If you’re like many coffee drinkers, you grab a ready-to-drink cup of joe on your way to work. You barely taste it, slugging it down during your commute. Or maybe you have a Keurig, so you can brew a lightning-fast cup of brown water for your travel mug. So gross.
If you’re a regular Roasty reader, you already appreciate a delicious, intentionally prepared coffee. Maybe you make yours with your trusty French press or spend precious morning moments watching your coffee come to life in your glass pour-over brewer. Whatever you use to brew your coffee, you take your time and do it right.
Settle in, because we’re about to break down how to buy the best drip coffee maker for your home & kitchen.
Related: Not sure what kind of coffee maker to buy? Check out our best coffee maker buying guide for every coffee drinker.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Drip Coffee Makers
Whether you start your day with a plastic cup from a drive-thru or grind your own beans at five every morning, sometimes your morning would flow much more smoothly if you could just count on a great cup of coffee from a drip coffee maker. Just supply the beans and water, then let it do all the work for you. But can a drip machine really brew great coffee?
Today’s best drip coffee makers filter water, grind beans, control water temperature, generate the coffee bloom, and keep your coffee hot while you blow through your morning routine.
We scoured the internet and found the best drip coffee makers that deliver java that rivals your favorite cup of French press coffee, and they’re all right here. All you have to do is choose the one you like best!
Quick Summary: Best Drip Coffee Makers
|NINJA HOT & COLD BREW SYSTEM||Check Price →|
|BREVILLE PRECISION BREWER||Check Price →|
|TECHNIVORM MOCCAMASTER KB 741||Check Price →|
|BREW EXPRESS BEC-110BS||Check Price →|
|BREVILLE THE GRIND CONTROL™||Check Price →|
|MR. COFFEE 12-CUP PROGRAMMABLE COFFEE MAKER||Check Price →|
|OXO BREW 9-CUP COFFEE MAKER||Check Price →|
|KITCHENAID KCM1204||Check Price →|
|CAPRESSO MT600||Check Price →|
|DELONGHI BCO 430||Check Price →|
Keep in mind, though, that this is just our guide to drip coffee makers. We haven’t included:
- Espresso machines – If you want a classic shot of espresso or want to make espresso-based specialty coffee drinks, check out our guide to the best espresso machines here.
- Single-serve machines – If you’re in the market for a drip machine for one, click here for a list of our favorite single-serve machines.
- Pod machines – If you’re more interested in using a K-Cup pod than ground coffee, check out our favorite Keurig brewers. And if you love the idea of pods, but can’t decide between Keurig or Nespresso, use our brand comparison to help you decide.
- Cold-brew makers – If you prefer to sip cold coffee, head on over to our guide to best cold brewers; we’re sure you’ll find something you like.
- Manual brewers – If you find yourself drawn to taking your time with a more old-school brewing method, check out our guides to choosing a French press or pour-over brewer.
- Smart coffee makers – Maybe you’re looking for a coffee maker you can operate from your smartphone. Check out our favorite smart coffee makers here.
OUR PICKS FOR BEST DRIP COFFEE MAKERS
NINJA HOT & COLD BREW SYSTEM
Sitting on my home counter right now is an amazing pseudo dual coffee machine from Ninja. Full disclosure – we received this item for free so we could test it out – and it has performed beautifully.
Versatility is the word that comes to mind, as this thing can make just about any drink you can think of with a built-in milk frother, 6 different brew sizes, and 5 different brew styles that do completely different things based on whether you’re making a standard pot of coffee or a flat white.
In fact, I’ve been on a Bulletproof Coffee kick lately, where I’m adding butter and coconut oil to my coffee. I’ve discovered the frother on this Ninja eliminates the need for using a blender. I just put the butter and oil in my mug, fill it half full with coffee, and then froth it with the built-in wand. Finally, I top it off with more coffee and I’m ready to go.
So if you’re a Bulletproof Coffee maker, this is the coffee machine you want.
I’m telling you – this thing can do it all and it makes an excellent cup of coffee (which is all I use it for 90 percent of the time).
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System
Go beyond the coffeehouse with the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System. This brewing system gives you the ability to brew hot, flavorful cups of coffee and tea or over-ice beverages, all powered by Advanced Thermal Flavor Extraction Technology with Auto-iQ.
