The Best Coffee Maker for 2018
EXPERT AND CONSUMERS REVIEWS
Spending hundreds of hours to make this research, interview professionals and brewing thousands of cups of coffee in 50+ machines, we think the OXO ON BARISTA BRAIN Coffee Maker is the greatest for its price.
But are you sure that it is good enough? Does it give you the ultimate coffee experience like the one you receive in the coffee houses?
If you are not satisfied with your coffee maker or you just feel it is time to invest in the quality you deserve then take a look at our review for the best coffee makers of 2018. We have selected products which offer a diversity of prices, sizes and brewing types so that we meet the different criteria for your full coffee satisfaction.
We will help you to make the best choice!
There are several types of coffee makers depending on the different brewing principles they use.
In the most popular machines, you place the ground coffee beans in a paper, metal or plastic filter situated in a funnel which stays above a pot. In a separate container, you put cold water which the machine heated to a boiling point and then poured it into the funnel.
This basic principle of brewing coffee is also known as the automatic drip-brew. Probably most of you have some coffee maker in your home working on the principle of drip-brew.
OUR TOP PICKS
8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer, Stainless Steel
Bonavita BV1900TS is compact, easy to clean, simple to use equipped with a No-spill thermal carafe, auto shut-off feature, flat-bottomed filter basket and 1500 watt heater that reaches and maintains the optimal water temperature of 200 to 203 degrees Fahrenheit. Certified by SCAA.
Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer CF092
10-Cup with Glass Carafe Coffee Brewer
Ninja Coffee Bar is a single serve and glass carafe coffee maker with a built-in frother with hot and cold frothing skills, a host of delightful coffee recipes you can experience. The machine also comes with its personal motorized milk whisk.
Guide to choosing the best coffee maker
Coffee has always been a firm-favourite for millions of people across the world, especially Americans and it is made using special drip coffee makers which have been manufactured for over 30 years. Contrary to popular belief, the first ever drip coffee maker wasn’t manufactured in America, it was made in Germany in 1954, invented by Gottlob Widmann and first called the Wigomat.
When it comes to coffee machines, these types of drip coffee makers are the most common and they’re probably still the most popular because they are just so convenient. They’re easy to set up too, straight from the manufacturer’s box and you don’t have to understand a multitude of different features in order to use one (unlike espresso machines which can often be complicated to get to grips with).
Generally, drip coffee machine instructions are fairly straightforward and you can usually enjoy your first cup of coffee within minutes of rinsing through and setting up.
Why you need a coffee maker at home?
If you really enjoy your coffee and like to experiment with the wide variety of unique flavors which are available today, then your passion for this aromatic beverage will be better served by having your very own coffee machine at home.
Having your own coffee maker allows you to try a wide range of flavors which all taste so much better than any of the instant varieties. Plus, just think about how much you will be saving by making your own quality brews at home, rather than sacrificing wads of your hard earned at the Starbucks counter every morning.
The coffee maker which eventually finds its home on your kitchen counter will ultimately depend on just how far your indulgence goes. The coffee industry is booming and it seems like there is a new flavor coming out every week. Add to that the sheer variety of coffees on offer and you have quite the job of deciding on a coffee machine that can earn its place in your kitchen.
You will have an easier time of it if your enjoyment of coffee focuses on a particular type and flavor of coffee such as a cappuccino or espresso, as machines which specialize are generally at the cheaper end of the price brackets.
For those who really can’t settle on a favorite and need something different then there are plenty of coffee machines designed for the home which can make a wide variety of coffees.
The more your taste varies the more cash you will probably have to cough up to indulge such a wide-ranging fancy. If you are just after a great coffee every morning and need the convenience of instant with the flavor of your local gourmet coffee shop, then a coffee maker which uses pods may be right up your alley.
These coffee makers vary in price but can be very affordable and are a great way to have a no mess no fuss cup of coffee every morning. You’re usually locked into a particular brand by going this route but the ease and convenience more than makes up for it.
There are nearly as many coffee machines on the market today as there are brands and flavors of coffee, but if you take the time to analyze the needs of your indulgence then the pay off in flavor and convenience will definitely be worth it.
Types of drip-brew filter coffee makers
However, what is the best type of coffee machine for you? The following information will help you make that all-important decision. Easy to use filter coffee machines are perfect if you like black coffee. There are two different filters to choose from, paper filters or a machine with a washable filter.
Paper filters or washable filters?
Washable filters are really easy to use – simply remove them after use, wash through and replace. If you choose this option you will need to purchase a new filter after a while because eventually, these filters can taint the coffee flavor.
Paper filters are generally a good choice because they’re inexpensive. You use them once then remove from the machine and dispose.
