Our #1 pick, and the best drip coffee maker is the OXO On 9-Cup Coffee Maker ($180). This drip coffee maker, along with our other top picks, had to brew coffee in 8 minutes or less and at a temperature that doesn’t exceed 205 °F or drop below 195 °F. to make the our list of 5.
We also considered how each coffee maker affected the final flavor profile of the cup throughout the process of saturation and extraction. Less important, but still a consideration, was the overall footprint (i.e. countertop space consumed) and aesthetics of the maker to be sure it matched your kitchen’s decor.
The half-decade I’ve spent reviewing the newest tech gadgets has taught me a lot about what makes a good brewer and what makes a dud you wouldn’t put in charge of your precious coffee.
Since the 70s, drip coffee has been the most widely used method in North America instead of a percolation pot, unless you’re a grizzled 1940s prospector. A few coffee elites have criticized drip coffee’s lack of body and less than optimal hotness, but the right machine can transcend these limitations. Drip tends to be less robust, but is more flavorful and definitely less bitter than percolated coffee overall.
How we choose the best drip coffee maker takes a cue from the Specialty Coffee Association of American (SCAA). There are many elements when choosing that will be relative: countertop clearance, bean grinding, roast type, etc., but we evaluate based on temperature, taste, brew time, and convenience features. We’ll also take into account any significant elements in the machine’s aesthetics, because your coffee maker is an important statement on your kitchen counter.
Typically, the average coffee maker spews out a cup at 175 °F, but the ideal “golden” brewing temperature for our best coffee makers will be somewhere in between 195 °F and 205 °F, allowing coffee to dissolve optimally. Too cold and the coffee is sour or weak. Too hot and the coffee is bitter from over-extraction. Another contributing factor to over/under-extraction is brew time. Ideally, coffee grounds should dance with hot water for around 4-8 minutes, but not going over for fear of over-extraction. Lastly, saturation is important to extraction, so we’ve taken into account wider showerheads and the shape of the filter basket too.
While a glass carafe is cheaper than thermal, the warming method can leave your coffee tasting burnt. This isn’t too big of a problem if you’re gulping it down and jetting off to work, though. Thermal keeps your coffee at that golden temperature longer, and ends up tasting better without any reheating. We’ve also taken into account models with a few modern features like automatic shut-off and brewing versatility, because a good cup of coffee doesn’t have to be an inconvenient cup of coffee.
A well-maintained high-end coffee maker should last you anywhere from at least four years to a decade, but eventually they’ll give into age and you can expect your morning brew to be hampered by poor extraction, funky noises, and even sneaky bacteria camping in between the smaller parts. This can happen especially often if you don’t know how to clean a drip coffee maker properly.
If you find yourself running straight to your coffee maker soon as you wake up but end up gritting your teeth as you take your first sip in the morning (like your machine is mocking your grogginess), an upgrade could be just what you need to solve these problems and so many more.
Similarly, if you’re investing hundreds of dollars on high-quality beans each year and splurging on gourmet taste in the morning, your coffee machine should get just as much consideration, what with it being the catalyst that turns those expensive beans into golden wake-up juice.
This is a good time to treat yourself to a new machine without that baggage and experience superior coffee, along with a bunch of neat features your old pot couldn’t even imagine. Let’s take a look at the top rated drip coffee makers for 2017.