This guide is intended to provide you with exhaustive information on drip coffee makers, the way they operate and the features you should bear in mind when making a purchase. Read our comprehensive review of TOP-7 best drip coffee makers as well as valuable tips from baristas on how to make the perfect coffee. Apart from automatic machines, there are also manual brewing methods, turning the process into some sort of art. We have picked up several video tutorials so that you could learn it step-by-step.

Coffee is one of those things that most adults can’t imagine functioning without. It’s the fuel to launch us all in the morning and bring the clarity of mind and a little burst of energy we need to cope. It’s also a delightful compliment to desserts and a social lubricant for those situations where alcohol is unideal.

However, as many may be aware, there are a few different ways which coffee may be produced. The oldest method is pour-over – heating water to near boiling, and pouring it into a filtered funnel full of ground beans. In the 1800s, as coffee became something of every man’s drink in western culture, percolation became the main way to handle it – causing water to boil and rise into the chamber containing the coffee, and back down. This methodology was easy to do with primitive facilities such as on a stove, or over a fire. Yes, basic percolators are how cowboys made their coffee.

Drip coffee makers are the standard in both homes and restaurants these days. They’re not something new, having been around in homes since at least the 1960s, and there are a host of ways that this technology can be implemented, though the basics are the same.

What You Will Learn From This Guide:

How A Drip Coffee Maker Works. Explaining The Technologies Behind

Drip coffee makers work fairly simply. A tank is filled with water, and a basket/filter is filled with coffee grounds. The carafe (pot) sits below the basket. Once turned on, the water is heated to peak temperature, and either rise by thermal convection or is pumped electronically, into the basket. It is done in spurts, allowing the water to settle into the grounds, and then gravity to cause it to drip down into the carafe, no longer water, but coffee.

Sophisticated drip coffee makers can have digital controllers to set cup size, take single serving coffee units (Keurig are famous for this), have timers, and even connect to IOT networks these days.

My Personal Experience With Drip Coffee Makers

I am a coffee addict. I drink at least 3 cups a day, sometimes more. I cannot imagine functioning, especially when I first wake up, without a very strong, very hot cup of coffee. Now, while I do enjoy specialty blend coffees (Caribou is delightful), I’m no snob, and generally drink Folger’s dark roast, which is actually quite good.

I’ve had my share of coffee makers over the years, and I valued capacity/speed over everything else. The bells and whistles rarely mattered much to me. However, a few years back, my elderly neighbor, who’d quit drinking coffee for health reasons, gave me her Keurig when my old coffee maker died.

It was neat in principle, but having to brew one cup at a time, and the menacing noises it made, got on my nerves. It eventually died, because it had a ridiculously-overwrought computer controller in it became irreparably confused.

My take away with this is, bells and whistles are nice, but be wary of overly-complex controllers and circuitry, because things can go wrong with them that cannot be fixed. Those Keurigs are expensive machines, as well. So there was probably a couple hundred dollars down the drain when its computer couldn’t be properly reset.

I now have a Mr. Coffee with a basic timer and a couple temperature/cup strength settings. There’s not much that can go wrong with it, and it beeps audibly when the coffee is done. It’s quiet while it brews, and I am quite happy with it.

What To Look For When Buying

There are a lot of factors to consider nowadays when buying a drip coffee maker. Coffee isn’t just coffee anymore. Before we go over our favorite five drip coffee makers, let’s address a few of these, and allow me to share some experience.

