The 4 Best Drip Coffee Makers in 2021


Drip coffee maker FAQs

How do I make the perfect cup of coffee in a coffee maker?

The best way to make perfect coffee is by making sure your coffee-to-water ratio is correct. You can always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and your ratio might change depending on how strong you want your coffee, but the SCA recommends a coffee to water ratio of 1:18. To get to know your machine, Max Gualtieri recommends you start with “15:1 and adjust up or down to your preference. For example, if you are using 30 grams of coffee you’ll use 450 grams of water.” 

What kind of coffee goes in a coffee maker?

Any coffee can work in a coffee maker, but there are a few factors to look for that will ensure the best results. First, make sure your coffee is fresh. Most roasters print the roast date on every bag of coffee. Try to find a coffee roasted less than two weeks before you want to brew. Second, if you can, grind your coffee just before brewing. “Optimally, freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee goes into the coffee maker. Yes, grinding is an extra step and yes, it is completely worth it,” Gaultieri says.

Do fresh grounds in coffee makers really make a difference?

“Always!” Gaultieri says. After roasting, all of the flavorful oils and sugars start to decay and the gasses inside the coffee beans leak out, creating a more dull and stale flavor. Pre-grinding your coffee long before brewing amplifies that effect. “The coffee starts to lose volatile aromatic compounds as soon as it is ground,” says Gaultieri. By breaking up the beans and releasing more of the gasses and exposing the organic compounds and oils to the air, it spoils even more quickly.

What variables affect the coffee brewing process?

No matter how you’re making your coffee, the same variables always contribute to the quality of the cup you’re making. The choice of coffee, grind coarseness, water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, brewing time and filtration method all contribute heavily to how your coffee is going to turn out. Different brewing methods require adjusting the specifics of those variables, but the most important factor is always going to be the coffee you use. “Start with quality coffee!” Gualtieri says. Make sure it’s freshly roasted and freshly ground.

Why is water temperature so important for brewing coffee?

Water temperature has a huge effect on the coffee brewing process. Brewing at the proper temperature (195° – 205°F, 90° – 96°C) ensures that the proper amount of coffee solubles are extracted. 

What is blooming and why is it important?

Blooming is a commonly recommended step in the brewing process when making pour over coffee. Blooming, or pre-infusing, is when a small amount of hot water is used to soak the beans in order to help release the carbon dioxide gas in the coffee. Without blooming, the CO2 bubbles released can disrupt the overall brewing process by making the ground bed uneven and lead to an uneven extraction. Many coffee makers now utilize a programmed pre-infusion process to help create a more evenly extracted and full-flavored cup of coffee.

Why should I buy an electric coffee maker?

Electric coffee makers may seem overly complicated and expensive when compared to manual brewing devices like the French press, or a pour-over. Electric coffee makers excel when it comes to consistency. “Both methods use the same variables to extract coffee. One difference with electric coffee makers is there isn’t the human variable,” Rodriguez says, “A coffee machine is programmed to do the same thing every time it is turned on, and if it is a good machine, it will do this very consistently.” Electric coffee makers also often have features such as timed brewing, which can save time in the morning if your schedule is tight.

Should I choose a thermal carafe or warming plate?

Coffee makers often have either thermal carafes or warming plates to keep coffee warm after it’s brewed. But Jessica Rodriguez warns, “The heating plate is sometimes overlooked as an element that can affect flavor. If a brewer has a heating plate to keep the carafe warm, it is really important that the plate does not raise the temperature of the brew, which can have a negative impact on the flavor.” In my testing, I found that most coffee makers with thermal carafes do a great job of maintaining the temperature of the coffee for about an hour.

What kind of filters should I use?

Different coffee makers use different methods of filtration. The most common are reusable metal or mesh filters and single-use paper filters. Some makers even allow the user to choose between the two. The major difference between filtration types is how much of the dissolved coffee solids and oils they allow to pass through. “Filtration affects the beverage clarity which affects the body/mouthfeel sensory experience of coffee.” Rodriguez says. Reusable filters have the added bonus of producing less waste and cutting long-term costs.

What sets an SCA certified home brewer apart from other coffee makers?

The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has a program that rigorously tests coffee makers and certifies the ones that perform to their standards. As Jessica Rodriguez, Certifications Program Manager at the SCA explains, “Multiple production units are submitted and tested at 1L and full capacity for adequate brew basket space to hold the SCA Golden Cup ratio of 55g/L, that they can reach and maintain a brewing temperature of 92 – 96C, the total water contact time falls between 4 – 8 minutes, the total dissolved solids of each brew falls between 1.15% – 1.45% and is consistent from extraction to extraction, and that there is good beverage clarity. Submitted brewers are also subjected to a uniformity of extraction test procedure that analyzes the spent coffee bed for the evenness of extraction.” Basically, any SCA certified brewer is proven to produce high-quality, consistent cups of coffee.



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