With just a few large plastic parts, a stable, widemouthed glass carafe with an easy-to-seal lid, and straightforward instructions, this classic brewer was simple to use and clean up and yielded a generous amount of “rich,” “chocolaty,” “full-flavored” concentrate that still tasted good after two weeks in the refrigerator.
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
Cold brew. French press. Pour over. There are many ways to make coffee—and my team at ATK Reviews has tested just about all of them.
This thick, insulated pot was as simple to use as a traditional glass press, but it kept coffee hotter much longer. It’s also sturdier, with a round, comfortable handle. It took top honors in our tasting, producing coffee that tasters called “rich,” “rounded,” “nutty,” and “full-bodied.”
The Clever Coffee Dripper is an improvement over the traditional drip cone. Its cover keeps the water hotter than the usual open cone. A shutoff valve holds back the dripping coffee so that it can steep more fully.
Certified by the SCAA, the updated version of our old favorite (the KBT 741, now also $299) meets time and temperature guidelines with utter consistency. As a result, it produces a “smooth,” “velvety” brew. It’s also intuitive to use. The carafe lost some heat after 2 hours but still kept the coffee above 150 degrees.
In every test, this coffee maker came out on top: It brewed hotter and faster than most other models, resulting in a smooth brew that tasters rated the most flavorful. Its thermal carafe kept brewed coffee hot for more than an hour, and pouring was tidy, with a responsive lever that stopped and started the stream of coffee promptly. All of its parts were accessible and easy to clean, and the machine turned on with the push of a button and automatically turned off when it finished brewing. It had a smaller capacity than the other coffee makers we tested, but it could still brew enough to make about six 8-ounce cups of coffee. It wasn’t programmable and was the most expensive model in our lineup; however, this was the only brewer in our lineup certified by the Specialty Coffee Association home brewer program as meeting all the standards for good coffee.
This grinder is bare-bones: Just select one of the 40 grind settings and turn it on; it mills beans until you turn it off. It was too minimal for novice testers who wanted more guidance, but its no-fuss design is perfect for experienced users. It doesn't include a scale, so you need to weigh beans beforehand.
Our winner is the only carafe that has extra insulation in addition to the standard double-wall vacuum seal. The thin sheets of copper and aluminum foil worked: After 4 hours, coffee was still piping hot at 152 degrees. Milk was 40 degrees after 2 hours and just 41 degrees after 4 hours. Testers loved its snap-on lid, which sealed with an audible (and reassuring) click and can be completely disassembled for cleaning. It also boasts a comfortable handle and a responsive button and pours with a steady, even stream that cuts off without dribbling.
This compact, well-made machine consistently produced excellent espresso at the push of a button and readily let us adjust the flavor, temperature, and strength of a shot. The thoughtfully designed controls and a clear display that showed what was happening made it simple to brew espresso or froth milk without consulting the manual. A simple attached steam wand with a silicone grip was comfortable to use and popped off for cleaning.
This handsome machine is perfect if you want the convenience of built-in grinding and automatic weighing of coffee, as well as push-button brewing, but you don’t mind some hands-on work. You must learn to tamp properly and move the portafilter of grounds from the grinder to the brewing position. A simple gauge provides excellent feedback, quickly teaching you to dial in the best grind setting and tamping pressure (Pro tip: Tamp on a scale, aiming for 30 pounds of pressure). This process soon became intuitive and easy. We loved that the machine came with everything you need—tamper, milk frothing jug, and portafilters for single and double espresso—and had a hidden drawer to store it all.
This easy-to-use classic design quickly brewed rich, dense coffee. Even better, it was the least expensive model we tested.
The redesigned version of the OXO scale is accurate and had all the features that made the old model our favorite: sturdy construction, responsive buttons, and a removable platform for easy cleaning. The screen can still be pulled out nearly 4 inches when weighing oversize items. Instead of a backlight setting, the screen now has brightly lit digits on a dark background, which we found even easier to read than the old model’s screen. OXO also added two display options for weight. Users can choose to view ounces only (24 oz), pounds and ounces (1 lb 8 oz), grams only (2500 g), or kilograms and grams (2 kg 500 g), which comes in handy when doubling a recipe. The scale now uses decimals rather than fractions, so it’s more precise and easier to read.