Coffee maker recommendation?

I debated on where to put this… But since it was a “food” related question, and since you can go to a cafe for coffee, I thought to start it here.

If it needs to be in IMHO, no problem. Mods feel free to move it to where it works best.

Anyhow, I did a search on coffee makers and the last thread was a couple of years ago.
I am in the market for a new coffee maker. Here are the basic requirements:

  1. it should be able to brew a pot of coffee (no one-shot or one cup ONLY models)
  2. it should be able to use pre-ground coffee (I don’t want a combo machine that grind fresh beans and move them right into the brew cycle.)
  3. it should be easy to clean thoroughly.
  4. it should last a few years at least
  5. it should allow the use of a paper filter
  6. it should brew a good cup of coffee. No plastic, metallic, or other foul taste will be tolerated. (I don’t expect it to turn crappy coffee into good coffee…although that would be nice…
  7. it should be priced less than say $200 (I’d be happy with a $5 coffee maker, but I cannot sink $1000 into a shiny espresso machine.)

That’s it. Any other features are great, but to me, the simpler the better. Having the ability to clean it properly is much more important than having the ability to start the coffee maker automatically, have a clock, etc.
For reference, I have had 2 Cuisinart machines in a row. The first had a bean grinder integrated into the machine, and although it worked, it was a pain to clean. I have since purchased a small bean grinder that is NOT part of the coffee maker, and I prefer this.

The one I am using now doesn’t have the grinder, but is tough to clean completely. It has a few difficult areas to reach, even if I completely dismantle it.

Thanks!

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup Carafe Coffee Brewer, Stainless Steel

$140 or so on Amazon. Brews at the correct temperature, something no Mr. Coffee nor it’s ilk does. Comes with thermal carafe. It’s simply engineered to keep hot water on the beans for the right amount of time. Only drawback is capacity. That’s 8 5-oz. cups, or 40 oz. That’s about 3 mugs in my home, good for my wife and me, but not enough to handle company.

A question - not knowing exactly which model your second java machine was, what needs such thorough cleaning that you have to take it apart (aiming a little hyperbole on your part)? On the Bonavita, all you do is pour water into the main body. Descale it monthly, plus wash the filter basket and carafe after each use and that’s it. Okay, I clean up after spills and normal dust and dirty accumulation, but I’m fortunate in my kitchen that my coffee maker is a distance away from the range.

I’ve been perfectly happy with my $30 Mr. Coffee. I probably could have saved a few bucks if I didn’t insist on the clock and timer, but I like waking up to a fresh pot already brewing.

I realize that you wanted the option of using a paper filter but have you considered a French press? I’ve found that it provides the most control over the water temperature and duration of the brew. I suppose that one could still pour the result through a paper filter to remove any junk that slipped past the filter.

I recently went backwards from my coffee maker to a French press because I was given a really nice stainless steel one cup model. I have since become hooked on cold brewed coffee and use an 8 cup model to make up about 800mls every couple of days.

I don’t use the coffee maker very often now because, to tell the truth, I much prefer shots of chilled espresso.

He feature that I enjoy more than anything on my coffee maker is the insulated carafe. There’s not even a close second. It’ll lee a pot of coffee hot for several hours, but I never have to worry about burned coffee. Too bad about the paper filter requirement as I have the one from the link below and it’s awesome.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00020R0VK

The best coffee maker I’ve ever owned is my Black & Decker 12 cup programmable coffee maker. I just checked the box and there is no model number.

It will brew 1 cup or 12 cups and you can adjust the strength from weak to extra extra strong.

I never use the programmable feature. I suppose it might be good for people who get up at the same time every morning and want to drink a cup of coffee before they go to work but don’t want to take an extra 2 minutes to clean the machine after use and prepare it for the next use.

The coffee it makes is so delicious that I rushed out and bought a second machine so that when this one breaks (which is fairly inevitable I suppose), I will have another one in case they discontinue the model.

I also bought two extra filter baskets (permanent stainless steel baskets) require no paper filters. It comes with one basket but I bought the spares because they were very cheap ($5 each) and you never can tell. One of them could get damaged.

I just love the taste of the coffee this machine makes. I’ve never tasted any better. I think it cost around $40. I forget. I love this machine so much, I would have been glad to pay $200 for it.

My problem with Mr. Coffee, B&D, and most other brands is that they either do not reach nor maintain the correct brewing temperature. It’s easier to get a strong but smooth cup of Joe with a machine that does so. My last machine before my Bonavita was the worse. It was an old Mr. Coffee with a glass carafe that would give a pot of coffee at 160 degrees. I drank it, because it was better than instant, but spending for a coffee maker that reaches and maintains water temp of 185 - 190 was a huge investment in taste.

This.

Drip machines have a bad reputation because of what D_Odds says. However, if you take the time and spend some $$, a good drip coffee maker makes coffee that rivals any other method, including French Press.

