When choosing the right coffee maker for your home, many people opt for the simplicity of a drip coffee maker. These machines are typically built with very similar setups, so there is minimal difference between one model and another – at least in terms of the learning curve. But what if you want to know a little more than just the basics? Check out our guide to see what we think the best drip coffee maker is.
Drip coffee makers; best for those on a budget or wanting to make a large round of coffees
Which Drip Coffee maker would we recommend?
Read on for all the information you'll need to choose the best Drip Coffee maker for you.
If you don't want to spend too much time researching, just pick one of the Drip coffee makers below you won't be disappointed
Our Top Pick
- Unique look
- Amazing coffee
- Fast Brew time
- Fully thermal charafe
What is a Drip coffee maker ?
A drip coffee maker is the simplest way to make coffee at home, and for that reason, it’s many people’s favorite method of coffee preparation. The name comes from the way the coffee is made. Water is dripped onto roasted ground coffee beans in a filter (whether reusable or paper) and collects in a carafe below.
For most drip brewers, the carafe is made of clear glass, often sitting on a warming plate. Higher-end models may drip into a thermal carafe, with no need for a warming plate (which may scorch the bottom of the coffee if it’s left on). Some models are designed to drip into a single cup, which is usually not included.
These machines generally offer little customization when compared to espresso machines, but users are able to experiment with different roasts, different grinds, and different proportions in order to make the coffee suit their exact preferences.
How is a Drip Coffee maker different?
Basic coffee machine, great coffee at a great price
A Brief History of Drip Coffee Makers
“Drip coffee” describes a method of preparation that involves ground coffee, contained in a filter, and pure water.
Although the paper filters used for drip coffee were originally invented in 1908, the first electric drip coffee maker wasn’t patented until 1954.
The Wigomat, invented by Gottlob Widmann, operated much the same as the drip coffee makers of today, but with a much different look. In the 1970s, drip coffee overtook stovetop percolators as the most common method of coffee preparation, as they made it much easier to get a consistent temperature without over-extraction.
In the following decades, a number of additional features have been added, but the core of a drip coffee maker is still the same: Place ground coffee into the filter, fill the water reservoir with clean water, and let gravity (and a little bit of electricity) do the rest.
April 27, 2016
April 27, 2016
What you should think about when choosing a Drip Coffee Maker?
For many people, a drip coffee maker represents simplicity. Whether that means filling it up and waiting a few minutes, or setting it up the night before and having it ready when you get up. They’re not generally designed to give you a bunch of extras. However, they are generally much simpler to use, and they may come with a few added bonuses:
A programmable timer and clock
Many machines come with a clock and a programmable timer, so that your coffee can be ready and waiting for you when you get up. Generally, this timer is reserved for people who need a fast morning routine and don’t really care about taste – the coffee will go quite stale in the filter basket overnight.
A warming plate
Most drip coffee makers will have a warming plate to keep the coffee hot after it’s been brewed. Again, this is for those who prefer convenience over taste, as the warming plates can (and usually do) scorch the coffee at the bottom of the pot, leaving it bitter and burnt.
In most cases, a machine with a warming plate will also come with an automatic shut-off feature, as a safety precaution. While this is definitely a wonderful feature to have, it’s always safer to manually turn off your coffee maker when not in use – just in case. If you’ll be going to sleep or leaving the house, always be sure the machine is off first.
A thermal carafe
Many machines these days come with a thermal carafe, instead of the traditional glass carafe sitting on a burner. These are wonderful, as they can keep the coffee hot for hours without burning it, and they don’t have the fire risks that come with leaving the warming plate on for hours. They only work if the lid is used properly, though – which means, if it breaks, you’ll need to replace the whole carafe.
How to decide which Drip Coffee Maker is best for you?
1. What is your budget?
The best thing about drip coffee makers is that there’s literally one for any budget. If you can afford a high-tech masterpiece, those are definitely available – but if all you can afford to spend is what a few days of coffee shop coffee would cost, there are probably even more of those available. It should be noted that the differences between a $30 drip machine and a $300 drip machine are usually behind-the-scenes stuff affecting the taste – but oh, what a difference there is!
2. How much coffee do you drink in a day?
Drip coffee makers come in all sizes. There are units that brew only a single 12-ounce cup at a time, and some that brew as much as 20 cups at a time. They are generally pretty quick, although not as quick as espresso machines, so if you get a drip machine that’s “too small”, it usually won’t take too long to get a second pot ready. You will be sacrificing some of the convenience, though, as you will have to measure everything out a second time.
3. Do you need a timer?
We already established that programmed coffee is probably going to be stale – but chances are, there’s going to come a time when you wish you had that timer to get things ready for you. If you’re used to having one, it can be a necessity. You’ll need to decide how important it is to you.
