Our TOP 3 Filter coffee machine buys for 2020
… with links to buying choices in UK, Europe, USA, and Canada.
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The best 3 coffee machines, for 3 different reasons.
Where are you on your journey with coffee, and which one suits your needs best ?
Filter coffee machines – where the coffee is made by pouring or dripping the water through coffee grounds held in a filter… traditionally to a carafe that then keeps the coffee warm for a significant length of time. We have to tell you that we have been particularly fussy in this category. There were so many choices, but we didn’t find many that we would recommend ! We’ve chosen the best, most different, most modern.
Coffee machine vs. Coffee maker
First, it’s important to understand what we mean here. To us, machines means electric or battery operated appliances, and the machine does some or all of the process, perhaps just heating the water or hotplate, pouring the water, grinding the beans, timing things or even setting up automated programs. By coffee makers, we mean make it yourself, by hand, with a tool like a French press, an Aeropress, a V60, Chemex, Kalita wave funnel.
We tended to drink more espressos in the last 10 years, but I like a good long black coffee too. My usual choice was an ‘Americano’ or a ‘Long Black’ – both made with an espresso coffee – but with a variation in when the hot water is added. The reason for this was because of the quality of big cup of joe we’d get from filter coffee machine.
Before espressos were the trend, and great domestic machines were available, there was a glut of cheap filter coffee machines on the market (way back then when we met;) and the quality was generally poor. So when we discovered the pure quality of espressos, we didn’t give filter coffee another glance for a while.
What makes a great filter coffee ?
My own coffee journey has also more recently also taught me about the importance of the coffee grounds, from farm to cup, and the filter shape, mould, hole size and material, rather than just the machine. As well as the actual filter though, the best quality cup of coffee still has to come from the best (or more suited ) beans, the roast, and grind, the water, and timing that makes that style of coffee.
We have 3 great choices for you.
So we’ve ended up here choosing the best 3 machines that we feel fit different lifestyles, and even cultures. We’re thinking from the perspective of a UK / European / International user as opposed to only U.S. To finalise our choices, we also examined the brand reputations worldwide, the expert and user reviews, and the awards.
1. Best craft coffee machine, to get the most of out of specialist coffees, at home.
2. Best percolator style coffee machine, from bean to cafetière quality all day long.
3. Best simple & sophisticated filter to travel cup coffee for people on the go.
BEST craft coffee making machine
So what’s a craft coffee I hear you asking ! Well, you might have also wondered what 3rd wave coffee is… well it’s about getting the best coffee straight from the farm to a coffee roastery where they roast and grind the beans to supply the best coffee cafés. They’ll have hand picked the beans they want, and worked with the farmer to get it delivered just how they like it, and then roast and even grind it for us all, so that we get to really taste the flavours of the bean and the land and weather conditions that have produced this ever so fine product for us. When you order a craft filter coffee in a real roasterie café, they take the time to precisely measure the coffee, the water temperature, and the pour, so you get the perfect brew. Truly special eh ! Well this is what has been re-created here – in an automatic machine.
Also, when you order your coffee you have to decide which type of filter you want – you’ve also probably heard the trendy words… V60 filter coffee maker, Chemex, or the Kalita wave. Personally, I’ve really enjoyed trying coffee tests with these, and it’s unbelievable how different they taste depending on the pour, the drip, the shape of the filter cone. One is V shaped of course so the filter ends in a point, and the other has a flat bottom. So how the coffee is filtered through is slightly different, and it affects the taste. But do you want to start a specialist cupboard full different funnels and filters for the different coffees… no, not when you can have this clever new machine on the counter !
SAGE / BREVILLE PRECISION BREWER
Sage SDC450BSS the Precision Brewer Coffee Maker (UK & Europe)
Breville BDC455BSS Precision Brewer Thermal. (N.America & Australia)
Brushed Stainless Steel, 36 x 16.8 x 39.5 cm, 60 oz. / 12 Cup, 1650watts
A precise drip coffee machine, with multiple coffee modes.
This model is quite new and unique ! Easy to use, and makes excellent coffee, in any volume, just as you like it. It features multiple coffee modes with it’s dual filter baskets – one flat, one V shaped. You can choose one of 6 to get different flavour profiles, including a customised one just for you, and a great cold brew too.
Precise, and adjustable temperature control allowing you also to manage the important coffee brewing elements that you would with an espresso machine – i.e. water flow rate and contact time between the coffee and the water.
Automatic presets and customisable too. Hot or cold brew, and uses the Sage / Breville technology we already know and love with their top espresso machines – PID temperature control and the thermo-coil heating system.
I suppose it’s like having your very own barista coffee maker… just like in a proper Roasterie / craft coffee café like this ! They know exactly how to measure, pour, get the temperature and the timing just right. Now you can have this done for you at home… and more… with this new machine.
Me… testing out the different tastes from using the same coffee made two ways – wt hthe same two filters you get with the Sage precision brewer machine. the V60 and the flat bottomed Kalita wave. The difference was subtle and incredibly apparent at the same time ! Now I’m closer to know what I would choose depending on the coffee and my mood.
You really get to enjoy the coffee journey with this machine. Depending on the coffee, our tastes, the time of year etc, you can use the different modes to really bring out the best of the bean – whether it’s light and floral, dark rich, earthy, nutty, caramel… It’s a feast for the coffee fan.
You don’t need to go to a precision coffee maker at your local roasterie cafe to pour a perfect cup of craft filter coffee – the machine does it automatically. Sage / Breville and ther baristas have worked with the best coffee associations to produce this automatic version with precise temperature and brewing times for you to have at home.
