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Help me pick out a coffee grinder & brewer under $150

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Hey chowhounds!

I want to get a great coffee grinder & brewer programmable coffee maker all-in-one, but I don't want to break the bank. I live alone, so the cup capacity can be fairly small. I don't want to spend more than $150, but I don't want something that's cheap and going to die on me in a couple years. Give me your recs!

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  1. Several possibilities.
    1.Look at yard sales , thrift stores and ebay.
    2. Buy a separate grinder, for the coffee. Less expensive than the all in ones.
    3. Look for sales at the big box stores. Along with coupons for 20 % off 1 item.

    All that being said, we use a french press, or a small black and decker without a timer. If I want coffee first thing in the morning, the following night I set it all up and when I wake up all I do is flick the switch.
    However a purist would poo-poo this since the ground beans were not immideatly brewed.
    If I use the french press, then there is a bit more morning labor, but when you need a good cup of coffee. It seems worthwhile to me.
    .

    1 Reply
    1. re: scharffenberger

      I can second that. I payed $8 for the grinder and $20 for the French Press (and you need a kettle if you do not have one yet). French Press coffee is not espresso but still has a key advantage: The water always comes in truly boiling, there is no such thing as the long death of an aging coffeemaker.

    2. I'd also recommend 2 separate devices. I have a nice little Capresso 4 cup maker that I use most days, and one of the little blade-style grinders. It only takes about a minute or 2 longer to grind the beans in the morning than to scoop pre-ground coffee in. The Capresso cost me $19 on sale at Williams-Sonoma, and it really does a lovely job.

      1. Ah, but my whole point of the venture is to get an all-in-one, so I can set it the night before, and then set the timer, so it grinds and brews my coffee for me before I get up. Yes, I am extremely lazy and rushed in the morning and can barely get dressed, let alone grind beans and make coffee!

        11 Replies
        1. re: reubensandperrier

          I got a Cuisinart all-in-one a few years ago; after a few uses I realized that it was difficult to clean the grinder. I returned it a week later.

          1. re: Nuray

            The Cuisinart all in one is the biggest piece of crap to ever hit the market. I swear to god that I almost threw it out the back door one morning. How they continue to sell it for $150 is beyone me!

            I replaced it with a nice, capresso thermal carafe rig and a separate grinder. I like keeping that grinder dry!

          2. re: reubensandperrier

            I'd still go with two separate machines. At the price point you're looking at, the quality of the grinder in the all in one unit won't be very good. So, you won't lose much by using a high quality grinder the night before and having a separate programmable pot that you set up then.
            We have this http://www.amazon.com/Black-Decker-TC...
            and love it.
            This grinder would be great http://www.wholelattelove.com/Baratza...
            It'd get you to $165 total or so...but you'd have really good setup that would make some excellent coffee.

            1. re: reubensandperrier

              If you go that route, you can also save on alarm clocks since the grinder will wake you up ;-)

              Really, the quality of all-in-ones that grind is not significantly better than if you ground your beans in a separate unit and left them in the filter basket all night in a timed brewer. As others have mentioned, grinders in all-in-ones tend to go before the brewer does, so then you're left with a half-functional, big footprint counter appliance. Really, you're much better off using a separate grinder and brewer.

              The only thing I'd add here is to not get a brewer with a glass carafe - go for a stainless thermal carafe. Your second and third cups will be more enjoyable.

              1. re: Panini Guy

                I totally agree! We have a Capresso all in one with a thermal carafe. It works great. It is $299 but......if you buy it at Williams Sonoma, they have a lifetime policy on all of their products-if it breaks, you bring it back and get a new one.( I have worked there for 10 years and love to make angry or disapointed customers happy when I tell them this. :)

              2. re: reubensandperrier

                If you are extremely lazy as you state, then you will not want to take the time to clean the all in one. I have a Cuisinart and it's the biggest pain in the neck to clean. I'd rather have a regular programmable coffee pot. I would recommend that you get a good burr coffee grinder, not a blade grinder, and a programmable coffee pot.

                http://kokoscorner.typepad.com

                1. re: starkoch

                  The capresso does not have to be cleaned at all. You just whip out the paper filter and move on. The cuisinart is the biggest pain of them all-i agree with that!

                2. re: reubensandperrier

                  Bro is industrial designer and did research for high-end employer about 2-in-1 units. He said that the moisture and steam from the coffee maker side had a detrimental effect on the grinder portion of said unit. Lots of M&R issues and therefore, no coffee was made whilst grinder was in the shop...Get a timer coffee maker and separate grinder, grind the beans and set it up the night before; less hassle than mailing it in for repairs!

                  1. re: WCchopper

                    Grinding beans the night before defeats the entire purpose of grinding your own beans. For best results you should always grind just before you brew. Like leaving sliced bread on the counter, the ground beans will go stale within minutes.

                    1. re: chipman

                      True, but I believe we're using the assumption that for the
                      OP, convenience (laziness?) trumps the need for optimium flavor. To each his own.

                      1. re: chipman

                        As an alternative to sending your maker to the shop and stopping at Starbucks, I suggest the 'grind the night before" option as the lesser of two evils. I think it may not "entirely defeat the purpose" of the fresh grind since the slice of bread is far the worse for wear after a week instead of after 8 hours. The tyrrany of the clock makes pragmatists of us all.

                  2. I had a bad experience with an all-in-one. It was several years ago, so I'm not sure of the make and model. It was a gift. Basically, it was not engineered very well and steam from the coffee brewing process would get into the grinder area. Thus, it always stayed moist - difficult to clean out, and a little gross. Anyway, I'm not saying they all have this problem - but if you go this route, make sure that it keeps the coffee beans/grounds away from the steam.

                    1. We bought a Keurig one-cup at a time brewer that uses the small k-cups recently, and so far, we're happy.

                      We're not big drinkers - but we want good, hot, not burnt and not evaporated, and certainly not reheated coffee when we want it.

                      I'm a big tea drinker and we keep an electric hot pot filled with filtered water. We used the cold drip coffee system for a couple of years for my wife and for my once a day coffee - the cold drip was good because it allowed us to use the hot water pot for coffee as well as tea. But ultimately, even though we got used to it, the cold drip coffee is pretty awful. Every time we went out and had a decent cup of coffee, we were reminded of how awful the cold drip was.

                      The small cups are somewhat expensive. We're buying them for around $12.00 for packs of 25, so that's around 50 cents/cup. There is a decent variety. Green Mountain has many varieties including Paul Newman brands. So far our favorite is Timothy's Coffee Colombian La Vereda. We bought the small adapter and filter basket that allows you to put your own coffee in, and we use that off and on. Keeping the hot pot next to the Keurig next to the burr grinder is getting to be a bit much for countertop space, but we're ok with it for now.

                      It's a question of how much you drink and how important freshness (both of the beans and of the brewed cup) really is to you. Certainly, the cheapest thing you can do is to grind and then use a french press - but if you can afford it, the Keurig is much more convenient. I bought ours at BJ's for $120.

                      1. Reubenandperrier, have you made a purchase?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: scharffenberger

                          After the horrible horrible reviews of the Cuisinart all-in-one, I've decided to do some more research for a diff coffee brewer and grinder. Thanks for the warnings, chowhounds!