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The 10 Best Coffee Makers for a Better Brew
The best coffee maker is the one that fits your kitchen, budget and style, but never compromises on excellent coffee.
Not quite what you're looking for? Read our guides cold brew coffee makers, camping coffee makers, French presses and pour-overs.
In the world of coffee brewing, pour-over, cold brew, French press and Aeropress get all the buzz. Yet, for the vast majority of people, these methods of making coffee are not ideal — at least not for those grueling minutes between sleep and getting out the door every morning. Much to the chagrin of coffee purists, the mighty drip coffee maker is still most coffee drinkers’ preferred choice due to speed and convenience.
Best Overall Coffee MakerOxo 8-Cup Coffee Maker Read More
Best Splurge Coffee MakerBreville Precision Brewer Read More
Best Budget Coffee MakerBonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Read More
Best Smart Coffee MakerCafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Read More
Best Programmable Coffee MakerBraun Multiserve Programmable Brewer Read More
In the past decade or so, a thousand and one companies have pushed their way into the market, though very few have the intention (let alone the ability) to manufacture coffee brewers that make truly good coffee. We tested what most experts consider the world’s best drip coffee makers, comparing size, speed, price and performance to identify which machines to buy right now.
What to Look for in a Coffee Maker
Speedy coffee makers make batch-brewed joe more convenient, but there’s more to it than that. The SCA’s rigorous certification program, which has long separated the best coffee brewers from those that cut corners, only accepts brew times of four to eight minutes, and those aren’t made-up numbers. Coffee brewed any quicker than four minutes will be under-extracted (weak) and over eight minutes will be over-extracted (bitter).
Because the higher water temperature is the agent that extracts and dissolves coffee solids and oils from coffee grounds, brewing temperature is one of the best indicators of a machine that could make a decent cup of coffee. According to the Gold Cup standard, coffee should be brewed between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Brew at a lower temperature and risk under extraction (weak, sour coffee), or brew above 205 and you’re bumping up against boiling water, which will dissolve more coffee than is preferable (heavy, extra-bitter).
Although upkeep is often an afterthought, it absolutely shouldn't be. Because coffee makers are working with hot water, an ideal breeding ground for mold and limescale, it’s doubly important. Making sure the machine and as many components as possible can be disassembled and cleaned is of the utmost importance to both brewing performance and your health. This guide might look different if we completely ignored the role cost plays in the buying equation. But, seeing as not everyone is willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine, excluding price as a primary factor is a fantasy. At the same time, the quality of the machine can’t be sacrificed to save $30, because extra-cheap machines will catch up to you in the form of leaky brew baskets, worn-out buttons, inconsistent extraction and so on.
New and Upcoming Releases
Our recommendations are based off real-world testing. Here's a snapshot of new and unreleased coffee makers our testers are considering for future updates to this guide.
Bruvi BV-01 Coffee Brewer: Although we've been taught from experience to think that pod-based coffee machines mean lower-quality coffee, Bruvi's coffee system has set out to change that. The brand's guilt-free plastic pods break down faster and contain 40 percent more coffee, which is all sourced from sustainable roasters.
CoffeeB Globe: Instead of single-use plastic pods, CoffeeB is shaking up the coffee game by using compostable, pressed coffee balls in a new single-serve coffee maker. It's only available in France and Switzerland right now, but we have our fingers crossed that it'll make its way to the States soon.
How We Tested
Each of our testers has been using their coffee makers for years at this point — which means each has produced gallons and gallons of coffee. We've evaluated these coffee makers on the quality of the coffee they brew (while this could be subjective, good coffee is good coffee). We then judged each brewer on its ease of use, brew time and added features. While most of the coffee makers on this list are on the pricier end, we found that paying more usually resulted in better coffee. Many of the picks here are also certified by the Specialty Coffee Association to brew a Golden Cup, which is essentially the gold standard when it comes to drip coffee makers.
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