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Best Manual Coffee Grinders — 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Manual Coffee Grinders — 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

When it comes to getting the best ground coffee, there is no substitute to doing it yourself, and that is why this list will help you find the best manual coffee grinders so that you can experience why to do a job right, you should do it yourself.

For coffee enthusiasts, few things are better than fresh ground coffee. But having the time to grind coffee can be a pain, and what is worse is if you do not have a reliable grinder. Fortunately, there are plenty of manual grinders that will not require a long effort on your part. Plus, having a manual grinder means that if the power goes off, all you need is that manual grinder, a French press, and some way to heat up water to have great coffee.

Not sure what is the right manual grinder? We have the reviews of several that are not too hard on your wallet while also delivering consistent grounds that will make every cup of coffee that much more satisfying. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Grind Your Coffee?

The simple answer for why you should grind your coffee goes back to the most basic elements of how you brew coffee. What you need is hot water, grounds, and some way to strain the liquid that absorbs the grounds. Whether it is a drip coffee machine or a French press – even espresso machines as well – require a consistency to the size of the coffee grounds. By having your coffee beans go through a grinder before they ever make contact with water, you are guaranteeing the freshest coffee possible.

The other reason you should grind your coffee is based on the type of coffee you wish to drink. For example, espresso requires very fine grounds that need to be packed densely into a filter while a French press needs large, consistent sized grounds. For a regular drip coffee maker, grind size is less important but it does matter when talking about the strength of the coffee.

The other reason you should grind your coffee is because freshly ground coffee has the most profound taste. Once coffee is ground it is susceptible to contamination from the surrounding air. This is also why your coffee beans should be kept in an air tight container. When you have your coffee beans stored properly and grind them right before placing them in the filter to brew your coffee, then you are guaranteed to have the best cup of coffee.

#1 JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

Precision is one of those qualities that separates the contenders from the pretenders, and when you are precise, quality will always follow. Ask yourself this question, when was the last time you were precise and missed the target by a mile? It does not happen, and that is why people love the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder.

18 different settings means that you can get the exact right type of grind for the specific brewing technique you prefer. Do you like French press? Turkish? Espresso? Cold brew? Drip? A brew that has yet to be discovered? Fortunately, these 18 settings can get you the right consistency on every grind!

Besides precision, the conical burr grinder means that you do not have to deal with the maddening inconsistency of a blade grinder. The hand crank is quiet and easily removable as well. Another great feature to this grinder is how quiet it is. So, if you are the first one to wake up in the morning and you are trying to keep the peace in the home, this grinder will make sure that you do not become the person who acts recklessly and wakes up everyone else with a loud grind.

As for the problems with the JavaPresse, well, they are relatively minor but are worth talking about to give the full picture of what you will get. The biggest flaw is that for holding the grinder can be difficult because there is not a good area to get a sturdy grip. Also, you may have to replace the burr from time to time, and for those who are not handy this can turn into a terrible inconvenience.

Overall, the JavaPresse provides the most consistent grinds thanks to its precise design. You would be hard pressed to find a manual coffee grinder that does a better job at such a good price.

Pros

  • Great design makes it remarkably easy to store
  • Grinds are consistent each and every time you run it
  • Quiet grinder that will allow you to make coffee while everyone else in the house can sleep

Cons

  • The cylindrical shape of this grinder and smooth finish makes it somewhat difficult to grip
  • The burr has been known to fail from time to time and that can be annoying for people to have to replace

#2 Handground Precision Coffee Grinder

When you think about premium products, one thing that they have to do when pricing is deliver with alarming consistency. If something is priced beyond what its competitors are and fails to deliver the goods, then what you have is a clearly not a premium product and people will eschew a product based on that fact alone.

So, when Handground made their coffee grinder and put the prohibitive price on it, they knew that there was no excuse for poor performance because a bad performance means that no one would respect this grinder and it would go by the wayside. Fortunately, Handground made a fantastic coffee grinder that fulfills the needs of even the most discerning of coffee snobs. There are 15 different settings and the ceramic burr all but guarantees consistent grounds for everything from espresso to French press.

One of the best parts of the Handground grinder is the magnet that is included. Instead of using brushes and all sorts of gadgets to clean the grinder, the magnet does a great job and loosening those stray grounds and giving you the clean grinder you need to produce great coffee.