6 unique brewing modes – Gold, Fast, Strong, Cold, Pour Over and My Brew. Fine tune it to your own taste by adjusting the initial bloom time, the water flow rate and the brew temperature.
2 Year Limited Product Warranty
Is it 1.7L or 1.8L. Sage say 1.7L , Breville say 1.8L. Which is it – but does it really matter !
Can’t see any other negatives about this machine at the moment !
Conclusion: Why you would buy the Sage / Breville Precision brewer.
If you like to be right up there with the latest trends in coffee making then this is the one for you. If you like experiment with your coffee grounds, and explore the finer flavour profiles of the different beans from different parts of the world – grown, or dried or roasted in various ways, then this is the machine for you. You’ll make it so worth getting a pack of craft coffee grinds because you’ll get the most out of them… the best coffee, the best tastes. You’ll have the most fun with this machine, and learn a heck of a lot about coffee along the way.
BEST Filter and Pour, percolator style coffee making machine
A great solution if you need to fill a lot of coffee mugs all at once, or all day ! We prefer a thermal carafe to keep it hot as the coffee doesn’t seem to go stale as easily. Also for the safety aspect, as we have been a bit too close for comfort with children, when a glass carafe split ! Our choice here also goes to a model that has a burr grinder to grind the beans freshly before pouring through a great filter.
CUISINART FILTER COFFEE MAKER
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Plus, In N.America, we take you to the equivalent 12 cup Cuisinart DGB900.
WEIGHT 6.65kg / 15lbs. DIMENSIONS 33 x 33 x 46 cm / 7.86 x 12.7 x 15.86 in
A drip coffee maker, all the way from bean-to-cafetiere
This model’s design has been around for years – so it’s well tried and tested and still most popular. Both the UK and the US model looks good in brushed chrome and black – so either version will fit in with most kitchen appliances.
It takes your favourite coffee beans and grinds them freshly before you brew. It uses a ceramic burr grinder ( so you get a nice consistent grind with no burn taste !), and it has a clock and timer control that allows you to pre-grind or pre-brew up to 24 hrs in advance. It also has a strength control option, so you can choose from strong, medium or mild coffee.
You can see the beans through a transparent lid on the top and if you are running out, you can even disable the grind function if you want to try some other pre-ground coffee out.
It has an integrated charcoal based water filter which should last a few months, so this also helps with the taste. This water is then sprayed nice and evenly over the grounds, on top of the filter before dripping through to a 12 cup thermal insulated carafe.
The filter is a gold tone type, and we love that you can also use paper filters if you prefer. However, a lot of people say paper filters are still the best but reading the user reviews it seems that some have tested this out on the Cuisinart machine and it’s not necessary as the gold tone filter is excellent.
If you’re in a hurry you can pour yourself a cup of coffee before the whole carafe & brew is finished ! The machine recognises that the pot has gone and holds for 30seconds till you put it back. You can also program the machine ( in 1 hour increments) to turn itself off too.
The thermal carafe will keep your coffee hot for much longer than a glass one.
It’s pretty lightweight at 6.65kg / 15lbs
It’s meant to give 12 cups, but a lot of people say that in reality it’s 10 cups.
It’s pretty tall so make sure it will fit, if you’re putting it under kitchen cabinets, ( UK: 33 x 33 x 46 cm, US 7.86 x 12.7 x 15.86 in )
Some say it has lots of parts that need cleaning !
Conclusion: Why we think you should buy the Cuisinart Grind and Brew Plus
Something for big long coffee drinkers… so you can keep drinking it all morning – or share with the family or office mates. The quality of the coffee ( and the lovely smell !) comes from the instant grind before brewing process. One of the reasons we chose this model is the thermal carafe is that the thermal carafe keeps coffee fresh and hot for hours ( a lot longer than a glass one) ! It’s also safer to use than a glass one.
BEST “TO GO” filter coffee machine
KITCHENAID PERSONAL COFFEE MAKER
KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker ( automatic ground coffee to travel cup )
WEIGHT: 2.95 Kilograms DIMENSIONS: 26.42 x 18.03 x 37.59 cm
This is one of a kind, and a portable strong brew in its own way !
We love KitchenAid for its high quality and design. We have a few kitchen appliances from them ourselves so always interested in what they are offering. Their full blown espresso maker however didn’t make it into our top 20, but the unique personal coffee maker has. Why ?… because we love specialist pieces… done well.
It does one job, and does it simply and beautifully. It gives you a great mug of hot filter coffee to take with you in the morning. We love the simple shape too and it doesn’t take up too much counter space.
This machine will make your coffee while you’re getting ready in the morning. Fill the reservoir up with water, add your favourite coffee grinds in the top part. Press go and it fills a travel mug in about 5 mins. Then just grab it and go. You just need to rinse the filter out between uses but you can do that later.
The travel cup seems to be a standard size so you can buy extra travel cups. If there is more than one of you rushing out in the morning, you can get colour coded cups for everyone !
The quality of the coffee is good, and it uses a gold tone conical filter so it works well for taste and aroma.
The only downside is probably the quality of the kitchenAid mug ! We’ve read reports of it being pretty basic and you can get much better – try the ceramic types. The good news is that other models also fit the machine so people have replaced it with ones like this that have a better seal or hot flask capability.
Conclusion: Why you would buy the KitchenAid Personal Coffee machine
If you’re not bothered about espressos or ristrettos and just need a good long kick of caffeine to get you going – then this is for you. It will save you money and time from stopping off to get a grande in the coffee shop en route ! I like a long coffee in the morning and have to make at least a few Nespresso lungos to make that work. So even though I don’t have a commute to work, this would suit me even to just take it to my desk here. I have no problem getting through a 500ml mug before I down a few litres of water for the morning while I work !
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