Does coffee offer health benefits?

Coffee has been around for a long time and blamed for many ills — from stunting your growth to causing heart disease — but newer research shows that it may actually have health benefits.

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of heart disease or cancer.

In fact, some studies have found an association between coffee consumption and decreased overall mortality and possibly cardiovascular mortality, although this may not be true in younger people who drink large amounts of coffee.

Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn't always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers.

Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. Coffee also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels.

In addition, some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Although coffee may have fewer risks compared with benefits, keep in mind that other beverages, such as milk and some fruit juices, contain nutrients that coffee doesn't. Also, adding cream and sugar to your coffee adds fat and calories — up to hundreds of calories in some cases.

The 7 Best Coffee Makers of 2019

This definitive guide to the best coffee makers of 2019 covers everything you need to know before you buy your next morning companion. We tested what most experts consider the world’s best coffee makers, comparing size, speed, price and performance, to identify which machines to buy (and avoid) in 2019.

The 7 Best Coffee Makers of 2019
  • Best Overall Coffee Maker: Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup
  • Best Upgrade Coffee Maker: Moccamaster 59616 KBG
  • Best Affordable Coffee Maker: KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer
  • Best Small Coffee Maker: Bunn 10-Cup Velocity Brewer
  • Most Advanced Coffee Maker: Breville Precision Brewer
  • Best Programmable Coffee Maker: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup
  • Best Designed Coffee Maker: Ratio Eight

In the world of coffee brewing, pour-over, cold brew, French press and Aeropress get all the buzz. Yet, for the vast majority of people, these methods of making coffee are not ideal — at least not for those grueling minutes between sleep and getting out the door every morning. Much to the chagrin of coffee purists, the mighty drip coffee maker is still most coffee drinkers’ preferred choice due to speed and convenience.

In the past decade or so, a thousand and one companies have pushed their way into market, though very few have the intention (let alone the ability) to manufacture coffee brewers that make truly good coffee. After testing what most experts consider the world’s best machines, we narrowed our list down to just seven: here are the best coffee makers you can buy in 2019.

The 7 Best Coffee Makers
Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bonavita makes one thing: specialty coffee equipment. This model earned the mark of approval of the Specialty Coffee Association — specialty coffee’s most important trade organization — and it brews quickly and evenly. It’s also dead simple to operate. It makes coffee that’s well-bodied but not overbearing, and it’s small and cheap enough to work for almost everybody.


What We Like: Our best overall brewer makes pots of coffee that are excellent for the vast majority of coffee drinkers, and it offers a gateway into more complex brewing ideas. The coffee it makes isn’t as light as most of the higher end machines, but it’s not as oppressively dark as with cheaper models. An identical coffee maker is available as a programmable version for a few dollars more, but programmable coffee makers (unless they have built-in grinders) can’t account for the loss of freshness.

This one is a nicely balanced size that is short enough to open when positioned under cabinets and not so wide as to take up enormous tracts of the countertop. We also like that it brews a full pot in about four minutes, and maintains consistency no matter how many cups it’s brewing. On top of this, Bonavita’s customer service is exceptional, and the price is tough to beat.

What We Don’t Like: Like most coffee makers we tested, the shower head will drip water onto the machine after use. The thermal carafe and its lid could also be better (it helps to pre-heat the carafe by filling it with hot water prior to brewing) at maintaining high temperatures. Finally, the filter basket sits on top of the carafe — this means you have to take it off and put it on the counter (or in the sink) in order to fit the lid on or pour coffee.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Best Upgrade Coffee Maker: Moccamaster 59616 KBG ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Upgrade Coffee Maker: Moccamaster 59616 KBG  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Technivorm’s Moccamaster has remained among the absolute best coffee makers in the world since it was invented in 1969. Thanks to a special copper heating system, it’s one of the fastest brewers, and it is lauded for its consistently outstanding pots of coffee. It’s uniquely disassemblable, meaning you can pull it apart for cleaning or troubleshooting yourself (Technivorm’s customer service is one of the best we’ve encountered).