Of course, nothing is perfect and in the case of this grinder, there are some flaws as well. The first is the price. When you get this particular grinder, it is natural to wonder just what the heck you were paying for. Nothing about it seems truly premium. Then combine the fact that this grinder has a tendency to wobble as you grind. The wobbling presents a real problem as it will affect the consistency of the grounds along with just being a general pain to deal with.

Overall, the Handground is a good grinder but it costs a steep price. There are things that many people will love, and no doubt, they deserve to love it. Ultimately though, unless you are completely married to this particular model, it is best to pursue a grinder at a more modest price.

Pros

  • Ceramic burr does not wear out and will continue to provide consistent grinds
  • 15 different settings means that you are in the driver’s seat with choosing the best grind for your preferred brewing style
  • The magnet that is included does a great job cleaning the grinder and you would be hard pressed to do as good a job with any other tool

Cons

  • The grinder is priced awfully high, and that is a major turn off
  • When using this grinder, it will invariably have issues with wobbling thanks to its design, that can cause problems with the overall grinding process

#3 3E Home Canister Manual Ceramic Burr Grinder

When you work in the old-fashioned ways it is natural that you would appreciate manual coffee grinders; these grinders pay homage to a simpler, easier time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and often what we miss about those old days is how simple everything was.

For 3E, this idea was the driving force behind their manual coffee grinder. A simple canister and hand crank along with an easy to open and close latch means that your coffee grounds are given the appropriate respect that they deserve. There are no frills here – this grinder exists to simply give you the most consistent grounds possible so you can enjoy whatever type of coffee you prefer. Simply grind your coffee, open the canister and voila – coffee is served.

This particular grinder is also hand adjustable. No, it does not have settings and for some that can be really irritating, but the truth is having a grinder that is adjustable allows you to choose your preferences more organically. If you are a coffee aficionado, then this grinder is right in your wheel house.

There are some problems with this coffee grinder unfortunately – because even in the good old days, nothing was perfect. Besides the lack of true settings, many people have reported problems with the handle and that it tends to bend quickly and thus does a bad job grinding.

Ultimately, this coffee grinder does a great job at keeping things simple, but for many, the simplicity of the grinder is ultimately its undoing.

Pros

  • Ceramic burr makes consistent grounds for any type of brewing process
  • Design is remarkably simple – just pop the latch and dump the grounds directly into the filter and making a cup of coffee has never been easier
  • The grinder itself is fairly durable with the exception of the handle

Cons

  • The handle has a tendency to warp and bend, thus ruining any grounds
  • If you are someone who prefers to have settings for your grounds, this device requires you to wing it

#4 Foruchoice Manual Coffee Grinder

If you have always liked how antiques look and enjoyed the old timey feel they impart to their tasks, then there is a high level of appreciation you will have for this particular coffee grinder from Foruchoice. The grinder itself uses a cast iron crank and gears, meaning that you will have something that is quite durable and will stand up to repeated use. Just like antiques, this is built to last.

However, like with many antiques, it comes with a steep price. Though the Foruchoice is not an antique coffee grinder, it is a good replica. If you are interested in an antique coffee grinder that actually grinds coffee, then it is worth looking at the prices for them, however the price here is attempting to justify itself through the cast iron tools and the old style. For a true antique coffee grinder, the best place to look would be at a local thrift shop or a more refined antique shop.

Regarding how it works, the design itself is relatively simple to use. Just fill the hopper and turn the crank, then open the powder box at the bottom and you have your ground coffee. You will fill as if you just stepped off the set of “Tombstone” with the old-timey atmosphere this grinder projects.

The drawbacks are simply the price and how you have to manually adjust the settings. For people who want a specific grind, it is not as easy as you think to get that type of grind.

Ultimately, this is a fantastic coffee grinder if what you are seeking is something that has a unique design, but the reality is if you are not passionate about the design, you might as well pass on this grinder.

Pros

  • Old time design that is unique compared to other grinders on the market
  • Cast iron parts mean that you have unbelievable durability
  • The powder drawer where the grinds are found is a fascinating design quirk

Cons

  • For what this grinder does, the price seems quite high
  • Unless you are really passionate about setting your own grind size, you won’t how the grind size isn’t automated

#5 KONA Manual Coffee Grinder

Keeping it simple and easy is how the KONA coffee grinder sets itself apart. Instead of a crazy design or gimmicky features, the KONA is all about grinding a great cup of coffee.

