Nobody talks a lot about drip brewers these days.
The main focus is on single serve coffee makers.
And then there are real coffee enthusiasts who prefer to talk about their French press, their brewer Chemex or their Hario dripper.
Drip coffee makers have that old-school feeling about them. Not quite as old-school as percolators, but come close.
And that’s a shame, because there’s no reason why a good drip coffee maker can’t make coffee as good as you can with a fancy pouring system.
In fact, a drip infuser IS a pour-on system.
Think about it for a moment. Water is sprayed onto ground coffee placed in a conical or flat-bottomed filter. Gravity pulls the water through the ground coffee, then it drains into a decanter.
The only difference between a drip brewer and a Chemex is that drip brewers automate the process.
It is the automation of coffee preparation that interests most people …
If you are a diehard coffee lover and want to enjoy all aspects of a new batch of single origin fair trade coffee beans that you have just purchased, then a manual method of brewing coffee is the way to go. to follow.
For real enthusiasts, brewing coffee by hand – step by step – is part of the experience.
But for most of us, most of the time coffee lasts about 30 minutes after getting out of bed in the morning.
We are sleepy, we have to get ready for work, and we absolutely want our coffee to be brewed at the touch of a button.
This is why the popularity of single serve brewers has taken off in recent years. They make the process of making coffee incredibly easy.
But… at a price in terms of quality, taste and price.
Making coffee one K-Cup at a time is ridiculously expensive compared to brewing coffee with a drip coffee maker. And the quality is never quite there either.
Not to mention the fact that billions of used K-Cups end up in landfills every year.
All of this makes the humble drip brewer the best choice for most of us.
What to look for when choosing a filter coffee maker.
A drip brewer will cost you as little as $ 25 and up to $ 300 or more.
But if you’re looking for an automatic coffee maker that can come close to pouring coffee quality, you’ll want to spend at least $ 100.
And you’ll want to make sure you check out a few key features.
1. Make sure the brewer can heat the water to the correct temperature.
To extract the flavor of ground coffee, the water should be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cheaper brewers often fail to fall within this range. And even some of the best brewers don’t provide a constant temperature.
You should also look for the possibility of adjusting the temperature up or down within this range. You can do this when brewing coffee for pouring, and some drip coffee makers allow you to make the same adjustments.
2. Make sure the brewer stops to allow the coffee to steep and bloom.
Inexpensive drip brewers pump water without interruption. The best models stop after pouring just enough water to steep the ground coffee, but without the water flowing into the carafe.
“Flowering” occurs when carbon dioxide is released from ground coffee after it is steeped. You can see this happens when you brew coffee for pouring by hand, but not when the process is masked with a drip infuser.
The point is, it is important that the drip brewer stop for a bit after this first steeping. You want all of the ground coffee to be evenly soaked to get the best flavor. Only then is the rest of the water pumped through the “shower head” and onto the coffee.
3. Make sure the brewing time is correct.
The total contact time between the water and the ground coffee should be between 4 and 6 minutes. Less than that and you won’t get the full flavor. Longer and you might get too drenched and bitter taste.
Premium drip infusers allow you to adjust the time.
4. Look for any other features that are important to you.
Besides checking that your drip coffee maker is capable of making really good coffee, you want other features because, well… you just want them!
Maybe you want to be able to pre-program your coffee maker to make coffee automatically, right before the alarm goes off in the morning.
Or you want a coffee maker that can also make iced coffee or cold brew coffee.
Or you want an insulated carafe rather than a glass carafe.
Or you want to be able to make concentrated coffee for use in specialty coffee drinks.
The point is, you can choose from tons of different features.
Just set your own priorities and make comparisons.
Our three best drip coffee makers… and why we love them.
Over the years, we’ve looked at maybe a dozen different drip coffee makers.
Here are our three favorites. These are the brewers that we have been using for months or years at a time. All of them have taken pride of place on our kitchen counter at some point.
The Breville precision brewer
It’s our favorite at the moment. It pretty much does everything.
It covers all the basics when it comes to quality, including the ability to adjust water temperature, flowering time, and brewing time.
And it has settings for iced coffee, cold brew coffee, and more.
You can see our video review of the Breville Precision Brewer here …
The Bonavita BV1800
Until we fell in love with the Breville brewer, the Bonavita was used daily for maybe 5 years.
Very simple with virtually no adjustment. But the factory settings were perfect for making a quality decanter of coffee.
Read our full review here …
The Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System
This is another drip coffee maker with a ton of different options.
And I use it every day.
I know I said I used the Breville as well.
I do. I use the Breville to brew our daily coffee pot. And I use the Ninja to brew a concentrated coffee version of a cappuccino each afternoon. It even includes a milk whisk.
And my daughter uses it to make green tea.
In fact, I could easily use the Ninja for all of my coffee and tea brewing needs.
Watch our video review of the Ninja here …
The 8-cup OXO Brew coffee maker
The Oxo Brew 8 Cup Coffeemaker is a Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) certified home brewer. Read the full review here …
It is worth doing your research before purchasing a filter coffee maker.
Drip coffee makers are much better today than they were before.
Of course, you can always buy brewers on a low budget at any big box store.
But if you love coffee and want a quality usually associated with hand-brewing methods, it’s worth the extra money.
Do the research. And yes, one of our three recommended brewers will do the job.