To know how to pick the best drip coffee maker you need to first be comfortable with the basics to making a good cup of coffee.
If you don’t have the proper grind, warm enough water or a coffee bean that your taste buds get along with then you will be disappointed by the results you get Even from the best drip coffee maker money can buy.
What Makes The Drip Coffee Maker
Since you will be using a drip maker for this brew your grind should be anywhere from a medium to a medium/fine grind. (You can adjust to taste.)
Ratio is another important factor. Generally speaking when you hear the term ”Cup” in the coffee world it’s referring to 6 ounces of water. Although you should test your coffee maker. I have had coffee pots that use 4 ounces of water to measure out one cup.
A generally accepted ratio is 10.6 grams of coffee to 6 ounces of water. A digital scale makes this a lot easier to accomplish, this way you can convert everything to grams, Ratios are much easier to follow now. The general rule is 16:1 (16 parts water to 1 part coffee)
Filter – It’s best to use a high quality filter. The filter will actually affect the taste of your coffee, It adds a very paper like flavor to the coffee. For this reason, it’s best practice to pre wet your filter, this helps get rid of any flavor the paper may be holding on to.
The shape and style of your filter will change the grind you use. There are flat bottom filters and cone shaped filters. A medium grind is ideal for flat bottom filters and a medium/fine grind works well with cone filters.
Another quick tip for better coffee is making sure all of your grounds are evenly saturated. Some of these drip machines allow more control with this than other machines.
There are some other basics that are out of our hands when using a very basic drip coffee maker like water temperature.
These last things I mentioned are things that you can control if you choose to brew manually, although less convenient you have more power over your coffee.
Drip makers differ from the pour over method in two ways normally; Quantity and flavor.
You can make more coffee at one time with a drip coffee maker and your coffee’s flavor usually has a little more body.
You want your water to be sitting at right around 195°F-205°F and a brew time in between 4 – 6 minutes.
Now that we know the basics of what makes a good cup of coffee we can now talk about the actual coffee makers and what makes one better than another.
So let’s start with the positives on this machine…the preset feature….maybe?
It’s super convenient to set up your coffee the night before and have it brewed and ready right when you wake up
This is a nice feature for the lazy man in me but it’s actually terrible for the coffee lover in me.
Exposing your coffee grounds to all of that oxygen for 4-8 hours(who gets 8 hours? What even is that?) really really degrades the flavor of your coffee.
Another decent feature this machine has is that you can take the carafe out in the middle of brewing to pour yourself a cup of coffee. Mr. coffee likes to call it a “pause n’ serve” feature.
This has a large carafe that can hold up to 12 cups of coffee. Nice for when you have lots of people who want coffee.
This is where the “benefits” of this machine stop.
The carafe is made of glass which sits on a heating plate. This may not sound like anything bad and certainly not abnormal. Half of that is right.
It’s not abnormal to see this set up everywhere from many home drip coffee makers to Dunkin Donuts.
The glass carafe sitting on the hot plate will eventually burn your coffee resulting in a not so pleasant flavor in your cup.
It doesn’t even take long to begin burning, many people say that they turn their hot plate off as soon as it’s done brewing.
The best drip coffee maker should have a thermal carafe without a hot plate.
Another thing that machines like this fall short at is water temperature. Cheaper machines are either too hot or too cold. This particular model was reviewed to have a temperature of 187F which is NOT good.(195-205F is optimal.)
Too much heat and you will burn your beans and with too little heat you won’t get a full extraction of all of the bean’s goodness.
If you’re asking me how to get a better cup of coffee, I say: STAY AWAY from machines like this!
They are great for being lazy but not so great at making a good cup of coffee.
This machine has the capacity to hold 1.25 liters of liquid. However, this machine gives best results when only 1 liter of coffee is brewed at a time. The appropriate amount of coffee is 60Gs for one liter of water.
Technivorm makes a few models one with a glass carafe on a heating element and another with a thermal carafe.
Get the thermal carafe, it is worth it. A glass carafe sitting on a hot plate will begin to degrade the coffee’s flavor over time. With a thermos you can hold your coffee longer without losing any flavor due to overheating.
The clear container on the top left is where water is added. The water is then allowed to drip into the heating chamber. This machine is powered by a copper heating element which heats the water way faster than a standard aluminum one.
Another benefit that this machine gives you is a consistent water temperature. The water will stay at the optimal temperature throughout the brew time.
Not all drip machines give you this quality.
The basket that holds the filter and coffee has three settings on it. Wide open, Half open and closed. This gives you a lot of control with brew time. You can keep the filter closed at first to ensure that all of the coffee is evenly soaked, Giving you a nice bloom! (Also you can keep the basket closed to prewet the filter.)
Before opening the basket after the initial soak of the beans be sure to give the coffee a nice stir at this point.
Another thing to mention about the basket is that its cone shaped. This coffee brewer takes a No. 4 cone filter.
The moccamaster also has a showerhead like spray arm that allows for even water distribution.
You even have the option of turning the water on and off during brewing, you might want to do this if your coffee is not draining quickly enough(maybe your grind is slightly too fine). Or maybe you are just letting the coffee bloom!
This drip machine offers quite a bit of control. However, for those that like to have their coffee started automatiucally in the morning, this machine can not do that for you.
This is a hands on approach, This is not as convenient as an automatic drip coffee maker. Think of this method a little bit like the pour over method in terms of process(not flavor of the cup).