How simple is it? The grinder holds just enough beans for two cups of coffee, meaning that you will not have excess grinds, excess beans, and ultimately coffee that needs to go down the drain. Instead, what you will have is the right amount of coffee for the occasion. This is the perfect grinder for camping or if the power goes out. The glass carafe at the bottom is perfect to catch grinds, and the axel allows you to easily adjust the different settings.

Unfortunately, though, there are some issues with the KONA. The biggest issues involve problems with the knobs falling off the handle and the glass carafe itself is prone to break. While glass is a fantastic way to handle coffee grounds, there have been more than a few instances of the glass breaking. Unfortunately, it is an understatement how dangerous this can be. Durability is not a strong suit of this particular grinder, and it’s a shame because the grinder itself has so much potential for greatness.

Ultimately, you can get a lot out of the KONA – make sure you take care of it and be careful with the glass carafe.

Pros

  • Designed for enough beans for two cups of coffee, thus cutting down on waste
  • Simple design makes it extremely easy to use
  • Modestly priced so you don’t have to break the bank to have a great cup of coffee

Cons

  • The knob on the handle tends to fall off and need to be replaced
  • The glass carafe can break a little too frequently

How to Care for your Coffee Beans to Get the Best Grind

Caring for your coffee beans is critical to getting the best possible grinds and thus, getting the best flavor.

The key component to taking care of your coffee beans is making sure they are in an air tight container as detailed above. There is more to it though, one thing that many people do is put their coffee beans in the freezer. This is a problem because it actually causes the coffee beans to absorb more of the air around them. So, if your freezer has anything that’s been lingering the coffee beans will absorb this. Same goes for the refrigerator.

The other considerations are making sure the coffee beans are out of an area that gets hot. This means if you store them in an air tight container on the counter, put them in a place that does not get too warm during the day. This will guarantee they remain as fresh as possible.

Conclusion

Grinding your coffee beans is a worth endeavor. The manual grinder provides that handcrafted feel and exceptional taste. The manual grinder is something that you can use for many different functions from French press to espresso. Make sure you check out the reviews so that you get the best possible grinder for whatever coffee you would love to drink.

Best Espresso Machine Under $200 — 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Espresso Machine Under $200 - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

When you decide to take the plunge into having a homemade espresso drink instead of heading out to a coffee shop, the key to being sure that you are on the right path is getting the best espresso machine under $200.

Not everyone is ready to be a home barista, so spending a lot of money on an espresso machine is probably not the best idea. Instead, it is important to learn how to make espresso on a machine that doesn’t break the bank and allows you to refine your espresso palette and introduce yourself to the wonderful world of these drinks. Making sure that your espresso machine is reliable and will help you get better at making espresso is paramount to success when you start out.

Usually, if you love espresso you know that it’s time to invest in an espresso machine. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Espresso?

The simple answer – espresso is unbelievably enjoyable if you already love coffee. If you like coffee but want to kick it up a notch, the logical step is indulging in espresso.

On its own, a shot of espresso is quite the caffeinated drink. In fact, it boasts the highest concentration of caffeine. But that is not why you drink espresso – it is mostly about the taste and texture. This is why espresso is the base for more indulgent coffees such as caffe lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, café mochas, etc. Getting a great shot of espresso means that producing these types of drinks at home is easier than ever.

Because of the highly-concentrated taste, espresso is one of those things where you need to figure out for yourself what your preferences are. The right espresso machine has enough flexibility for you to refine your palette while at the same time giving you subtle guidance on how to most effectively make a good shot of espresso.

As you get more acquainted with espresso, a great idea would be to purchase porcelain espresso cups. They add to the experience of espresso and at a dinner party add to your sense of style.

#1 Mr. Coffee ECMP1000

Old friends are always the best of friends, and when we think about why, the reason for that is so very simple – old friends knew us before we ever achieved what we have now, and old friends were there during those troubling times. These old friends share our successes and celebrate our achievements. How does that relate to an espresso machine? Well, when you think of the name Mr. Coffee, you think of an old friend.

Of course, you usually don’t assign formal titles to your old friends like Mister, but as Amazon’s best-selling espresso machine you may be inclined to show a bit of respect. Why is this espresso machine doing so well? Like all things Mr. Coffee-related, it is unbelievably reliable. In fact, many people who become espresso aficionados choose this machine because the problems afflicting the more expensive machines are not present here.

Other great features of the Mr. Coffee include that it is a one button system. This means you don’t have to do all sorts of adjusting and messing around. Once you set up the machine, all you need to do is flick the switch and voila – espresso is made.

