written by
Deric Loh

Best Drip Coffee Maker - Buyer’s Guide

Buying Guide 15 min read

Specialty coffee shops, for the longest time, were hesitant in using batch brewers or drip coffee machines. The reason was that the drip brewers didn’t produce high-quality coffee that people often look for. And, the very idea of putting specialty coffee through a drip coffee machine is just blasphemy.

Coffee is all about putting the good stuff in while getting the good stuff out.

Since there’s nothing wrong with the brew itself, it should be of no surprise to see the drip coffee brewer making a comeback in coffee shops all around the world.

The machines do most of the work, but they do have their faults. And, they are not all the same – some are far better than others. Of course, we do have some symbolize of control here – variables that you can mess with that allows you to get the most from the drip coffee maker you are using.

We’re going to take a closer look at some of the best drip coffee machines currently on the market and how they work. You’ll get a better idea of what to look for in a drip coffee machine, how to choose the right coffee machine for your needs and what you have control over to make the best drip coffee at home that will compete with any specialty coffee shop you may come across.

What Is A Drip Coffee Maker?

An automatic drip coffee maker is simply a coffee maker with three sections:

  • Water reservoir
  • Coffee basket
  • Decanter

The water goes into the reservoir, heats up and is showered over the coffee grounds in the basket. It then extracts the coffee has it goes through the filter and becomes the tasty coffee you want in the decanter.

The only thing you do is add water and coffee, turn on the machine and wait for it to be done so you can drink the final result.

What Kinds Of Coffee Beans Should You Use?

Fresh coffee is best, but not too fresh. The best timeframe for coffee beans is four to 14 days after the roast date. Why is that? The gases produced, mostly carbon dioxide, forms inside the bean. Up to four days after the coffee is roasted, the coffee goes through the Degassing stage, of which 40 percent of the CO2 inside the beans is released.

George Howell - How to keep your coffee beans fresh

In the video above, George Howell from George Howell Coffee, shares tips on how to keep your coffee beans fresh.

When the beans are too fresh and have not degassed, the gasses being released will lead to uneven brewed coffee. This causes negative flavors such as straw and hay on the under-extracted end with a bitty, dry and earthy taste on the over-extracted end.

Filter coffee should be medium to light roast. Espresso roasts for drip coffee are usually darker, which means it extracts more quickly. Due to the over-extraction process, this leads to unpleasant tastes.

Coffee Dose

This is basically the amount of dry ground coffee added to the machine or brewing device. It’s best to keep the dose simple. After all, you don’t need to be concerned with calculators or water ratios even before your first cup of coffee.

The ideal starting point is 60 grams of ground coffee per one liter of water. If you’re going by how many cups of coffee you want to make, one cup of coffee is 250ml.

  • One cup 250ml, we’ll use 15 grams of coffee
  • Two cups 500ml, we’ll use 30 grams of coffee
  • 8 cups 2 litres, we’ll use 120 grams of coffee

If you like strong coffee, and you think the grind is spot on, add a few more grams of coffee. If you don’t want it as strong, use less (5 or 10 plus or minus grams make a huge difference in the cup.

Grind Size

To grind for a drip coffee maker, you’re going to need around the same grind size as you would a Hario V60 or Chemex. A grind size that’s similar to crystal sugar granules or even finer is a great place to start.

Once you try this size, go finer. If the coffee is still running through the machine and comes out tasting even better than the previously grind size, grind finer. Keep going until the taste is no longer good. Once the flavors go downhill (or your filter becomes clogged), go back to the grind size that tasted good. This is when coffee is the most delicious.

If you ground the coffee as fine as you go and the coffee is still weak, up the dosage from 60 to 70 to 75 grams per liter. If it’s still bland, despite everything else being correct, it could be the coffee beans themselves. A good cup of coffee isn’t possible when the beans are bad or stale.

Water and Water Temperature

When it comes to water for brewing coffee, the hotter the better. Why?

