For all the debate over whether the best coffee comes from a Chemex or a French press or an AeroPress or a moka pot, sometimes you just want to turn on a machine and let it do all the work. Last year, we asked 15 coffee experts — baristas, roasters, food-industry professionals, and just plain coffee snobs — what coffee makers out there will give you a good, simple at-home brew without all the fuss. There hasn’t been a whole lot of upheaval in the coffee maker market since, so, below, are their nine favorite machines for people who think the best part of waking up is having a gadget make their cup (and if you need a fresh grinder to go with it, we’ve got you covered there, too).
Best overall coffee maker
According to our research, the Bonavita Connoisseur is respected industry-wide, with four experts recommending the model specifically by name, and two others naming Bonavita as generally the best brand of coffee maker. A key feature of the Connoisseur, cited by everyone who recommended it, is the machine’s ability to brew at the proper water temperature. According to Ken Nye, the owner and founder of Ninth Street Espresso, one of the “parameters that most machines don’t achieve is temperature. Very few consistently bring water to that 198-202 degree range,” which he calls the “broadly agreed upon standard.” As Nye puts it, the Connoisseur is made to heat the water to the correct temperature and “maintains that temp throughout the brewing process.” Furthermore, Nye adds, it brews directly into an insulated thermal carafe so you can keep your coffee warm without heating it from below (where you risk burning the coffee).
Another important factor, mentioned by multiple sources, is that it evenly distributes the water over the coffee grounds while brewing. It does this with the help of a showerhead-like spout above the filter basket that “showers all of the coffee evenly so it all brews at the same time,” according to Joanna Larue, a general manager at Blue Bottle. The machine also has a flat-bottomed brew basket that Nye and George Howell, the owner and founder of George Howell Coffee, both cite as essential to ensuring an even brew. “The flat bottom spreads the grounds out evenly on the bed,” explains Howell, so it’s easier to distribute the water and ensure an “even extraction.” This model might not be as full-featured as some of the other options on this list — or on the market in general — but the experts recommend it over all the others due to its more approachable price point, ease of use, and most of all, its reliability. “It’s consistent from start to finish,” says Howell.
Best high-end coffee maker
Cited by three experts, the Technivorm Moccamaster was the second most-recommended coffee maker. It’s pricey, but the experts who use it said that it’s worth the premium if you’re interested in investing in the best equipment out there. Like the Bonavita Connoisseur, the Moccamaster received high marks on its temperature-control ability and even brewing. One of the areas where it really stands out from the crowd, however, is its quality construction. “You want something that’s well-made and has good temperature control,” says Jim Munson, the founder and president of Brooklyn Roasting Company, who highlights the fact that the Moccamaster is handmade in the Netherlands. Suyog Mody, the founder of Driftaway Coffee, is another fan. He says that while the “brewing mechanics” are similar to those used in less-expensive drip coffee makers, the Moccamaster is “is made with better parts and with solid construction. I’ve been using it daily for the past three-plus years with zero issues. It’s just no fuss.” He adds, “And honestly, it looks good on the kitchen counter.” While the design is certainly appealing and the construction quality means it should last for a long time, the experts wouldn’t recommend this coffee maker if it didn’t also … make great coffee. “I taste coffee from all types of brewers, and this one gives a consistently better cup,” says Munson.
Best dupe for a Moccamaster coffee maker
Mud Coffee co-owner Yasmina Palumbo says this coffee maker from Motif makes a nice alternative to the “better known and much more expensive” Moccamaster. “It heats up water very fast, and its dispersion system soaks the grinds evenly, making a fuller-flavored brew,” she says.
Best programmable coffee maker
Many home brewers like having a programmable coffee machine that can be set to turn on automatically at a certain time. If you’re looking for one of those, two of the experts recommend this model, which has the same brewing mechanics as the top pick but comes with a digital clock and timer with the ability to schedule automatic brewing. “It’s a great option for coffee lovers who want to brew at the touch of a button without sacrificing quality,” says Connie Blumhardt of Roast Magazine. Michael Bonavita (no relation to the company), the owner and founder of Goodlife Coffee Company, says this is the machine he uses at home because he loves how simple it is to program.
Best coffee maker with built-in grinder
If you want to take the convenience factor beyond programmable timing, you can get a coffee maker with a built-in grinder so you truly have everything you need in one machine. “On mornings when I don’t make a pour-over (weigh out the water, the beans, all that fun stuff), the Capresso drip machine yields the cleanest-tasting cup,” says Kat Odell, the author of Day Drinking. The built-in burr grinder “saves you from having to buy a separate gadget, too,” she adds. (Burr grinders, it should be noted, are also the style favored by every expert we consulted for our roundup on the best coffee grinders.)
Best coffee maker for a quick brew time
Anyone who can’t start their day without a sip of coffee knows that another important quality to consider is brewtime. That’s where this coffee maker excels, according to Bonavita, who describes it as “very fast, consistent, and user-friendly.” He adds that Bunn has a great reputation in the commercial space, and that this model is a “great at-home version” of those higher-volume machines the company is known for.
Best simple coffee maker
Jamie McCormick, the co-owner of East Village coffee shop Abraço, told us that he prefers to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to coffee machines. “People make a big ‘to do’ over a lot of nothing” when it comes to brewing equipment, he says, and although he admits that he doesn’t quite know why, he thinks a plain old Mr. Coffee is a great choice for any “amateur coffee roaster who wants to flatter their grounds.” Since this doesn’t have a high-tech mechanism for distributing the water evenly like some of the other models on this list, he offers one key tip: Open the machine up while it’s brewing and “stir the grounds. Make sure all the grounds get hydrated.”
Best cold brew coffee maker
If you’re looking for a cold-brew coffee maker, this one comes recommended by Dennis Ngo, the chef and co-owner of restaurant Di an Di in Greenpoint. “I got hooked on the smoothness and low acidity of cold-brewed coffee,” says Ngo, who before making his own cold brew would go out and buy it from the coffee shop Gimme! near his apartment. “It lets me tinker with different beans and concentrations, and produces enough cold brew to last me two weeks at a time. It also stacks compactly for storage, which is an absolute requirement for my tiny New York apartment.”
Best cold brew coffee maker with a small footprint
If you want an all-in-one set up that can be easily stored in your fridge, the folks at Parlor Coffee heartily endorse Hario’s cold brew coffee jug. “I like that the Hario is simple in design and function,” says operations manager turned communications director Stephanie Dana. “It’s also compact and multifunctional — I use mine for cold-brewing tea or even decanting a bottle of wine — an increasingly important feature for conserving space in my Brooklyn apartment.”
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