Finding a Good Coffee Maker

November 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Coffeemaker sales have perked up five-percent this year, while sales of most appliances are down. As more people brew at home to save money, a good coffeemaker is key.We did the math, and a daily caffeine drink habit can add up to a thousand dollars a year! So brewing at home is an easy way to save a lot of money. Many of today's coffeemakers tout fancy features and high price tags to match. But you don't need to spend a lot to get a great cup of joe.

Lots of people wouldn't think of giving up coffee, but a lot fewer people are buying their coffee out these days. In fact sales at Starbucks are down six-percent.

"I used to be a Starbucks' junkie and I was going everyday and it got to be too expensive."

"I usually make it at home now because it does save me a little bit of money."

Consumer Reports just tested more than 50 coffeemakers to find ones that do a good job and save you money.

"Our brew test measures a coffeemaker's ability to reach 195 to 205 degrees. That's the temperature you need to extract the most flavor from the coffee," said John Macchia with Consumer Reports.

Testers looked at traditional drip coffee makers and brew stations too, which let you fill your cup directly from the machine. Prices ranged from $20-dollars all the way to $265-dollars for this Technivorm, heavily touted by coffee connoisseurs.

But do you need to spend a lot to get a good coffeemaker?

The Technivorm did ace Consumer Reports brew tests. But it's not all that easy to use. "The Technivorm has a lot of parts and takes some patience to put together. And then you have to slide the carafe in the right spot or else it won't brew," said Macchia.

While the $165-dollar Bunn BTX-B was fast, its brew performance was just mediocre.

However, of the dozens of coffeemakers Consumer Reports tested, there were several very good, less expensive ones.

The top-rated $100-dollar Cuisinart Brew Central is easy to use and rated excellent in Consumer Reports brew tests. A close second, a new coffeemaker from Kalorick. At$ 80 dollars it costs just a third of the price of the Technivorm.

Consumer Reports named several best buys, too. Among them is one from Michael Graves for $40 dollars which is sold at Target. And a good coffee to try is Eight O'clock 100 percent Columbian coffee, top-rated in consumer reports' tests. It costs about six-dollars a pound.

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