Filter coffee machines come with thermal or glass jugs. Glass jugs stand on a hotplate which keeps your pot of coffee nice and warm.
Thermal jugs are usually better because they keep your coffee hotter for longer. Remember, if you entertain a lot and like to serve coffee, buy a filter coffee machine that can make coffee for a large number of people, for example, a ten cup machine.
Grind and brew filter coffee machines
When the coffee machine is switched on, it grinds the coffee beans and then immediately brews the coffee. These machines are a bit more expensive, but they are extremely easy-to-use.
Just put the beans in the grinding mill, pick your preference – from coarsely ground to excellent, determine your strength and the number of coffees you want, press the button and go. You’ll enjoy delightful coffee in just a few bits. Most grind and brew machines can also use coffee that has been pre-ground, for those times when you’re out of beans.
An automatic drip coffee maker is the most common type of coffee machine used by the Americans, it is cheap, easy to use and maintain. Being fully automatic machines, they allow you to get on with other tasks while the coffee maker does all the work for you. There is a downside to drip coffee machines and that is that the brewing process is inconsistent.
This means that temperature fluctuations can affect the overall quality and flavor of the end resulting cup of coffee. The way to counter this is to only make the right amount of coffee that you want to drink over the next hour. If you want more coffee later on, simply start afresh. This way you won’t ever compromise on that all-important coffee flavor or risk burning or cooking your coffee!
Less Variety Than Espresso Machines
While most of these drip coffee machines don’t deliver drinks such as cappuccino, latte, mocha or a shot of espresso, a good quality drip coffee maker will provide you with a pot of great tasting, freshly brewed coffee that is always especially welcome, no matter what time of day.
Drip Coffee Maker Componentry
They look simple enough but actually, there’s quite a lot of componentry inside. Drip coffee makers feature various different elements. Inside a coffee maker, you’ll find a reservoir. This is the area that holds the water when you distribute it into the pot (before you start up your coffee making machine).
Underneath that reservoir, there’s tube that carries hot water into the drip area and there’s a “shower” head which sprays the water over the coffee grounds. Some coffee makers have a perforated plastic disc instead of the shower head and this is where the water sprinkles on top of the coffee grounds.
There’s also a heating element which heats up the water to the right temperature. Once you put the water into the coffee maker, the heating element starts to warm it up. The heating element also keeps the coffee warm after you’ve made it (although beware leaving your coffee in the pot for hours on end, it won’t taste great later on).
How a Drip Coffee Maker Works?
Your coffee maker works like this:
- You add your favourite ground coffee
- Then, you pour in the cold water
- The water travels from the reservoir through the tube
- When you switch on your drip coffee maker, the heating element starts to heat up
- The heating element then boils the water to the right temperature for good coffee
- The water flows toward the waiting coffee grounds and disperses through the shower head or perforated disc to soak the grounds
- Coffee oil starts to be released during this roasting process (which adds to the aroma)
- Coffee then begins to drip through the bottom of the machine into the pot until it’s full
Now, onto what you should be looking for when it comes to purchasing a drip coffee maker. Here are a few useful drip coffee pointers:
The Size of Drip Coffee Maker
As with any kitchen appliance, you need to consider the space you already have in your kitchen and how many cups of coffee you want to be able to make in one action. So size matters! Always check the dimensions of the machine you want to buy before clicking “add to basket”.
There’s no point buying a huge coffee machine if you don’t have the right space for it, neither is there any point in buying something too small that it only produces a couple of cups when you need it to make coffee for a small crowd of your closest friends!
Another size element you need to consider is the water reservoir measurement. You need to know that you can fill up your new drip coffee machine without having to move the entire machine from under a shelf just to get the water in!
What Pot Do You Want?
We’re talking about thermal pots versus glass pots. Thermal pots are designed especially to keep your coffee nice and warm for longer. Using one of these means you don’t have to decant your coffee into a second pot.
A glass pot on a warming plate sounds like a good idea and in reality; it is, if you drink your coffee as soon as it’s prepared. However, if you’re intent on leaving it on a warming plate for an extended period of time beware, this does lead to burnt coffee as it just keeps on cooking the coffee. Something to bear in mind!
How Quickly Do You Want Your Coffee?
This is always going to be important, especially if you’re in a rush to get out of the house every morning! Speed is everything and a lost couple of minutes can make you late for that train to work. So you need to also consider the speed of brew.
Remember, a higher wattage drip coffee machine will generally deliver a faster cup and that’s because the heating element boils the water faster but you also need to read the reviews of any higher wattage machine you’re considering because sometimes, the speed affects the overall flavor.
How Many Servings Do You Need?
Think about who your coffee maker is for? Is it just for your own use? Or, is it for your whole family. Maybe you want a drip coffee machine for entertaining? Think about how many cups of coffee you want to be able to prepare at one time. If you live on your own, you probably only need a single-cup machine.