  • Temperature Range – You want adjustable temperatures depending on your coffee. Some coffees are intended to be brewed at higher or lower temperatures, and if you’re adding anything (spirits, creamer, etc.) to it, having it too hot can really ruin what’s going into it.
  • Cup Capacity – Honestly, you don’t want a single-cup machine. That’s my beef with Keurig, their standard models do a cup at a time, and if you’re anything like me, you want at least two cups at a time, and don’t want to have to run the machine that hard, to get them.
  • Multiple Settings – Settings for how strong you want your coffee are always nice, because this can vary from drinker to drinker, and one type of coffee to the next as well.
  • The Number of Extra Features – Additional things like timers, alarms, and other accouterments can be nice. These don’t really add to the price of a coffee maker these days, either.
  • Noise Produced – Some machines are loud and make menacing noises. I like a quiet coffee maker, myself.
  • Brewing Time – You can only brew coffee so fast due to chemistry and physics, but some are faster than others, and I don’t like waiting long for my first cup of coffee of a morning.
  • Carafe Quality – You want a nice carafe, with clearly marked levels.
  • Attractive Design – You want your kitchen and appliances to look good, and your coffee maker should not be an exception.
  • Ease of Use – Features are nice, but it shouldn’t take a degree in engineering to use these, especially the first thing of a morning.
  • Ease of Cleaning – It should be easy to clean your coffee maker, and yes, you do need to clean it now and then.

TOP 7 Best Drip Coffee Makers

Although most models are automatic and seem to be similar, there are features that make them different. Apart from design and material these appliances are made of, you should look at the unit’s capacity which is the number of cups it can fill with coffee. In addition, such features as strength and temperature adjustment matter as well. So below, you will find 5 most popular drip coffee makers within the price range of $50-$300. Some models are simpler while others are more complex and pricier.

Drip Coffee Maker With A Unique Design | Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG

Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG: photo

This one’s definitely unique, though it’s simple in its operation. Simplicity is something to be appreciated, though I won’t lie, the design aesthetic of this one bugs me.

Features

  • Capacity: 40oz/10 Cups.
  • Temperature Adjustment: Two burner modes.
  • Pump Method: Electronic.
  • Strength Adjustment: None.
  • Carafe Markings: None.
  • Coffee Types: Any except instant.
  • Alarm: None.
  • Noise Level: Low.
  • Material: Polished Silver (aluminum/plastic/steel).

Performance

This will brew a quality cup of coffee and has an automatic burner shut off after 100 minutes, to prevent your coffee from burning. It has a half or full burner heat option and is very easy to use. I don’t like the art piece modular design of this one though, something about it doesn’t sit right with me.

Pros Cons
  • Simple to use.
  • Decent cup capacity.
  • Automatic shut off.
  • Quiet.
  • Pretty fast.
  • No strength or heat control.
  • Goofy form factor.
  • No alarm.
  • No timer.

Conclusion

I’ve had coffee made by other Technivorm coffee makers, and they put out a good cup of coffee. This is a simple solution, but for the simplicity, and for the kind of goofy form factor, I think it’s a bit overpriced. Still, I’d recommend it to someone who likes unique but simple designs. There’s a market for this kind of design, I just don’t happen to be part of it.

Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG: Check the current price

Stylish Drip Coffee Maker | OXO

OXO: photo

This is a modern, elegant coffee maker with a nice polished metal carafe. The microcontroller allows control of heat, strength, capacity, and timing.

Features

  • Capacity: 9 Cups.
  • Temperature Adjustment: Yes.
  • Pump Method: Electronic.
  • Strength Adjustment: Yes.
  • Carafe Markings: None.
  • Coffee Types: Any except instant.
  • Alarm: Yes.
  • Noise Level: Low.
  • Material: Polished Silver (aluminum/plastic/steel) and black onyx plastic.

Performance

As wary as I am of computer-controlled coffee makers, this one’s simple enough I don’t see it being irreparably scrambled. While open-modular designs do usually bug me, this one actually looks kind of neat, and it’s very adjustable.

Pros Cons
  • Simple.
  • Very adjustable.
  • Looks neat.
  • Nice carafe.
  • No carafe markings.
  • Bridge to basket looks a bit fragile.

Conclusion

This is an interesting, modern design. While, as I said, I usually don’t like these open/modular designs, this one I’m more open to. It’s also way cheaper than the Technivorm, with more features. If I wanted a more feature-rich maker, I’d probably consider this one. I recommend it if you want a fancy coffee maker.

OXO: Check the current price

Classic Drip Coffee Maker | Cuisinart DCC-3200BKS

Cuisinart DCC-3200BKS: photo

This is the classic coffee maker form factor, with an attractive finish, adjustable timer, and adjustable coffee strength and heat. It offers a completion alarm, time display, and even has a cleaning function.

