You may think the best coffee maker is the hot barista at your neighborhood java joint who gets your name and order mostly right (and maybe one day, when the stars align, will give you their number on a cardboard coffee sleeve). But realistically, it’s time to stop this magical thinking and do what’s right for your wallet, emotional wellbeing, and palate alike: Brew your daily drip at home.
As coffee connoisseurs know, your morning cup isn’t merely a caffeine hit—it’s a ritual. An art, if you will. But if you’re still using the same dorm-sized coffee maker that your mom bought you for your freshman year of college, it may not feel this way to you… yet. Luckily, upgrading your coffee maker doesn’t have to be expensive. Whether you’re a drip-coffee devotee or can’t go a day without an espresso, there are plenty of affordable—and easy-to-use!—options that let you make your favorite drinks at home. (Though if you want to drop a few Gs, I won’t stand in your way.)
As someone who is incapable of working without a cup of coffee in hand, I’ve done the research and put together this list of some of my favorite coffee machines—and some best-selling, top-rated, and luxury models that I’ll have to be OK with simply dreaming about. Just like the Starbucks menu, there’s something for every kind of coffee drinker: super-simple cold brew makers, fancy-schmancy touchscreen espresso machines, a wooden pour-over for wannabe cowboys, and even a high-tech Turkish coffee maker.
If you're looking for the best coffee maker for you and your addiction to socially acceptable stimulants, you're in the right place. Read on for the best models for every budget and type of coffee drinker.
Not all of us are natural-born baristas. Speaking as a former waitress who could barely keep the regular separate from the decaf, there’s something to be said for machines that provide mindless ease. Take the Nespresso Vertuo Plus, for example. Between the easy-to-use espresso pods and the one-touch milk frother, it’s essentially foolproof.
Never going back again
When I moved away from Brooklyn and finally had more than an inch of counter space to my name, the first thing I did was toss my tiny, single-serve coffee maker and drop hints to my loving family that I was in the market for an upgrade. My aunt got me this Cuisinart gem for my birthday, and my life has been dramatically enhanced ever since. It allows you to choose from three serving sizes and control your brew strength, plus it's compatible with all brands of single-cup pods.
Ice, Ice Baby
Keurigs are beloved because they’re simple to use, and they make it so everyone at home can have their own coffee order of choice. With so many different Keurigs available, though, picking just one can be overwhelming. If you’re the type of coffee drinker who stands by iced coffee even in the depths of winter, there’s a clear winner for you: the Keurig K-Elite. Iced or hot is only a pod away.
Mr. Coffee is the Monarch-clad dad of coffee makers. Going to the airport? He’ll have the brew timer set the night before, a travel mug ready for you in the morning, and he’ll drop you off three hours early for a domestic flight. (Though three hours still might not be enough buffer time.) There’s even an indicator that lets you know how fresh—or not—the most recent pot of coffee is.
A worthwhile investment
While the De’Longhi all-in-one coffee and espresso maker is a far cry from being budget-friendly, this gorgeous machine is worth every penny. Think of buying this coffee maker as paying a mortgage rather than rent. It’s also the only coffee machine I’ve found that lets you brew drip coffee and espresso simultaneously and froth milk for either or both drinks.
Tried and true
Recently, I splurged on a Le Creuset tea kettle. I found that the best way to relieve price-tag guilt was to create more situations in which the kettle’s presence would be absolutely necessary. Enter the Cosori—and the wonders of pour-over coffee. I especially love its stainless steel filter that eliminates the need for paper filters.
If you’d rather be camping
Is your closet full of National Parks T-shirts? Do you go to axe-throwing bars? Have you seen Letterkenny? If you answered yes to any of these questions, let me acquaint you with Canadiano: a wooden pour-over coffee filter. Like a cast-iron skillet, you season your Canadiano over time, and the wood influences the flavor of your coffee. It’s also by far the smallest-footprint coffee maker on this list.
Hard-pressed to find better
I will admit that I have never ventured into the world of French press coffee brewing. Lucky for me, over 11,000 French-pressers have given their recommendations for the Bodum Brazil—one of Amazon’s most popular French press machines. “First-time French Presser here,” writes Rachel B. “Switched to this sweet thing, and 8 months later, I am in LOVE. I've actually purchased two.” Plus, you get none of the fuss of a pour-over brewer, but with all the coffee nerd cred.
Drip coffee for one? No problem. This no-nonsense coffee maker makes measuring coffee grounds simple, and it uses a mesh filter so you can say so long to soppy, used paper filters. Decide between a regular and a bold brew, and you’ll be good to go in 90 seconds.
License to chill
Making cold brew coffee isn’t nearly as complicated as it seems. At least, not when you have this nifty pitcher. Before you go to bed, fill the pitcher with water and the infuser with your favorite coarsely ground coffee beans. In the morning, you’ll wake up to your own richly flavored, homemade coffee concentrate.
Get your caffeine fix
You won’t find this on the Starbucks menu: Turkish coffee. Usually, making Turkish coffee is pretty hands-on because it involves boiling finely ground coffee grounds in water. This coffee maker, however, gives you a hands-off experience while still delivering the thick foam and rich flavor that makes Turkish coffee unique.
Open up shop
After spending a cool grand on this touchscreen coffee and espresso machine, you’ll be ready to turn your apartment into a coffee shop and charge your roommates $6 for a cappuccino. Plus, it will freshly grind your beans and let you program in your own ideal espresso drink. Can your favorite barista do that?