Perhaps the most underrated feature of the Mr. Coffee is that it’s easy to clean. The parts that go in the dishwasher are easy to assemble and the ones that don’t just require a damp rag. It doesn’t get easier than that! Except it does – the self-cleaning system makes it beyond easy to keep the internal parts in good working order.

The big drawback to the Mr. Coffee, however, is the reservoir plug sometimes leaks. This isn’t a big deal, because as long as your espresso machine is under warrantee, Mr. Coffee will replace it. If it is beyond warrantee, the parts are extremely affordable.

Overall, if you are looking to get started in the world of espresso, the Mr. Coffee is the best way to go.

Pros

  • Extremely reliable and lasts longer than machines twice its price
  • One touch system means all you need to do is flick a switch and you’re ready to go
  • Cleaning is unbelievably easy for accessories and the internal components

Cons

  • The reservoir plug has been known to leak, but Mr. Coffee is good about replacing it

#2 Ninja Coffee Bar Coffee Maker

Perhaps when you hear the word “ninja” you think of the ancient Japanese warriors renowned for their steal tactics and effectiveness at finishing the job. If you are a younger person, you may think of mutant turtles. However, if you are someone who fancies kitchen appliances that are as eye catching as mutant turtles and effective as the ancient Japanese warriors then you are well acquainted with Ninja and their various offerings.

The first thing you notice about the Ninja is the large water reservoir. Look, nothing is more annoying than having to constantly refill the reservoir, but Ninja makes it easy. You don’t have to do it nearly as much because of the large size. The other thing about the tank, it is really neat to look at, just like the whole appliance. Ninja clearly has the modern kitchen in mind with the espresso machine but the reservoir and other features are slight nods to the classic styles, meaning this appliance can work with any décor.

The other great feature is that you can get espresso or a regular cup of coffee. That’s right, the ninja does it all! You deserve an easy part of your day, and Ninja’s philosophy on this is reflected through the dual use of this particular machine.

Now, the Ninja is not beset with problems, but it does have problems that are worth noting. The first problem is to clean and descale the machine it takes 75 minutes. You literally need to be around this machine during this time, so bring the laptop into the kitchen to do work. The other issue is that Ninja’s customer service is not exactly the best at helping customers with problems, so if your Ninja isn’t working, good luck.

Ultimately, the Ninja is a great purchase because it can do a lot for you, so check it out, you will come away impressed.

Pros

  • Ninja has a great sense of style that works in any kitchen
  • Large water reservoir means that you don’t have to fill up this machine nearly as much as others
  • Convenience of making both espresso drinks and regular coffee drinks

Cons

  • The cleaning and descaling that you need to do takes a long time and requires your presence
  • Ninja’s customer service leaves much to be desired

#3 Excelvan CM6811

Simplicity is a virtue in an ever complicated world, however when you think of simplicity and you think of espresso, the two appear to be mutually exclusive. The reality is, however, that our world can exist with espresso that is espresso that is both wonderful and simple, and thanks to Excelvan this reality now comes to you at a very good price!

The first thing you notice about the excelvan is its size. This is not a large machine but it is a machine that gets the job done. You can fit it anywhere in the kitchen and still have enough room to have other appliances next to it such as the food processor or the toaster oven. Regardless of where you decide to place it, it’ll fit – no small feat in today’s modern kitchens.

The one-touch system is also a boon because it makes brewing espresso even easier than you may have thought possible. This machine does a great job taking the guesswork away. Another thing it does well is the cleaning, all of the items are dishwasher safe which means that you don’t have to spend hours scrubbing everything.

There are some problems with the Excelvan though, and the first of those problems is the milk frother is not all that powerful. Instead of getting foamed milk all you get is milk with mild agita. The other problem is reliability. Many people report that this particular espresso machine dies fairly quickly out of the box.

Ultimately, the Excelvan offers a lot to the aspiring home barista, and if you are looking for a cheap way to get espresso, this is a wonderful alternative.

Pros

  • Very small machine that can fit anywhere in the kitchen
  • One touch operation means that making espresso is as easy as it gets
  • Cleaning the machine is very easy as all the important parts are dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Milk frother is not powerful, so if you are looking to get the right finish to your latte, think again
  • This machine is not as reliable as the first two previously profiled

#4 De’Longhi EC702

In our modern lifestyle convenience is one of the most critically important components to any endeavor. When it comes to espresso, this is no different, and having the ability to get a great espresso without endeavoring much in the way to extraneous effort is certainly part and parcel of this important consideration and why the De’Longhi EC702 delights espresso enthusiasts.