Features

  • Capacity: 4 Cups.
  • Temperature Adjustment: Yes.
  • Pump Method: Electronic.
  • Strength Adjustment: Yes.
  • Carafe Markings: None.
  • Coffee Types: Any except instant.
  • Alarm: Yes.
  • Noise Level: Low.
  • Material: Black stainless steel.

Performance

This is a lot like my Mr. Coffee, though it’s a bit newer, and you know with a name like Cuisinart, you’re getting some build quality and durability. This might be my next one when the Mr. Coffee (which I remain fond of and am in no hurry of seeing go) does finally die.

Pros Cons
  • Programmable.
  • Classic form factor.
  • Attractive finish.
  • Cuisinart quality.
No carafe markings.

Conclusion

If you want a classic coffee maker in form factor and operation, with more programmability and adjustability, I wholeheartedly recommend this attractive Cuisinart offering.

Cuisinart DCC-3200BKS: Check the current price

10-Cup Drip Coffee Maker For Home | Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee: photo

This is a commercial-style coffee maker but intended for home use. This isn’t the Mr. Coffee I have, which is more like the Cuisinart we looked at a moment ago. But, it’s nice, especially if you entertain a lot.

Features

  • Capacity: 10 Cups.
  • Temperature Adjustment: Yes.
  • Pump Method: Electronic.
  • Strength Adjustment: Yes.
  • Carafe Markings: None.
  • Coffee Types: Any except instant.
  • Alarm: Yes.
  • Noise Level: Low.
  • Material: Silver stainless steel.

Performance

If you need a large volume of coffee throughout the day, this is a high-capacity, industrial solution that works quite well for those needs.

Pros Cons
  • Programmable.
  • High-capacity.
  • Durable.
No carafe markings.

Conclusion

For those with a higher-capacity and durability need, a commercial quality brought in by this is definitely something I’d be happy to recommend. It’s a little much for me, even with my coffee addiction, but I live alone.

Mr. Coffee: Check the current price

Drip Coffee Maker for Busy Families | Hamilton Beach 49980A

Hamilton Beach 49980A: photo

This is designed for professional families. Need some for the house, and a cup to go? This is a solution for both while providing the programmability everyone wants from a modern coffee maker.

Features

  • Capacity: 10 Cups.
  • Temperature Adjustment: Yes.
  • Pump Method: Electronic.
  • Strength Adjustment: Yes.
  • Carafe Markings: Yes.
  • Coffee Types: Any except instant.
  • Alarm: Yes.
  • Noise Level: Low.
  • Material: Silver stainless steel.

Performance

If I had a daily commute, the single serve (with nice thermos) would be a welcome feature, while still being able to brew a normal pot while home. Hamilton Beach is a name in appliances like these, so like with Mr. Coffee and Cuisinart, you know you’re getting quality just by the name alone.

Pros Cons
  • Programmable.
  • High-capacity.
  • Single serve feature.
  • Hamilton Beach quality.
Bulky.

Conclusion

If you’re busy and need both on-the-go and standard brewing features, I highly recommend this one. It’s more than I need, but there was a time in my life when I totally would’ve loved these features.

Hamilton Beach 49980A: Check the current price

What is the Difference Between the Taste of Coffee from Manual Drippers and Drip Coffee Maker Machines?

The simple answer is, there’s generally not that much difference in the taste, when simply comparing the two. However, you have a lot more control over the brewing process with manual coffee makers.

Read also: TOP 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers 2019.

In a power outage, I’ve had to make coffee without a machine, and I did notice a distinct taste difference because I actually put less water/coffee grounds in the ratio, and heated the water significantly higher due to open flames. However, this resulted in it being a tad scorched in taste, or so I thought.

Manual drips also mean that you can blend coffees more easily, if you’re like my friend, the self-appointed “coffee alchemist”. He likes to take several different coffees, and mix the grounds in different ratios to produce unique flavors. This is hard to do with a machine, because they like to separate or not mix properly when you leave it up to a circuit board.

