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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.
Best Overall: Technivorm Moccamaster KBG Coffee Maker
Brews full pot in about five minutes
Adjustable coffee strength
Only 10-cup capacity
As far as drip coffee goes, this coffee maker from Technivorm is not only luxe, but also one of just a handful of brewers that meets the Golden Cup Standard, a set of criteria put forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. This 10-cup capacity machine uniquely uses a copper core element to keep the brewing temperature within the optimum range of 195 to 205 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can quickly make an entire carafe in just about five minutes. You can also adjust the strength of your java via the brew basket control, which allows you to manage how long the coffee is steeped.
Once your coffee has finished brewing, the hot plate stays on to keep the carafe warm. Thanks to an automatic shutoff feature, the machine will power down after 40 minutes, too. Other features include a hand washable glass carafe and removable parts for long-term maintenance and replacement. This top-quality coffee maker is handmade in the Netherlands and comes backed by a five-year warranty.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 12.75 x 6.5 x 14 inches | Wattage: 1475
"I'm obsessed with my Moccamaster. Not only does it look beautiful on my counter, but it also brews the best coffee at warp speed—making it well worth the price, in my opinion." — Taysha Murtaugh, Editorial Director
Best Programmable: Braun MultiServe KF9170SI Coffee Maker
Multiple brew strengths and sizes
Takes up lots of room on countertop
Carafe is difficult to hand wash
The Braun MultiServe lives up to its name, offering three brew strengths and seven different sizes that you can program in advance. That includes a setting that allows you to brew a single cup of coffee— just like a Nespresso or Keurig machine—but without requiring a special pod. This brewer features a removable tank, making it easier to fill with water than traditional fixed tanks, as well as an iced coffee mode, and will make a full carafe in less than eight minutes.
This SCAA-certified machine is not just versatile, but it's also great to look at. Its sleek lines will complement just about any kitchen decor.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 12.75 x 6.5 x 14 inches | Wattage: 1600
"This is one of the few coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association. To achieve that standard, the Braun MultiServe is guaranteed to brew at the optimal temperature and extraction percentage, all under six minutes." — Derek Rose, Coffee and Tea Expert
Best Espresso: Breville BES920XL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine
Many customizable settings
Can simultaneously steam milk and make espresso
Tricky to set up
Have to clean well after each use
Beginners might find there's a learning curve
For those who love espresso, this splurge-worthy model from Breville can't be beat. Equipped with a dual boiler system, the machine is able to maintain the ideal temperature for making espresso (195 to 205 degrees) while also powering the steam wand for heating and frothing milk (around 250 degrees), just like a commercial espresso machine. It also features a dedicated hot water outlet for making Americanos or preheating mugs.
Programmable functions allow you to customize your espresso, while other features include a descaling function for cleaning and shot clock to help you time espresso pulls for flawless crema and optimal flavor.
The only real qualms our tester had with this maker was the amount of time it took for the machine to warm up—about 10 minutes maximum—and the slightly high-maintenance upkeep. But, if you're patient and don't mind rinsing and wiping down a few parts after each use, this machine will give experienced users great espresso drinks time after time.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Frother/Steamer: Yes | Grinder: Yes | Dimensions: 14.1 x 14.6 x 14.7 inches | Wattage: 1700
"There was consistently a crema atop the espresso, which adds a rich flavor to the shot, and the drink didn’t have a burnt or dull taste as long as we properly cleaned our machine after each use." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Combo: Miele CM5300 Countertop Coffee System
Built-in burr grinder
Automatic cleaning function
Might be noisy for some
May require learning curve
This machine comes at a hefty price, but those familiar with this German company know Miele's worldwide reputation for quality. Featuring nine drink presets, you'll be able to create an assortment of espresso-based drinks from lattes to macchiatos and everything between. If you're in the mood for drip coffee, this brewer can also make an 8-cup carafe in minutes (though you'll have to purchase the carafe separately).
Equipped with a grinder, you can grind beans on demand and even store individual settings for grind, amount of coffee, brewing temperature, and water amount. Maintenance is easy, too, due to an automatic descaling feature and removable parts.
While Miele's countertop coffee systems are all considered high-quality, the CM5300 is the smallest and least expensive of the three available models and does not come equipped with a programmable on/off timer. This is a wonderful option for those who want the performance of a top-of-the-line machine with a minimal footprint.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Grinder: Yes | Frother/Steamer: Yes | Dimensions: 18.125 x 9.5 x 14.25 inches | Wattage: 1500
Best Nespresso: Nespresso Creatista Plus
A collaboration between Nespresso and Breville, this single-serve machine uses Nespresso capsules to create cafe-style drinks with no espresso pulling experience required. With this model, you can adjust the temperature and volume of your espresso and select from eight different textures and 11 temperature settings for frothing milk (especially fun for those who want to experiment with latte art). According to our reviewer, the machine heats up in just three seconds and is incredibly energy efficient. It will automatically turn off after nine minutes of no use.
The Creatista Plus is an upgraded version of the original Creatista—it has three more texture options and six more temperature options for milk, a faster heating time, and is housed in stainless steel (the original model was a combination of stainless and plastic). All in all, we love the user-friendly interface that guides you through customizing your drinks as well as the alert when it's time to descale your machine. It's ideal for those who want consistent, foolproof espresso at the drop of a hat.
