Making coffee is an art. I say that because one can’t simply hand everyone the same coffee pot and away we go. I have met coffee snobs (I am one). I have met plain jane drinkers who wouldn’t touch a cup of really good coffee simply because they are comfortable with their Folgers and are afraid of the price.
The first step in purchasing the best is to establish a price range. Unless you’ve recently sold off your questionably priced Facebook stock and get confused by costs requiring less than five digits you need to set a price that you can really afford and find the best coffee pot in that price range. Today we are going to look at coffee maker’s priced under $100.
At this price range the best rated coffee maker’s one can find are all around the Benjamin mark. I’m going to divide them into two categories. Bunn style drip coffee makers and otherwise. Bunn coffee maker’s use the distinctive design that everyone who has worked in an office not completely overcome by snootiness knows.
Preheated water kept in reservoir. New water is added pushing hot water out into paper filter brew basket. Coffee is made at blistering speed (presumably to shorten time employees can waste waiting around for the brew) and good little workers are sent on their way with their cup of Folgers to toil tirelessly on meaningless tasks.
For all of you fortunate enough to live in the insufferably privileged world where they pay for your Keurig and your k-cups. Well, I have nothing. Your familiar is next week’s edition of $150 coffee pots.
On to business. The brand of the hour is Cuisinart. The reason. They make good coffee and they make a lot of good pots under $100 if only barely. Before today I would have wholeheartedly recommended the DCC-1200. It has fantastic reviews. There are a lot of people who actually rave that it makes better coffee than the standard pot–I might be one of them. I bought mine back in 2010 and looking at the reviews today I see a frightening number of reports of loud nasty popping followed by smoke. *sigh* I really wanted to recommend the thing as the only coffee maker that you needed to look at.
First up we have the: Cuisinart DCC-2650
It gets fantastic reviews and the biggest complaint it gets is that it isn’t worth the price difference between it and the DCC-1200. I found that a little odd considering one of the bigger complaints with the 1200 was the lack of see-able water level. The 2650 has a clear water gauge which allows you to see exactly where the water level is. Personally I never quite got that. I use my carafe to measure out the water…water in….coffee out….wash carafe….repeat. This fixes that problem in any case, you can see exactly where the water level is.
- It also has an auto shutoff feature so you don’t burn coffee into your carafe (we do that at work a lot with our Bunn).
- It includes a handful of paper filters but also a gold tone metal filter.
- It advertises that it is “Extreme” for faster brewing, but if you want fast coffee buy a Bunn silly.
- This brews good coffee. I swear! I don’t know if it is the filter, or the process, or what have you but it brews a better pot.
Next up we have: Cuisinart DGB-650BC
There is really very little difference between this model and the one before it. Except this puppy grinds the coffee for you…right before it makes it….it’s like having one of those British Butler’s in the movies only he doesn’t tell you that he didn’t want to come back when you ran off and left him and then smiles when he sees you at that cafe in Italy, after you fire him of course.
The caveat on the grinder is that it is rather loud. Some people find this atrocious, others couldn’t care less–free alarm clock. But you’ve been warned. Other than that it makes the same delightful cup of coffee as the 2650 and if you find you can’t stand the grind it lets you use pre-ground coffee just fine.
Third on the list: Cuisinart DCC-3000
This does coffee a little differently. Instead of having a carafe to pour from the coffee goes into an internal reservoir and you dispense it into your chosen carrier of joy. It still makes a great cup of joe (which is the big thing that sets Cusinart apart) but the internal coffee is kept too hot so to get a really good cup you need to dispense it all within the first hour. There is no carafe and you would have to be careful that any you wanted to use in conjunction would be short enough to fit underneath the spout.
Fourth: Hamilton Beach Two Way Brewer
It does both single serve and 12 cup carafe. The best of both worlds. People don’t rave about the coffee from this machine, they rave about how convenient it is. Cuisinart brews a better cup of joe, but too often there are that handful of people who have a problem with theirs, or don’t like some design. This coffee maker just works. Not the world’s best cup of joe, but its reliable, versatile, and solidly built. Plus no one actually complains about the coffee, and if you want really good coffee you need a French Press.
Krups makes a seriously good product, the reviews are very good, and it keeps coffee at the right temperature a long time. There aren’t a lot of reviews out on it yet, but they are all good so far. The only quibble with this machine is the filling process for the water. Oh, and it’s made out of plastic but if you don’t like plastic a single Benjamin just isn’t going to cut it.
- The jug it pours into is thermally insulated which is a much better way to keep your coffee warm than the glass carafes all the other ones are using.
- It also has a water level gauge so you know exactly how much coffee you are making.
I don’t consider any of them perfect. Cuisinart brews better coffee, the Hamilton just works, and the Krups is built by a great maker and keeps it at the prime temperature which of course is HOT.
If you want to drop down a Benjamin, or a pair of Grant’s, or even five Jackson’s it is hard to go wrong with one of these.