The Best Coffee Beans For Your Drip Coffee Maker
The coffee brewer itself is just one part of the process. And while a drip coffee maker requires far less gear than, say, an espresso machinea good set of paper filters is really all you need to get startedfresh beans are still a must. Should you go for the single-origin Rwandan coffee that promises snippets of chocolate and tangerine? Or is a blend better? Do you need to know at what altitude the beans grew? Is a low-acid light roast strong enough to get you through the morning?
Like it or not, youre going to get bombarded with options when buying coffee beans. Not every label is a guarantee of quality, but the more a producer or roaster can tell you about the coffee, the better, said Jesse Kahn, whos in charge of training center development for Counter Culture Coffee, based in Durham, NC. Here are some of Kahn’s best tips for getting beans that yield the best coffee.
First things first: Buy whole beans. Grinding coffee right before you brew is the key to a great cup, said Kahn .
Theres no shortage of coffee at the supermarket, but itll be up to you suss out the quality from the swill. When you buy directly from a roaster, you get knowledgeable staff and tasting opportunities. The coffee is probably fresher too. There are companies like Trade Coffee that have relationships with various roasters around the country and offer both quality and variety.
Luxury Pick: Technivorm Moccamaster 59636 Kbg Coffee Brewer
We had heard about the Technivorm Moccaster, a machine beloved for its innovative and old-school industrial design, handmade and tested in the Netherlands since 1968, even before we received it for this story. Multiple friends reached out upon hearing that we were testing a Moccamaster, singing the brands praises, and one declared it superlative via Instagram DM: Moccamaster? Test over! And the Moccamaster arrives with its own best PR too. Its user manual applauds buyers: Congratulations on your purchase of the Worlds Finest Coffee Brewer!
Once we got the apparatus set up which takes a little focus and time, to be honest it really did pay off, with possibly the most delicious, hot, fresh cup of coffee we have ever tasted from a home-brewed machine. Whats more, you barely have time to peruse the morning news headlines before the process is done. The Moccamaster brewed 10 cups in less than six minutes, and, on a second trial, six cups in under four minutes. The brew function is almost jarringly fast: Once you turn on the machine, the brewing starts immediately. Then, seeing the water heat in the tank and bubble up through the water transfer tube into the brewer was a throwback to middle-school science experiments in the most pleasing way, like if a lava lamp produced fresh hot coffee after a few mesmerizing undulations.
Buying Guide For Best Drip Coffee Makers
Drip coffee makers provide a simple way of making coffee, whether you take it black or with cream. They might not produce speciality coffees or rich espressos, but sometimes all you want is a basic brew.
Drip coffee makers are essentially automatic pour-over machines, and with pour-over coffee experiencing a resurgence, now might be the perfect time to try a drip coffee maker. This style of coffee maker usually brews a large carafe of coffee, which is ideal when you have several coffee drinkers in your household. However, more models are offering adjustable brew sizes for those times when you only want a single cup and anything more will go to waste.
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A Compact Gadget That Makes Strong Low
- Capacity: 2 cups of concentrated coffee
- Carafe: Glass
- Programmable: No
If you regularly order cold brew at your local coffee shop, you can make the same smooth, richly flavored drink at home with this budget-friendly cold brew maker. The simple gadget is made up of two piecesa borosilicate glass carafe and a plastic brewing container with a reusable stainless steel mesh filterand all you have to do is stack the pieces together, add ground beans, then pour water into the top. You can leave it on the counter or in your fridge, and over the course of 12 to 24 hours, the perforated rainmaker top will evenly distribute water over the grounds, yielding a delicious pot of low acid coffee. The carafe comes with a cork stopper to keep your drink fresh for several days, and the two components nest together for more compact storage when not in use.
What Is The Best Water For Coffee
Taste is always subjective, so there isnt one right answer for the best water for coffee. That being said, most experts say water with sticky minerals like calcium and magnesium improve taste, and that comes from hard water. The downside to hard water is that it’s harsher on your machine and will increase the frequency you need to descale. Those who use soft or filtered water can still brew tasty coffee, of course, but there is a higher chance the coffee can end up a little weak, so users may need to compensate by adding more coffee grounds. On the plus side, soft water is gentler on your brewing device over time.
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How Do You Clean A Coffee Maker
Besides removing external dirt, stains and dust, all coffee makers require periodic deep cleaning. Specifically, their internal water heating systems should be descaled regularly. Some manufacturers instruct you to do this with a vinegar-and-water solution. Others don’t specify except to say to use a store-bought descaling solution. For example, Technivorn says to use products like Durgol to descale its machines.