When you do manual dripping or pouring, you can actively stir the grounds, and you can regulate the flow of the water in unique ways.

So, ultimately, the difference is only there if you want it to be, but there are advantages to having manual methods around, such as the previously-mentioned power outages, or if your machine fails and you need a cup of joe before you go get a replacement.

What are Some Alternate Ways to Brew Coffee?

Coffee is about the moments you share across a table, your everyday life. And it is a pity to waste these moments on bad coffee. Before anything else, you should learn to appreciate coffee and only then you will change your approach to making it.

Over the past decade, pour-over as a method has become increasingly popular in the US. And in 2017, The New York Times featured a comprehensive article, trying to look at coffee brewing from another angle. This is not just about making a drink, the article says. This is about culture, preferring the ritual over convenience. Surprisingly, it is Japan, a country where tea ceremony traditions are highly valued, that is among the main exporters of key components for pour-over — grinders, drip cones, kettles. These items are inexpensive, functional and wonderful but they bring back the style to the art of brewing coffee.

Starbucks’ step-by-step video tutorial | Hario Dripper

Look at this Starbucks’ step-by-step video tutorial on how to brew perfect pour-over coffee with Hario Dripper.

This is something of an art in brewing coffee! Every step is important and there is nothing trifling. First, you pre-wet the filter. You should use the coffee ground for a paper cone resembling granulated sugar. A recommended proportion is 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 oz of water. Fill the cone with hot water which should be just off the boil. The cone needs to be filled halfway so that the grounds are saturated enough. Then make a pause for several seconds and let the coffee bloom so that it can develop flavor.

So there are a few other ways besides a machine, to brew coffee. I myself have had to brew coffee in the most primitive way imaginable, when hurricane Irma knocked my power out. I was lucky – our outage was short compared to other areas (less than 24 hours). I was going to have that hot cup of coffee, come hell or high water.

I took a rag, and put it in a bowl of isopropyl alcohol, and lit it ablaze. I held another metal bowl above this flame, filled with hot water until it neared boiling. Then, I lined a funnel, atop a carafe, with a paper towel, and slowly introduced the water through the grounds, to produce hot coffee.

This is the basic principle behind manual drip coffee makers, though usually, you heat the water on a stove or in a microwave. Another idea is the “French press press”, which is ideal for something like camping. You pour the water and grounds into a chamber, and then press down. A mesh plunges down, preventing grounds, but letting the water (now coffee) through.

I know a couple people whom actually make their coffee by stirring coffee grounds into boiling water, letting it saturate, and then pouring the brew through a very fine strainer. The advantage here is, maximum saturation and strength, but it seems to me like this would be messy.

What are Some Tips from a Barista on how to Brew Coffee Properly?

I have a friend who used to work, for several years, as a barista. I asked him for some tips, regardless your brewing technology. Here are a few important factors he laid out.

  • Temperature – The heat of the water can affect flavor, and it depends on the coffee you’re making. Hotter water tends to produce stronger coffee, but can damage delicate flavor notes.
  • Speed – While you want your coffee quickly, sometimes a slightly slower brew also helps to produce a stronger blend, while preserving the flavors.
  • Ratios – I like my coffee black, but a lot of people like to add things like flavor infusions, creamer, sugar etc. You have to factor that a cup will be smaller (as far as plain coffee), and your strength goals will need to account for this.
  • Timing – Speed isn’t the only time concern with coffee. If it goes cold, heating it up ruins it, but at the same time, keeping it under constant heat will eventually cause it to become bitter, stale, and unpleasant as well. So, you want to keep an eye on how long it’s been sitting, and how fresh it is.

Tutorial on using Chemex

Look at a video tutorial on using Chemex brewer by Ty Beddingfield, a master barista at Buddy Brew Coffee in Florida.

He reveals the secret of quality coffee and why the filter is that important. Using this method, you can control all the elements that define the quality of the coffee.

The Best Manual Brewing Units

Straightforward Coffee Dripper | Hario V60

Hario V60: photo

This ceramic manual pour/drip unit is great for camping, or if you’re experimental with your brewing techniques.

Features

  • Capacity: Varies.
  • Material: ceramic.

