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View Full Version : Best coffee brewing solution for under $200?


jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 08:42 AM
My brother's old coffee maker just died. It was ancient, and he and my sister-in-law are looking to get a new one.

I'm assuming that at least one or two people on this thread brew coffee occasionally ;), so you all seem like a good group to ask for advice.

They're looking to spend US$100 - $200 on a coffee maker that looks nice enough that they won't be embarrassed by keeping it on their counter (their last one was - I swear - a Mr Coffee that used to belong to my parents and which, I think, dated back to the Carter administration; they kept it put away when not in use). And that $100 - $200 must include a grinder, either separate or as part of the coffee maker. They'd also like a carafe/thermos, again, either separate or part of the coffee maker. They want at least a 10 cup capacity.

I have this Cuisinart (http://www.cuisinart.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi/en/item.cgi?item_id=DGB-600BC), which seems to be exactly what they want. I've had it for maybe 8 months, and love it. It's a bit of a pain to clean the built-in grinder, but I like it.

However, I didn't shop all that much before I bought it, so I was wondering if anyone had any better ideas. It doesn't even have to be an automatic drip... but since my sister-in-law is involved in the decision, and since she's hated that Mr Coffee for years (why they didn't get a different one earlier is beyond me), the only "real" qualification (beyond a basic ability to brew coffee) is that it all needs to look good.

Suggestions?

&RU
Jul 5, 2004, 09:07 AM
Oh man, I wanted the coffee maker you have, but decided to go with a separate grinder in the end. I went with separate a Delonghi grinder and coffee maker. The coffee maker is nice to look at but difficult to use - the hopper for the coffee grinds is very hard to open.

Half the time I just use my Bialetti stove top 'mocha' coffee maker. It is shiny, easy to use, and the coffee is good and stiff.

wordmunger
Jul 5, 2004, 09:08 AM
I don't like the idea of an integrated grinder. Then if either the grinder or the coffee machine breaks, you're out the whole $200. I just bought the new grinder from Starbucks, the Barista Burr Grinder (http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Coffee_Grinders-Starbucks-Barista_Burr_Grinder), which I love, but that would run about $120, leaving only $80 for the coffee pot. Of course, this Cuisinart (http://www.epinions.com/Cuisinart_12_Cup_Brew_Central_Programmable_Coffeemaker_DCC_1200__Coffee_Machines_dcc1200) is only $30.99, so they could probably easily buy a thermal carafe with the leftover money. Again, I'd recommend buying the carafe separately because a lot of the ones bundled with coffeemakers are inadequate.

As an aside, I've read that the "mr-coffee" style coffee makers actually brew better coffee than the cooler-looking Krups-style cone shaped filter brewers. Something about all the coffee running through the bottom of the cone tasting bitter. I don't drink brewed coffee anymore, so I don't really have an opinion on that, though.

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 09:41 AM
I don't like the idea of an integrated grinder. Then if either the grinder or the coffee machine breaks, you're out the whole $200.

Yeah, agreed, but my wife's the one who bought it. At least, if the grinder goes, the coffee maker will work just fine. It's made to work with pre-ground coffee as well. And, surprisingly, the carafe keeps coffee warm seemingy forever. I'm a lot happier with the whole thing than I thought I would be.

But I agree that separates are nice. The only two advantages to the all-in-one are: (1) no coffee grounds everywhere when you transfer from the grinder to the maker; and (2) waking up to fresh-ground coffee.

I just bought the new grinder from Starbucks, the Barista Burr Grinder (http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Coffee_Grinders-Starbucks-Barista_Burr_Grinder), which I love... I don't drink brewed coffee anymore.

?? What do you grind? Or do you mean you don't use an automatic drip?

Edit: and I covet that grinder, BTW. Nice to hear that it works as advertised!

MattG
Jul 5, 2004, 09:44 AM
I love my Melitta...it makes the best coffee I've had from a home-brew coffee maker. Built in grinder & clock/timer.

Linkage (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00004R936/qid=1089038566/sr=8-7/ref=pd_ka_7/104-8127454-2903963?v=glance&s=kitchen&n=507846)

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 09:46 AM
I love my Melitta...it makes the best coffee I've had from a home-brew coffee maker. Built in grinder & clock/timer.

Excellent suggestion - I think the left-over $40-$140 might be enough for them to buy a carafe. ;)

wordmunger
Jul 5, 2004, 09:55 AM
?? What do you grind? Or do you mean you don't use an automatic drip?

Edit: and I covet that grinder, BTW. Nice to hear that it works as advertised!

I have an espresso machine (the Starbucks Barista Athena), which generally I just use to make Americanos, though I occasionally drink a latte or a straight espresso. I like the smoother taste of an Americano compared to brewed coffee.

wdlove
Jul 5, 2004, 01:35 PM
My wife and I both enjoy our morning Starbucks coffee. Fresh ground each morning. After our last brewer died, my wife purchased a Hot Press from Starbucks. It's quick and easy. It makes 20 ounces, so it's plenty for both of us. :)

http://www.starbucks.com/retail/coffeePresses.asp

mikeyredk
Jul 5, 2004, 01:38 PM
food tv (http://www.foodtv.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_10020,00.html)

alton brown had a show on coffee so read up

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 01:49 PM
I have an espresso machine (the Starbucks Barista Athena), which generally I just use to make Americanos....

Ah. Makes sense now!

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 01:50 PM
After our last brewer died, my wife purchased a Hot Press from Starbucks. It's quick and easy. It makes 20 ounces, so it's plenty for both of us. :)

Thanks for the tip - although 20 oz would just be a teaser for me, it might well be enough for my brother and his wife!