Why You Should Buy A New Drip Coffee Maker
Most US households own an electric coffee maker. Most of those machines do not have the ability to make well-extracted, well-balanced cups of coffee. But if you like to drink high-quality coffee, there is no reason to settle for the status quo: you can make café-quality coffee at home with minimal effort. Also, keep in mind the best coffee makers of 2020 do much more than brew a cup of joe. Some come with a coffee grinder, or milk frother for making lattes, and a few even make iced coffee. For good quality coffee, aim for a coffee maker that maintains ideal brewing temperatures at all times. According to the Specialty Coffee Association, ideal brewing temperatures are between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the models with the technologynamely heating elements that can sustain an ideal brewing temperature through the ideal length of a brew cycleto produce superior cups tend to be expensive, they will eventually pay for themselves. Speaking of cost, you also dont want to get an extra-cheap coffee maker because with time you get problems with worn-out buttons, a leaking brew basket, or one with design inconveniences like having to take out the filter basket each time you pour coffee.
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Hot Plate Vs Thermal Carafe
The question here is whether you want energy efficiency/better flavor or a more affordable price tag.
Glass carafes tend to be cheaper but the hot plate heats the coffee further which over-extracts the oils and makes it taste bitter. Additionally, the warming plate has to be continually turned on to stay hot, which uses more energy.
A thermal carafe keeps the coffee at an optimum brewing temperature of 195-205 degrees for 1-2 hours, which some believe to keep a better flavor. It also saves some energy in the process. However, they tend to be more expensive.
Gold standard = thermal carafe. If you’re serious about brewing amazing tasting drip coffee every day, you need a coffee machine with one of these. Here’s a complete list of the best thermal carafe coffee makers.
Who This Is For
Most people in the United States who drink coffee at home use automatic drip coffee makers. But the average $30 to $40 model brews coffee thats only okay. If you regularly buy specialty coffee beans, its worth investing more in a machine that will bring out the nuances of those high-quality beans, to yield a balanced, café-quality pot. Those are the drip coffee makers we focus on in this guide. Most cost over $100, but they are more reliable, durable, and consistent than cheaper machines, and we think theyre a good investment for people who love coffee. If you want something less expensive that will just get the job done, we also have a guide to the best budget coffee makers it covers basic models that cost less than $100.
One small caveat to these high-end drip coffee makers: Even the best ones wont give you as much control over the brewing process as a pour-over dripper, which most coffee pros agree is a better way to brew the absolute best cup of coffee. But the trade-off with pour-over is convenience: Making a good pour-over requires some technique, and you can brew only one cup at a time with most pour-over drippers. If you want to be able to brew a large pot of very good coffee at the touch of a button, this is the guide for you.
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Factors To Consider Before Buying A Drip Coffee Maker
Its not easy navigating the hundreds of coffee makers available on the market to find the best one for your brewing needs. Dont let big words and fancy gimmicks confuse you. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind before you make this important decision.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America is a non-profit which focuses primarily on researching and sharing coffee knowledge as well as defining standards to help perfect the coffee making process. In this pursuit, the SCAA has undertaken to test home coffee brewers in an effort to determine those capable of brewing an excellent cup of coffee.
Some of the qualities they check for in a brewer include brewing temperature, time taken, coffee extraction, and consistency. The testing process is very rigorous and very few brewers usually make the cut. If you buy a drip coffee maker certified by the SCAA, its generally a safe bet that it can make a really good cup of coffee.
Drip coffee makers usually come equipped with either a thermal or glass carafe. Thermal carafes are better insulated from heat loss and therefore able to keep coffee hot for an extended period of time. This makes them ideal for people who want to brew a big pot of coffee and keep it hot and flavorful for at least 3 hours. Additionally, thermal carafes dont require a hot plate which saves on energy costs.
How We Test Drip Coffee Makers
In the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances Lab, we’ve been hands-on testing coffee makers for decades, testing hundreds of coffee machines from brands like Breville, Cuisinart, Ninja, Hamilton Beach and more. Over the years, our professional analysts have made more than 1,000 cups of coffee using traditional drip coffee makers as well as cold brew coffee makers, espresso machines, Nespresso machines and everything in between. Weve also tested accessories like coffee grinders, so you can always get the freshest brew. One could say were obsessed with making coffee at home and in our Labs! So when we recently put drip coffee makers to the test, we spent over 40 hours testing and brewing over 200 cups of coffee.
We first spent hours researching the best coffee makers on the market, as well as top competitors and new models from popular brands. We then testeda total of 14 new drip coffee makers and compared the data points to our previous coffee maker-testing data. Overall, popular newer models that could make multiple types of brews such as cold brews, concentrates for latte-like drinks and iced coffees impressed us the most.
