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No matter what you call it, coffee has a special (and often required) place in the morning routine of many. You can have the best coffee beans in the world, but if you don’t brew them correctly, you’re going to miss out on the nuances.
Despite the overwhelming number of coffee shops, not all of us have worked as a barista. So how can you transform your beans into the magical elixir that gets you through the day in the tastiest of ways? Your coffee maker, of course. And how do you get the best from your beans? By getting the best coffee maker.
We recognize that “best” is highly subjective and based on the personal preferences of the user. We have scoured product information and online reviews from users and professional testers to give you a variety of coffee makers that we consider your best bets for getting the most from your cup of joe.
Here are our picks for best coffee maker:
- Bonavita BV 1900TS
- Bunn BT Velocity Brew
- Technivorm Moccamaster
- Cuisinart Perfect Temp
- Bunn My Cafe MCU Single Cup
You might be surprised to see that the well-known Keurig is not on our list. There were a lot of great reviews for Keurig (and a lot of bad ones), but almost all of them were offered after the company gave the reviewers free K-Cups, so we chose coffee makers that had more unbiased reviews. Don’t worry — we have a single-cup brewer for those who love that option.
Best For Those Seeking Simplicity: Bonavita BV 1900TS
For those who are searching for a straightforward approach to brewing a delicious cup of coffee, the Bonavita BV 1900TS ($145) could be the machine for you. It doesn’t have many options, so if you are looking for that kind of control, you can skip over this 8-cup/40-ounce coffee maker.
If, however, you agree with Bonavita’s motto that “simple is good” and you want an uncomplicated operation for excellent coffee, this could be your new, best caffeine-dispensing friend. Don’t just take our word for it; this unit has been recognized as a by the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
The Bonavita offers one-touch brewing with auto shut-off, a brewing temperature of 195-205 degrees F, and an option to pre-infuse your grounds with water to remove gases before brewing.
The components are dishwasher safe and BPA free, and the unit takes up little space on your counter; it should fit under your upper cabinets, even when open. It comes with a stainless-steel-lined thermal carafe to keep your coffee hot for hours.
Bonavita BV 1900TS Reviews
Reviewers had many praises to sing for the Bonavita unit. The owners of this coffee maker appreciated its simplicity and speed, noting that it takes six minutes to brew a full pot. Ease of operation, solid construction, positive customer service and small footprint in the kitchen were repeated multiple times in the reviews.
Pre-infusion was seen as a valuable option by most because of its enhancement of the beans and removal of bitterness. The fact that the Bonavita makes really great coffee, consistently, was hugely positive for its users (77 percent of reviewers rated it 4 or 5 stars).
One owner even claimed that the excellent coffee that it brews can “enhance your life” —sure sounds like a satisfied customer. It is also at the top of many professional reviewers’ lists because of its consistency, durability and amazingly good coffee.
Though people said the Bonavita offered an abundance of good things, there were some negatives worth mentioning. Most of the critical comments focused on the design of the thermal carafe. While some reported no problems with heat retention, others thought their coffee cooled much too quickly.
Some design concerns also were noted, including a lip that prevents all of the liquid from exiting the carafe. When pouring, you must have the lid on the carafe or it will spill, and some felt that the carafe poured too slowly. That prompted at least two owners to take matters into their own garage and drill a larger hole into the lid.
The basket sits directly on top of the carafe, so some questioned where to put the carafe lid when the basket is on for brewing, and vice versa. Most people found the top of the unit to be a reasonable solution.
It seems that a bad batch of Bonavita units might have contributed a plastic smell and taste to the coffee, but the vast majority stated no such problems and fantastic brewing.
Best For Those Who Can’t Wait: Bunn BT Velocity Brew
Bunn has been a leader in designing and manufacturing quality coffee makers for commercial and home use since 1957. With a strong commitment to quality, it is no surprise that the Bunn BT Velocity Brew ($126) makes a delicious pot of coffee.
Velocity, you might ask? It means fast — in this case, really fast. As in three minutes. This is a 10-cup/50-ounce machine that features a spray head to saturate all of the grounds and a vacuum-sealed, double-walled thermal carafe to keep your coffee hot.
The Bunn BT Velocity Brew is no lightweight. Echoing the company’s commercial legacy, this is almost twice as deep as most other units and weighs almost 10 pounds when empty. If you live in cramped quarters, you should take the Bunn’s size and heft into consideration.