Coffee is, for the most part, not water soluble. For example, you have some ground coffee. When you pour water over this coffee, even if the coffee is sitting in the water for a year, the water can only dissolve each coffee particle at most 30 percent. This means the 70 percent left is insoluble coffee fibers.

All the liquid coffee is basically water with some dissolved coffee solids in it. For a cup of drip filter coffee, this is somewhere in the ballpark of three percent of the entire cup. The rest of it is water.

Hot water extracts the soluble matter in coffee quicker than tepid or lukewarm water. Since coffee is left to brew for hours, it’s important for the water to be as hot as you can get it, so every coffee particle is extracted.

Your water’s quality and composition will have a genuine effect on the coffee. While it’s fine to use filtered tap water, a completely treated pH corrected water is best. You can learn about your water’s composition through your local treatment facility or local council. You can learn more about the ideal water for coffee here.

Be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If the manual suggests using room temperature water, be sure you do. A variation from the manual means brew times will change.

What To Look For In A Drip Coffee Brewer

Brew Time

The general consensus for a full liter of coffee is about six minutes. The end result of increasing or decreasing the brew time is to find out how you like your coffee to taste. If the coffee has not been brewed long enough (under extracted), it will taste weak or sour. This can lead to a salty flavor instead of a sweet one.

Over extracted coffee (coffee that’s brewed too long) becomes bitter and burnt.

Some of the most delicious coffees I’ve had were from cupping bowls that sat around much longer than six minutes (a cupping bowl is another kind of brewing). In saying that, don’t dismiss a coffee that wasn’t brewed too long – you never know what flavor you’ll get. You may even enjoy it!

Machine Preparation

You want your drip coffee brewer to be clean and free of other flavors, ensuring you taste just coffee and coffee alone. What to keep in mind:

When you add water to the reservoir, use a clean water jug, so you do not contaminate the reservoir with outside flavors.

Rinse the filter using hot water, so the paper taste is eliminated. You can also use a filter that doesn’t have its own flavor. You can purchase different filters to see which one produces the best water. Just pour hot water through them and taste the water. Go with the filter that doesn’t leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

Thoroughly clean the grinder and what you grind into to eliminate leftover coffee.

There are all kinds of drip coffee brewers available. And, if you’re not versed into the different ones, you may think they work the same - pour water over coffee and done!

What are some other things to consider when buying your drip coffee maker?

SCA-Certified

SCA stands for “Specialty Coffee Association.” The SCA standards are the go-to guidelines for the specialty coffee industry. Some drip coffee makers are SCA-certified, meaning they’ve passed a plethora of tests that ensure great coffee is produced using the machine. You can learn more about SCA certification here.

Reliability

Will this machine give you problems in the future? What materials is it made with? Can they break easily? Is the machine prone to clogging? Be sure you choose a drip coffee maker from a reputable manufacturer.

Brewing Features

Each machine has a feature or two that makes it stand out from the rest such as blooming, brew time and water temperature control. Bloom is when a minute amount of water is poured over the coffee at the very start of the brew cycle. Some machines just need you to add water and coffee and turn it on. Other machines are more advanced.

Ease Of Use

Most people just want to put the water and coffee in, turn the pot on and let the machine do its thing. They don’t want to mess with a lot of parts or sit there while it’s brewing. This is very true for that first cup of coffee.

Capacity

Are you just a single-cup kind of person or need a full dose of caffeine to make it through your day? Are you a coffee geek like yours truly? An important component of any machine is its brew capacity and size.

Time-Saving Features

Who doesn’t love to save a little time? Can a machine be loaded with water and coffee and set to a delayed start, allowing you to wake up to freshly brewed coffee? It may not be an important feature for some individuals, but a necessity for those who are always rushing in the morning to get the kids off to school and ourselves out the door.

Cleaning Maintenance

How easy is it to empty the filter basket? Can the machine’s water chamber be easily removed and cleaned?

Footprint

Not all kitchens are the same size – and some machines take up a lot of space due to their size. Do you want a smaller drip coffee maker or do you want one that’ll draw in attention? Be sure the one you buy will actually fit in your kitchen.