The technivorm moccamaster has the seal of approval from the ECBC “european Coffee Brewer Centre.” These guys lay out requirements for brewing temperature and time to give you the best cup of coffee.
It’s rare for a consumer piece of equipment to meet these standards.
Another nice note is the 5 year warranty these machines come with from the factory. All parts that are plastic are BPA free.
Everything is easy to take apart which also makes cleaning your machine a breeze.
The 5 year warranty as well as the seal of approval from the ECBC can give you assurance that this really is a quality drip coffee maker.
It’s basically the same layout where you add water to the container on the left with the power button located near the bottom.
The water heating element is also located right under the water catch. This is powered by a 1500 watt copper insulated aluminum heater that will also reach temperatures of 195-205 F. (although this machine is not certified by the ECBC it is by the SCAA)
A simple design because it works.
This also comes with a thermal carafe, which is GREAT! The carafe will hold your coffee at your optimal temperature for three hours. After that your coffee will still be warm for a few more hours, just not as warm as it could be, you know?
One distinct difference is the filter basket. The basket attaches to the carafe during the brew process and must be removed before screwing on the pour lid to the thermos.
The pouring lid has a nice open and close lever on the handle.
Another noticeable difference is the filter shape. This machine uses a flat bottom filter. That means your grind will need to be a little more coarse than if you were using a cone shaped filter.(right around medium.)
Along with the flat bottom filter, Bonavita equipped their machine with a large shower head measuring 4” in diameter. This allows for the wider filter full of coffee to be evenly soaked.
The shower head can also be detached and thrown in the dishwasher.
The filter basket on this machine does not allow for anything other than fully open. Unlike the moccamaster where you have the option to half open the basket.
Even though the filter basket has less options, the Bonavita does have a pre infusion setting that pre wets the grounds with warm water and allows for degassing of freshly roasted and ground coffee, otherwise known as the coffee bloom.
You Simply just hold the power button down until it blinks twice and now you have the preinfusion method set.
The Bonavita also has a factory warranty of 2 years.(Nice, but not as good as the Moccamaster.)
A decent machine that will give you good results.
This drip coffee maker is also certified by the specialty coffee association of America to make you an amazing gold standard cup of coffee every time.
This drip coffee maker focuses on the science of time and temperature that the water comes into contact with your grounds to make a great cup of coffee.
The machine is controlled by a microprocessor that Oxo likes to call the “Barista Brain.”This processor monitors and controls time, temperature and volume from start to finish.
Water temperature is maintained by the barista brain’s processor at the perfect temperature for extraction.
Water is then pumped to the brew basket in timed cycles, starting with a short pre wet cycle that allows for the coffee bloom.
The water reservoir on the left is made of glass and is clearly labelled.
The Oxo barista brain comes in two different sizes a 9 cup and a 12 cup.
The 9 cup version has a cone shaped brew basket and the 12 cup version has a flat bottom basket.
The flat bottom filter basket works better than the cone shaped filter basket for larger portions of coffee.
Carafe is 100% stainless steel and the lid has a mixing rod attached to stir the coffee for you(I think that’s a nice touch) .
This drip maker has two modes to choose from a 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups. This Seems a little confusing to me because you are still responsible for adding the correct amount of water.
The Barista brain will use all of the available water in the reservoir, say you want to fill up the reservoir all the way but only want it to make 2-4 cups. It won’t do that, you get out what you put in.
The oxo can be preset to go off in the morning if you’re being the lazy coffee drinker instead of the loving drinker. We all have those days. But, once you’ve had a cup of freshly ground coffee and switch back to stale overnight coffee I promise you will be able to tell the difference.
The interface is a little weird to get used to since there is only one button. You will need to get used to using it but really , it’s not that tricky.
I noticed that the 9 cup brewer has a some reviews that say the carafe only holds 48 ounces.In the coffee world when the word cup is used it usually only means 6 ounces. This would only make 8 cups.
That’s no big deal to me, 8 cups is plenty.
Another little feature the barista brain has is a Freshness countdown timer. The coffee maker will count to an hour and let you know when the pot is starting to go beyond maximum freshness…
Kind of a novelty but it’s a nice touch to show they care.
Take aways and choosing the best drip coffee maker.
All of these drip coffee makers are great in my opinion with the exception of the Mr coffee auto drip maker. The combination of the glass carafe on a hot burner as well as the lack of attention to water distribution, water temperature and brew time really produces sub par results.
Remember a good cup comes from a brew time of 4-6 mins with water at a temperature of 195-205 F being evenly distributed.
That’s what makes the Best Drip Coffee Maker.
It comes down to budget and willingness. I think the Moccamaster will give you the best cup of coffee out of all of these drip makers. However, it is the most expensive and requires the most work, It is a more hands on approach to brewing compared to the Bonavita and the Oxo Barista brain.
I hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best coffee maker for what you are looking for.
Even if you are on a budget and can only afford a $20 coffee machine please, check out this article. We go over different brewing methods and give you some tips on making a better cup of coffee.
I like what pour overs have to offer but drip machines are great for quantity! You don’t have to have one giant cup at a time to feel like you’re getting your value. Since you have 4-8 cups already made and being held in your carafe you can have more smaller cups through out the day!
These drip machines are an investment in great coffee.
If you really want better coffee but don’t have the time to stand around and hand pour your own cup then invest in a decent drip machine and at least wake up in the morning 3 minutes early and grind your coffee. There are some decent grinders out there that won’t break the bank.
I want you to enjoy your coffee to the fullest because that brings me and you joy!