Choosing the right coffee maker is more than a matter of closing your eyes and picking one at random. Different machines come with different specs and features, and it ultimately becomes even more confusing when comparing machines of different price categories.
Today, we’ll settle the confusion of choosing a coffee machine once and for all. We’re going to discuss the main differences between $50, $100, $250, $500, and $1,000 coffee makers. In the end, you should be able to determine which coffee maker of which price bracket is ideal for your kitchen countertop.
$50 Coffee Makers
Anyone looking for a decent coffee machine without breaking the bank will probably consider getting a $50 coffee maker. Now, it’s important to note that these machines won’t make the best coffee you’ve ever tasted, nor will hey brew a drink anywhere close to Starbucks quality no matter how good your beans, it should meet your basic coffee needs without much fuss.
Also, manufacturers of $50 coffee makers usually cut whatever corners possible to produce low-cost machines. They won’t come with long-lasting warranties if it comes with one at all. The good news is that if it breaks, and it most likely will within five years after your purchase, replacing your inexpensive machine jerks tears out of your eyes.
Let’s take a look at the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup coffee maker, a super-inexpensive, super-straightforward appliance that brews a dozen cups of coffee. With a simple press of a switch, the Mr. Coffee can make a good-quality brew in around six minutes. If you pop the top, you’ll find two compartments—an easy-lift filter basket for your pre-grinded grounds and a reservoir for all the water. After filling both compartments, just press the switch and wait.
The only high-tech feature you’ll find in the Mr. Coffee is auto-pause, which automatically and prematurely stops the brewing process when you remove the carafe. As long as you keep your expectations within reason, this approximately $50 coffee maker should meet your basic coffee needs.
$100 Coffee Makers
For all intents and purposes, $100 coffee makers are still categorized as affordable coffee makers. If you double your budget from the previous section, you’ll find a wider selection of coffee machines made by brand-name manufacturers. That said, they don’t come with a bunch of high-tech features as you would find in coffee makers at a higher price bracket.
$100 coffee makers are basically better-built $50 coffee makers with a few more bells and whistles. They can also support greater quantities of water, so they’ll prepare a larger amount of coffee for more people, though your mileage may vary. Some models also let you customize your coffee based on flavor and aroma profiles, thereby producing a more palatable coffee for more people.
The Cuisinart 12-Cup Thermal Carafe is, yet again, a straightforward device. However, it comes with brew strength control, so users can produce regular or bold coffee flavors with a press of a button. What’s more, it comes with an auto-cleaning function, which automatically removes calcium buildup in the built-in reservoir, though you’ll still have to manually scrub the reservoir on occasion.
What’s fascinating about this device is that it has a 24-hour programmable auto-brew feature. If you know what time you get up, you can program the Thermal Carafe to brew your coffee and have it ready by the time you head down to the kitchen. The best thing is that the Thermal Carafe keeps your coffee warm for several hours after brewing up a pot.
$250 Coffee Makers
As we push beyond the $200 mark for a coffee maker, we’ll begin to notice several differences. First and foremost, these costly devices come with more bells and whistles than their inexpensive counterparts, which is expected since you are spending quite a sum on such a device. Approximately $250 coffee makers have much better temperature and pressure control, ensuring that you’ll get the most out of every ground of coffee.
In addition, $250 coffee makers offer a lot more customizability than their cheaper counterparts. Most models offer standard coffee strength and heat control, but others will have a built-in milk frother that lets you produce creative milk-based drinks. However, at this price point, making latte art is simply out of the question. A separate frother should come in handy, though.
As an example, we’d like to direct your attention to another one of Cuisinart’s masterful coffee makers—the SS-15CGRP1. Like the previous coffee makers, this, too, is a 12-cup model. But what sets this unit apart is how it can brew different-sized cups of coffee with a single press of a button. There are 6, 8, and 10-ounce servings available with this handy device.
There’s also the standard Brew Pause feature that lets you pour a cup of coffee before the dozen cups are fully brewed. You’ll also find the 24-hour customizable brew start feature, along with self-cleaning, auto-off (adjustable), and ready alerts.
$500 Coffee Makers
By now, you should have a good understanding that the more you spend on your coffee maker, the more you’ll get out of it. this time, we’re looking at $500 models, which should exceed most, if not all, of your expectations. If you want a professional-grade coffee maker similar to the ones that baristas use at local coffee shops, this price bracket is where you should start your search.
Some of the most notable features in a $500 coffee maker include efficient heating for espressos, larger reservoirs, and the best brewing technology man can offer. A lot of these machines are nearly 100% automatable, meaning that you can brew coffee and clean your machine by setting up a customizable timer. Also, if you want more than just hot brewed coffee at home, you’ll be glad to know that a $500 machine can make several milk-based beverages with a simple push of a button.
As a good example of what around $500 can get you, let’s a look at the Breville BES870XL, a top-of-the-line coffee and espresso machine that gets the job done in spectacular fashion. It looks like a beast because it is—it pours water at the optimal pressure to extract the perfect amount of flavor from every puck of coffee grounds. Nearly the entire appliance is made of durable stainless steel, ensuring that your machine lasts longer than you’d expect from a coffee maker.
There’s also a built-in steam wand that lets you turn your milk into the perfect frothiness, which is an excellent add-on for aspiring baristas everywhere. This is a bean-to-brew device that comes with a built-in grinder, giving you full control over each and every cup of golden goodness you brew.
$1,000 Coffee Makers
Now, we’ve come to the part that a lot of you have been waiting for: $1,000 coffee makers. As you might expect, a $1,000 coffee maker has a lot more frills than their less-costly counterparts, but for the coffee aficionado who can’t get enough of the liquid gold, the cost is more than worth it.
A $1,000 coffee maker makes more than just coffee. By connecting a milk jug to the machine, you can program it to make milk-based drinks in under 60 seconds. A lot of them are bean-to-brew machines, meaning that you’ll get the freshest cup of java every time you start up the machine.
For instance, the Juda D6 has to be one of the best approximately $1,000 coffee makers out there. It’s a highly versatile coffee maker that comes with a grinder, swirls milk to the perfect frothy consistency, and doesn’t require a ton of maintenance.
The Jura D6 lets you fine-tune your drink to the perfect strength, aroma, and consistency. All you need to do is choose the ground size settings and let the machine do the rest. It truly offers the most bang for your buck, especially if you can’t function without a hot cup of latte in the morning/afternoon/night.
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