If a strong sense of style is paramount in your kitchen appliances, you might want to forgo this sturdy workhorse, even though it does brew some great coffee; it ain’t pretty.
Unlike the majority of coffee makers, this unit is on all the time, so it’s always ready with hot water. If you start with an empty water reservoir that has been unplugged, you are looking at about 12 minutes for that wonderful brew.
Having an appliance on all the time is a personal preference — some people might freak out about it, while others look at it like the microwave or refrigerator always being on. It is something to consider when weighing your coffee maker options.
Bunn BT Velocity Brew Reviews
The Bunn’s brewing speed was a huge plus to owners and reviewers; they largely felt their coffee tasted better, too. Although the Bunn website says the carafe keeps the coffee hot for up to two hours, owners were pleasantly surprised to find their coffee still hot up to six hours later.
The carafe’s insulation keeps the coffee hot without continuing to cook (or burn) it, a huge benefit for those who take longer to finish a pot. If 10 cups is more than your household will consume, it is possible to brew a smaller amount with a little experimentation (there are no water-level indicators on the machine). The company’s customer service had high marks, and the warranty was reported as good.
As mentioned, some people saw the need to leave the unit on all the time as a point of concern. The design of the unit, always at the ready, means there is no timer and no programming, but also no room for error: If the carafe isn’t in place when you close the lid, you will get hot water all over your counter.
Several users stated that the spray forces the coffee grounds out of the basket, making a big mess. To remedy that, courser grounds can be used, and you can contact Bunn for a complimentary reduced-velocity spray head.
Even some professional reviews noted the plastic used on the unit felt flimsy and seemed to be a downgrade on an already questionable aesthetic. And in what seems to be a common theme in coffee makers, some owners could not get rid of the “burned plastic” smell, even after a month.
Best For Coffee Aficionados: Technivorm Moccamaster
The Technivorm Moccamaster KBT ($309) is the priciest option in our review. Although we realize it isn’t the right choice for everyone, some owners swear by their Moccamaster, so we wanted to present it as an option.
The Moccamaster is geared toward the coffee aficionado, not those who just need a dose of caffeine before they start their day. The cost of the 10-cup/42-ounce brewer reflects the quality of the machine; crafted in the Netherlands, it’s relatively true to the company’s original 1970s design.
The unit has a copper heating element to ensure that the water remains at the optimum brewing temperature of 195-205 degrees. The nine-hole spray arm is also lined in copper to keep the water hot as it saturates the grounds in the pre-infusion and extraction stages of brewing.
If the six minutes that it takes the machine to brew a full pot is too long to wait for your fix, the unit features the option to pause the brewing and pour a cup of coffee.
Technivorm Moccamaster Reviews
Owners and reviewers alike have only positive things to say about the quality of the coffee that is brewed with a Moccamaster. The heated water never comes in contact with plastic, eliminating the “burnt plastic” taste — an issue with which other coffee makers struggle — and revealing the intricacies of your coffee beans.
The machine is durable, and it’s easy to use and clean (not in the dishwasher, though). You have the ability to change the amount of coffee that you are brewing at one time and to control the flow of water through the grounds.
As with most high-end coffee makers, there is a lack of programmability with this machine. Setting up your coffee maker the night before may be convenient, but it is not the optimum way to brew, and higher-end manufacturers recognize this.
There are mixed reviews of the carafe; some claim it does not keep the coffee hot for very long, while others say it will stay hot for hours. The design of the carafe allows for pouring from all angles and can be an acquired skill, even creating challenges in its use.
Two other design issues afflict the Moccamaster. The flow-control slider is easily moved and can end up creating a mess if it moves to closed while brewing. And the unit’s four-foot industrial-strength power cord has created some discontent among users.
Overall, if you spend a little time learning the best interaction of your beans, water and machine, the Moccamaster may save you from ever stopping at the coffee shop again, which could make the price a lot less concerning.
Best For Those Who Want a Lot For a Little: Cuisinart Perfect Temp
The most inexpensive unit in our review, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 Perfect Temp Programmable Coffee Maker ($90) is not to be discredited based on price alone. This price point offers more accessibility for the average consumer than some of our other units and still offers a good cup of coffee.
Overall, Cuisinart owners like the brand and seem to move on to newer models such as this one. A whopping 86 percent of the reviews on Amazon rate this coffee maker 4 or 5 stars.
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is unique in offering a 14-cup/70-ounce capacity, the largest of our reviewed machines. The unit is programmable 24 hours in advance, produces a hotter cup of coffee than previous models, allows for brew-strength control (regular or bold) and self-cleans.