BREVILLE PRECISION BREWER
Breville sent us one of these to try firsthand, and it’s another drip coffee maker you simply can’t go wrong with. If you like to keep things simple, there are a number of preset modes including gold (uses temperature and brew time from SCA), fast, strong, iced, and cold brew. Just pick one and press a button.
If you’re a bit of a control freak, go nuts with controlling bloom time, water temperature, flow rate, and even your local weather forecast! Ok, you still can’t control the weather, but for a drip coffee maker, this thing has a ton of options while remaining simple to use. Need to know more? Read our full review of this machine here.
Breville Precision Brewer Thermal Coffee Maker
60 oz drip coffee maker with the precision required to brew craft filter coffee, automatically. Experience your favorite coffee at its best regardless of its origin, age or roast with precise temperature and brewing time.
TECHNIVORM MOCCAMASTER KB 741
Created by Dutch industry leader Technivorm and backed by a five-year warranty, this drip coffee maker is built to last. The aluminum body and ten-cup glass carafe even have an industrial look to them. If you ever need stateside repairs, you can even get it serviced in their U.S. service center.
The Technivorm Moccamaster features a copper boiling element that keeps water at the perfect temperature and shuts off automatically after brewing. Manual drip-stop control lets you stop the flow to pour a quick cup or restrict flow to slow brewing time. The separate hot plate element stays between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your coffee piping without burning for 100 minutes.
BREW EXPRESS BEC-110BS
Imagine never again spilling water all over your counters at the crack of dawn. Purchase this drip coffee maker that will never run out of water, and say goodbye to spills. That’s right. The Brew Express is hooked up to your water line, so it refills on command. An infrared sensor even prevents overflows and allows pours mid-brew, but you won’t be able to use glass mugs or carafes.
It’s a sturdy machine, certified for both residential and commercial use. You can brew a half or full carafe, or a single cup. It keeps water at a consistent brewing temperature, so you won’t have to wait between cycles. For the best brew, use an inline water filter like the ones for refrigerator ice makers.
BREVILLE THE GRIND CONTROL™
Single-cup brewers are the second-most popular after multi-cup drip coffee makers for home use. The Grind Control™ has a seven-and-a-half-inch clearance, so you can choose to brew a 12-cup carafe or a single serving straight into a mug or travel mug. You can even choose between seven size options in single-cup mode to accommodate creamer. This amazing little machine lets you choose from 8 brew strength settings and grind fresh beans right before you brew them.
Switch to the pre-ground setting to use grounds from a bag. The liquid crystal display (LCD) screen shows real-time information, such as water level, grind size and time, strength selection, and brewing time. Wake up to fresh coffee with a programmable auto-start that will grind beans to your liking and heat your water to an optimal temperature for brewing.
Breville Grind Control Coffee Maker
Breville’s Grind Control is the first household coffee maker with an adjustable grinder and calibration function that not only allows you to grind before you brew, you can also customize the grind size and coffee volume to suit your taste.
MR. COFFEE 12-CUP PROGRAMMABLE COFFEE MAKER
If you want a drip coffee maker that looks sleek but is still easy on your wallet, get yourself Mr. Coffee’s 12-cup coffee maker, also known as the CJX31. With brushed chrome accents, a digital display, and function lights, this machine looks like it’s much more expensive competition. More importantly, features such as brew strength selection and a water filtration system ensure a rich-tasting cup of coffee from this little contender.
Other notable features include brewing up to 24 hours in advance with delay brew setting, two-hour automatic shut off, Fresh Brew™ timer, which displays how long your finished coffee has been on the warming plate, and pause ‘n serve.
OXO BREW 9-CUP COFFEE MAKER
The robust features in this nine-cup drip coffee maker will surprise and delight you. The OXO Brew 9-cup coffee maker is designed with a microprocessor that brews in timed cycles, replicating the pour-over brewing method. Water temperature is controlled between 197.6 and 204.8 degrees Fahrenheit throughout brewing.
A rainmaker showerhead evenly soaks coffee grounds. The backlit light-emitting diode (LED) display shows status and coffee freshness. A dial on the front lets you set a 24-hour timer and the number of cups you wish to brew.
OXO Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker
The OXO 9-Cup Coffee Maker controls brewing time, water temperature and volume for rich, flavorful coffee at the push of a button. Better Brew precision automatically optimizes brewing time and keeps the temperature between 197.6 – 204.8° the ideal range for a better-tasting brew.