What We Like: There are many Moccamaster models, but this is the one that we recommend most. This model uses a glass carafe and electric hot plate instead of the typical steel carafe. The glass makes it simpler to tell how much coffee is left and is much easier to clean (it’s difficult to see inside steel carafes). Thanks to a copper-based heating element, all Moccamasters are lightning quick to heat and brew coffee — we clocked in a full 10 cups of brewing in just over five minutes.

Additionally, this model features a manually adjustable brew basket, which is a fancy way of saying you can control pre-infusion of the grounds and you can seal the brew head when you pull the carafe away from the machine. This pretty much eliminates the annoying water drip most coffee makers are plagued with. It’s also more disassemblable than most coffee machines, making it simple to clean and troubleshoot other potential issues.

What We Don’t Like: The price isn’t very friendly. Also, the brew basket itself feels cheap for an otherwise super-premium coffee maker.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Best Affordable Coffee Maker: KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Affordable Coffee Maker: KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This KitchenAid coffee maker isnt’s as cheap as some might wish it were, but it’s the most affordable machine we’ve found that still makes great coffee. It’s also currently the most inexpensive machine with the Specialty Coffee Association’s certification you can buy and happens to look pretty good on a countertop, too.

What We Like: KitchenAid’s quasi-retro pour-over machine looks good and brews stellar coffee. Its final cup leans more toward a fuller-bodied, classic cup of coffee than others on this list, but it doesn’t completely drown out lighter flavors, either. It also allows you to change brewing cycles for dark or light roast levels.

It’s not exceptionally fast at brewing like the Moccamaster or the Breville Precision Brewer, but, at about eight minutes for eight cups, it’s quicker than some pricier options.

What We Don’t Like: The water reservoir is narrow and was prone to splashing on the counter. The way in which the lid snaps onto the carafe, which snaps into the brewer, is bound to be problematic over time (customer reviews of the product tell a similar story). The machine’s shiny plastic finish was also highly susceptible to fingerprints.

Verdict: Recommended

Best Small Coffee Maker: Bunn 10-Cup Velocity Brewer  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Small Coffee Maker: Bunn 10-Cup Velocity Brewer  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you’re looking for a coffee maker to take up less space, you want one that’s designed to be deeper than it is wide. Bunn made its name over the years designing utilitarian coffee makers that are compact, easy-to-use and just plain work. This model is only seven inches wide, goes on sale often and pumps out a very good 10-cup pot of coffee in just over three minutes.

What We Like: We chose this Bunn brewer because it was small and it didn’t compromise on brewing performance
What We Don’t Like: Some may take issue with the brewer keeping water at or near brew temperature at all times. This is the trade-off for the quickest button-press-to-cup time we’ve ever tested (that’s all 10 cups, mind you). Some reviews noted the coffee it brews isn’t as hot or strong as preferred, but the coffee we brewed was consistently around 190 degrees post-brewing, and was stronger than expected for such a quick brew cycle.

Verdict: Recommended

Most Advanced Coffee Maker: Breville Precision Brewer  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Most Advanced Coffee Maker: Breville Precision Brewer  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Breville’s prime directive is to make the most powerful, versatile, impressive version of whatever it decides to put together. Its coffee maker, though somewhat large, is as customizable as coffee makers get. The build quality is exceptional, standing out in a space filled with mostly plastic components.

What We Like: Lightning fast brew times, presets that are actually useful and unmatched versatility, for starters. The Precision Pro can brew with flat-bottom filters, cone filters and it even has a pour-over attachment (you can literally put your pour-over device under the shower head). It can brew cold brew coffee, brew coffee to the exacting Gold Cup standard and it’s the only coffee maker we know of that allows you to customize options like flow rate and bloom time. If you or someone you know if keen on experimenting with coffee, there is no better coffee maker.

What We Don’t Like: It’s kind of enormous in comparison to other coffee makers. You will have to pull the whole thing from under the cabinets to load coffee and water into it. The price is high but, compared to what you get, it’s not a problem of value.

