hot plate. You can also program it to make just a few cups rather than the full twelve. To begin with, I couldn’t really see why this coffee maker was any different or special… it took a few weeks to grow on me.
What I really loved about the Cuisinart DCC-3400 was the auto switch off on the heating platform (it’s not quite hot enough to be called a hot plate). You can set it to wait a whole 4 hours, which is plenty of time to finish all that coffee. Add the thermal thickness of the pot and you’ve got hot coffee to last you all day. Literally, all day.
- Metal filter included so no need to spend a fortune on paper filters for a lifetime.
- Coffee stays hot hot hot for the entire day.
- Brew pause means I can grab a cup before it’s finished brewing the whole carafe – great for impatient people.
- Holds 12 small cups… which is 9 or 10 average sized coffee mugs.
- When it comes to customizable flavors, you only have a choice between regular and bold.
- There are some reports of the carafe lid breaking with daily wear and tear.
8. Cuisinart DCC-1200
The DCC-1200 is a small, simple drip coffee maker. It’s a lot easier to use compared to the DCC-3400 model, and it’s a bit easier on your budget.
But that doesn’t mean Cuisinart have used cheaper materials, in fact, this machine turned out to be one of the sturdiest with no signs of breaking due to wear whatsoever. In particular, the charcoal water filter is very effective and makes a big difference for the final coffee brew.
It’s easy to learn how to set it up with the simple digital display, however, it can be a bit awkward to fill with water and clean the components.
The DCC-1200 also comes in a couple of different colors suitable for kitchen designs: red, stainless steel, and black stainless steel.
The carafe is not much to talk about – it’s made of glass and doesn’t hold the heat too well once taken off the heating plate.
When I filled my mug and took that first sip, I was very happy with the taste. Ultimately, good coffee is what it’s all about, so you can’t really go wrong with this drip coffee machine.
- Consistently makes a very good cup of coffee due to charcoal filter.
- A very durable, well-made machine that’s suitable for everyday use.
- The design is simple, easy to use and comes in different colors to suit your kitchen.
- Much like the other models from Cuisinart, it doesn’t hold as much coffee as advertised.
- Carafe could be improved upon, it’s very basic!
- No extra special features to make you go “oooh.” It’s simply a coffee maker, so don’t expect too much.
7. Hamilton Beach 49980A
The name of this drip coffee maker by Hamilton Beach is a giveaway to its main feature! It’s very versatile, allowing you to either brew a single cup of coffee, or a whole carafe to serve 12. They have separate reservoirs, and can both be programmed to start up at certain times and for your different coffee flavors.
Some testing showed that the single serve function works best with the Hamilton Beach travel flask (annoyingly not included with the original package) rather than my usual coffee mug, which it almost overfilled once and didn’t quite fit in the designated gap.
But its versatility didn’t stop there. This model can also use coffee pods from nearly all brands (I tried all my favorites and it worked a treat) besides the usual ground coffee to create a nice cup.
Hamilton Beach claim that their machines provide a premium coffee taste: I don’t think they’re quite that good, but they’re certainly way above their average competition. Especially, lower priced Black & Decker or Mr. Coffee models.
- 2 coffee machines wrapped into one!
- No need to fill the carafe with 1 cup to then pour into your mug, like most coffee machines. It pours directly into your favorite mug.
- The carafe doesn’t hold as many mugs as you would think. It’s also made of glass so doesn’t hold heat too well.
- Hamilton Beach travel flask not included.
6. KitchenAid KCM0802
This is not a small machine, but size isn’t everything. When I first shuffled through my entire kitchen to make room for this coffee maker, I was expecting great things. While it does make a fantastic cup of coffee (with some great features) it’s still not perfect.
The hot plate on this KitchenAid machine won’t auto shut off unless you tell it to – that’s great for me, but for those who are rushing out the door each morning and forgetting to switch it off, this could be a potential hazard.
What really stood out on this machine though was the ease of cleaning. The reservoir is very easy to access, fill and remove for cleaning. You can also use the self-cleaning function which basically runs hot water right the way through the system to clear it out. Do this regularly enough and I found that you don’t need to take it apart for a deep clean as often.
