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joey48442
joey48442 Dork
10/9/08 10:49 a.m.

I want to get a decent quality coffee maker, without spending to much. Is this possible? I'm looking for something between the Mr Coffee maker we have already, and, say, a BUNN. Nothing too extravagant, but something that makes a quick, good cup of coffee.

Any recommendations?

Joey

confuZion3
confuZion3 HalfDork
10/9/08 10:57 a.m.

We had one of those nifty, compact units that had a little gauge on it and an internal tank. You pressed a lever and coffee came out.

It was great, but it had two issues. 1.) Tall cups did not fit. 2.) It sprung a leak and died after two years of dedicated, loyoal operation. It should have lasted 10.

Watch the first point when you get yours. The second point cannot be helped. It must have been a freak occurance.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
10/9/08 10:57 a.m.

I like Krups.

or sign up for gevalia.. get the free coffee maker, get the free coffee then cancel.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
10/9/08 11:08 a.m.

Bunn. Just buy a VPR (commercial 2 burner pour-over) at Sam's. You'll never need another one, so your actual cost per pot will be low.

John Brown
John Brown GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/9/08 11:15 a.m.

+1 with Hess, then after J&Js Pizza opens you can sell it to the company.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
10/9/08 11:17 a.m.

How much coffee do you need to make at a time? Just one cup for yourself?

My favorite coffee maker right now is my little Bialetti Moka Express stove-top percolator.

It was inexpensive and will never break. It also brews a fantastic cup of coffee, halfway between espresso and regular coffee. The biggest issue is that it can be a bit of work to clean. You also want to turn off the stove once it's done percolating so that you don't scald anything. It makes really good coffee though.

For regular style coffee makers, my girlfriend has a Braun coffee maker. It was pretty inexpensive and works well.

Look at Starbucks when they're having a big sale. Their equipment is good.

In general, there are a couple of things to look for that make for a good coffee maker: metal filter, vacuum sealed carafe and no bottom heater unit, the water nozzle at the top should have a wide and even spray, and the faster it is able to heat the water and brew the coffee - the better.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
10/9/08 11:23 a.m.

I also own a small 1 cup french press for camping. Best coffee ever in the woods.

http://www.rei.com/product/743758 I use it at work as well to make cups of good coffee.

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
10/9/08 11:26 a.m.

French Press is supposed to be the second best way to enjoy coffee (cupping being the best). It's usually more involved to do a French Press right though, and you have to worry about the glass ones breaking). That's why I like the percolator: almost as good, and easier to do.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/9/08 11:30 a.m.
Salanis wrote: How much coffee do you need to make at a time? Just one cup for yourself? My favorite coffee maker right now is my little Bialetti Moka Express stove-top percolator. It was inexpensive and will never break. It also brews a fantastic cup of coffee, halfway between espresso and regular coffee. The biggest issue is that it can be a bit of work to clean. You also want to turn off the stove once it's done percolating so that you don't scald anything. It makes *really* good coffee though. For regular style coffee makers, my girlfriend has a Braun coffee maker. It was pretty inexpensive and works well. Look at Starbucks when they're having a big sale. Their equipment is good. In general, there are a couple of things to look for that make for a good coffee maker: metal filter, vacuum sealed carafe and no bottom heater unit, the water nozzle at the top should have a wide and even spray, and the faster it is able to heat the water and brew the coffee - the better.

That's not a percolator, it's an espresso maker. As you know, you put water in the bottom, and as it warms, it forces the water through the ground coffee via pressure. It does it once, and normally at low pressure, since the water doesn't need to boil to make pressure.

OTOH, a percolator passes boiling water over grounds repeatedly. Boiling water is bad, as it brings bitter flavors out, and repeated soaking is bad, too. Then boiling finished coffee is bad.

The espresso maker rocks. Percolators suck.

(and French press is awesome).

Eric

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
10/9/08 11:46 a.m.
alfadriver wrote: That's not a percolator, it's an espresso maker.

I always figured a percolator was defined by the water pressure being pushed up through the grounds. That the difference was, this type doesn't let the coffee recirculate. I guess the water pressure forced through grounds is the same action as an espresso maker. Well, I'll stop calling it the wrong thing.

It does make great coffee.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 Reader
10/9/08 11:52 a.m.

I opted to spend the $ on a home Bunn unit and never regretted it. I've had it long enough now that I've gotten my moneys worth out of it based on how long the cheapies used to last. Although the water filter pitcher I use for the water might help some.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 Reader
10/9/08 11:52 a.m.

I opted to spend the $ on a home Bunn unit and never regretted it. I've had it long enough now that I've gotten my moneys worth out of it based on how long the cheapies used to last. Although the water filter pitcher I use for the water might help some.

Kendall_Jones
Kendall_Jones New Reader
10/9/08 11:56 a.m.

Cuisinart makes the best pouring carafes I've seen. We have a whammy jammy grind & brew from them, and it goes right into a thermal carafe (which keeps it hot for hours).

Anyway, having gone through dozens of coffee makers over the years, I've found the Cuisinarts the best.

Kendall

bludroptop
bludroptop Dork
10/9/08 12:02 p.m.

Well, we had a mid-line Braun for a long time that I was pretty happy with. When it croaked a couple of months ago, Mrs. BDT went to Williams Sonoma and dropped a bundle on a Cuisinart. I HATE it!

The place you pour the water into is too small, causing me to spill water all over the countertop at 4 AM each day. Unlike Kendall's, our carafe does not pour well. The white plastic carafe lid is already permanently stained brown after only about 3 months. It beeps loudly for no good reason. It is ugly and too big.

MitchellC
MitchellC Reader
10/9/08 12:05 p.m.

