Erica and I love our coffee and we frequently get asked what type of coffee equipment to get, so here are a few good ones. A few recommendations if you will.
Pour Over (~$15 on Amazon, retail ~$20)
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a coffee brewer to make good coffee. This is my defacto recommendation for most people: Get a pour over! They make great coffee, are inexpensive, and you are in total control.
Bonavita 8 cup coffee brewer with thermal carafe (~$135 on Amazon, retail $180)
Certified by the Special Coffee Association of America (SCAA), quick to start, brews at just the right temperature, and so simple to even my four year old daughter can use it. It is more expensive than a Black and Decker, but if your looking in that price range stick with a pour over. This has been our trusty brewer for two years now and we love it. Highly recommended.
They sell another model without the thermal carafe, but I absolutely recommend the thermal carafe! A good insulated carafe (like this one) allows you to brew the coffee and keep it warm without burning it on a hot plate. Granted, if you immediately brew and serve it right away this feature may be of little benefit and you can save a few bucks on the glass carafe, but I’ll stand by my recommendation of the thermal carafe for most folks.
Technivorm Moccamaster (~$300 on Amazon, retail $320)
The Technivorm is a great unit certified by the SCAA. When we are in the market two years ago it was a top contender. It was one of the first quality brewers in the US market and from personal experience it brews a solid cup of coffee. Just like the Bonavita, it also brews at just the right temperature and starts up quickly. I didn’t find the Technivorm terribly intuitive, however, as it had a number of parts and pieces that had to be aligned just right. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, it made me feel like I was making something extra special, but I wouldn’t trust my four year old barista in training with it just yet. You are reading this blog post, so I assume you are older than four and therefore feel confident that if you prefer the Technivorm you will find this a minor drawback.
Brazen Plus ($200 retail)
This is a brand new brewer certified by the SCAA’s home brewer program. I read an article about it here recently, but haven’t gotten a chance to try one (anyone want buy us one!?). The specs look great, but what really caught my attention was the ability to customize the water temperature, add a pre-soak cycle for the grounds, calibration for higher altitudes, and more tweaks. Brew wise I am confident that this will product a great cup of coffee along the lines of the Technivorm and the Bonavita, but with the added benefit of being able to customize things to your taste for that geeky-coffee-artistic-touch. It is more expensive than the Bonavita, but it is less expensive than the Technivorm. Did I mention it has a thermal carafe?
Conclusion / Suggestions
Until you are ready to invest in a coffee maker, go with a pour over. Even after you invest in a coffee maker, buy a pour over if you don’t already have one. Never get rid of your pour over, he will be your stalwart companion until one of your children knocks him off a shelf and you hold a funeral and maybe have a little cry.
Still reading? OK. If you are ready to invest in a brewer because *maybe* you need something to handle the dangerous aspects of handling near-boiling water in the morning before that first cup of coffee has fully awaken you to the danger of second degree burns… What then?… What would we recommend for your health, safety, and sanity?
If I was in the shoes that I imagine many of you wearing, first I would hope they were at least size 10 and 1/2 or I would be uncomfortable, second I would lean heavily toward the Bonavita for its simplicity, price, and ability to make a great cup of coffee. If was in my shoes, the shoes of a coffee geek, I would seriously consider the new Brazen Plus for those same features and it’s tweakability (thats a word right?).