Are you a fan of the retro kitchen style? Do matching appliances bring you inner peace? Well, if you’re in love with your classic KitchenAid stand mixer, you’re sure to fall for the KitchenAid KCM1204 drip coffee maker. It’s designed to look just like the iconic mixer, and you can even buy it in black or white.
You can brew the full 12 cups, or choose two or four. Inconspicuous buttons allow you to choose regular or bold brew strength and program automatic brewing up to 24 hours in advance. A variable brew strength selector gives you the luxury of choosing between a regular or bold brew, but whatever you decide, your cup of coffee will be full-bodied and flavorful every time.
The minimalist, stainless steel design of this 10-cup coffee maker will blend in nicely with almost any kitchen. It lets you make enough for a crowd, brewing a full carafe in eight minutes, or you can opt to brew just three to five cups. You can even remove the drip-free stainless steel carafe to pour a cup at any time during the brewing process without making a mess.
The charcoal water filter removes chlorine, odors, and other chemicals from your water before brewing, and the MT600 also has a small backlit LCD clock with a timer and 24-hour programmable automatic brewing. It will shut itself off in two hours, so you won’t have a fire hazard on your kitchen counter, and its rapid-brewing heating system ensures your drink reaches the perfect temperature without coming in contact with the machine’s aluminum.
DELONGHI BCO 430
Maybe you want to be able to brew a decent pot of coffee at home, and perhaps make a few lattes and cappuccinos too. The DeLonghi BCO 430 is a single machine that does it all. One side is a full cappuccino system with a swivel jet frother. It has a 40-ounce water reservoir, so even if you’re entertaining a crowd, everyone can have a cappuccino without stopping to refill the water. It even has a cup warmer on top.
The other side is a ten-cup drip coffee maker. It shuts off after 30 minutes but has a warming function that keeps coffee hot for two hours without scorching. An exceptionally convenient feature is the front access to refill water and coffee grounds, so you won’t have to move the machine at all.
HAMILTON BEACH 2-WAY BREWER
If you find yourself caught between wanting a machine that does single-serve and a machine that can handle brewing a whole carafe, don’t sweat it. Either way, the Hamilton Beach 2-way Brewer has you covered.
This machine is fully programmable, offering pretty extensive user control. Plus, it adjusts to your cup, brewing anywhere from one stand-alone cup to a full, 12-cup carafe. The brew strength selector allows you. to choose between regular and bold and there’s even a warming-plate to keep things hot as you drink. Lastly, there’s an auto-shutoff function.
KEURIG K-DUO COFFEE MAKER
By now, you know we aren’t necessarily the biggest fans of pod coffee makers, but we’ll admit they can be helpful when you don’t have the time to wait for your automatic drip coffee machine to brew a full pot. But having both kinds of machines on your counter isn’t exactly the most efficient use of your space. So, if you find yourself on team pod and team drip, we recommend investing in a solid dual machine.
Meet the K-Duo from the beverage industry giant Keurig. The brand’s K-Duo machine boasts a 12-cup drip brewer on one side and a pod machine on the other, so no matter what your schedule looks like, there will always be time for coffee. The 60-ounce water reservoir is shared by both sides of the machine to make your routine a bit simpler and is removable for easy, mess-free fill-ups. The glass carafe sits on a heating plate that keeps your coffee warm long after it’s been brewed, and the single-serve pod half of the machine boasts both regular and strong brewing options.
Keurig K-Duo Coffee Maker
Introducing the K-Duo Single Serve and Carafe Coffee Maker: the perfect brewer for any occasion. This versatile brewer is the best of both worlds, using both K-Cup pods and ground coffee to brew a cup and a carafe of your favorite varieties.
MUELLER AUSTRIA ULTRA BREW THERMAL COFFEE MAKER
You probably recognize the Mueller name from the company’s vast inventory of quality kitchen products, and the Ultra Brew thermal coffee maker is no exception. One of the best things about this drip coffee maker is its 8-cup thermal carafe. After the coffee is finished brewing and the machine shuts off, the coffee will stay hot until you’re ready to pour your second cup, thanks to the double insulated pot.
