While it’s not always the most elegant way to brew coffee, it’s certainly the easiest, and for some people, that makes it their go-to method for enjoying coffee. So, we’re here to provide you with some tips on how to get the best cup of coffee from a machine.
Buy a good machine
Not all coffee makers are created equal. Common problems include inconsistent or inadequate water temperature and ineffective percolation time. This can be rectified by buying a better machine.
If you’re looking to buy something that doesn’t break the bank, you want the Mr Coffee 10 Cup Optimal Brew Thermal System or the Motif Elements Pour-Over Style Coffee Brewer. They are two of the best machines you’ll find for under 100 bucks. Are they perfect? No. But they gets a lot right for the price.
On the other end of the spectrum, if money is no object, you want the Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG. It properly distributes the water across your grounds in an effort to emulate a manual pourover, is endorsed by the Specialty Coffee Association, comes in a variety of gorgeous colors, and has a five year warranty.
If you don’t want to spend $300 on a coffeemaker, our next recommendation is the Ninja CM407 Specialty Coffee Maker. It has a huge fanbase and comes in at half the price of the Technivorm. It’s SCA approved and in addition to a pourover style coffee, it also brews concentrated coffee similar to what you’d get from and Aeropress, and iced coffee. This is really a great device.
If you have a small kitchen and counter space is at a premium, you can’t do better than the BUNN Heat N Brew Programmable Coffee Maker.
If none of those interest you, you may be interested in looking at some of these other coffee makers that are SCA approved: OXO Brew 9 Cup, Bonavita BV1900TS, Cuisinart CPO-850, Breville Precision, or Behmor 5393 Brazen Coffee Maker.
Consult your manufacturer
Every manufacturer has different dosage recommendations for how to best brew coffee in their machine. You will want to follow these guidelines as every machine brews differently.
Clean your machine
Every machine will also come with recommended cleaning instructions. Old grounds or oils from previous brews will add unpleasant tastes to your coffee. Always keep your machine clean.
Brew by weight
In the case of the machines we mention above, all of them, except for the Mr. Coffee, come with recommendations for weight in addition to volume. Remember that brewing by weight can assure that you make an excellent cup of coffee every time. If you want to purchase a scale, we recommend either a Hario or an OXO. It’s worth mentioning that Motif makes a scale too. While we like their coffee maker, smart scales are pretty gimmicky and rely on software which may not work as time passes.
Get a burr grinder
Coffee starts to chemically breakdown within an hour of being ground. If you want coffee that’s got more flavor, you should buy whole beans and grind them yourself every day. While you could get a blade grinder, the grinds won’t all be the same size which leads to a mix of underextraction and overextraction. A burr grinder will grind your coffee to a consistent size.
If you’re on a budget and have a little extra time in the morning, you can check out a hand grinder. We recommend the Hario Slim.
If you’re looking for an entry level burr grinder that can grind just about anything your throw at it, you want the Baratza Encorer, without a doubt. Baratza is an incredible company that builds their grinders to last. If someday, something goes wrong with it, they’ll either ship you a part for free (if it’s still under the generous warranty period) or for a reasonable price. These are machines built to own a lifetime. The Encore can grind everything from fine to course but if you’re making espresso on a daily basis and never make anything else, get the Baratza Sette 30 instead as it’s far more consistent with fine grinds and will produce better espresso. If, however you want an all purpose grinder that excels at everything you can throw at it and price is no object, go right for the Baratza Forte AP. Baratza also produces the Vario-W which is their prosumer all-purpose model and can make everything from French Press to espresso for singificantly less money than the Forte AP. Regardless of your budget, if you want an electric burr grinder, we can’t speak highly enough about Baratza.