Grounds or Pods: Pods | Milk Frother: Built-in | Tank Capacity: 60 ounces | Dimensions: 15.4 x 12 x 6.7 inches | Wattage: 1600
"The Nespresso Creatista Plus Espresso Machine is ideal for anyone who wants quick and easy espresso drinks. It does the majority of the work and produces a consistent result every time." — Cheyenne Elwell, Product Tester
Best Pour Over: Ratio Eight Glass Coffee Maker
Makes exceptionally delicious coffee
Only operates with dedicated, uninsulated carafe
Does not have a hot plate
Thanks to the rise in popularity of artisanal coffee roasters, the pour-over maker is a coffee nerd's dream. It combines precision with freshly ground coffee beans and a longer brewing process to create a highly flavorful cup of java. The pour-over ritual usually involves a scale and specific water pouring technique that has been perfected by trained baristas. Not patient enough to babysit your coffee-making process at home? Enter the Ratio Eight, a startlingly attractive contraption that automates the pour-over process.
All you have to do is add a filter and your grounds to the brewing chamber, fill the water tank, and press a button to start the brewing process. The 45-second "bloom" mode will send just enough water in to wet your grounds, and then the "brew" mode will shower them with hot water to send fully brewed coffee into the handblown borosilicate glass carafe. The result is similar to that of the much-lauded Chemex, but without having to perfect the technique.
You can make up to 40 ounces of coffee at once, and the entire process takes about seven minutes from start to finish. Made of die-cast aluminum with hardwood trim, it's a well-built machine that delivers extravagant pour-over coffee in minutes and looks fantastic sitting on the countertop. If you don't mind a less "design-forward" version, Ratio Coffee also makes the Ratio Six, a smaller, streamlined version that uses the same bloom, brew, and ready phases; is housed in stainless steel; and includes a thermal carafe.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 40 ounces | Materials: Aluminum, glass, hardwood, BPA-free polymer | Dimensions: 13.5 x 9 x 14 inches | Wattage: 1400 | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Is your cup of coffee too weak? It may be a sign that the water is flowing through the grounds too quickly to extract properly, so you should try a finer grind, says Desiree Rose, the beverage director at Stouthaus Coffee. If your coffee is too strong, this could be from the grind being too fine. You can fix this by adjusting to a coarser grind.
Best French Press: Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press
Double filters remove more grit and sediment
Insulated walls keep coffee hot
Finish is prone to spots and smudges
Heavier than other models
High-end coffee makers aren't limited to high-tech electronic models; this gorgeous and modern French press by Frieling is a wonderful choice for those who prefer analog. Made of double-walled 18/10 stainless steel, it can keep your coffee hot up to four times longer than glass versions. This press features a dual filter system, too. The first filter strains out larger particles, and the second filter removes sediment, guaranteeing a smooth cup of java with plenty of flavor.
Our product tester loved the durability of the stainless steel construction in comparison to glass. While the manufacturer says that this coffee maker is dishwasher safe, like other stainless steel kitchenware, it may show spots after washing, so you might opt to hand wash instead. Thanks to its smart design, cleaning by hand is hassle-free since the unit is easy to take apart and reassemble.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 8, 17, 23, 36, and 44 ounces | Material: Stainless steel | | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
"The quality of the design, engineering, and resulting sediment-free java give this device an edge over its competitors." — Tracey Minkin, Product Tester
Best Cold Brew: Hario Cold Water Coffee Dripper
Delivers high-quality results
Easy to use and clean
Visually interesting countertop display
Requires some experimentation
If you want cold brew coffee with style, the Hario Cold Water Coffee Dripper does a fantastic job of extracting color, caffeine, and flavor in nearly a third of the time required of traditional overnight steeping methods.
Like Hario's iconic V60 dripper, this unit is simple in design, but doesn't have the steep learning curve of its pour-over cousin. This beautifully designed brewer feeds cold water drop by drop through finely ground coffee beans, producing a full-flavored concentrate in one to three hours (depending on the volume). Brewing coffee this way lets you preserve flavor and eliminates any bitterness or acids that tend to come through when brewing at hot temperatures. The resulting coffee is smooth and aromatic with no bite.
This brewer is made in Japan and constructed out of acrylic, stainless steel, and glass, giving it a modern look and feel. While it may take some time to figure out the right amount of coffee, grind, and tempo for your water droplets, it's an easy machine to use and can be a wonderful centerpiece for your kitchen.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 26 ounces | Materials: Acrylic, stainless steel, glass | Dimensions: 18 x 6 x 9.45 inches
"Cold brewing creates a low acidity concentrate that retains a much higher caffeine content, but is still smooth and easy to drink." — Desiree Rose, Beverage Director at Stouthaus Coffee
Best With Grinder: Cuisinart DGB-850WS Grind & Brew 10-Cup Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe
Fresh, high-quality coffee
Plenty of customizable settings
Stylish modern design
Difficult to clean carafe
Hard to get last bit of coffee out of carafe
Grinding whole beans just before brewing allows you to maximize the freshness, flavor, and aroma of your cup of coffee. This machine by Cuisinart features a built-in burr grinder with a sealable hopper that holds up to a half-pound of coffee beans (that's approximately four full pots). Select mild, medium, or strong to customize your brew strength and set your coffee pot to brew. You can also program it up to 24 hours in advance if you don't want to start making your coffee right away.
Once it gets going, you can use the Brew Pause function to temporarily stop the flow of coffee, so you can help yourself to a cup before the full brew cycle is complete. The double-walled, insulated stainless steel, thermal carafe keeps your coffee warm for hours. This model features almost exactly the same performance specs as its predecessor, the DGB-900BC, but has a slightly smaller capacity carafe and a larger digital display for easier reading.
Grounds or Pods: Grounds | Capacity: 10 cups | Dimensions: 10.75 x 14.25 x 19.25 | Wattage: 1000
For drip coffee, we highly recommend the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG 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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.