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Best Coffee Maker: Brew Home Coffee Like a Barista

Written by  Simone Dresler Jul 29, 2018

Typical automatic coffee machines often brew  belowpar quality cups of Joe, so we set out to find the best coffee maker for your kitchen counter—one that is capable of producing well-extracted cups with the proper balance of sweetness, acidity, and body.

So after a combined 50 hours of testing, we think the best drip coffee maker money can buy is the Technivorm Moccamaster. It extracts coffee perfectly, eliciting a pleasant acidity that was lacking in cups from other machines. Moreover, its taste profile exceeds if not matches the always tedious process of manual brewing.

So wonder no more what is the best coffee maker. Because we’ve done all the homework for you.

Top Coffee Makers Compared

How We Tested The Coffee Machines

We waited until 140 degrees F to perform our taste test.

While we only tested automatic machines, the human element is still a big factor. The quality of coffee you choose, as well as the amount you use and the size you grind it to can have a big impact on the taste of the resulting cup. Because of this, we controlled what factors we could and made choices to give each machine the best chance of performing well.

We tested all the machines on the same day with coffee from the same batch of roasted beans—a high-quality house blend from a local roaster—to eliminate variables in quality from the beans themselves.

To ensure accurate testing and consistency, we measured the grinds by weight.

In order to assure the most accuracy possible, we weighed both water and coffee in grams with an Acaia kitchen scale and waited until each cup cooled to an ideal temperature—140°F—before tasting and evaluating the cup. (We used a standard digital probe thermometer.)

Though many of the machines we tested came with metal filters, we used whitened paper filters across the board to eliminate the differences between filters on the brew.

During the first round of testing, we used the same base specifications: a medium-fine grind setting (achieved with a high-quality burr grinder) and a brew ratio of 1:15 (that’s about 33 grams of coffee to 500 grams of water, which results in about a 16-ounce cup). In a real-life situation, you would tweak these specs in order to perfect the results of the machine.

After the first round, if we felt contenders, like our #1 pick the Technivorm Moccamaster, could perform better with tweaks to the brew ratio, grind setting, or other variables, we made them and used the best cup overall to judge the machine’s performance.

Although taste was our primary consideration, we did note other factors that consumers often value in a home coffee maker: ease of use, speed, and aesthetics.

Best Home Coffee Maker: Technivorm Moccamaster KBG 741

The Moccamaster proved to be the best coffee maker for a variety of reasons.

£616.85amazon uk(Check Current price)

Features: glass carafe, 10-cup capacity, includes permanent metal filter

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: It brews, hands down, the best cup of coffee.

As someone who wrote a book on manually brewing coffee—a method that gives the user complete control over the time and temperature of the brewing process—I was a bit skeptical that a non-commercial machine could achieve café-quality results at home.

That being said, I was completely blown away by the perfectly extracted cups the Moccamaster produced. The coffee was extremely well balanced, and the machine was able to tease out a pleasant acidity that was lacking in cups from other machines.

It was also the fastest of the brewers we tested, brewing 500 grams of coffee in an average of three minutes and twenty-five seconds. This is impressive considering that the manufacturer claims the water stays within the ideal brewing temperature for the length of the brew cycle. The machine contains a copper heating element that seems to boil water almost instantly.

On first impression, the Moccamaster seems a bit rickety, especially compared to some of the sleeker models we tested, but after spending some time with the machine, it’s clear that it was engineered for utility and simplicity—it doesn’t need all the extra polish to brew a great cup (plus the entire machine is recyclable).

The Moccamaster requires a bit of (easy) assembly, but after that, you simply add your water and coffee and push a button. The machine is also remarkably quiet, and while its footprint appears larger than more square models, it’s narrow and can be easily tucked into a corner on your countertop.

From aesthetics to utility, the Moccamaster was engineered to make a great cup of coffee. Because it does this simply and quickly, it’s our choice for #1 Best Home Coffee Maker.

Best Budget Coffee Maker: Bodum Bistro Automatic Pourover Coffee Machine

The Bodum held the top spot as the best pour over coffee maker on a budget.

Price: Check Price amazon uk | Features: stainless steel thermal carafe, 10-cup capacity, includes permanent metal filter

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: It brews a great cup of coffee at a more affordable price point.

According to our testing, the Bodum Bistro produced the third-ranked cup (after the OXO Barista Brain) in terms of taste, but we’re making it our #2 Best Home Coffee Maker because it can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of some of the other high-end models, including the Moccamaster, which is more than double the cost of the Bodum Bistro. It also looks great on the countertop, and its sleek peek-a-boo design lets you watch as the water heats and makes its way to the grounds.

