If you don’t have a good coffee maker, now is probably a good time to get one. As much as we love making a meticulously handcrafted pour-over, sometime we just want to press a button, hop in the shower, and come back to a perfect cup of coffee. Unfortunately, the large majority of consumer coffee makers out there are pretty terrible at making coffee.
Essentially, an automatic drip coffee maker has one job: spray hot water over the coffee grounds. Turns out, it’s easier said than done. SCA standards call for a water temperature between 92-96° C (195-205° F) and a total brew time of no more than 8 minutes (ideally 4-6 minutes for a 1 liter brew). Most consumer coffee makers don’t get the water hot enough and take too long to brew. That combination of short comings create that trademark flat, astringent flavor you might associate with your parents’ coffee pot.
Thankfully, the SCA Certified Home Brewer Program helps us know what coffee makers make the cut. Although we haven’t gotten our hand on all of them, two coffee makers far and away are the most popular models for coffee nerds: the Technivorm Moccamaster and the Bonavita 1900. Both have their pros and cons, but continue to set the standard for automatic drip coffee makers.
The Technivorm Moccamaster is one of the most iconic coffee makers ever made. The family-owned company still manufactures their machines in the Netherlands. It’s even been dubbed the best automatic drip coffee maker by America’s Test Kitchen. In addition to being a beautiful machine, the Technivorm has some of the best temperature performance in the game. Our Moccamaster gets daily use in our home, and also come in a wide array of colors.
Pros: Classic design. Great temperature consistency and speed.
Cons: Water distribution less than even– leaves a large crater in the middle of the brew bed unless you stir the slurry.
Tip: Run a bit of water through the brewer to pre-heat the metal spray head and rinse the paper filter.
One of the most important features for a coffee brewer is the water dispersion, and the Bonavita 1900 series boasts a really impressive spray head. Even water distribution means a flat brew bed, and a flat brew bed means a more even extraction (i.e. a fuller, sweeter cup of coffee). In fact, the Bonavita 1900 series offers some of the most even brew beds we’ve seen from a home brewer, despite being one of the cheapest SCA-certified brewers.
Pros: Much cheaper than other SCA-certified coffee makers. Great water distribution.
Cons: Slightly cheaper build quality sometimes leads to longevity issues in certain models.
Tip: Use water under 150 ppm total hardness to avoid scale and extend the life of your brewer.
Paired with a good grinder, both the Techniworm Moccamaster and Bonavita 1900 series make a great cup of coffee. Our blogging teams owns both, and we couldn’t imagine being stuck at home without them.