Performance

This ceramic manual dripper has a very tasteful appearance. This allows it to fit in, in a kitchen where everything looks nice, and if you brew in front of company, it has a bit of decorum compared to more rustic solutions. It cleans easily, and is dishwasher safe.

Pros Cons
  • Attractive.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Standard material.
  • Handle to prevent burns.
Fragile.

Conclusion

I recommend every coffee drinker have one of these around, for power outages and whatnot. Even if you don’t experiment with your brewing techniques that much, you never know when you might not be able to rely on your machine. Power outages suck enough without coffee withdrawal, after all.

Hario V60: Check the current price

Elegant Pour-over Glass Coffeemaker | Chemex

Chemex: photo

This one is a bit more elegant, with its mix of natural materials and tasteful glass. It’s higher-capacity with its own carafe at the base. It’s fully dishwasher safe, and a little less fragile than the ceramic material.

Features

  • Capacity: 8 cups.
  • Material: Wood and Glass.

Performance

This one is nice for entertainment. If you have guests, you can put this out, and pour the water in at the table, producing excellent, utterly fresh coffee served right after completion. It’s an attractive unit, which helps with that as well.

Pros Cons
  • Attractive.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Great for table serving.
Fragile.

Conclusion

I have a unit very similar to this, though it has faux granite in place of the wood. I only use it in emergencies, and it was gifted to me by someone who witnessed my isopropyl fire brewing method after Irma. I recommend this one, as you can feel civilized while using a primitive brewing method.

Chemex: Check the current price

Still cannot choose what you like best?

Look at this comparison video Chemex vs. Hario V60 showing the difference between both methods. These are different types of pour-over but at the end of the day very similar.

Comparative Chart of Coffee Maker Effectiveness

Product Features

Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG

Capacity: 10 Cups.
Two modes of temperature adjustment.
Electronic pump method.
Any coffee types except instant.
Low noise level.
Effectiveness: 9

OXO

Capacity: 9 Cups.
Temperature and strength adjustment, alarm.
Electronic pump method.
Low noise level.
Any coffee types except instant.
Effectiveness: 9

Cuisinart DCC-3200BKS

Capacity: 4 Cups.
Temperature and strength adjustment, alarm.
Electronic pump method.
Low noise level.
Any coffee types except instant.
Effectiveness: 7

Mr. Coffee

Capacity: 10 Cups.
Temperature and strength adjustment, alarm.
Electronic pump method.
Low noise level.
Any coffee types except instant.
Effectiveness: 10

Hamilton Beach 49980A

Capacity: 10 Cups.
Temperature and strength adjustment, alarm.
Electronic pump method.
Low noise level.
Any coffee types except instant.
Effectiveness: 10

Hario V60

Ceramic coffee dripper with a with a varying capacity

Chemex

A coffee maker made of wood and glass with a capacity of 8 cups

F.A.Q. On Using Drip Coffee Makers

Which model makes the hottest coffee?
Probably the Hamilton Beach.

How long do drip coffee makers last?
This can vary, but you should at least get 5 years out of them with proper care.

What coffee maker does Starbucks use?
They use a proprietary coffee maker. It varies depending on region – some are done by Bunn, some by Mr. Coffee, a few by unknown brands.

How to clean the appliance?
Running hot water through them is the best option. Some people put vinegar through, but I myself find vinegar to be a horrible substance, and feel the need to run about five pots of hot water through after, to make darn sure it’s out if I use it, so I avoid vinegar.

Which drip coffee maker is the best?
This is a bit subjective, but I’m fond of that Cuisinart.

Pros & Cons Of Using

Pros

  • Easy.
  • Fast.
  • Standardized.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • They can break.
  • They can be a nuisance to clean.
  • They’re power hungry.
  • Some would argue the quality of coffee isn’t as good as press/pour over. I don’t see it.

Conclusion

I am confident one of these will meet your needs. I like that Mr. Coffee and the OXO myself. At the end of the day, it depends on your taste in aesthetic, and how picky you are about how your coffee is brewed. With a few exceptions, the extra features are pretty standard across the board.