Budget

The prices of drip coffee makers can vary widely, but quality machines are available at every budget level. You will find one that fits your budget and your needs. Want our quick recommendation based on budget requirements? Just scroll down to our recommended coffee makers based on budget below.

10 Worthwhile Drip Coffee Makers To Consider For Your Home

Here’s our curated guide of 2019’s best drip coffee makers, allowing you to start brewing delicious coffee efficiently without a sacrifice on quality.

OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker

OXO BREW 9 Cup Coffee Maker

OXO’s offers a mid-priced, 9 cup, SCA (specialty coffee association) certified drip coffee maker at an affordable mid range price tag.

Pros:

  • SCA-certified - Yes
  • Capacity - Can brew between two and nine cups
  • Ease of use - Easy to use dial control
  • Time-saving - Delay start timer
  • Reliability - Water stays at a stable brewing temperature for the entire cycle
  • Brewing features - Has intricately timed cycles including bloom stage

Cons:

  • Footprint – Rather large footprint
  • Maintenance – Non-removable water reservoir, meaning cleaning may be difficult

Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System

Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System

The Ninja Hot and Cold brewed system is a mid-priced, multiple-use brewing machine, which can be used for both hot and cold brewed coffee, as well as tea. It also comes with a steam wand for frothing milk.

Pros:

  • Capacity - Can brew between one and 10 cups
  • Ease of use - Easy to use dial and timer control settings
  • Time-saving - Delay start timer
  • Brewing features - Can brew multiple different beverages with one machine

Cons:

  • Reliability - Multiple functions mean more can go wrong
  • Brewing features- Brew cycles not as intricately timed; brew time far exceeds recommended times
  • Maintenance - Difficult to clean due to some non-removable parts
  • SCA-certified - No
  • Footprint- Relatively large footprint

BUNN NHS Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Coffee Brewer

Bunn NHS Velocity Brew 10 cup

The Bunn NHS Velocity Brew 10 cup is a fast brewing drip coffee maker.

Pros:

  • Brewing features - Some may like how quickly it brews
  • Capacity - Brews between four and 10 cups
  • Maintenance - Easier to clean due to better access to the water reservoir

Cons:

  • Time-saving - No delayed start timer
  • Brew feature - Brews far too quickly to extract correctly; no blooming phase or intricately timed cycle
  • SCA-certified - No

Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Fresh Brew

Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Fresh Brew

The fresh brew is a nicely built, solid, mid-priced 10-cup coffee brewer from Zojirushi.

Pros:

  • Maintenance - Removable water reservoir makes cleaning easier
  • Time-saving - Delayed start timer
  • Capacity - Brews between two and 10 cups
  • Footprint - Smaller footprint

Cons:

  • SCA-certified - No
  • Brewing features - No bloom or timed cycles

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker

The Bonavita BV1900TS is a low-priced, SCA-certified coffee maker with a relatively small footprint. This machine is a really good value for its price and is the least expensive SCA-certified drip coffee maker.

Pros:

  • SCA-certified - Yes
  • Brewing features - Includes bloom cycle and consistent brewing temperature
  • Ease of use - Simple and easy to use. Fill with water and coffee, and turn it on
  • Budget - Probably the best price-to-quality ratio you’re likely to get

Cons:

  • Capacity - Smaller capacity than some of the other machines
  • Time-saving - No delayed brewing feature
  • Maintenance - Non-removable water reservoir means cleaning is harder

Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker System

Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker System

The Optimal Brew 10-cup is a low-priced, entry-level coffee maker by Mr. Coffee.

Pros:

  • Budget - Inexpensive
  • Time-saving - Has delayed brewing function
  • Maintenance - Removable water reservoir makes for easier cleaning

Cons:

  • SCA-certified - No
  • Brewing features - Doesn’t have a bloom cycle or intricately timed cycle; not as temperature stable as some machines

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer

The KBT Coffee Brewer is a member of Technivorm’s Moccamaster family. It’s at the upper end of the price range, and SCA certified. It looks cool and has the hearts of many coffee nerds around the globe.