It has an auto-off feature that can be set for up to four hours after brewing completes, and an alert tone that you can turn off if it’s a little too jarring for your pre-caffeinated nerves. Like the Moccamaster, you can get your first cup before the pot is done brewing, for those mornings when you just can’t wait.
Cuisinart Perfect Temp Reviews
Cuisinart owners really enjoy the features that the DCC-3200 offers, especially the increased brewing temperature of 192 degrees — not quite the 200 degrees that is recommended, but definitely hotter than previous versions.
Users praised the bold setting, which allows them to get a more flavorful cup of coffee from their grounds, and felt that the machine makes good coffee. The hot plate has multiple settings and was noted to keep the carafe hot for four hours. Reviewers felt that it is a great value and the best coffee maker in its price range.
The problems that users encountered with the Cuisinart were pretty subjective, including flat-tasting coffee and an LED light that a few considered too bright. One of the most noteworthy complaints was that the reservoir is hard to fill without spilling water.
Another critique is one of functionality. As it’s a programmable coffee maker, multiple complaints that the clock does not keep consistent time are concerning. And given the fact that it is a large-capacity machine, keep in mind that it will take up more counter space than some other units.
Even with these imperfections, DCC-3200 owners consider it the best that Cuisinart has to offer.
Best For Single-Cup Fans: Bunn My Cafe MCU Single Cup
We’ve covered the best offerings for multicup drip coffee makers — but what if you are a lone wolf in your caffeine consumption, or not everyone in your household likes the same coffee? Welcome to the world of the single-cup brewer.
Sure, we love Keurig, but what option do you have if you don’t want to go the Keurig route? Let us introduce you to our top pick for single-cup coffee maker, the Bunn My Cafe MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer ($160).
This unit offers options for every taste, with separate “drawers” that let you use K-Cups (any type), pods, tea bags or ground coffee. It also makes hot water quickly. The unit offers two choices for brewing — brew or pulse (slow bursts that increase the steep time and make a bolder flavor).
My Cafe can brew from 4 to 14 ounces. There is a small water reservoir, but essentially, the amount of water that you put in the unit each time is the amount of water that will brew.
Like Bunn’s multicup coffee maker, this unit does not have an on/off switch. It is ready to go all the time, although it will go into “sleep” mode after 26 hours. Two lights (red and green) are the only indicators, so keep your instruction manual close at hand to interpret what your machine is telling you.
Bunn My Cafe MCU Single Cup Reviews
Bunn continues to earn its place as a quality manufacturer, with 77 percent of Amazon reviewers ranking this unit 4 or 5 stars. People are thrilled with the versatility that this brewer offers.
Countless reviewers stated that they love their My Cafe and are so happy to have found a coffee maker to replace their Keurig or to break the K-Cup cycle. Some reviewers commented that the same K-Cup or grounds tasted significantly better from the My Cafe than from their previous units.
The pulse option is a hit with users, who felt the temperature of their coffee was hotter than other single-serve units. Customer-service response and the two-year warranty were also positives for owners and reviewers.
As with the other Bunn unit that keeps water ready at all times, consumers expressed concern about the lack of an on/off switch on this brewer. There are simple ways around this, including plugging the unit into a power strip and turning it off to save on electricity and provide peace of mind.
Multiple people reported frustration with water leaks; others noted how to fix the leaks and stressed the importance of cleaning the unit as directed and checking the seals. People who previously used Keurig units expressed annoyance with having to fill the water reservoir all the time, but it seemed a small price to pay for a brewer that actually worked.
Given what we found with other units, it is not a shock to hear of a plastic smell or taste, but it does not happen consistently with this one. Most users liked the quality of the coffee so vehemently that they were willing to work around any issues.
One such reviewer loved the option of using fresh grounds but hated the mess made when emptying the drawer, so she included steps on modifying cheap filters into mini-filters for her My Cafe.
Owners were also willing to replace their favorite too-tall travel mug just to keep getting their My Cafe brew. Based on the reviews, if you run into problems with this solid performer, we highly recommend that you contact Bunn for help so you can continue to enjoy the My Cafe’s extensive brewing options.
Now that you have seen some of the best offerings that are available, it is time to assess what you like and don’t like about your current coffee maker. Do you want to program it, or are you willing to manually start it? How many cups do you drink? What’s your budget? By determining what is most important to you, it will be easier to select the best coffee maker for you and your brew.
, October 2014
, September 2014