Cups made with this machine lacked some of the complexity that we found in cups from the Moccamaster and OXO Barista Brain, but the coffee was still well extracted and of very high-quality. In terms of speed, it was the second fasted machine to brew 500 grams (in about three minutes and forty-five seconds).

The design is notably functional. Both the water tank and the filter holder are removable—which isn’t always the case—making them easy to fill and clean. This model also comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe, a feature that usually costs extra on other machines, that keeps your coffee hot.

Best for All Day Coffee Drinkers: OXO Barista Brain

This version of the OXO comes with a metal carafe, ideal for temperature and taste.

Price: Check Price amazon uk | Features: Stainless steel thermal carafe, 9-cup capacity

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Excellent coffee in an attractive, accessible package that stays hot throughout the day without the flavor loss.

Our #3 pick for the best home coffee maker is the OXO Barista Brain, which retails for $199.99. It produced our second favorite cup of coffee, but we aren’t convinced the small bump in quality is worth the extra $70 when compared to the Bodum Bistro.

However, if you care about what your machine looks like, this one is very sleek and modern, while still being extremely user-friendly (the user guide is actually very informative and easy to read).

It also has a specific setting for making it ostensibly the best single serve coffee maker, which cannot be said for all machines. If you’re like me and sometimes only want one mugful in the morning, you’ll find this feature particularly practical.

If you do want multiple cups of coffee, the thermal carafe comes in handy. This model has a“freshness timer” that times out after 60 minutes. But because the coffee is in a thermal carafe, the coffee won’t lose temperature as quickly as coffee in glass carafes.

For making and storing extra coffee, I preferred the OXO to the Moccamaster, which also has an auto-off heat plate but no thermal carafes (although models with thermal carafes are available). The Moccamaster’s thermal plate keeps the coffee extremely hot, and it tastes noticeably degraded the longer it stays on the plate. The OXO’s coffee seems to stay fresher, longer.

The Remaining Picks

There are three other drip coffee makers we tested that produced OK results.

The first is Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp, which as of this writing, is the number one best seller on Amazon. We found it difficult to achieve a balanced cup on this machine, and they often were strangely oily and bitter, a sign of bad extraction.

The Cuisinart’s results weren’t on par with our top 3 picks and left something to be desired.

We tested this machine over and over, and couldn’t seem to get the results into that top tier of quality. This machine has a “brew strength” control where users can select from “regular” or “bold,” but we never quite figured out what the setting actually controlled, although coffee brewed on the “bold” setting tended to be better extracted.

In the coffee world, the term brew strength refers to the number of total dissolved coffee solids in a cup. It expresses itself, in part, by how the coffee feels in your mouth: thick or thin. The more coffee to water you use, the higher the strength and vice versa. Therefore, a machine can’t actually control brew strength, unless it’s holding back water (which it isn’t). One bonus is the fact that it is capable of brewing a single cup, which not all multi-cup models can do.

The Brazen connects to your smartphone to allow you to start and/or monitor brew cycles.

Next, we have the Behmor Brazen Connected, which can be controlled wirelessly through your phone.

The manufacturer boasts about the number of settings you can control to create your perfect brew profile, but it only allows you to select the temperature and the presoak time, which admittedly can influence your brew but, in this case, does not seem worth the hassle—especially because you can only choose to brew six or eight cups—nothing more, nothing less, and nothing in between.

We feel that if you are the kind of person who is interested in controlling your brew temperature and presoak times, you would also be the kind of person who would like to choose your own volume of coffee. We would also expect that using the machine’s default settings and its recommended coffee dose would result in a well-extracted cup.

While the cup was arguably better than one a standard machine would have produced, it simply did not stand up to the high-performers in our testing, coffee makers that simply required a push of a button.

On top of all that, the technology was disappointingly finicky. It took us a good 45 minutes to get the machine to even connect to the phone. When it finally did, we spent several more minutes waiting for a firmware update. Then, once we finally figured out how to control the machine, each brew took an average of eleven entire minutes—something that, in our view, defeats the purpose of an automatic machine (manual devices can usually make coffee in 5 minutes or less).

Whereas machine such as the Moccamaster and Bodum Bistro brought their water to temperature seemingly in a matter of seconds, the Behmor Brazen let its water boil for several minutes in the water chamber (which we found unsettling in and of itself) before any extraction took place.

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