As someone who spends way too much money at coffee shops, but doesn’t like any form of instant coffee (sorry, it's gross), I’ve run through pretty much every at-home solution. After reading one too many coffee blogs, I started with an Aeropress, and I extolled its virtues for an entire 4-day stretch, and then I shelved it. Then, it was a Porlex hand-grinder and Chemex combination, which again, kicks ass so long as you’re patient while bleary-eyed. Alas, I am not.
The best automatic coffee maker for most people, then, is the one that provides high-quality coffee without sacrificing the convenience of the basic drip machine. The Breville Grind Control nails the fundamentals—consistent water temperature, ease to use, solid build—while incorporating a system that reduces the daunting list of variables to a clever group of dials. No matter your taste, you’ll find the perfect cup here more effortlessly than with anything else we tried, which means you'll finally nip that Starbucks habit in the bud once and for all.
4 Reasons We Love the Breville Grind Control
1. Built-in grinder—hell yeah: Better coffee starts with freshly ground beans, but adding a nice grinder into your routine adds another machine, another thing to clean, another reason to just grab a cup at Dunkin’ Donuts. The built-in grinder is solid, and the ability to adjust the coarseness of the grind with a knob makes switching things up for specific tastes a no-hassle experience.
2. No measuring before 11 a.m.: The Grind Control has three adjustment dials: strength of brew, coarseness of grind, and number of cups. While these scales are not as precise as measuring it out yourself, it makes adjustments way easier. Dial up the strength, dial in on the perfect coarseness, all without having to consider how much coffee you're making. It might take an experiment or two to find your taste, but honestly, it's kind of fun tweaking until you get your perfect cup of coffee.
3. It can single serve: The most basic automatic drip coffee maker runs into trouble when you're really just trying to make a single cup. The Grind Control, which is already handling dosage, grind, and strength, can make as little as one cup. When the final brew is this small, it'll probably take some adjusting of the dials to get things right, but remembering those numbers is a helluva of a lot easier than pulling out the grinder and scale for just a single cup.
4. Solid build: The standards for drip coffee makers (and drip coffee grinders) are admittedly not as finicky as their espresso counterparts. That being said, the Grind Control has a consistently good water temperature, and it's well built. The only real downside is cleaning it, which involves a few steps. Given that it is both a grinder and a brewer, it's not a huge hassle—and spending 10 minutes one day a week is easier to stomach than the daily upkeep of other more precise devices.
Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741
If you're after the best of the best, the Moccamaster is the answer. I came across the Netherlands brand after seeing nerdy coffee website after nerdy coffee website hype it up, and somehow, it lived up to the nerdy coffee hype: it hits the perfect temperature, quickly brews a perfect pot, and the carafe does a commendable job of keeping extra cups hot. Anecdotally, I could not screw up with this thing. In a category where aesthetics are on the back burner, it actually looks pretty cool (a little laboratory-esque, but cool). It costs more—and you'll need your own grinder—but with a five-year warranty, it's an investment worth considering.
Cuisinart PerfecTemp 14 - Cup Coffeemaker
In a sea of similarly priced machines, the Cuisinart wins out: it brews consistently good coffee at the right heat, and has enough features to be functional. The build, with its relatively svelte glass carafe, is better suited to hold up for years than its cheaper, plastic-ier counterparts. If you're a low-fuss coffee drinker, here's your low-fuss device.