Best Home Coffee Maker? For 4-6 cups and safe.
Pre-programming (ie for a wake-up cup) is not necessary and actually not wanted. Just want the best coffee possible from an electric drip or other system that supplies 4-6 cups with one simple procedure. And a safety feature of automatic shut-off after a period of time would be great, as this is for an older couple, who simply want to upgrade to a better cup, from an already above-average maker they have....
I think they're fine with what they have, but this is what they enjoy, a nice, excellent brew in the am, and with no safety hazards, as they are growing into their mid-70's are increasingly more forgetful!
I know you said you wanted something that made 4-6 cups, but I must say that the single serve machines (mine is a Senseo, and I love it to death!) are a good option as well. You can make six individual cups in the time it takes a pot to brew, the coffee is generally really good, and it shuts off after a few minutes of inactivity. Plus, since you're brewing one cup at a time, there is no chance of burning the pot if it's left on because there isn't one. Just a suggestion.....
The Capresso MT500 - thermal carafe, so no hot plate problems. Makes a delicious cup of coffee. You can make 2-12 cups.
I love my Bodum Santos electric vacuum coffee maker.
When I decided to switch from a french press (I kept breaking the glass container) to something else I did some research and found that the vacuum maker is considered by many to be the best way to make drip coffee.
It's extremely easy to use and the coffee comes out delicious every time.
Us too! We've been using one for a month now and it's consistently excellent coffee. My husband hasn't noticed any degradation whether we pour the sitting coffee into a thermal carafe or leave it on the heating unit to stay warm.
I like how minimal it is sitting empty on the counter — you see through everything but a 1/2" base that's the same size as the bottom of the pot! I love that every single part gets washed after each pot so there are never any residual oils going rancid and making coffee bitter. And who could not love the little morning floor show!?
The downside is I'm still looking for the right brush that will get the top of the pot and the stem of the funnel. And you need to be careful not to let water get in the tiny holes in the bottom. I learned that when I started to see some condensation. Now I'm careful and it's evaporated. The grounds get a little messy — I let them dry with the top off the funnel for several hours before I loosen them into the brown paper bag I collect them in to much my azaleas and camellias. By far the worst is getting up sleepy and forgetting to snap the filter into the stem of the funnel. DON'T do that! I solved that by replacing the filter as soon as I wash it and the funnel while I'm fully awake.
Bottom line. Great coffee. Great coffee maker.
Great coffee? Yes, absolutely!
Great coffee maker? I'd have to disagree with you on that one -- big time. I speak from extensive experience on this. It is an elegant, showy, expensive piece of garbage that will make wonderful coffee for as long as it lasts. Which won't be very long if your experience is typical.
To the best of my knowledge, no local store that stocked this product has ever reordered it. The authorized warranty service company here in Canada refuses to sell it in their own stores. It is that bad.
It is not repairable in any way whatsoever. Even nominally replaceable parts, such as the timer in the deluxe model, will not be fixed by Bodum. When it fails during the warranty, you get a no hassle replacement. After that, it's game over.
This was introduced as a Starbucks exclusive, the Utopia. Starbucks abandoned it due, at least in part, to the quality control problems. They turned the warranties over to Bodum.
Bodum USA replaced one unit after another, without any hassle, for about 4 years. (The original warranty from Starbucks was for 2 years.) About a dozen. A couple were DOA; others worked for a while, but all eventually failed. Each failure was for a different reason. Some units failed in ways that made them dangerous to use! Not withstanding all of this hassle, the customer service was extraordinary and the coffee (when a unit worked) was delicious.
Last year, Bodum USA moved from Wisconsin to New York and got an entirely new staff. The no hassle replacements stopped. I did manage to get a final replacement unit after an argument that wasn't worth the time and stress involved. It died after 4 months of light use.
If you already have an electric Santos, I hope your luck is better.
As to cleaning, the easiest way to clean the grounds from the filter is to simply reverse flush it down the drain by running hot water from the bottom of the funnel. Whether this is ecologically appropriate seems to depend on the enviro politics of where you live. You shouldn't have ANY difficulty finding a brush that can easily clean the stem. The inside of the carafe is another matter. There is no readily available cleaning tool that can do this job.
I love my small (4-cup) Cuisinart coffee maker. The coffee comes out very hot (I look for that!) & keeps it hot, it has a cone filter (I also look for that) and it turns itself off in 30 mins. (something I was very much looking for as well!) I find it perfect for 1 or 2 people. Not expensive, compact and good looking (black with a stainless steel carafe).
I have a Cuisinart as well. For a drip machine, it makes remarkably flavorful coffee, although I must caution that I find its basket capacity somewhat limited, providing you use the conventional measure of 2 tablespoons of bean (before grinding) for each 6 oz cup of drip grind coffee.
I must say I love French press coffee the most, but the Cuisinart gives French press a run for its money.
I have a zojirushi thermal pot coffee maker which I LOVE. it does have a timer function, but you can choose to use it or not. And because it doesn't have a heating element, there's no need to worry about automatic shutoff features -- it simply finishes brewing and that's it. The coffee stays hot for ages, and I think the quality of the brew is really truly excellent. (I'm picky.) It has a 10 cup capacity, but I regularly just brew 4 or 6 cups (sometimes just 2 cups). This is by far the best coffee maker I've had -- it's totally reliable and easy to clean. Some reviewers on amazon dislike the lid design, but I haven't had any problems with it. It takes size 4 coffee filters, though I think it's designed for a slightly smaller japanese filter size. The top of the filter sticks up a tiny bit over the basket, but this has no effect whatsoever on the functionality of the machine. It's VERY easy to use and intuitive. Here's a link to the particular version I have.
Best of luck in finding the right machine!