Pros:

  • SCA-certified - Yes
  • Brewing features - Temperate stable brewing and Includes a bloom phase and timed brew cycle
  • Looks extremely nice
  • Ease of use - Easy to use

Cons:

  • Footprint - Takes up more space than some other machines
  • Time-saving - No delayed start function
  • Maintenance – Non-removable water reservoir, making cleaning more difficult

Cuisinart DCC-3200 14-Cup

Cuisinart DCC-3200 14-Cup

The DCC-3200 is a small footprint, low-priced coffee maker developed by Cuisinart. It uses a metal filter rather than paper; ideal for sustainability. It has one of the largest capacities out of all the machines we’ve reviewed.

Pros:

  • Footprint - Takes up less space than other machines
  • Capacity - Large capacity of up to 14 cups
  • Time-saving - Delayed start function
  • Reusable metal filter

Cons:

  • Brewing features - No bloom phase or timed water cycles
  • Maintenance - Non- removable water reservoir, making it harder to clean the machine

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee offers another entry-level, low-priced, 12-cup machine. This machine is for people who want coffee quickly and easily and don’t mind giving up durability and taste for the price.

Pros:

  • Budget - Inexpensive
  • Time-saving - Delay start function
  • Capacity - Good large capacity
  • Built-in water filtration system

Cons:

  • Reliability - Is programmable, but increases the chances of something going wrong
  • Cheap machine and operates cheaply; gives some people a plastic taste

Technivorm Moccamaster KBG

Technivorm Moccamaster KBG

Of all the Moccamaster series, this is the master! An SCA-certified, wonderfully retro drip machine that brews coffee, and tastes as good as it looks. You’ll find these in specialty coffee shops all over the world. These brewers are in the upper end of the price range.

Pros:

  • SCA-certified - Yes
  • Brew features - Bloom and timed pour cycles, Stable brew temperature
  • Comes an array of colors
  • Ease of use - Simple to use; choose half or full carafe

Cons:

  • Footprint – It’s a large machine
  • Maintenance- Non-removable water tank means cleaning isn’t easy
  • Budget - Expensive

It would be unfair to put these machines together and choose just one, especially when the price difference between the least and most expensive machine is about $300. Rather, it would be better to break them down into three price categories:

  • $0 - $100
  • $100 - $200
  • $200+

Here’s our recommended pick based on budget requirements:

Budget: $0-$100

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker

This machine has all the features found on more expensive machines. It offers both a bloom cycle and intricately timed pouring. It’s easy to use and SCA-certified, meaning it’s been tested in ways most users will never test it.

Budget: $100-$200

OXO BREW 9-Cup Coffee Maker

OXO BREW 9-Cup Coffee Maker

The OXO Brew 9-Cup has a delayed start time, which really appeals to the coffee addict in me. Its SCA-approved, has a stable temperature, has a bloom cycle and is nicely designed. I love the little dial used to control the timing and amount of coffee to brew.

Budget: $200+

Technivorm Moccamaster KBG

Technivorm Moccamaster KBG

This drip coffee maker is considered the master of all. There are many things I like about this machine. It looks cool and comes in an array of retro colors. It offers a stable temperature, and has both bloom and pour stages. The SCA-certified machine also comes with a great warranty.

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The Size Is Right: Whether this over coffee maker is for your kitchen or your office, it turns out enough fragrant brew for two mugs or four smaller cups full. Brewing for yourself? Simply use the 300ml or 600ml watermark to brew the perfect mug just for you.

Coffee, Tea or Milk? You can use this French press to brew loose-leaf tea with equal effectiveness, and it also works to froth milk for a latte or espresso.

Tried any of these coffee maker? Share with us!

Do you have experience with any of these machines or know a trick that gets more out of them? Have you used another drip coffee brewer that outdoes the others? How do these machines make you feel – love them, hate them or amazed by them? Leave us a comment below, and tell us what you think!

Buying Guide Coffee Maker Drip Coffee OXO Ninja Bunn Zojirushi Bonavita Mr. Coffee Technivorm Moccamaster Cuisinart