This is something that strikes up rigorous debate among coffee connoisseurs as it conceivable just as crucial to the quality of a cup of coffee as the choice of beans. The best home coffee maker for one household isn’t necessarily the best for another. In short, there’s a lot to consider.
Home coffee makers have improved a great deal over recent years, and there are many outstanding candidates out there.
It is difficult to decide just one. The answer also depends on your budget, and how you intend to use the coffee maker.
What type of machine do you want? Do you need an espresso machine, a drip coffee machine, or a coffee maker with a grinder? Do you require single-serve, 2-cups, or 4? You get the idea.
On the other hand, you can find everything from the classic manual espresso maker to the super-automatic coffee machine which doesn’t require you to lift a finger (well, maybe on to press the on button).
You also have to consider how much control you want to have over the coffee-making process, or on the contrary how much you want to relinquish.
Espresso machines fall into three main categories; manual, semi, and super-automatic.
Manual Coffee Machines
Manual coffee machines are generally the cheapest and most labor-intensive but also represent the greatest fun factor for those coffee fanatics who enjoy the entire brewing process.
Generally speaking, they are not huge or bulky and as a result, will not hog precious kitchen benchtop space.
Manual Machines Are Not Just For Beginners
Manual machines are for the coffee purists too! These are the sort of people who treat coffee-making as a hobby and are intensely involved in every step of the coffee-making process.
Manual machines can of course trace their origins back to the original espresso machines that were first developed in the 1930s.
Since then there have been 7 decades of refinement although the fundamental principles remain the same.
While it is true that for a complete novice the learning curve can be a steep one, the quality of coffee that is produced can be just as good or even better than super-automatic machines with a bit of patience and persistence.
They are also usually finished in more ‘rustic’ materials like copper, brass, or chrome which can add a certain charm to your kitchen if you like that sort of thing.
One downside is that because they don’t have a built-in water reservoir, it will be tedious to make more than a couple of coffees at once (this would become an especially drawn-out process if you were entertaining a group of people for example).
Semi-automatic Coffee Machines
The next group is the semi-automatics. They usually require the user to initiate the pumping action and then manually stop it once the process is over, usually after half a minute or so.
They are very popular in the home thanks to their ease of use and fantastic tasting coffee.
The milk frothing capabilities vary from model to model, but you should understand that frothing is something that can seem difficult at first and can be mastered and perfected over time.
If you are not so confident with the process, then go for machines that have frothing adapters which increase aeration and give you a better froth.
A subcategory of semi-automatic coffee machines is the fully automatic option.
Do not be fooled by the name though – most properly automatic machines are just modified versions of the semi-automatic version.
The only real modification you need to worry about is that the coffee extraction is completed for you after the push of a button and the espresso machine will stop by itself when the predetermined amount of coffee has been reached.
These types of setups are particularly useful in coffee shops where a lot of tasks are being performed simultaneously and the coffee machine needs to be left unattended.
Whether or not this benefit applies to the home user is a decision for that particular user to make!
Super-automatic Coffee Machines
Super-automatic coffee machines are one-touch solutions. It is as easy as pushing a button and watching the machine make the coffee for you.
They contain built-in water containers and grinders and help the user maintain and care for the machine.
As far as the actual process is concerned, the machine will do everything from grinding the beans, to tamping the beans and measuring a predetermined amount of coffee.
Some models will even dispose of the excess coffee grounds (known as the puck) for a truly automated solution.
Super-automatics also require relatively little cleaning and while most will clean themselves, others will let you know via the LCD interface exactly when and what needs to be cleaned.
Such processes as decalcification are usually automatically handled.
So let’s take a look at some of the…
Best Home-Coffee makers Review
This manual, single-cup espresso machine is a mid-priced machine that’s as good as a commercial machine, or at least as near as you’re going to get.
It features a commercial-grade group head that helps extract the coffee very well with an even heat.
The steam wand is articulating which is very handy. Fixed wands can be a problem and sometimes lead to spillages.
At just 9.2 x 11.4 x 13.3 inches it doesn’t take up a lot of room on a countertop. Which is always a good thing for those with small kitchens.