Though it looks to be a very serious and complex device, the De’Longhi is actually all about simplicity. In fact, it is one of the few espresso makers that offers the capability for both ground coffee beans or the highly convenient pod systems. The best part is you suffer no lack of quality from using either system. De’Longhi engineered them to work seamlessly through their unique filter. Convenient? Heck yea!

When you get to the making of the espresso, De’Longhi also takes the guesswork out of it. The device self-primes and you can enjoy their easy espresso system to make consistent pulls every time. All you have to worry about is having a cup ready for your espresso drinks. The pod system also allows you to entertain seamlessly instead of having to spend lots of time having to work the machine to please your guests.

That being said, there are some issues with the De’Longhi that need to be addressed. The biggest one is durability. The De’Longhi does not last long – and this is possibly due to it being one of the lower cost espresso makers. The bottom line is there are plenty of stories of this unit failing within 18 months of purchase. Going along with that, because this unit does so much, it has lots of extra parts, and those parts tend to fail. It is not unheard of that the coffee drip function will stop working while the espresso keeps on going. This is why this unit is not necessarily recommended for people who are more enthusiastic baristas.

At the end of the day, the De’Longhi is great if you need convenience and something that can do multiple things, but reliability is an issue with a budget espresso machine.

Pros

  • Pods or grounds does not matter, this espresso machine can do it all
  • Unlike more expensive espresso machines, this one has very simple controls allowing convenience and efficiency
  • One of the best values on the market for all aspiring baristas

Cons

  • Tries to do too much and in doing so, doesn’t get everything exactly right
  • This device seems very cheaply made and perhaps that is why many people are reporting that it is failing

#5 Bella Personal Espresso Maker

When it comes to personalization, there is a lot to love about this idea. After all, human beings love being catered to, and having our own whims be put up on a pedestal is intoxicating. It is why the rich and powerful seek to stay rich and powerful. But, we are not dealing with sociology, we are dealing with espresso, and Bella’s goal is creating that personal espresso experience that you will love.

For the most part, Bella gets a lot right with their espresso machine. The biggest thing they get right is the design. The compact design is perfect for making sure that your espresso machine fits like a glove in your kitchen. This is no small feat – in fact many espresso makers are problems because they don’t contour to your life. But, as we stated earlier, Bella is all about you.

The other great features that Bella includes are the consistency. You get a good cup of espresso with this machine time and time again. This matters because for aspiring baristas there is nothing worse than trying to hone your craft and constantly getting different results. Another feature that people love is the milk frother. This frother has good power and properly steams your milk.

There are some issues with the Bella. The biggest is reliability. This machine simply does not last when compared to other more established espresso makers, which is a shame. The other issue is for some reason the drip pan isn’t removable. So, if your espresso somehow gets outside the cup, good luck cleaning it.

Bella does a lot of things right, but unless you are in love with this espresso machine it makes sense to go with the top picks in this category.

Pros

  • Compact design is perfect for any kitchen even those of a small apartment
  • Puts out a consistent cup of espresso so that you don’t have to deal with a steep learning curve
  • Milk frother has good power so you will get a great finish on your espresso

Cons

  • This espresso machine just is not reliable
  • The drip pan is not removable, so if you spill espresso in there it is an incredible pain to clean it.

The Espresso Process

The big difference between espresso and drip coffee comes from how the water is filtered through the grounds. The most important thing is having the finest possible grind for your espresso. When this happens, you can have an easier time forcing the water through and getting the most concentrated cup of espresso.

However, there’s more to it than just forcing the water through, there needs to be the right temperature and pressure. This will lead to a fuller, more concentrated espresso along with having the right level of crema topping it.

Having the right espresso machine means you get this process consistently repeating itself and thus, getting a great cup of espresso.

Conclusion

When you decide that having a great cup of espresso is something that will appreciably improve your life, that means you should start slow. The budget prices on these machines allow you to perfect your craft without having to lose too much out of your bank account.

Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker — 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Cold Brew Coffee Maker — 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Cold brew coffee is the newest fad in coffee and for good reason. Cold brew is easier on the stomach and it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to make. Plus, if you live in a warm climate but still want a refreshing cup of coffee, having a hot cup just isn’t as nice as a cold brew, and that’s why you need the best cold brew coffee maker.

