Saturday, March 5, 2011

Calling All Coffee Snobs!

Mark and I are increasingly snobby about our coffee. Our first coffee maker got us through our first 5 years of marriage. The hot plate began disintegrating not long after we got it and try as we might to ignore it, we increasingly found ourselves enduring pots of coffee that were either warm or burned; there was no happy hot medium.

Not long ago, we decided that it was time for a new coffee maker. Having had success in the past with small appliances from Goodwill, off we went in search of some wealthy person's castoff coffee maker. We thought we'd struck gold when we found a beautiful black and stainless model by GE. Unfortunately, it proved to be terribly inconsistent in the brewing department and the all-too-frequent "error" message provided us with a lukewarm pot of weak coffee.

Having put up with this coffee maker for far too long already, I began the hunt for the perfect coffee maker that produces a consistently strong, hot pot of coffee. I think I've narrowed it down to these two similarly priced options. (The pictures are from

Option A: Thermal Carafe Drip Coffee Maker.
This one is obviously made by Cuisinart, but this is more a picture of the genre rather than the specific thermal carafe drip maker that I might want.

- No hot plate means no burned coffee; thermal carafe keeps coffee drinkable and hot.

- Depending on the make, it could still give us inconsistently brewed coffee. We like our coffee strong and a weak cup of coffee made with lot of coffee grounds is both disappointing and frustrating.
- Large size. Our old coffee maker was a nice countertop size while our "new" Goodwill one is quite large. It would be nice to have one that is more of a sedan than an SUV of the coffee maker world.

Option B: Delonghi Electric Moka Pot (it has a longer official title)This is the specific model of electric moka pot that I think I'd like.

- Moka pots are known for making strong coffee.
- This model makes 3 or 6 (espresso size) cups, so you don't have to waste grounds to make just enough for yourself (as you would with other non-adjustable moka pots).
- Keep-warm function keeps brewed coffee warm for 20 minutes.
- Presumably it's smaller than the "SUV" above.

- Doesn't make large pots of coffee for guests, etc.
- I don't have any personal experience with this type of moka pot, only the stovetop variety.
- It seems like it could be a conversation-starter piece that makes you look like a hopeless snob as you describe the various faults of all other coffee makers. (Yes, I already mentioned that we are coffee snobs, but we try not to shove it other people's faces too much...instant coffee drinkers aside, Kevin.) ;)

So, fellow coffee lovers of the world, which one would you recommend? I'd really like your input.


Reenie said...

Coffee snob checking in here... but I can't say I know much about coffee pots so I'm not sure I'm much help. I do like my stovetop moka pot from italy, but don't use it all that often now - mostly for the occasional espresso or cappuccino. My regular coffee pot was a gevalia free one for years, finally the clock and the ability to set it the night before died, so I had to replace it. Got a Mr. Coffee (model jwx20) with that oh so important feature "Delay Brew" so I can set the pot the night before and have hot coffee waiting for my travel mug when I run out the door. It also has settings for regular and strong coffee (I use the strong setting). Mostly its working great, my only complaint is the pot always dribbles a little when you pour it (never had this problem with my gevalia). The hot plate turns itself off after 20 minutes and therefore doesn't burn the coffee. In the $30-35 range (also important for me). I have always wanted one with the thermos carafe in theory though, but since i usually just have the coffee waiting for me to run out with a travel mug, it didn't seem that important right now.
Them's my ramblin' thoughts on the coffee pot situation. :D

Alexis said...

We just have the one from our wedding and 7 years later it's still truckin. I have had no problems with inconsistency. Nor has it done a song and dance for me either though. It's just a Mr. Coffee in the 30-35 range from BBbeyond forever ago. The only inconsistency that I've ever noticed was when I switched to those "natural" filters and boo. They sucked. But that's not Mr. Coffee's fault. Let us know your decision. I can't imagine that ours will last much longer so I might be in the market soon too.

Anonymous said...


I worked at Starbucks and the Cuisinart model dribbles when you pour it. We tried every concievable option and were unable to pour coffee without spilling on the counter or floor. I would not recommend it. Also, thermal carafes are very hard to get clean and the coffee can start tasting stale even when it is fresh.

DeLonghi is always a good option, they are reliable and make good coffee. All of their models are excellent.

Suprisingly, Mr Coffee is the best coffee maker for the general public. Stacie and I are total coffee snobs, both having been supervisors at Starbucks and her Mr Coffee is amazing. We have had no problems and it has the time delay feature that is so handy.

If you're looking for a more authentic taste, such as the DeLonghi would give, you can get a French Press at Ikea for around $15. It gives the same benefit of the DeLonghi model and (aside from being automatic) and preserves the oils from the coffee beans.

DeLonghi also makes machines with larger capacities and they are amazing. I think they are pretty reasonable. Most people I knew in the SBUX world had either Mr Coffee, DeLonghi or french press for home brewing.

Robyn DeMars said...

We have both a Mr. Coffee and a french press. Mr. Coffee is great if you are in a hurry or are having guest over. If you are a true coffee "snob", I would also recommend a french press as you can make it as strong or weak as you like. They vary in price depending on the quality. Just note, you need to also have a bean grinder for a french press, but from what Christopher says, it is well worth it!

-Robyn DeMars

Heidi said...

My one concern about the DeLonghi is the plastic pot - mostly because I'd like some assurance that it isn't BPA plastic, like, for example, my food processor bowl. It's a pretty potent endocrine disrupter in either tiny, tiny amounts or large amounts. But don't worry, BPA mostly leaches when it's exposed to heat or harsh chemicals. It's not like you'd be using it daily to hold hot coffee... Ahem.

Kara said...

Hi, Betsy, I've got a Krups that's just great, had it since our wedding in '04 and have used it every single day. It shuts off after 30 or so minutes, has an automatic brew thing you can do, so that if you're together enough the night before, you can wake up to brewed coffee. No carafe, but my parents had one and it does start to get "old" after a while since you can't ever really get the carafe super clean. Good luck!