Although Mr. Coffee is probably a pretty nice guy, he just isn’t suitable for folks who want a premium at-home coffee experience. Coffee connoisseurs may not always be interested in a fancy espresso drink. Sometimes they simply want a lovely cup of coffee made from a fine bean which has been brewed well.
A premium coffee brewer provides options which are essential for pulling out the finest flavors from perfectly roasted beans. There are several features which make the difference between an average coffee machine and an excellent one.
• Water Temperature. One of the main necessities in brewing an excellent cup of joe is the appropriate water temperature. Ranging between 190 and 210 degrees F is the optimal spot. This is why many at home brewers just can’t keep up with the taste – they simply cannot get the water to a hot enough temperature. At around 150 degrees, the flavors of beans cannot be extracted in a way that produces the best results.
• Water Flow. Instead of shooting thin stream of water directly through the middle of the grounds, a higher end coffee maker will take advantage of a shower effect. This allows the water to be evenly distributed throughout the grounds, providing the best results. Some of the premium machines even allow for a short pre-soak which lets the grounds “bloom” to release carbon dioxide and allow the beans to be fully saturated.
• Brewing Time. When the water is at the optimal heat temperature, the brewing time is limited to the ideal length of around 5-6 minutes. This is not simply to do with impatient coffee drinkers, but truly affects the end product. Because of their lower temperatures, lower end coffee makers must brew much more slowly, which tends to result in bitterness and a muddy flavor profile.
Depending on the particular model chosen, there may be other bells and whistles involved in a premium appliance. People have varying opinions on thermal or glass carafes, warmers, and timers. However water temperature, flow, and brewing time are the most vital parts of brewing a great cup of coffee.
Just as with any type of appliance, there is a wide gap of price ranges depending on features and how much you are able to spend. A few of the most affordable premium coffee brewers run between $150 and $300, but of course it is always possible to spend much more.
Top choice for the best overall premium coffee maker, the Bhemor Brazen has many excellent features without the terrible sticker shock. Running around $200, this well-calibrated machine has adjustable water temperature, automatic elevation temperature control, thermal carafe to secure heat but not scorch, saturation sprayhead, pre-soak function, auto timer, steady brew temp with tank/boiler together, and large grounds basket perfect for blooming (although paper cones are an options also). Also, you can brew directly into your own vessel/cup if preferred. Because this brewer was designed by a roasting company (and not a small appliance company), it was carefully designed over four years’ time with the best ability to draw out the perfect taste of the beans.
Slightly higher in the out-of-pocket category, the Moccamaster runs around $300. This machine brews at a consistent 200 degrees, up to ten cups at a time, in just under five minutes. Features include drip stop filter basket, thermal carafe, paper cone or gold filters, rotatable sprayhead, and copper heating element. Produced in the Netherlands, each machine is hand assembled for precision. Also, for the tree huggers out there, Technivorm is dedicated to sustainability practices in business, using recyclable or degradable materials in the manufacturing of their long-lasting products—in order to keep the landfills empty and your pockets full of money.
Bonavita BV1800 Brewer
On the budget end of the premium brewers is this slightly more affordable (and probably slight less durable) home brewer at under $150. Brewing around eight cups of coffee in between five and six minutes, there is a hot plate option or a thermal carafe option. Maintaining a consistent water temp of between 195 and 201 degrees F, it offers a showerhead to provide even saturation of grounds as well as vents on top of the grounds basket to prevent condensation problems. Recommended use with paper filters, Bonavita machines are also European designed.
Finding the perfect premium coffee maker for your home can make all of the difference in your day. It is a small investment when considering how often you will use it and how much enjoyment it will bring to you, your family, and your guests. Make sure you invest in decent burr based coffee grinder to get the best results!