There is much to consider when looking for a cold brew coffee maker. The biggest thing to take notice of is how the coffee maker steeps along with the temperature requirements. Many of these coffee makers require you to pre-grind the beans before steeping them, so you’ll need a grinder as well. Fortunately, that’s not too expensive, especially if you are going with a manual coffee grinder.

Getting cold brew coffee is as easy as finding the best cold brew coffee maker. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Cold Brew Coffee?

The process of cold brew was once restricted to the higher end coffee shops, a technique that only the most trained baristas would dare embark on. But the reality is cold brew is easy enough for the home barista to try their hand at. All you need is a bit of time to learn and understanding of the process.

The good news is the cold brew is more forgiving of the problems that come with brewing coffee. Specifically, flavor can be affected by a variety of variables – how you store your beans, the altitude at which the beans grow, soil considerations, etc. The bottom line is the process from bean to cup is not the simple idea that most think it is. Coffee enthusiasts know this well.

Cold brew allows for a more muted flavor, really allowing you to taste a different element of coffee and the nice part is for those with stomach issues like acid reflux, cold brew allows you a chance to enjoy that cup of joe without having to pop a Pepcid to keep your esophagus from becoming a five alarm situation.

Once you have the beans, you are off to the races!

#1 Ovalware RJ3

With making coffee, having everything stay airtight is a key to success. This is why when you get coffee beans it is highly recommended to store the beans in an air-tight container such as a mason jar or something else that locks with a seal. This stores the flavor and prevents contaminants from getting into the coffee and causing the taste to go south. The reality is, coffee beans are porous and will absorb the ambient aromas, and thus alter the taste.

How does this affect cold brew you ask – it’s very simple. Cold brew has to steep for a long time and usually has to steep in the refrigerator. So, if you have a cold brew coffee maker that is emphasizing how it is an air tight system, you immediately know how serious Ovalware is. The rubber stopper in the coffee maker means that when you store the coffee in the fridge for it to steep, you can be sure the seal will remain air tight.

The seal is the most important feature of this coffee maker, but other great features are reusable metal filter. Many cold brew coffee makers use paper filters, and those are a pain to constantly replace and restock. The other great feature of this particular coffee maker is the sleek design. You can hold a lot of coffee in this particular carafe while not taking up a ton of room in the refrigerator. 

There are some things that end up being a bit disappointing about this particular coffee maker. The first is the filter sometimes allows smaller grinds to escape and get into the coffee. Perhaps this can be remedied with a larger grind size, but still, it’s a problem. Another issue is that the glass doesn’t seem to have the right weight for the price. It seems almost a bit flimsy.

Overall, the Ovalware is a great way to take your cold brew love to the next level, the flaws are small, but they are things to be aware of.

Pros

  • Air tight rubber stopper means that you keep your coffee having the best flavor for a long time
  • The metal filter is reusable, so no need to constantly purchse paper filters
  • Sleek design allows you to store a good amount of coffee in the fridge without taking up too much space

Cons

  • If your grind size is too small, the grinds can escape the filter and get into the coffee itself
  • The glass seems a bit flimsy, it should be thicker and weightier

#2 Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker

There is much to say to the person who believes in doing something different. When that person succeeds, it is considered visionary. For example, Apple is the most well-known company that would do things differently and have great success. But, they are working with computers, not cold brew coffee.

And, for that reason alone, that’s why the Oxo should be looked at with a skeptical and ultimately approving eye. This is a cold brew coffee maker that works in a way completely different than the others. Instead of having to put the grounds in a filter and submerge the filter, Oxo uses a design that resembles a drip coffee maker. The grounds are put in the top canister. The water is added and then is evenly distributed over the grounds in a “rain” style. This guarantees even distribution which leads to greater flavor.

The other benefits that this particular cold brew coffee maker has are that you can get literally the amount of coffee that you want on demand. The other great thing is this particular coffee maker can steep up to 14 days. You literally get the right amount of coffee at all times and have an incredible duration with which the coffee steeps.

The downside of this machine is the price point. This is the most expensive cold brew coffee maker on the list. The other problem is the airtight seal is not as effective as a rubber stopper or mason jar would be. There can end up being air intrusion on the carafe.

Overall, the Oxo does a good job of brewing cold brew coffee in a creative way that for many is worth the price.