Verdict: Recommended

Best Programmable Coffee Maker: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Programmable Coffee Maker: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Though buying coffee pre-ground or leaving grounds in the machine overnight isn’t ideal for freshness (more on that here), it is convenient. We found many programmable coffee makers leaned too hard into “smart” tech in lieu of making good coffee. OXO’s 9-Cup Barista Brain didn’t. Other than its one-button brew timer, it’s a high-performing, nice-looking machine, made with better materials than most of its competition.

What We Like: Instead of offering dozens of programmable settings and options, the Barista Brain gives you one — a 24-hour timer to set before you go to bed. Most importantly, this simple addition to the machine is secondary to how good the machine is at its primary duty (making pots of coffee). The coffee maker heats and brew quickly (about 6-and-a-half minutes for a full pot) and carries with it the SCA’s brewer certification. It’s also simple to use — one button controls pretty much everything the machine does — and looks good enough to leave on your countertop.

What We Don’t Like: $200 isn’t cheap and the everlasting issue of water dripping from the brew basket onto the base below is present. The water tank will often fog up after brewing, too, which is slightly bothersome at most.

Verdict: Recommended


Best Designed Coffee Maker: Ratio Eight  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best Designed Coffee Maker: Ratio Eight  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Though a subjective trait, it’s hard to dispute how good its walnut arms and matte black tower look on a countertop. The automatic pour-over brewer is basically a Chemex that you don’t have to fiddle with (it uses Chemex filters, too). And yes, it is expensive, but it also might be the last coffee maker you ever have to buy.

What We Like: Its black aluminum body and walnut frame give the Ratio Eight a look that is unique unto itself. Its coffee brewing style is essentially an automated version of a Chemex brew (pre-infusion included), and produces similarly light-bodied and super floral cups of coffee. As we’ve noted before, the glass carafe is a nice departure from steel, as you always know how much coffee remains and can see the brew process in action.

What We Don’t Like: It’s a pretty luxurious buy, and as such there’s no escaping the price associated with such things. Apart from that, condensation tends to build up around the top of the machine during brewing.

Verdict: Recommended, with reservations

What Makes a Good Coffee Maker?

Speed

Speedy coffee makers make batch-brewed joe more convenient, but there’s more to it than that. The SCA’s rigorous certification program, which has long separated the best coffee brewers from those that cut corners, only accepts brew times of four to eight minutes, and those aren’t made-up numbers. Coffee brewed any quicker than four minutes will be under-extracted (weak) and over eight minutes will be over-extracted (bitter).

Temperature

Because the higher water temperature is the agent that extracts and dissolves coffee solids and oils from coffee grounds, brewing temperature is one of the best indicators of a machine that could make a decent cup of coffee. According to the Gold Cup standard, coffee should be brewed between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Brew at a lower temperature and coffee and risk under extraction (weak, sour coffee), or brew above 205 and you’re bumping up against boiling water, which will dissolve more coffee than is preferable (heavy, extra-bitter).

Maintenance

Often ignored when considering a new purchase is how simple the upkeep is. Because coffee makers are working with hot water, an ideal breeding ground for mold and limescale, it’s doubly important. Making sure the machine and as many components as possible can be disassembled and cleaned is of the utmost importance to both performance and health.

Price

This guide might look different if we completely ignored the role cost plays in the buying equation. But, seeing as not everyone is willing to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on a machine, excluding price as a primary factor is a fantasy. At the same time, the quality of the machine can’t be sacrificed to save $30, because extra-cheap machines will catch up to you in the form of leaky brew baskets, worn-out buttons, inconsistent extraction and so on.

The 7 Best Coffee Makers of 2019
  • Best Overall Coffee Maker: Bonavita BV1900TS 8-Cup
  • Best Upgrade Coffee Maker: Moccamaster 59616 KBG
  • Best Affordable Coffee Maker: KitchenAid Pour Over Coffee Brewer
  • Best Small Coffee Maker: Bunn 10-Cup Velocity Brewer
  • Most Advanced Coffee Maker: Breville Precision Brewer
  • Best Programmable Coffee Maker: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup
  • Best Designed Coffee Maker: Ratio Eight