However, if you have a large family, a busy office or you regularly entertain then you need a multi-cup drip coffee machine. Capacity is important so take it into consideration when making your choice.
How Easy Is Your Chosen Drip Coffee Maker To Clean?
Every kitchen appliance needs to be kept clean, otherwise, bacteria can grow and the flavor of the coffee produced by your drip coffee machine will be sorely affected. Think about how much time you have to clean your new drip coffee machine. Little things such as being able to remove the permanent filter and wash it thoroughly will make a big difference.
The filter housing also needs to be easily accessible; otherwise, the coffee oil will build up and this will ultimately deteriorate the flavor of your coffee. A good quality drip coffee machine will have detachable filters and filter housings. You should also be able to easily access the water spouts, another area that gathers dirt when coffee splashes.
The Filter Difference
The type of filter you use also makes a big difference to the overall flavor of your coffee drink. The best filters you can buy are gold filters as they are easy to maintain. Nylon filters aren’t nearly as good as gold filters because they absorb the flavor after a while (you get a kind of plastic-flavored coffee) so they need to be replaced regularly. Think carefully about your filter papers; don’t just grab the first pack you see, check what they’re made out too of as chemicals can penetrate and alter the overall coffee flavor.
Which coffee machine features do you really need?
- Self Clean
- Adjustable keep warm temperature control
- Thermal Jug
- Brew-strength control
- Grind preference, if the machine is grind and brew
- Automatic switch-off
- Programmable Timer
To make life easier, some drip coffee machines have extra features such as automatic timers (so you can get your coffee brewing before you even get out of bed!) or nozzles for frothing milk – so you can enjoy a cappuccino or a latte! Some even have built-in grinders that automatically grind up your favourite coffee beans. This is a great time-saver if you’re a busy person!
Things To Look For When Making That All-Important Decision
Today’s drip coffee making machines are fairly advanced and there are lots of programmable models available which quicken up the brewing process and make it really easy. The best machines will reach optimum temperature quickly (optimum temperature for brewing coffee is 96.11 Deg C). Those that automatically make coffee in advance are also useful, especially if you like your coffee waiting for you when you wake up or when you get home.
It’s also worth taking into account the environment that we live in; the best coffee makers today are those that are BPA free and certified. That means that the coffee delivered should be of good quality, without contamination from plastic or other materials used.
Here are a few other things to look for when choosing your drip coffee machine maker:
- You want something with consistent temperature control
- You may want a container that will keep your coffee hot for hours (without burning it)
- It’s useful to buy a machine that is easy to assemble and easy to maintain
- You’ll want a machine with a flat filter basket
- It’s a good idea to choose a machine with widely distributed water jets, this helps your grinds to be evenly soaked
- A stainless steel construction is best as it keeps your coffee hot
- Quick brewing is useful if you’re in a hurry, some machines can brew coffee in less than 5 minutes!
- Choose one with an easy to remove water tank
- A good safety feature is an automatic shut-off on your hot plate
- Look for a fresh brew timer which tells you when you need to brew a new batch
- Another useful feature is a brew strength selector which helps you to slow down brewing time
- Look for single-serve brew options (if you just want to make enough for one person)
The Best Drip Coffee Maker Brands
As with any kitchen appliance, it’s always wise to choose a reputable coffee machine brand so you feel a peace of mind. Additionally, it’s a good idea to purchase a machine that comes with a manufacturer’s warranty so if there are any problems, you know you’re covered. A decent quality drip coffee maker should last you a long while, choose from the following respectable manufacturers:
Just a couple of pointers to help you get the most of your coffee maker:
- Always choose good quality coffee beans to get the best flavor
- Always measure the right amount of coffee
- Make sure you grind your coffee beans properly
- Always store your coffee properly as this can severely alter flavor
- Always use filtered water as unfiltered can affect the overall flavor
I personally prefer an Espresso machine, which is ideal for me as they can create Lattes, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Espresso and so many more. Espresso machines pressurise hot water which extracts the coffee from a pod. They can be used at home and there are also bigger versions that are used in cafés. Generally, they’re quick and efficient and require minimum maintenance.
Now, all that’s left is for you to make your own decision! Hopefully, if you’ve thought about all of the above you should make the right choice and it won’t be long before you’re enjoying your first cup of home-brewed drip coffee.
About the Author
As an avid coffee enthusiast, I know how difficult it can be to find the best coffee maker. With so many different varieties and styles it can often be confusing to find the one that’s right for you. Especially if you’re new to the coffee game. That’s exactly why I’ve designed Coffee Corner to guide you through the process and hopefully help you make a decision on what to buy.
Last update on 2018-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API