Pros

  • The innovative design means that you can get cold brew coffee in a new, creative way
  • Get the amount of cold brew coffee for a single cup or several cups on demand
  • This cold brew coffee maker can have your coffee steep up to 14 days

Cons

  • The price on this particular coffee maker is somewhat expensive for what it does
  • Though it says the seal is airtight, there have been mentions of air intrusion happening

#3 County Line Kitchen

The simplest solution is usually always the best solution, and County Line Kitchen has managed to take two disparate elements that exist perfectly on their own – a mason jar and a filter – and turn them into a formidable vessel for making the best cold brew coffee. The reality is the system is remarkably simple, and when you think of all the great simple things in this world, County Line seems to have done one better with their union of the mason jar and the metal filter.

The good news – the mason jar allows for your cold brew coffee to be airtight. When the Ball brothers created the mason jar and it became a huge seller, it was perfect for canning and pickling. Now, apply the same principles to cold brew coffee and it is only natural that the mason jar would fit perfectly into these plans.

The metal filter is great too. It has a fine mesh and will not let the grounds get into your coffee. This is something that is extremely important for many cold brew enthusiasts. The other great thing – the mason jar is heavy duty. Your cold brew coffee maker from County Line Kitchen will last for a long time.

Now, there are some negatives. The first is the conical shape of the metal filter can make it hard to clean. This means you have to pay great attention to how much ground coffee you put in the filter, which can affect taste. The next issue is that several people report issues with the fit of the filter along with the mason jar lid.

Ultimately, this is a very simple design that is guaranteed to please many, so be sure to give it a whirl.

Pros

  • The design is ridiculously simplistic and easy to use
  • Airtight seal means no air intrusion into your cold brew coffee
  • Mason jars are very durable so you don’t have to worry about the jar breaking

Cons

  • The conical shape of the filter means that you can have some difficulty cleaning it out
  • There are some problems with the fit of the lid and the filter

#4 Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker

One of the greatest things in this world is strength. However, you acquire strength, once you have it, it is imperative to never lose it. Strength, of course can be a tangible or an intangible element, but the bottom line is strength is always highly coveted – even in elements like heavy metals along with more intangible things like strength of character and will.

For Takeya, strength is in the borosilicate glass. This cold brew coffee maker is strong and won’t break. That’s certainly a welcome development for all involved. Thanks to this strong carafe you won’t have to worry about it breaking unless you do something remarkably clever to break it. Of course, this is not a recommendation to try and break it, but if you were so inclined, you’d get quite frustrated.

The Takeya is versatile as well. Besides having the fine mesh filter for the coffee it also has a fruit infuser, so besides cold brew coffee you can do incredible fruit drinks including sangria. Another great feature is how easy it is to clean. The best part is how the filter and the other parts are dishwasher safe. You’ll have no problems here.

There are some problems with the Takeya though. The first is while it claims to be airtight, there is nothing that really seals it, so you will deal with air intrusion. The other issue is the Takeya has some leak issues. This can be especially problematic when you are trying to store cold brew coffee.

Ultimately, the Takeya provides a lot of value for its price and is definitely worth consideration when purchasing these coffee makers.

Pros

  • Borosilicate glass is incredibly strong and provides outstanding durability
  • Mesh filter and fruit infuser are great for getting the right steeping
  • Dishwasher safe parts make cleaning very easy

Cons

  • Coffee maker is not airtight which means you won’t get the perfect flavor after a while
  • This particular model has been known to leak

#5 Misc Home Cold Brew Coffee Maker

When you want to stand out from the crowd the first way to do so is with incredible style. When something looks completely different from the rest of the crowd, it is going to get attention and at that point, it is on the device to function efficiently. Great style is imperative to making sure a product lasts on the market and has its own identity.

Misc Home certainly achieves this with their cold brew coffee maker. This particular coffee maker is tall and sleek, the glass handle adds a touch of class and by all visual accounts it appears that this coffee maker can hold a lot of your favorite cold brew coffee.  

The filter is exceptionally easy to clean, and that makes a big difference, because cold brew is all about convenience. It’s inconvenient to slave over a coffee maker’s filter just to make more coffee. The other thing that makes this particular coffee maker great is how efficiently it works. Making cold brew is very easy once you find the right grind size.

There are some problems however. The first is the silicone seal gets stuck and/or comes off when you are taking off the lid. That ruins the coffee maker being airtight. The other issue is that this coffee maker is quite skinny, so you can’t store a heck of a lot of coffee in there.

Overall, this is a good cold brew coffee maker if you enjoy the design.