Just press one button, and in ten minutes, you’ll be tasting and smelling a freshly brewed pot of java. Not only does this machine come at a relatively low price point, but it also manages to save you money long-term; the brewer is equipped with a permanent filter, so there’s no need for you to shell out a few extra bucks on a package of paper filters every few months.
HOW DO AUTOMATIC DRIP BREWERS WORK?
Also called a filtration method, there are a plethora of different drip methods. However, the items we’ve covered here are specifically automatic drip machines.
Chances are you’ve used one of these before. And while there is some variation in how users engage with the machine, the internal workings of how your coffee brews tend to be essentially the same.
It starts by putting grounds in a filter and water in the reservoir. Most models use basket-shaped paper filters, though some do have permanent ones or you can opt to purchase a reusable one separately.
After you turn it on and tell it what you want, the machine then heats the water from its storage and pumps it above the grinds. Sometimes there is simply a tube system in place that allows steam to rise there itself.
As the reaches the drip area, it goes through whatever showerhead technology the machine has been built with. The purpose here is to wet the grounds and eventually soak through them. The hot water extracts coffee from the grounds as gravity brings it down, eventually reaching your carafe or cup.
Lastly, it’s pretty standard to have a hot plate or a thermal carafe. This helps to keep the coffee warm so you can enjoy your coffee without rushing.
FEATURES TO NOTE
BREW STRENGTH CONTROL
Most of the models we’ve included here have some type of brew control to determine the strength of your brew. This is an important feature if you know you prefer particularly strong or weak coffee. Or, it could also come I handy if there are different preferences within your household.
Settings like these generally work by slowing or speeding up the water flow. The slower the drip, the stronger the coffee, as it has more time to extract. This is why pod-brewers that are promoted for their speed sometimes have issues with brewing, especially weak coffee.
There are a couple of different kinds of service functions that you’ll come across on automatic drip brewers. One of the most standard ones is pause-and-serve. This feature allows you to remove the carafe or pot before brewing has finished, getting your first cup without it sputtering the rest of the brew all over your counter.
Pro Tip: If you just want to brew one pot, but the verdict is split on how strong people want it, this feature is great to take advantage of. The first cup or two will be stronger while the ones at the end of the brew will be a tad weaker. So everyone can win, even with a mid-strength setting.
A less common feature is self-serve. Essentially, the brewed coffee is stored inside of the machine, rather than in a carafe. Them when you’re ready you can press a button or pull a switch and fill your mug directly from the machine. None of our top picks have this function, but if it sounds like something you’d appreciate, the Cuisinart DCC-3000 comes pretty highly recommended.
Some models include water filters, which do actually improve the ultimate taste of your coffee. This is perfect if you don’t already own a water filter. Tap water tends to contain chemicals that are used to keep it clean on its way to you. However, because they interact with grounds and alter the flavor, it’s best to go filtered.
PROGRAMMABLE COFFEE MAKERS
We’ve written about this extensively in our guide to the best smart coffee makers, but if you like the conveniences of preparing your coffee the night before and setting a schedule so it’ll be brewing while your alarm clock is going off, then you’ll want to find a programmable coffee machine.
I’m not sure about you, but all I can think about when writing this is the old Folgers commercials with the catchy jingle… “The best part of waking up…”
(If the jingle is now stuck in your head, I apologize).
Personally, even when I’ve had programmable machines I’ve not made much use of it because I prefer to get up, grind my beans, and then brew immediately – which is the ideal situation for the freshest cup of joe.
Nevertheless, if programmable is more your style – make sure that’s a feature on your list as your shopping for a new coffee maker.
GLASS VS. THERMAL CARAFE
One of the biggest feature points that separate different auto-drip brewers are the carafe type. There are two main types: glass and thermal.
Glass carafes keep your coffee warm using a hot plate. This works better to keep coffee very hot for a short period of time. However, if you leave the carafe on the hot plate for more than about 15 minutes, the coffee starts to burn and get bitter. After that, it’s not too pleasant to drink.
- Cheaper of the two types
- Available in different styles, so you can find fancier ones that are better suited for formal serving and presentation than thermal carafes
- The remaining coffee volume is visible in the carafe
- Can’t keep coffee hot as long without burning
- Requires a hot plate, which isn’t ideal
- They are less durable than thermal carafes and can be expensive to replace
If you can swing the slight jump in price, a thermal carafe is generally the better option. A thermal carafe will help lock in heat produced during the brewing process, rather than adding more heat and potentially ruining the coffee.