The biggest let down was the speed of brewing and carafe – it’s a simple glass carafe with no extra features like no-drip lips and thermal walls.
- You’ll need a good sized kitchen worktop to put this machine – it’s not small.
- It took a very slow 10 minutes to brew an entire carafe (8 cups) but was mediocre speed wise (5 or so minutes) when it came to just 2 cups.
- Only a 1-year warranty which is considerably less than other coffee makers on the market.
5. Ninja CF091
Can we just stop for a minute to look at the Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer System with awe. They really weren’t exaggerating when they named it the bar brewer system! Besides my normal coffee (in a carafe or single serving) I also had the option of iced coffee, classic, rich, specialty and café forte. I tried each and every one – rich wasn’t really to my taste but the others weren’t half bad at all!
Despite having a crazy number of features, I found the machine easy to use and set up. You might be wondering why this machine isn’t top of the list.
Well, it was only a couple weeks into my trial when it all went horribly wrong, and from my research online it seems that I’m not the only one.
The machine has a self-clean function and a button that lights up when you need to take it apart for a deep clean. As the maker is quite complex, I was expecting to need to clean it quite regularly… except the light never really went away. After several deep cleans, I just had to give up. The coffee was still great, but I never fully trusted the machine.
It seems to be a hit and miss when it comes to Ninja; some people absolutely love it, while others are left with a bad taste in their mouths, just not from the coffee.
4. Brown BrewSense KF7150
This compact gadget was a welcome addition to my kitchen. The auto timer was very reliable and had me waking up to my favorite smell each morning at 8:30 AM for a decent cup of coffee.
It’s a budget buy: it doesn’t have the best features and it’s certainly not going to be the centerpiece of your kitchen countertop. Yet somehow I loved it from the moment I brewed the first cup.
The compact size means that filling it up can be a bit tricky, as can removing the glass carafe.
I spilt quite a bit of coffee before I mastered my technique, but luckily it has the anti-drip system so I could grab a cup before it finished without spilling inside the machine too.
The plastic is BPA free and I also was happy to find out that the machine has a permanent gold filter that would be kept clean by the machine itself. The taste apparently all comes down to Braun’s PureFlavour technology. It is pretty good but no better than any other low to mid-range drip coffee system.
- Great options for a budget price.
- 24 hour timer for those early risers.
- BPA free plastic.
- Glass carafe doesn’t hold heat well when off the hot plate and drips EVERYWHERE when you pour!
- Claims to hold 12 cups but in reality, it’s nearer 9 with average sized coffee mugs.
If you haven’t found the perfect drip coffee maker from this list, don’t give up! There are plenty of obscure and unique coffee brewers out there for everyone. Let us know which you are thinking of buying and we’ll give them a review for you.
Selecting a top drip coffee maker can end up saving you over $1,000 a year! Selecting the wrong one; however, can end up costing you not only money but an eternity to wash away the bad taste.
For this reason, we reviewed over 30 different coffee makers and compiled a list of the best 15 that are currently on the market.
How to Select the Best Coffee Pot
If you are an experienced consumer, you already know that not every advertised feature ads real value to kitchen appliances. This rule holds true for toasters and juicers as much as for coffee brewers.
Also, when reviewing tech gadgets, it is essential to understand not only how they function, but what their ideal output is. In this case, the ideal output is an aromatic cup of coffee that has maintained as much as possible from the distinctive flavor of the selected roast of beans.
Keeping this rich in flavor and aroma cup of coffee in mind, we selected the most important features present in all top drip coffee makers.
Ease of Use
Usability can be a blessing or a curse, it all depends on your expectations. Most modern coffee makers come with more features in order to assure more user control and better-tasting coffee.
Regardless of the number of nitty-gritty features, the interface should be easy to follow and use. Programmable clocks shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to figure out and drip trays should not be screwed tight to the bottom of the machine.
Type of Coffee Filters
There are three types of water filters that are compatible with everyday coffee makers: paper, permanent and cloth.