Pros

  • Excellent design with the height and the glass handle
  • Filter is very easy to clean just like the entire coffee maker
  • The system it uses to make cold brew is really efficient, all you need to worry about is grind size

Cons

  • The silicone seal doesn’t stay on very well
  • This particular model is quite skinny so you can’t store the same amount of cold brew coffee that you otherwise would

The Cold Brew Process

For people who love coffee but want a milder, less acidic method of enjoying a good cup of coffee, the cold brew process is something that they embrace enthusiastically.

The key with cold brew is it must be a longer steeping and brewing process than with the drip coffee makers. With the traditional brewing systems, water has to be warmed between 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For cold brew, temperatures that hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit are critical. The next step is to store the steeping coffee in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, you can enjoy the coffee with cream and sugar just as you would a regular cup of coffee. You will notice immediately how cold brew is less acidic and sits better in your stomach. Once a staple of coffee shops, cold brew is now available for everyone and it is important to have the right beans for this purpose.

Conclusion

When you need a change of pace for your morning, there are few things that can be more refreshing than cold brew. Fortunately, you can use cold brew coffee in a variety of ways – even as a refreshing cool down drink! The choice is yours with this versatile version of coffee that is easy on the stomach – and the wallet.

Best Coffee Makers with Grinders – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Coffee Makers with Grinders - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

When it comes to getting the best coffee the key is getting coffee that is freshly ground instead of pre-ground coffee, so understanding that principle, it makes sense that you have stopped on by to learn about the best coffee makers with grinders.

Having the best ground coffee is as simple as purchasing a coffee maker with a built-in coffee grinder. The best part is the efficiency with which the grinder and coffee maker work in unison. The grinder allows you to have your beans in an airtight environment to keep the flavor fresh and refreshing for each morning. Furthermore, there is much to the idea that when you grind your beans and then immediately brew coffee, it tastes better than the alternative of using pre-ground beans that you buy in a store.

Our reviews below feature the five best coffee makers with grinders. They are a great investment and if you are unsure, just think about all those times you have been frustrated by the lackluster taste of coffee brewed by the home coffee machine and had to stop and buy coffee on the way to work, then this is the list below. Check out the table below for our top picks.

The Drip Coffee Machine

Perhaps there have been more consequential inventions over the history of time – for example, the light bulb – but the drip coffee machine is nearly as ubiquitous as Edison’s most famous invention. Every house has one, and they are remarkably easy to use.

In the old days, you basically had to use devices like the French press to make coffee. So that meant heating up water, grinding the beans, pouring water over the beans, stirring, pumping, and ultimately hoping that you didn’t get too much in the way of grinds in your cup. There are many people today who still have not been able to master these types of devices. Though, in fairness, you do not need electricity to use them.

The drip coffee maker allows you simply flip a switch, and if you have already pre-filled the hopper with beans and the reservoir with water, you are well on your way to a great cup of coffee. Now with water purifiers and reusable filters, the drip coffee maker makes getting the best cup of coffee something that is relatively easy and thoughtless – and really, what could be better?

The drip coffee machine is easily now the most popular way to make a cup of coffee. Besides what is used at home, the majority of restaurants are fans of the drip coffee maker because of the ease of use along with the consistency of the cup of coffee. Because it is now so cheap to make coffee thanks to the drip coffee machine, many restaurants have no problem offering free refills on the initial cup of coffee. This machine has revolutionized how we start our days and how we end our dinner parties. In short, this invention is remarkably underrated.

After all, the last thing you want to do when you wake up is have to think about all the different steps needed to get a cup of coffee. The drip coffee maker solves that problem.

#1 Cuisinart DGB 900BC

Let’s get the bad news out of the way right away when talking about this Cuisinart machine: it is the most expensive machine on this list. By a lot. But if you look at the price and decide this machine is not for you, then what you have done is priced yourself out of the best coffee machine under $200. That would be a shame because this particular coffee machine is unparalleled in quality and functionality.

With the Cuisinart, it is important to work from the top down. Starting with the hopper, the air-tight lid guarantees your beans will not lose their flavor due to infiltration of the air. The beans are ground with a burr grinder – always the preferred setting to a blade – and deposited into the reusable gold mesh filter. Then the coffee is brewed straight into a thermal pot which is guaranteed to keep your coffee warm despite any conditions.

There are also a ton of great features including brew pause – as your coffee brews you can remove the pot, pour yourself a cup, and then replace the pot and the coffee brewing will recommence. There are alarm features, so you don’t even need to hit the button to turn it on. You can choose the strength of your coffee, and the filters are easy to replace. The bottom line – