The 9 Best High-end Coffee Makers of 2022

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best
products—learn more about
our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

For some, making a simple cup of coffee or espresso can be one of the most indulgent experiences of their day. Picking the right beans and measuring the perfect grounds-to-water ratio is paramount to creating the best-tasting cup, and true coffee fanatics take this process very seriously. If you’re ready to level up your morning brew with a state-of-the-art machine—and don’t mind splashing out on a top tier model—we’ve got you covered with everything from drip coffee to cold brew, with both small- and large-capacity options boasting features like automatic shutoff, warming plates, programmed brewing, and more.

Turn your daily cup of joe into a work of art with the best high-end coffee makers.


Final Verdict

For drip coffee, we highly recommend the Technivorm Moccamaster KBGV Brewer (view on Amazon). Its high-quality construction and exceptional performance are further emphasized by its SCAA certification. If you want the option of espresso as well as drip coffee, you can easily satisfy every coffee request with the Miele CM5300 Coffee System (view on Amazon).

What To Look For When Buying a Coffee Maker

Type of Machine

If you are a die-hard espresso fan or drip-only person, the choice is obvious: Pick a dedicated espresso machine or coffee maker that suits your needs. If you’re a household that needs options, a combination machine that makes both may be more your style. If you like the convenience of pod machines, these are also a great choice, especially if you tend to like single servings and don’t want much of a hands-on experience.

Capacity

Whether you need just a cup or an entire carafe, there’s a coffee maker out there for you. Drip coffee makers with a larger capacity (10 to 12 5-ounce cups) are excellent for families or for those who drink a lot of coffee, but if you need just a cup or two, be sure your machine has a setting that allows for smaller brew sizes (one to four 5-ounce cups).

Machine Size

Another consideration when buying a coffee machine is its footprint. Be sure to double check the height, width, and depth of your machine against the available space on your counter before purchasing. You’ll want to have ample room to maneuver when filling the water tank, opening any lids, or swinging out a steam wand.

Extra Features

Great features to have include automatic shutoff, a warming plate, programmed brewing (so you can wake up to a fresh pot of coffee), and a thermal carafe (excellent for keeping coffee warm throughout the day). Other options that you might want are a built-in grinder for fresh coffee grounds, a milk frother for creating espresso-based beverages, and some sort of notification for when the machine needs cleaning. Higher-end models, such as those above, will often include one or more of these features.

The Spruce / Cheyenne Elwell


FAQs

How important is the type of coffee that I use?

It really depends on your preferred flavor profile. The two most commonly produced coffee bean types are arabica (Coffee arabica) and robusta (Coffee caniphora). Arabica is the most popular in North America and tends to be sweeter, more flavorful, and less acidic. Robusta is most popular in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East and is known for strong, “robust” flavors and high levels of caffeine.

Other factors that will affect your cup of coffee are where the beans are grown and how they are roasted. Like wine, coffee beans can be single-origin with distinct characteristics or a blend that has been crafted to have a specific flavor profile. Regardless of what coffee you choose, the most important thing is that it is pleasant to your palate.

What size grind should I use?

“Grind size is the most important variable when it comes to making a great cup of coffee,” says June Haupts of Santa Barbara-based Welcome Coffee Cart. “If your coffee particles aren’t the appropriate size for your brewing device, your cup could taste sour or bitter.”

Coarse, chunky grinds are best suited for French press and cold brew. Medium-coarse grinds (less chunky) are ideal for pour-over makers, though it may take some experimentation to determine which grind works best for your preferred taste. Medium grinds (comparable to the size of sea salt granules) are great with machine drip coffee. For espresso, you will want a fine grind (similar to the size of table salt).

Can I grind my own coffee?

Of course you can! Owning a coffee mill and grinding your own coffee, particularly if you do it right before brewing, is the best way to ensure you’re getting the freshest possible cup. There are two main types of grinders: blade and burr. Blade grinders use a propeller-like blade to chop and pulverize the coffee beans, similar to that of a food processor or blender. This grinder tends to be inexpensive and works quickly, but you run the risk of having an uneven grind. Burr grinders use two revolving burrs to crush beans, similar to that of a pepper grinder. The result tends to be a more consistent grind, but burr grinders are also more expensive and take up more space than blade grinders.

What is espresso?

Espresso is made with finely ground coffee beans tamped into a portafilter. Pressurized hot water is sent through the grounds, producing a concentrated liquid that has a visible separation between the crema (a layer of extracted coffee bean oil and carbon dioxide), the body (soluble coffee solids, soluble gases, and insoluble solids), and the heart (the acidic bottom layer of the shot). The ideal time for pulling a proper espresso is between 25 to 35 seconds—any shorter might mean that your grounds are too coarse, and any longer might mean your grounds are too fine. The ideal temperature is about 200 degrees; hotter temperatures may burn or over-extract your grounds, while lower temperatures may result in a weak, flavorless shot.

How is cold brew different from iced coffee?

Traditional iced coffee is made by brewing extra-strength coffee in a drip machine and chilling it to pour and serve over ice. Cold brew coffee is never touched by heat—it is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for hours, often overnight.

“The process of cold brew is much more delicate than drip coffee,” says Haupts. “If you’re putting heat on coffee, you are bringing out the bitter and astringent tannins.” Because of its gentler extraction process, cold brew is smoother, lower in acidity, and has a fresher taste than regular iced coffee.

Can I use my French press for other things besides coffee?

Absolutely. While the French press is designed for coffee, its filter system also lends itself well to making fruit-infused water, iced or hot tea, and cocktails. Yup, you read that correctly: cocktails. Read more about it in this guide on how to make French press cocktails.

How do I steam and froth milk?

Steaming milk is typically done with a steam wand attached to an espresso machine. Fill a heat-proof milk pitcher (or cup) about halfway with milk, leaving plenty of room for the milk to expand. With the steam wand submerged, turn it on, and then aerate the milk by lowering the pitcher and letting the tip of the wand touch the surface of the milk gently, and then submerge it again. Repeat this a few times and you’ll start to see microfoam begin to form on the surface while the milk below heats up. Once your milk is hot and you have a nice layer of foam, you can use this to build lattes, cappuccinos, and any other espresso drink that requires steamed milk and foam.

Frothing milk can be done with a handheld, battery-operated device (using preheated milk) or a countertop frother that heats and froths at the same time. Each frother is different, so be sure to consult the manufacturer’s manual on how to use an automatic frother. If you’re frothing non-dairy milk, Haupts suggests using something with high fat content, like oat milk, to achieve a rich and creamy texture.

What is descaling?

This important process is vital to the longevity of your automatic coffee maker or espresso machine. It is meant to remove any mineral residue that has built up inside your machine, which can affect the way the machine works if not addressed regularly. Some high-tech coffee makers will let you know via a digital display or light that your brewer needs descaling. Check your manufacturer’s instructions for their recommendation on how often to descale; if you’re not sure, you can probably do it every few months (or every month if you have very hard water).

The Spruce / Jordan Provost

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Thie author of this piece, Bernadette Machard de Gramont, is an LA-based writer who specializes in global food and wine content. After a two-year stint at Williams-Sonoma Headquarters in San Francisco, she now researches and tests a variety of cookware, bakeware, and wine tools, and interviews field experts for their insight. One of her former lives was spent as a barista at Borders Books and Music Cafe, where she learned how to properly pull espresso and foam milk, and subsequently developed a massive coffee habit and an unusually high tolerance for caffeine.

She also interviewed two coffee experts for this article. Desiree Rose is the Beverage Director for Texas-based Stouthaus Coffee and June Haupts is the owner of Welcome Coffee Cart in Santa Barbara, California. 

This piece was updated by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He typically uses non-electric coffee makers at home, alternating between the Bialetti Moka Express (view at Amazon) and the Bodum Brazil French Press (view at Amazon).

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button