- Keeps coffee fresh and warm for longer periods of time
- Delays oxidization and avoids overheating, leaving you with a better flavor
- More durable, making them kid-proof and better for outdoor use
- Heavier than glass options
- Not much variation in looks and you can’t visually check the contents
BEST DRIP COFFEE MAKER BRANDS
Newer to the coffee scene, Bonavita is dedicated to making machines that are accessible to a broader range of people. Their products are designed in Germany and made in China.
One of the biggest names in coffee brewing, Breville, was founded in 1957. They are based in Australia and are known for producing a wide range of top-notch coffee and espresso products.
Still relatively new to the coffee scene, Capresso was founded in 1994 and is owned by a Switzerland-based company, Jura. Their products are aimed primarily at the American market. Their name is a mix of “cappuccino” and “espresso,” and serves as the company’s inspiration as innovators.
This U.S.-based company makes far more than coffee machines, but that shouldn’t make you underestimate them. They’ve been around since the 1970s and continue to produce affordable, quality machines.
Founded in 1902, De’Longhi has been an impressive, family-owned business for over a century. They have an extensive selection of kitchenalia that also includes high-quality coffee and espresso machines.
This brand got its start with stand mixers in 1919. Since then the American home appliance brand, Kitchenaid, has expanded to offer many small and large kitchen appliances. They’re owned by the Whirlpool Corporation.
Moccamaster-Technivorm products are made in the Netherlands and designed by the Dutch. Their coffee makers are often called the best of their breed. Additionally, they are certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and granted the European Coffee Brewing Center’s (ECBC) Seal of Approval.
A registered trademark of Newell Brands, Mr. Coffee was founded in the 1970s. They manufacture automatic-drip coffee machines in addition to other products. They’re well-known in popular culture, referenced in “The Bad Touch” by the Bloodhound gang and promoted by Joe DiMaggio.
One of the several house-care brands developed by SharkNinja Operating, LLC, Ninja sells a variety of kitchen products from blenders to, of course, coffee makers. They’re best known for the versatility of their unique coffee brewing products.
OXO specializes in simplifying and improving the functionality of everyday, household products. They got their start with a potato peeler, but they’ve been impressing coffee lovers for years. From burr grinders to coffee makers, they are known for their simplicity and usability.
WHAT’S THE BEST DRIP COFFEE MAKER FOR…
If you are looking for a drip machine that can work in an office setting, you need to find something easy to clean with a large capacity that brews quickly. For that, we recommend going with Braun’s Brew Sense coffee maker. The 12-cup machine has a 24-hour programmable timer, so every pot of coffee can be ready right when all the employees begin to arrive. It’s equipped with a pure flavor brewing system, so you know the coffee will be rich and strong to the last drop.
The glass carafe’s lid is sealed tight, minimizing air exposure and keeping every bit of flavor inside until you’re ready to pour from the anti-drip spout. While every feature on this drip coffee maker adds to the machine’s convenience, our favorite thing about Braun’s brewer has to be its self-cleaning capability. When it’s time to clean the coffee maker, all you need to do is touch a button and it does the rest, which is ideal in an office setting.
KEEPING IT QUIET?
Sometimes we coffee drinkers need our java before the rest of the house wakes up, which can be a problem when you mix light sleepers and loud coffee makers. So if you need to brew without much noise, we recommend going for the Bonavita Connoisseur.
This 8-cup brewer is the best you’re going to find as far as noise levels are concerned. It’s made using high-quality materials so not only does it work well, it looks nice doing it. Plus, the hot plate stays on for 40 minutes, so other people can get pleasantly warm coffee, even if they sleep in a bit.
A SMALLER POT OF COFFEE?
If you’re looking to invest in a solid drip machine but don’t need to brew a large amount of coffee, give the KRUPS Simply Brew Compact coffee maker a shot.
This convenient little machine brews up to five cups of coffee, which is perfect for just one or two people. For the more impatient coffee drinker, the machine’s pause and serve system allows you to pour a cup of coffee before the carafe is full without making a mess — that will definitely come in handy on mornings when you just can’t wait another minute for your daily caffeine boost!
