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Best coffee maker under $75?

Looks like my coffee maker is on the fritz. What do you recommend for under $75? There is only me, but I am a 2 cupper, as I take coffee to work. I like to grind my own beans, have grinder. Need one that doesn't take forever, as I make fresh coffee every morning, as I am always running late for work. Thanks!

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  1. Cook's Illustrated reviewed inexpensive coffee makers in Apr 2007. Here are the ones in their Recommended category:

    Black & Decker SmartBrew 12-Cup Coffeemaker model DCM2000

    Braun AromaDeluxe model KF 510

    Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable model VBX23

    CI Recommended with Reservations category:

    Cuisinart Programmable Filter Brew 12-Cup Coffeemaker model DCC-1000

    Delonghi Caffe Elite model DC76T

    Proctor Silex 12-Cup Programmable model 48574

    I don't own any of them. We use a french press.

    From a CI review of more expensive coffee makers in Sep 2008 one model near $ 75 is recommended with reservations:

    Krups 10-Cup Programmable Thermal Coffee Machine Model Number FMF5.

    It was simple to use but lost points for too-slow and slightly too-hot brewing according to the review at CI.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Antilope

      That Cuisinart is a piece of junk (word moderated). Personal experience. Made terrible coffee and died in 8 months.

    2. French press.

      If you're already grinding at home it's pretty easy. When you get up, grind beans and put on kettle. Do something and come back in a few minutes. Start coffee brewing and set timer. Go do some other stuff. When the timer goes off, pour into cup or thermos and you're done. Less size, less waste and easy clean up. 10 - 15 mins. max.


      3 Replies
      1. re: Davwud

        I agree. We couldn't find a coffee maker that made a good tasting cup of coffee. About 5 years ago we switched to a french press. Tests of coffeemakers show that most don't brew hot enough or long enough for a good cup of coffee.

        We use an electric hot pot to heat water to boiling(a couple of minutes) and brew 4-minutes in french press.

        1. re: Antilope

          Ah, a fellow CI acolyte.

          Remember you're never supposed to pour boiling water on the grounds or you can extract off flavors. The temp of the water should be around 200 when it hits the coffee. What that means in practical terms is that I bring my kettle to boiling, then when it whistles I open the pot (both the pouring spout and the main opening where you pour the water). 30-45 seconds later the temp is correct (I've verified it with my CI approved Thermapen :), stir with a chopstick, and brew for 4 minutes.

          The only other consideration is water:coffee. I've found that my Zassenhaus (coarse grind) when filled full with whole beans grinds enough to brew 1/2 a medium sized Bodum French press (enough for 2 large cups of coffee, or 4 smaller ones).


          Mr Taster

        2. re: Davwud

          2nd French press. Mr OCAnn is a two-cupper and takes his to go:

          They now have a stainless steel version available too.

        3. I've been using a Farberwear percolator and it makes delicious coffee in a hurry.

          1. Moka pot (typically a Bialetti), especially as you grind your own beans. Check out this recent thread
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719198. The link to the piece in theatlantic is worth a look, taking the trouble to use a moka pot properly makes a lot of difference to the quality.

            1. Diane in Bexley: "What do you recommend for under $75?"

              http://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Santos-St... You will have >$15 left over.

              Makes more flavorful coffee than either an electric drip or a French press.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Politeness

                We had a couple Bodum Santos. I agree that it makes great tasting coffee and provides a floorshow to boot! I liked that all the parts that touch coffee can go in the dishwasher and get a thorough cleaning.

                But eventually something happens to the thermostat and you'll find that the warmer boils your brewed coffee. Boiled coffee -- YUCK!! Happened to both machines. Sur la Table was wonderful about replacing the first one that did it. By the time the second one started malfunctioning they had stopped carrying them because of all the replacements they'd had to make.

                Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. They're GREAT when they're working.

                1. re: rainey

                  rainey: "We had a couple Bodum Santos. ... But eventually something happens to the thermostat ..."

                  Then you did not have a Bodum Santos; you had a Bodum ELECTRIC Santos, a different beast altogether. The Bodum Santos has no thermostat, as it gets heated from an external source (like atop a gas range); also the Bodum Santos is glass, where the Bodum Electric Santos is polycarbonate.

                  rainey: "Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. They're GREAT when they're working."