I use a French Press. Great coffee, and not too involved: Stick water in the microwave, grind beans, pour hot water over grounds, and then wait a few minutes.

I have this one (the small blue model that's $26). No glass like the Bodums, so I don't have anything to break.

Duke
Duke Dork
10/9/08 12:11 p.m.

I used to have a Braun Aromaster for years, and loved it. It finally died, and I've been using the free maker I got from Gevalia (free coffee is long gone). It makes decent coffee but has nothing to offer besides its price.

I find that any cheap drip maker does OK - the real difference comes from grinding the beams fresh for each pot. Just avoid the Mr. Coffees with their idiot-based "Dial-a-brew" system.

ApexC
ApexC Reader
10/9/08 1:13 p.m.

Another vote for the French Press. Best reasonable home cup available. Takes a little time, but it's worth it.

Spend some time over on coffeegeek.com and you'll get a good idea of optimum methods and equipment. Long story short: to get a good cup of joe, you either need to put a little time into making the cup, or spend a princely sum for some high-end equipment.

DrBoost
DrBoost Reader
10/9/08 4:35 p.m.

My wife is a coffee conneseiur (SP?) so I did some research. It appears there is one brewing method that is superior to the rest because the brewing is governed by physics so it can't really go wrong. It's called vacuum brewing, google it. I got her a all glass unit (metal and plastic color the flavor) for less than $30. IT's actually really fun to watch. You put the grounds in the upper chamber on top of a filter. The water goes in the bottom put and you put it on the stove. When the water boils (and NOT before) the pressure pushes the hot water up into the top chamber. After 3 minutes (more or less time for a stronger brew). Then turn the fire off and as the water cools (pretty quick) the pressure in the bottom pot drops and the now brewed coffee fills the pot. It's a HUGE conversation starter when we use it with company and my wife says the coffee is quite a bit better using this method.

Woody
Woody GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/9/08 7:40 p.m.
DrBoost wrote: It appears there is one brewing method that is superior to the rest because the brewing is governed by physics so it can't really go wrong. It's called vacuum brewing, google it. I got her a all glass unit (metal and plastic color the flavor) for less than $30. IT's actually really fun to watch. You put the grounds in the upper chamber on top of a filter. The water goes in the bottom put and you put it on the stove. When the water boils (and NOT before) the pressure pushes the hot water up into the top chamber. After 3 minutes (more or less time for a stronger brew). Then turn the fire off and as the water cools (pretty quick) the pressure in the bottom pot drops and the now brewed coffee fills the pot. It's a HUGE conversation starter when we use it with company and my wife says the coffee is quite a bit better using this method.

I remember seeing a bunch of those in college, but I never knew you could use them to make coffee!

The best cup of coffee I ever had came out of one of these: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thriftaholic/2549241407/

924guy
924guy HalfDork
10/9/08 9:20 p.m.

Another vote for a Bunn, yes they cost more.. but they are the best.. coffee is my thing, the bunn makes my thing happy...

xd
xd New Reader
10/10/08 6:12 a.m.

+1 for the Cuisinart I learned after 3 cheap ones I do not want anything with a burner or says Mr.Coffee anywhere on it. I like my press also.

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/10/08 7:34 a.m.
Salanis wrote:
alfadriver wrote: That's not a percolator, it's an espresso maker.
I always figured a percolator was defined by the water pressure being pushed up through the grounds. That the difference was, this type doesn't let the coffee recirculate. I guess the water pressure forced through grounds is the same action as an espresso maker. Well, I'll stop calling it the wrong thing. It does make great coffee.

Not quite- a percolator basically uses the action of boiling water to put the water over the grounds. The way that the water comes up the center "pipe"- it percolates up- is the reason of the name. Cheap, but terrible way of making coffee.

But you are correct that espresso maker will make awesome coffee.

My personal choice is also a French Press. I'm making coffee at my desk as we speak. Cheap, very high quality coffee- but it does take some practice to do it well.

I've heard a lot of good thing about the vacuum system, BTW, but since it's easier to warm water in a microwave, the press is more portable (my press is glass and plastic, so I can put in into a microwave.

Eric

Jay_W
Jay_W HalfDork
10/10/08 8:55 a.m.

Don't go too cheap. Coffee, like beer, is a quality-of-life issue, life's too short to drink bad coffee. My wife is a coffee gourmand as well, so I got her a fancybutt full-auto Solis Pallazzo espresso machine several years ago and boy oh boy we're both happy I did. You can just do up a nice cuppa joe, or a big ol' mocha, and at the rate she was hitting Starbucks, that machine paid for itself in less than a year. As for feedstock? The best reasonbly priced coffeebeans we've come across are at Costco, those organic "rainforest blend" beans from san francisco bay roasters.

joey48442
joey48442 Dork
10/10/08 9:40 a.m.

Wow! Lots of good info here. Already familiar with a French Press, we use one, but in the morning I usually need about 8-10 cups, for Jamie and I, as we both fill our mugs and then fill a thermos for the early part of the day. The French Press doesn't make enough coffee at once to work for us. My friend bought a used BUNN, maybe we could go that route.

Thanks!

Joey

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
10/10/08 9:53 a.m.

I used to own a coffee service while in undergraduate school. I had about 75 Bunn VPR's. If they were all placed, I probably never would have gone to school, but that's another story. You can't get a better machine than a Bunn. The comercial units are much better than the Bunn home units. We're still using one, and it is well over 20 years old. You do have to buy your filters at a restaurant supply place, though. The grocery stores don't carry the comercial size. Sam's does, and 1000 filters will cost you under 10 bucks, so you just buy a box of them every couple of years.

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