When we evaluate coffee makers, we tested the brew cycle temperature using equipment that constantly measures the water temperature throughout the entire cycle. We also measured the temperature of freshly brewed coffee and recorded the temperature multiple times over a two-hour period to see if it can keep the coffee warm.
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Knowing The Sca And Its Standards For Drip Coffee Makers
SCA, or the Specialty Coffee Association is a membership-based non-profit association that deals with the various aspects of coffee, all the way from the farmer to the consumer. The association was recently formed with the merger of Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe . There were several SCAA certified coffee makers in the market, and SCA has continued the tradition.
SCA tests drip coffee makers through several requirements. Some of the requirements are water temperature , brewing time , and meeting SCA golden cup recommendations .
Recommendations form the SCA also work with European Coffee Brewing Center, so the selected models pretty much are cream of the crop. SCA tests and certifies models every year, so the models listed here are the best of 2019.
Style Of Filter Basket
When buying a drip coffee machine, youll encounter two styles of filter basket, either the flat-bottom basket shape or the cone shape. The shape of the filter basket influences what style of paper filter to buy, but thats not all!
Coffee nerds have long insisted that the shape of the filter also affects the taste of your coffee, and recent research sponsored by the SCA has proven them right . Its not too surprising when you think about it. Because the shape of the filter changes how water flows through the ground coffee, it impacts the extraction.
If you like bright fruity, floral, and sweet coffees, such as you might find from Ethiopia, then flat-bottom baskets are known to best highlight these flavors. On the other hand, if darker, earthier coffees like those from Sumatra are more your style, a cone filter will be a better match. If you like them all, consider a brewer that comes with both styles of filter, like our Runner Up pick, the Breville Precision Brewer.
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Best Cold Drip Coffee Maker Soulhand Cold Brew Coffee Maker With Adjustable Bpa Free Dripper
- 28 oz capacity
- Glass could be thicker
- It is top-heavy at the start of the brew
If youre looking for a cold drip coffee maker this is it, iced water in the top and cold brew coffee out the bottom.
The fully assembled device is about 14 inches tall so it probably wont fit in most refrigerators. However, the bottom carafe is 8 inches tall and will fit inside most fridges comfortably after your coffee has brewed.
The instructions from Soulhand say to allow your cold brew to ferment in your fridge for 3-5 days. While apprehensive about this at first, the extra rest time certainly brought out some lovely flavors.
With a fairly small capacity of 28 oz, it will probably be drunk all too soon after its finished brewing.
It is really easy to use and an all-around nifty little gadget. A couple of the coffee makers on this list, like the Breville Precision Brewer, have a built-in cold coffee setting that might also be worth considering.
However, if you just want cold drip coffee then this is a great choice.
Advantages Of A Drip Coffee Maker
Making the choice of which model to acquire is not easy. In this buying guide, we lay out the intricate characteristics to look out for. We also answer some of the frequently asked questions to help you decide on which action to take before placing an order. Read through our guide to familiarize yourself with the best elements to check out when buying a drip coffee maker.
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How We Tested The Coffee Machines
While we only tested automatic machines, the human element is still a big factor. The quality of coffee you choose, as well as the amount you use and the size you grind it to can have a big impact on the taste of the resulting cup. Because of this, we controlled what factors we could and made choices to give each machine the best chance of performing well. Brew quickly to get your coffee fix fast with our fastest coffee maker machine.
We tested all the machines on the same day with coffee from the same batch of roasted beansa high-quality house blend from a local roasterto eliminate variables in quality from the beans themselves.
In order to assure the most accuracy possible, we weighed both water and coffee in grams with an Acaia kitchen scale and waited until each cup cooled to an ideal temperature140°Fbefore tasting and evaluating the cup.
Though many of the machines we tested came with metal filters, we used whitened paper filters across the board to eliminate the differences between filters on the brew.
During the first round of testing, we used the same base specifications: a medium-fine grind setting and a brew ratio of 1:15 . In a real-life situation, you would tweak these specs in order to perfect the results of the machine.
Although taste was our primary consideration, we did note other factors that consumers often value in a home coffee maker: ease of use, speed, and aesthetics. If you prefer single serve, read about the best single serve coffee maker.
What Kind Of Coffee Goes In A Coffee Maker
Any coffee can work in a coffee maker, but there are a few factors to look for that will ensure the best results. First, make sure your coffee is fresh. Most roasters print the roast date on every bag of coffee. Try to find a coffee roasted less than two weeks before you want to brew. Second, if you can, grind your coffee just before brewing. “Optimally, freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee goes into the coffee maker. Yes, grinding is an extra step and yes, it is completely worth it,” Gaultieri says.
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