What you want is a Capresso. I have the older version of the one I linked, and I can tell you, it makes excellent coffee. It brews at the correct temperature and has the right rate of extraction. It makes delicious coffee. I’m drinking some right now.

Of your list of requirements, the only one I can’t personally vouch for is “easily cleaned.” You can clean it, but like all drip machines, it has internal thingamajigs that you can’t get to. I run vinegar through it a couple times a year and that does the trick.

Current machine is the second Cuisinart I mentioned in the OP. It does NOT have the built in bean grinder.

And no, not hyperbole. The way my current machine is designed, there are a number of nooks and crevices that cannot be reached without significant effort. The tube that sucks water out is not connected to the back of the reservoir, so gunk can get behind it. Also, there is a small water filter “pellet” (looks like a dishwasher soap pellet) that goes down into a spot that sits beneath the reservoir, which is another place that is tough to reach.

There occasionally is a “film” that forms on the plastic, inside the reservoir. The only way I have been able to remove it is by using a paper towel and elbow grease, and some of the spots are impossible to reach without a lot of effort.

I don’t know what the stuff is… I assumed it was just a by-product of time, our water, and the plastic. But maybe it is too close to the stove, and cooking residue gets into the reservoir. My wife uses a lot of olive oil when she cooks on the stove top, and until just now, I never thought that was the source of the “film” that builds up in the reservoir.

In any event, i want it to be very easy to clean properly. And in the meantime, I will move my current maker to a different spot in the kitchen.

Another french press user here. The french press is the sweet spot for me in control over time/temp while being a bit more convenient than a pour over.

I have:

1.5 liter french press
Black and Decker electric kettle with preset temps and timer
Burr grinder
Optional: digital scale

I fill the electric kettle the night before with 1 liter , set to 190 degrees. Boiling is too hot for good coffee and extracts too much bitterness. I don’t bother with the timer as it’s so quick anyway, but I coukd wake up to hot water and shave 5 minutes off my process. I measure my beans, I use 50g/liter, but you use a scoop and just experiment to find your preferred strength. The beans sit in the grinder over night and take about a minute in the morning. Add hot water to coffee, stir, set timer for 4 minutes. Press, pour.

Makes a delicious 3 mugs of strong but not bitter coffee. Can make good coffee out of indifferent beans like 8 o’clock. Currently I use Poor Mans Blend from Coffee Beans Direct. About $30/5lb.
It sounds like a lot of fuss, but it’s easy once you set it up. And makes a damn good cup of coffee.

We have a Hamilton Beach unit, apparently this model. It’s versatile and easily programmable. I think my wife runs a vinegar solution through it occasionally, but I’ve never actually discussed the cleaning with her. She doesn’t complain about cleaning it.

We’ve had it for years and it still works great. For us the convenience of choosing a potful or a single serving is handy. For the carafe/pot it uses standard paper filters. For the single serving it has an easily cleanable (just rinse it) reusable mesh filter.

I find it interesting that Hamilton Beach shows a list price of $89.99, and that Walmart sells it for $89.99 but claims a list/former price of $109.99, for a $20 saving [over their made-up exaggerated list price].

I don’t drink coffee, but my wife sure does and she’s been very happy with this coffee maker.

I have a $20 Mr. Coffee, and it’s good enough for me! I drink one mug in the morning, just to get myself going, and I buy good coffee. I would like to get a new machine, though, as the white plastic gets badly stained and is almost impossible to scrub clean. (yes, I run vinegar through, but the inside reservoir and the coffee grounds holder are stained and hard to wash.)

I have the same model and would also recommend it. You can use paper cone filters instead of the permanent if you choose. Sadly, it looks like they are no longer making them, but they can still be found on eBay for around $100. It is definitely worth the price.

I bought this Zojirushi not long ago and really like it. Thermal carafe that actually keeps the coffee hot (no reheat burner). Water comes out the proper temp for proper brewing. Easy to clean. Uses paper filters or an inexpensive gold filter (which I highly recommend). The water reservoir detaches and is filled at the sink, not by carting water in the carafe and then spilling it all over your counter when you try to pour it into the pot.

Cons: it’s fairly wide.

Another vote for the French press. No nooks and crannies that are difficult to clean and it makes excellent coffee.

How do you French Press folks keep the coffee hot? That’s one of my beefs with French Press. I want to make a pot of coffee big enough for two people and keep it hot for an hour and a half or so; I can do that with the drip maker that goes right into the thermos.

Even if I could find a giant french press that made 4 biggish cups of coffee, brewing it then pouring it into a thermos never keeps it hot enough.

Plus… French Press coffee. Meh. I know tons of people love it, it’s a bit too… chalky or something for my taste.

We pour boiling water into the thermos to heat it, dump it, then fill it with the coffee. Depending on the quality of the thermos, it can keep quite some time. We drink ours faster, so you may need a better thermos.

How much does using bottled water improve the coffee? I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t seem to do all that much (although we have pretty good water here in Seattle).