                  The glass of the Bodum Santos can break, but as it lacks any "mechanism," there is nothing that can be "not working."

                  1. re: Politeness

                    Actually, it *was* a Bodum Santos -- at least that was how it was sold by Bodum at the time. And it came with a small, low profile brewer/warmer that looked a bit like a hotplate. The top was polycarbonate. The bottom portion was glass.

                    I had hoped to insert a link to it but it appears that Bodum is no longer making or selling it. I can understand why tho I wish they had been able to correct the problem with the timer or thermostat in the electric unit. It was, when it was working, a great coffee maker.

                    1. re: rainey

                      To the wayback machine, Sherman!

                      The electric Santos was cleverly sold with the exact same name as the manual Santos, which both pre-dated and existed after the electric version was discontinued (around 2006 or 2007, IIRC). You can still buy the manual Santos today:

              2. Although french press is a solid option, I think Chemex is the way to go. The deciding factor for me is the mouthfeel; press coffee is just not smooth enough for me in the morning. I also find the french press screens to be a pain to get as clean as I would like.

                To be fair, the Chemex requires some babysitting.

                You can't go too wrong with either.

                1. If you're open to something low tech this cone brewer makes great coffee for $15: http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria...

                  Given the price, it wouldn't break anyone's bank to get 2 so you can brew a cup for brekkies and one for the commute simultaneously. Even with 1 you could brew 2 cups in only a little more time than an automatic machine would take.

                  We've been using one for about a year. My husband thinks it's the best coffee we've ever made. I think it's because it goes in the dishwasher at least every couple days. As a result, there are no accumulated oils going rancid.

                  We used to use an electric Bodum Santos (good coffee but the machine and it's replacement burned out quickly) and then a Chemex (also good coffee and the same principle as the Clever Coffee Dripper except with the CCD you have more flexibility about how long you let the grinds steep). In a previous life we used the Capresso that grinds and then brews (also good coffee but too damed complicated and also too tall to fit under our upper cabinets).

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rainey

                    I'm adding this link that has a video of the Clever Coffee Dripper in use. http://www.sweetmarias.com/clevercoff...

                    I'd also add that the first link says that it's not dishwasher safe but I wash mine on the top rack all the time. Have been doing that since we got the first one a year ago (I got a second one for my husband to brew his own coffee at work) and I certainly haven't seen any deterioration. Even so, if it goes in the next year or two, at $15 it won't be painful to replace it. ;>

                    BTW, if you're a tea drinker, as I am, there's an equivalent piece of equipment with the same bottom valve for brewing tea. Here's the IngenuiTEA at Adagio: http://www.adagio.com/gifts/holiday_i...

                    No doubt these things are available at other places but these spots are where I know how to get them. The links aren't intended as advertisement.

                  2. Rather than French Press, I'd go with Aeropress. Makes great coffee and is a whole lot easier to clean up after than French Press. It makes about the best coffee I've ever had and they are $30.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ridingtoeat

                      Second the aeropress. Requires a bit of elbow grease, but once you get the hang of it, it's a cinch. I use it primarily to make concentrate for iced coffee, but I believe you can reheat the stuff too. It produces a really delicious brew.

                    2. For two cups the Aeropress is an excellent choice, but if you want a "machine" the Zojirushi EC-BD15 is pretty good for about $80 -- the water temperature is a bit below optimal, but the only drip machine that delivers water at the proper temperature is the Technivorm.

                      1. I've never had a decent cup of coffee made in a machine.

                        I use a single-cup cone. Mine is a ceramic cone from Bee House, which I don't think is made any more, but it's similar to these by Freiling:


                        A friend of mine uses a French Press and then after plunging the coffee down immediately pours it through a Chemex. I think this may be the ideal method.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: taos

                          Bee House drippers are still made. I know Sweet Maria's (http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria...) sells them, and probably some other places.
                          In fact, searching the web, I found a place with a *black* Bee House I might have to have.

                          And, in Seattle, Zoka coffee shops use Bee House ceramic drippers in-house for making one cups to order.

                          1. re: srgoodman

                            Thanks. I didn't know the correct technical term was "dripper" and I did not know that Bee House was one word -- Beehouse. That's why I could not find them anymore. It's an excellent product. I highly recommend it.