It’s the greatest asset is probably its durability as it is known to outlast even the higher priced machines.
The shots it produces are comparable to any you’d buy in a coffee house.
You should use a good grinder with this machine (such as a Burr Grinder) to prevent the coffee from coming to course.
With a commercial-grade machine such as this one, it takes a little time to learn how to use it well, but when you do you’ll get some exceptional shots.
If you want coffee with minimal fuss, this is probably not for you, but if you’re serious it’s probably the best espresso maker for under a grand.
This is for real coffee addicts who love the ritual of making coffee.
This is surely a prime candidate for the best home coffee maker, but it’s quite high priced.
However, for that money, you will get fantastic results, and it’s automatic, so there’s very little you can do wrong.
It’s also fast, very fast. It’s 15 bar pump produces shots in just a few seconds.
It has a built-in Burr Grinder, which saves you money on a separate purchase.
It looks amazing, it’s touch screen LCD interface is also a welcome addition in the age of the smartphone, and means that making great coffee is almost as simple as opening an app on your phone.
With automatic coffee makers, you also get one very important thing, consistency. Each shot is the same, with no drop-off in quality.
It also can make two cups at once, which is good in a busy household. The bean hopper is just under 8.5 ounces and the ground coffee dosage is adjustable from 7 to 10.5 grams.
Its water reservoir is a large 57 ounces and removable.
It takes up a lot of room at 14.4 by 12.4 by 16.3 inches but it’s so nice to look at it’s hard to imagine many people complaining.
It’s at the cheaper end of the mid-priced range, but what you get for the money is very reasonable.
It’s by no means the best home coffee maker ever, but it will more than hold its own against anything similarly priced and it’s better than many higher priced machines.
It will get very close to a commercial-grade cup of coffee.
It will produce very nice tasting cups for those who just want the simple pleasures in life and don’t want to spend too much time or money on their coffee.
It’s a single cup automatic brewer that uses K-cups, which can be purchased in many physical stores now and online as well.
They are certainly one of the easiest to find of these types of pre-made coffee products.
You can also purchase a reusable K-cup in which you can place your own choice of coffee grounds.
If you’re not a morning person, this is a very good machine to own, as everything is taken care of for you. Its cold beverage maker is also great for iced tea.
Its dimensions are 10 x 13.2 x 13 inches and it weighs a very light 17 lbs for this type of machine.
This is a simple, single-cup brewer that does what it’s supposed to do well.
There are no special features of note to speak of, but what you get is a very inexpensive and very competent coffee maker.
With simplicity, you may not get the fancy features of the more expensive machines, but you do get the ease of use.
This is a very old-school home coffee maker, which is the best home coffee maker in its price range.
Its LCD works well, and it can make a good cup of coffee reasonably quickly. It has 3 different brew size options and a two-hour automatic cut off which is handy for those of a forgetful nature.
Again it uses K-cups to make coffee, which is either a pro or a con depending on whether you like them or not, but they do enable you to make a good cup of coffee very easily.
At 17 x 13 x 17 inches it’s a larger machine, but still small enough to not take up too much counter space.
At just over 100 dollars, this is the cheapest machine that could be a candidate for the best home coffee maker.
If you want something good but don’t want to spend too much money, and don’t want to mess around with K-cups, this is the machine for you.
Simply place your grounds at the top and you’re good to go.
It can brew 4-10 cups in around 3 minutes, and it does it very well. The coffee extraction is very good and consistent between cups.
It’s also a very retro-looking, old-school coffee machine. Which may be too many people’s tastes. It’s also very durable as there’s very little that can go wrong with these types of machines.
For a good but simple coffee maker, you can not go wrong with the Bunn. At only 9.8 x 15.4 x 12.3 inches and weighing only 7 lbs it’s not going to cause too many problems in the kitchen either.
So to sum it up, these are the picks for the best home coffee makers in the various price ranges.
Of course, it will depend on how much you prefer (or not) the ritual of making coffee, how serious you are about coffee, and how much you’re willing to spend.
However, each machine listed will make a great cup of coffee.