Most models turn costly beans into mediocre coffee: too weak, too flat, or too bitter. What’s so hard about making a decent drip coffee maker?
In this age of Starbucks, Americans have gotten much more sophisticated about the complexities of coffee flavor. As we surveyed the latest models on store shelves, we wondered if manufacturers might have caught up with our coffee obsession and finally developed an automatic drip coffee maker that can produce a terrific brew.
From previous tests, we knew that a thermal carafe would be essential; the usual hot plate under a glass carafe starts turning fresh coffee acrid in a matter of minutes. We found eight brands with thermal carafes and at least a 10-cup capacity at prices from $47 to nearly $300. Most were programmable, meaning you can fill them with coffee and water and set the time you want the pot to turn itself on. Two came with an attached burr-style coffee grinder.
There was just one problem with our winner—its price. Could we really justify spending $299 when we know that great coffee can be had through far cheaper methods? To make sure, we compared the machine made coffee to coffee from a French press, the method favored by many coffee connoisseurs. To our surprise, while our tasters enjoyed the French press coffee’s rich aroma and flavor, the machine still won the day with even better flavor—and with no need to go through the French press’s multiple steps of separately heating the water to 200 degrees, then pouring, stirring, waiting four minutes (according to manufacturer instructions), and pressing.
THE WINNER: Technivorm Moccamaster Coffeemaker
Model Number: KBT741
Recommendation Status: Highly Recommended
Testers’ Comments: Fast, very simple to operate. Tasters described coffee as “a dynamic and clean cup, flavorful and expressive,” “very good; robust but smooth.” Achieved perfect temperatures for brewing and serving and was the closest of all the coffee makers to reaching the ideal brewing time. Pieces disassemble easily for cleaning. Though not programmable, this machine was so fast and easy to use, we didn’t mind.
Where To Shop: Roastmasters (888-950-0888 – http://www.roastmasters.com)