This drip machine’s ease of use is also a big part of what, in our opinion, makes it a purchase worth making. The top filling water tank is near the brewing chamber, and there’s only one button to turn the machine on and off. A bonus: this petite coffee maker boasts a sleek design, and its modern black accents and stainless steel finish make it the perfect addition to any kitchen counter space.
A FASTER BREW?
Need your cup of go-juice on the double, but don’t want to lose flavor? The Speed Brew Elite by BUNN is the perfect fast brew coffee maker for the person who sprints out the front door in the morning. All you need to do is add grounds, water, and touch one button, then just three minutes later you’ll have a fresh, ten-cup pot of coffee.
The commercial-style, multi-stream spray head fully soaks grounds for better taste. It even has an always-hot stainless steel water tank, so it’s always ready to brew, but you can flip the vacation switch when you won’t need it standing by.
A TIGHT BUDGET (UNDER $100)?
If you’re looking for a capable drip coffee maker with a more accessible price tag, Cuisinart’s PerfecTemp should be on your shortlist. It’s an improvement over previous models that gets coffee hotter without burning it. The stainless steel machine boasts a 14-cup glass carafe, but you can set it to brew one to four cups.
The charcoal water filter and bold brew option enhance taste, while a scale indicator light lets you know when to clean your coffee maker. If you like your coffee ready and waiting for you when you wake up, you’re in luck. The PerfecTemp lets you program brewing up to 24 hours in advance.
MAKING SPECIALTY COFFEE?
For those in need of an easy-to-use but versatile coffee maker, look no further than the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker. This Specialty Coffee Association-certified machine boasts six brew sizes, 4 different brew types, and a built-in milk frother, so you can try your hand at making all your favorite coffee drinks, from a classic latte to a delicious iced coffee, from the comfort of your own home.
Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker with 50 Oz Glass Carafe
Bring the coffeehouse home with the Ninja Specialty Coffee maker. Combine super-rich Coffee concentrates with hot or cold frothed milk to create delicious coffeehouse style drinks or enjoy flavorful Iced Coffee that never tastes watered down.
Serious coffee-lovers love the Technivorm Moccamaster because it features a copper boiling element that keeps water at the perfect temperature and shuts off automatically after brewing. Manual drip-stop control lets you stop the flow to pour a quick cup or restrict flow to slow brewing time. The separate hot plate element stays between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your coffee piping without burning for 100 minutes.
Created by Dutch industry leader Technivorm and backed by a five-year warranty, this drip coffee maker is built to last. The aluminum body and ten-cup glass carafe even have an industrial look to them. If you ever need stateside repairs, you can even get it serviced in their U.S. service center.
BREWING 12 CUPS?
There are plenty of quality 12-cup coffee makers on the market, but we were quite impressed by the Ninja CE251. The 12-cup programmable brewer boasts two brew strengths, classic and rich, so you can make a cup of coffee strong enough to meet your personal preferences every time. Of course, you can brew a full carafe of java, but on mornings when you’re just brewing for one, use the small-batch setting to make a smaller amount of coffee that’s just as flavorful as a full pot.
This machine’s features also include a 60-ounce water reservoir that’s removable for mess-free refills, a 24-hour delay brew so you can schedule your coffee up to a full day beforehand, an adjustable warming plate that keeps your coffee hot up to four hours, and a mid-brew pause option for when you just can’t wait to enjoy a steaming mug of Joe.
Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer
Ninja Coffee brewer is a 12 Cup programmable Coffee maker with custom brew strengths and a hotter brewing advanced boiler to make hot, flavorful, and never-bitter Coffee. From a small batch (1-4 Cups) to a full carafe, classic or rich strengths, you can expect the same great taste.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DRIP COFFEE MAKER
Even the best drip brewer is going to make some pretty poor coffee if you aren’t using and maintaining it properly. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the best coffee possible.
Like we mentioned earlier, the water you use to brew your coffee is incredibly important. Whether you are in a hard or soft water area, you should be filtering your water. You can do this in several ways.
The most convenient method is to simply get a brewer that has a built-in water filter and just replace it as necessary. However, you can also buy a filter that attaches to your faucet or use charcoal water filters and a carafe in your fridge. They even sell pitchers that have filters in them!
Simply choose whichever water purification you think will work best for your lifestyle and space; your tastebuds will thank you.
