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Coffee is the most important meal of the day, as far as my husband and I are concerned. We start brewing a pot before we’re even officially up in the morning, switching off who drags themselves out from under the covers a few minutes earlier to grind up some fresh beans (on Sundays we play nose-goes.)
When we registered for gifts ahead of our wedding, we knew a top-notch drip coffee maker should be high on the list. Enter the Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker. The 10-cup capacity coffee maker has a removable water tank and a difficult-to-spill carafe with a thumb trigger, so it’s easy to prepare a delicious first cup on autopilot with my eyes half-closed.
As someone who ignores most domestic tasks for as long as possible, I very much appreciate the “Clean” light feature. It blinks red when the carafe and water tank are dirty as a reminder that, hey, coffee makers need to be washed, too. I’m not going to say this coffee maker is the best thing about married life, but I’m not going to deny it, either.
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Coffee Makers Keep Coffee Hot
Brewing great coffee is a lot harder than it looks. To yield a truly tasty pot, coffee grounds need to hit hot water for the optimal length of time and the water must be within a precise temperature range, too. Only a handful of drip coffee makers can pull off this sort of alchemy — the vast majority don’t and instead serve up pots that taste terrible.
Thankfully, we’ve discovered some noteworthy exceptions on the market. Even better, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get the best coffee maker. Sure, you can drop nearly $500 on a tricked-out Ratio Eight that’s as gorgeous as it is capable, or on a programmable commercial coffee maker. But all it takes is $15 to get the Oxo Single Serve Pour Over funnel, which makes a superb coffee and easily bests your typical coffee pod.
But those aren’t the only brewers that a coffee lover might want to explore. There’s also our Editors’ Choice winner and pick for the all-around best automatic brewer, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup. Another is the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer, which uses an ancient technique to achieve outstanding and dramatic results. No matter your budget, there’s a coffee machine on this list that’ll fit your drip needs perfectly and be the best coffee maker for you. We’ll periodically update this list with new products as we test them, so you’ll always have access to good coffee. We promise you’ll never have to drink coffee from pods or an ancient coffee pot again.
Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker
The Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker delivers SCAA Golden Cup-rated coffee that tastes just as good coffee from our previous favorite, the Bonavita Connoisseur, but Oxo’s new brewer is more thoughtfully designed. This drip machine also comes with a special single cup filter basket for Kalita Wave filters. The Oxo Brew is compact, stylish, and also sturdy, plus it comes with a thermal carafe that doesn’t drip or spill. Read our Oxo 8 Cup Coffee Maker review.
Bunn Velocity Brew BT
Those who seek lots of coffee in a hurry will love the quick brew cycle of this coffee maker. The Bunn Velocity Brew BT drip coffee maker with its stainless steel-lined thermal carafe whips up a large coffee pot of joe at astonishing speed. In as little as 3 minutes, 33 seconds, the coffee maker can deliver full batches of tasty drip to drink. Read our Bunn Velocity Brew BT review.
KitchenAid Siphon Brewer
It’s hard to find a coffee maker that beats the KitchenAid Siphon Brewer’s unique combination of spectacle and quality. It makes a coffee pot of distinctly rich, deep, and seductively flavorful coffee. Its vintage brewing process, based on vapor pressure and vacuum suction, is also mesmerizing to watch. No paper filters are needed as the Siphon Brewer comes with a reusable stainless steel filter. Read our Kitchenaid Siphon Coffee Brewer review.
Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System
Think of this kitchen appliance as the Swiss army knife of the drip coffee maker world. The Ninja programmable brewer (with frother, thermal carafe, and reusable filter) offers an uncanny degree of flexibility, making it the best coffee maker for those who don’t always want the same cup. It can create everything from solid drip, to perfect cold brew, to iced coffee, to latte-style drinks with its milk frother, and it will adjust the temperature according to your choice. Its thermal carafe will keep tea or coffee hot for up to two hours. This programmable coffee maker even lets you brew iced coffee and hot coffee in multiple sizes, from small cups all the way up to full carafes.
Oxo Brew Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Cold brew coffee is delicious, but it can be a pain to make. Oxo’s cold brew coffee maker takes much of the headache out of the process. This Oxo Brew coffee maker saturates coffee grounds evenly and lets you drain cold-brewed coffee from them into its glass carafe with relative ease. Read our Oxo Cold Brew Coffee Maker review.
Judging by the Ratio Eight appliance, the people at Ratio believe that a coffee maker should be beautiful as well as functional. Starting at $495, each brewer is crafted from a selection of premium materials like walnut, mahogany, and glass. (Both the water reservoir and carafe are made from hand-blown glass.) Their sturdy aluminum bases are available in numerous finishes as well. And yes, the Ratio Eight with its glass carafe also makes excellent drip. Read our Ratio Eight review.
Dutch company Technivorm has sold exceptionally good drip coffee makers for decades. Its Moccamaster drip coffee machine sports a design with clean lines and sharp angles that harkens back to 1968, the year the first Moccamaster hit stores. Retro design aside, the Moccamaster KBT 741 consistently puts out perfect freshly brewed coffee that will satisfy coffee connoisseurs. Its stainless steel thermal carafe also keeps its contents hot for a full six hours. Read our Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 review.
To confirm how each coffee maker meets that challenge, we log the length of their brew cycles. We also employ thermocouple heat sensors connected to industrial-grade data loggers. That enables us to record the temperature within the coffee grounds while brewing is underway.
After brewing coffee, we take sample readings of the produced coffee liquid with an optical refractometer. Given we factor in the amount of water and freshly ground coffee used, that data lets us calculate each brew’s Total Dissolved Solids percentage. From there we arrive at the extraction percentage. The ideal range is commonly thought to be between 18 and 20%.
We also back up measured data with a good, old-fashioned taste test. If the taste of a cup of coffee is bitter, there’s a good chance it was over-extracted during the drip. On the opposite end, an under-extracted cup of coffee will typically taste weak — it can even taste sour or have the flavor of soggy peanuts. And to be certain, we brew identical test runs a minimum of three times to achieve average results.