Each type has its pros and cons and each one is capable of altering the final taste of the coffee to a certain degree. This happens because the filter removes coffee dregs in order to prevent over-brewing.
Paper filters are disposable and should only be used once. Having to use a new filter for each batch of coffee will inevitably add up to your cost per cup of coffee. Even though these filters cost pennies a piece, they will always end up costing more than permanent ones.
The number one reason you should consider paper filters is because of their ability to remove diterpenes from coffee beans. Diterpene is an oily compound that recently has been linked to increased levels of cholesterol.
There are three types of paper filters: brown, white and bamboo.
Natural Brown papers are unprocessed. They are referred to as “natural” because all paper is naturally brown.
White paper filters are bleached with chlorine or natural oxygen in order to achieve a whitening effect.
Bamboo filters are just that, paper filters made out of the fastest growing tree on earth – the Bamboo.
- No need to clean – just throw out the filter
- Eliminates cholesterol oils
- Fragility – cheaper paper filters are often too thin and have a high probability of bursting.
Permanent filters are washable and reusable. They usually cost anywhere between $10 and $30.
Made out of gold, another metal or nylon, these filters need to be maintained in order to last longer. Treating your filter right can result in a servitude of 2-3 years.
Gold plated filters are actually made out of stainless steel and just plated up to 23-carat gold. This fancy metal mesh is good for keeping small elements of coffee grounds out of the brew. But, unlike paper filters, it will let in the oily components. This is not bad because of oil ads additional aroma and flavor of the coffee.
Nylon coffee filters are definitely lower in quality and price compared to gold-plated or other metal filters. The synthetic fabric also tends to add acidic taste to the brew over time.
Cloth coffee filters can be made out of a variety of natural elements, such as muslin fabric, cotton or hemp. They are reusable and washable and often in the shape of a bag or a cone.
- Bold coffee – The pores on cloth filters are larger than those on paper filters and as a result, they let in tiny coffee ground particles. This results in a stronger brew.
- Environmentally friends – at least most of the time. It really depends where the fibers come from.
- Maintenance – These filters need to be cleaned up after each use. Eventually, they will start losing their natural color and there is nothing you can do about it.
- Lifespan – Cloth filters will wear out around the 3-month mark. They can last up to 6-7 months if you are not a heavy coffee drinker and use them up to once a day.
Ideal Brewing Temperature
Scientists may not agree on a lot of things, but they all agree that coffee should be brewed at a temperature not lower than 195 F and no higher than 205 degrees Fahrenheit. We still face difficulties explaining how the pyramids were built, but at least we have some consensus when it comes to brewing coffee.
Any true coffee aficionado knows the importance that brewing temperature carries when it comes to the perfect cup of coffee. If you go a little higher than 205 F, the coffee will be burnt and this will be well reflected in its taste.
In contrast, if the water is not hot enough (lower than 195 degrees Fahrenheit), the caffeine will not be properly extracted from the beans. Again resulting in poor and non-authentic taste.
The worst thing you can do to a finely ground Arabic coffee is to torture it with a cheap drip coffee maker that fails to maintain the appropriate temperature.
We did not consider speed as a deciding factor when comparing drip coffee makers. Even though we live in a considerably fast-paced world, coffee brewing should not be rushed. That is if you care about the taste of the final product.
This is why it is best to choose a machine that has an automatic start option. This way the coffee pot will wait for you and not the other way around.
There is always the upfront cost of the unit. But, there are also three other costs associated with budgeting: maintenance, electrical usage, and accessories (carafe and filters, for example).
Often times it is better to consider a more expensive coffee machine because it will require less maintenance. In addition, newer and more costly models tend to have better energy saving technology.
Best Drip Coffee Maker Design
At Coffee Dorks we always admire and endorse creative aesthetics. Unfortunately, the outer design does not have anything to do with the quality of the coffee brew.
I will take a hideously looking coffee maker that is capable of brewing authentically delicious coffee before I take a contemporary-looking brewer that makes stinking coffee. Even if I have to hide the repulsive appliance every time someone visits, I would still enjoy a marvelous cup of coffee.