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 01:52 PM
food tv (http://www.foodtv.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_10020,00.html)

alton brown had a show on coffee so read up

Excellent tips on coffee purchasing. Thanks!

poopyhead
Jul 5, 2004, 01:54 PM
The Bodum Santos line of coffee makers is by far the best combining the rich flavor of a french press with the ease of a drip brewer
I have both the a large electric and a stove top glass one, both are great but the electric one will require a new reusable filter about every 6 months

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3Dblended%26field-keywords%3Dbodum%252520santos%252520coffee%26store-name%3Dall-product-search/104-2737795-8369502

G4scott
Jul 5, 2004, 01:59 PM
Hmm, well I have the $13 4-cup Mr. Coffee from walmart in my dorm room... I think I used it a total of 5 times last year... I'm not sure if I could spend $200 on a coffee maker... I'm cheap, and can take my coffee black, if need be.

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 02:01 PM
The Bodum Santos line of coffee makers is by far the best combining the rich flavor of a french press with the ease of a drip brewer

I'd seen those - so they really are as good as they claim to be? What's the advantage over a French press - no need for anything external to boil the water? How about cleaning - no worse than a press?

Maybe I'll just give my coffee maker to my brother and get one of these other cool solutions.... ;)

poopyhead
Jul 5, 2004, 02:06 PM
the advantages over a french press are
1. it is easier
2. it is easier to clean
3. better control over temperature and thus less bitterness
4. it tastes better (at least to me)
5. it looks much cooler and is fun to watch

it comes with a set of cleaning brushes for the base to help reach into the hard to reach places
but most of the time I just rinse it out and it is good to go

jsw
Jul 5, 2004, 02:10 PM
5. it looks much cooler and is fun to watch

That's a good point. Coffee making is so boring - it'd be nice to actually make it fun to watch - maybe even my daughter would get into it....

Les Kern
Jul 5, 2004, 02:48 PM
Move close to a Starbucks, where $200 will get you about 75 Latte Grande's. Otherwise don't look too hard. As a hard-core coffee enthusiaist, most ANY drip model works fine, as it's the coffee you use, not the hot water it makes. If you send more than $50.00 on a drip model, it's a waste of money. For esspresso/latte machines, there is Krups and LOADS of others that do exactly the same thing. Again, too much money is extravegant to the point of, well, pointlessness.
Buy good coffee.

MacFan25
Jul 5, 2004, 03:12 PM
Of course, this Cuisinart (http://www.epinions.com/Cuisinart_12_Cup_Brew_Central_Programmable_Coffeemaker_DCC_1200__Coffee_Machines_dcc1200) is only $30.99, so they could probably easily buy a thermal carafe with the leftover money..
That's the coffee maker that I use, though at most places it costs about $100, and I believe that's how much it was at the time of my purchase. I think it works really well, and it looks good too with the stainless steel look. The coffee it brews tastes great, but it may just be the good coffee that I usually buy from a local coffee shop. ;)

Here it is on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005IBX9/qid=1089057952/sr=8-2/ref=pd_ka_2/104-5537245-2547149?v=glance&s=kitchen&n=507846) if you'd like to read some more reviews.

blue&whiteman
Jul 5, 2004, 03:37 PM
black&decker and braun both make great coffee makers both in quality and looks. a good braun 12 cup with a timer function and a good braun grinder will suit even the most picky of people. great looks and great coffee.

Santiago
Jul 5, 2004, 03:44 PM
Buy a grinder for $20-$30 and an all-steel percolator for another $30 or so. (Percolators are them devices which you unscrew, fill the bottom part with water and the middle part with ground coffee, screw together, and put on a stove, then wait ten minutes to have two to four servings of tasty espresso in the top part.)

MattG
Jul 5, 2004, 03:53 PM
That's the coffee maker that I use, though at most places it costs about $100, and I believe that's how much it was at the time of my purchase. I think it works really well, and it looks good too with the stainless steel look. The coffee it brews tastes great, but it may just be the good coffee that I usually buy from a local coffee shop. ;)

Here it is on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005IBX9/qid=1089057952/sr=8-2/ref=pd_ka_2/104-5537245-2547149?v=glance&s=kitchen&n=507846) if you'd like to read some more reviews.Hehehe...look at this one woman's review of that coffee maker :)

http://homepage.mac.com/mattgudites/macrumors/picture.jpg

primalman
Jul 5, 2004, 03:55 PM
I bought a Krups grinder on sale at Kohl's for like $15, grinds great and easy to clean.

I have the Bunn Thermal Carafe model. Fantastic. Brews in less than 4 minutes and keeps the water in a heated tank at the proper brewing temp, plus you can make tea in the basket and have instant hot water out of the tank.

I do not like the makers with the hot plate for a glass carafe, as it burns the coffee after about 15 minutes, making it taste like ass, as well as the possibility that it may be unhealthy.

yamabushi
Jul 5, 2004, 04:24 PM
I agree that leaving your coffee to keep warm on a hot plate is a very bad idea. If you use a drip coffee maker then you shouldn't leave the finished coffee on the hot plate for more than one or two minutes as the flavor will rapidly worsen. If you need to save it for later than use an insulated container such as a Thermos bottle or chill the coffee in a cold fridge.

I also agree with Santiago that a stovetop percolator is a great bargain. I think most make better tasting coffee than an automatic drip or even a french press.

However using good quality coffee and filtered water many different methods can produce decent coffee.