Now that you’ve taken care of the water situation, let’s talk about the grounds you are using. For drip brewers, people aren’t generally going for Blue Mountain beans, but that doesn’t mean you should buy your local bargain brand from the grocery either.
The most important thing to look for is the roast date. Many store-bought brands won’t even include one, which should be a red flag. You want freshly roasted beans so your coffee will taste fresh and flavorful rather than stale. Even if you drown your coffee in milk and sugar and just need a blend to get the job done, freshness is a must.
If you buy pre-ground coffee, you won’t have to worry much about this except for the actual grind size you’re looking for. However, we recommend going with whole beans and grinding them yourself as you go. This will help ensure that your grounds aren’t stale by the time they reach your brewer.
For an auto-drip brewer, you are going to use a medium-fine grind, so it’ll be between table and kosher salt as far as size. This is the same type of grind you’d use for a siphon or moka pot and in between the grinds you’d use for an espresso machine and a Chemex.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Are drip coffee makers better than K-Cups?
Though a K-Cup compatible machine is more appealing in the morning when you’re barely awake enough to handle pushing more than one button, we think these machines are the less desirable option when compared to a drip brewer.
This is for a couple of reasons, the first being that the coffee inside the pod was packaged weeks or even months before it’s brewed, so it isn’t the freshest java out there. Secondly, the price of pods adds up in the long run, so drip coffee makers are the more financially friendly option. And third, drip coffee brewers give you more control over the coffee you brew, whereas, with a Keurig, the pod totally controls the outcome.
We’re partial to drip coffee machines here, but we understand the appeal of using K-Cups or other similar pods.
Q: Are expensive coffee makers worth it?
Yes and no.
Do more expensive coffee makers brew better-tasting coffee? Not necessarily. But they usually come equipped with more bells and whistles than lower-priced machines, like a built-in coffee grinder, for example. If you’re someone who would use all of a coffee maker’s extra features and has a few extra dollars to spend on a more expensive model, by all means, go for it.
But if your only prerequisite for a machine is that it brews good coffee, you can find a machine at a low to mid-price point that will do the job well. Besides, most of the time the quality of your brew is more impacted by the kind of beans you use than the machine you put them in.
Q: Are drip brewers easy to clean?
Yes, cleaning a drip brewer is simple! Be sure to do so at least once a month, though, or the taste of your coffee will definitely suffer.
We have an article dedicated to cleaning coffee makers here, so we’ll spare you all the details, but to summarize, you’ll need to wipe out the inside of the machine’s chamber with a damp cloth, run a water and vinegar mixture followed by plain water through the coffee maker to flush any debris out of the machine, then scrub the carafe with soap and water.
If you’re worried about finding the time to clean your brewer every month, however, consider investing in a self-cleaning machine instead.
Q: Is a drip machine better than other brewing methods (pour-over, French press, etc.)?
Though drip coffee makers are probably the most commonly used brewers, they’re not necessarily king when it comes to making quality coffee. Yes, they’re convenient and are definitely capable of producing a good cup of Joe, but when it comes to preserving coffee’s natural oils and flavors, pour-over and French press methods come out on top.
However, brewing coffee with one of those methods requires more than just pushing a button, so if it’s speed and convenience you’re after, the automatic drip machine wins for sure. Plus, drip coffee makers tend to hold a larger capacity of coffee than a French press or pour-over coffee maker, so if you’ll need to make multiple cups quickly, a drip machine is probably the best option for you.
Even though we love the craft of slow brewing with intention and patience, these machines are must-haves in a household or office full of coffee drinkers. We think you’ll find the right machine for your needs in our list, but even if you choose another model, you’ll get the best brew if you look for a few important features.
- Temperature controls that keep water between 195 and 205 degrees during brewing
- Widely distributed water jets so your grounds are soaked evenly while brewing (Pre-soak features are even better)
- Automatic shutoff of the hot plate, or no hot plate at all, to prevent your coffee from burning after brewing
- Brew strength selector that allows you to slow down the brewing time, which is especially useful when you make half a pot or less in a multi-cup machine
- Water filters ensure clean water for pure-tasting coffee
Once you buy an automatic drip coffee maker with those important features, avoid making the most common mistakes when brewing your coffee, and you’re sure to get the best possible java your drip coffee maker can brew.