In this line of thought, we did not take into serious consideration the aesthetics of the machines we reviewed above.
Water Tank Capacity
The ability to brew 6,8,10 or 12 cups of coffee at once is also not very intriguing. This is a very circumstantial and subjective decision that each person needs to make based on his or her needs.
The size of the water reservoir in no way affects the quality of the coffee. That is if the coffee unit is constructed appropriately with high-quality materials. A 6 cup water tank and a 12 cup water tank will taste equally bad if the ideal boiling temperature is not met due to a poor performing boiler.
NOTE: Whatever the capacity, you will need to experiment with the number of grounds you put in before you get the desired taste. So, do not be quick to judge or discard the coffee maker just because your first brew was too strong or too watery.
How to Maintain a Coffee Maker
No matter how good a coffee brewer is, regular maintenance should not be overlooked. Assuring the performance of the appliance will inevitably reflect upon its ability to continuously deliver good brews. Plus, this is the best and most efficient way of prolonging the life of your coffee machine.
The only other way is by buying replacement parts once the old once have worn out. And let me tell you, parts wear off due to a general lack of care.
If you have never done any maintenance, that’s quite alright. But, if you are on the market for a new drip coffee brewer, perhaps this is the right time to learn the basics of up keeping it.
Develop a habit of cleaning the easily accessible parts of the coffee maker on a weekly basis. Use a canned air to dust off the appliance. This will help eliminate dust that might make its way inside the machine and into the heating elements.
Hot water and vinegar solution is perhaps the oldest trick in the books for cleaning kitchen appliances. Try soaking the basket and metal filters in such a solution once every couple of weeks. Just don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly with water so your coffee doesn’t end up tasting vinegary.
Cleaning the coffee pot (whether it’s glass or stainless steel) is a must. If you are in the habit of just rinsing the pot after each brew, that is still okay. But, I recommend you thoroughly wash the pot with non-abrasive cleaners at least once every couple of weeks. While you are at it, wipe clean the heating plate as well.
Decalcify the Machine
Over time, lime scale, water minerals and deposits will unavoidably build up inside the coffee machine’s inner workings. The first sign of this is when your coffee begins to drip slower. In order to restore your appliance to its top performing days, you need to decalcify it. The simplest, cheapest and most effective way to do that is with the use of good ol’ white vinegar.
Fill up the water tank with a fifty-fifty mix of warm water and white vinegar. Place a re-usable paper filter in the empty basket, position the pot and brew the solution only halfway. Next, make sure the machine is turned off and leave it this way for up to 40 minutes. Once the time passes, finish the brew, discard off the contents of the pot, and brew another full pot of clean water.
Do not forget to use a new paper filter for the clean brew, just in case. You need to do the rinsing brew at least once. It is usually enough. If your next cup of coffee tastes like vinegar, you will know better for next time!
NOTE: Switching to distilled water can significantly reduce the build-up of residue and minerals inside the coffee maker. Some machines do come with water filters, but they are not as effective. Plus, the filters need to be changed every regularly – adding to the overall expense of brewing coffee at home.
Inspect for Damage or Wear
Damage and wear can be delayed, but are inevitable over the years. Some easy to spot markings include discolorations, warping of some plastic parts, and the obvious cracks in the carafe, and damaged or frayed cords. Be careful, because some of these damages are fire hazards.
Keep in mind that regardless of good and regular maintenance, things still might go wrong. Most manufacturers offer a one-year limited warranty, so I suggest you get to know the documentation good when purchasing a coffee maker. Especially, if you are keen on spending more than $30 for a unit.
Purchasing a coffee machine is but the first step to making good coffee.
Our list consists of the top brands and top coffee makers available on the market. But, even if you purchase the highest rated Bonavita BV1900TS, this is no guarantee that your coffee will all of a sudden taste amazing.
Brewing coffee is a skill that is acquired over time. It takes patience, authentic and aromatic roasts, and sometimes a spoon of sugar (even though I advise against it).
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.