4. What are previous customers saying?
If there are any big problems with a particular coffee maker style, chances are another customer has already found them. Thorough product research can save you from many headaches down the road, either by steering you clear of a bad machine or by offering simple fixes for common problems.
Tips for making a great drink with a Drip Coffee Maker
Many people love drip coffee makers, not because they create a great cup of coffee (and, in fact, most self-proclaimed coffee snobs will turn their noses up at a drip coffee maker) but because there is very little you can do “wrong”. That being said, there are definitely practices that can yield better results than others. When in doubt, drip coffee is meant to be easy – so keep it simple, and customize after brewing with syrups or creamers if desired.
You can't go wrong with a Drip Coffee Maker
We recommend using fresh, purified or filtered water only, even if your machine has a built-in filter. This helps to keep the taste from being “muddied” by the minerals in the water, and also keeps these minerals from building up inside the machine, which can slow it down over time. You can use a decalcifier, vinegar, or citric acid to clear these deposits once your machine starts to run slower, but this process can be tedious, depending on the specific machine you buy. Also, you’ll need to be sure that the decalcifier that you use isn’t going to mess up the inner workings of your machine.
When it comes to the coffee beans you get, you want them to be as fresh as possible, and store them in an airtight container to keep them fresher for longer. Coffee is a perishable food item, and while it won’t make you sick when it goes “off”, it will greatly affect the taste. It goes stale even faster once it’s ground, so it’s best to get whole beans and grind them shortly before you’re making your pot.
You also need to pay attention to the specific grind, as that affects the extraction speed. If the coffee is extracted too quickly, your coffee will be weak. If the extraction time is too long, the coffee will be bitter. Your grind should be medium-fine, depending on the type of filter you’re using. Flat-bottomed filters, whether paper or reusable, should use grinds about the texture of sand. For cone-shaped filters, the grind should be a little finer than granulated sugar for optimum extraction.
According to the National Coffee Association, the “ideal” ratio of coffee-to-water is about two tablespoons of (ground) coffee for every six ounces of water. However, not all coffee makers use six ounces to mean one cup – so be sure that you check. Generally, “one cup” can mean anything from 4 ounces (rare with drip machines) to 12 ounces (generally reserved for single-cup brewers). Most drip coffee makers will use either six or eight ounces as “a cup”, which should be mentioned on the packaging. If yours doesn’t have this information, you can use a standard measuring cup – one cup in a standard measuring cup equals about 8 ounces – to test the cup sizes for your particular machine.
Looking after your Drip Coffee Maker
If you’re using a reusable filter, you’ll need to wash it daily. Usually it only needs a quick rinse. You should also thoroughly clean the carafe, especially if it’s been left sitting on the warming plate for a while – there may be burnt coffee on the bottom, which will be mixed in with the next fresh pot if not cleaned off.
Once a week (or more often, if needed), you should clean the filter basket. For machines with a removable filter basket, a quick wash in the sink is probably all you need. If your filter basket isn’t removable, you can run a regular brew cycle with clean water (and no coffee) to quick-clean all the inner parts that may have gotten dirty since your last cleaning. The outside of the machine should also be cleaned with a soft rag and warm water. If your machine has a warming plate, allow it to fully cool before you clean it.
At least once a month (or more often, if you’re a daily coffee drinker), you should descale your coffee maker. There are commercially-available products available for this, but many people choose to use a mixture of white vinegar and water (half and half, poured into the water reservoir). If your machine has a self-cleaning function, you can simply run a clean cycle with the descaler (whether commercial or homemade) and then a regular brew cycle with clean water. (Do not put coffee in the machine for this step!) If your machine doesn’t self-clean, you’ll want to let half the descaler run through on a normal brew cycle, then let it sit for about 20 minutes before allowing the second half to brew through. Then rinse as normal.
Quarterly or Less Often:
Every few months, you should check to make sure all components are in good working order. Any missing O-rings should be replaced, as well as the lid to the carafe, if it has become cracked or otherwise damaged. If your machine is under warranty, it’s a good idea to send it in for any repairs before your warranty expires. Your warranty might even cover damaged parts – be sure to check your manual for more information.
The Best Drip Coffee Maker - Our Pick!
The unique 'showerhead' design makes great coffee in a stylish machine
This is one of the most expensive drip coffee makers on the market, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The Moccamaster KBT combines a thermal carafe, a (relatively) fast brew cycle, and an amazing cup of coffee – as long as you give it good ingredients to start with. The Moccamaster is one of very few machines that’s actually handmade, making it a piece of art as well as an expert coffee extraction device. They back up their machine with a full five-year warranty, just in case anything goes wrong. It might look like something out of an old sci-fi movie, but make no mistake: This is the drip coffee maker you’ve been dreaming of. You just don’t know it yet.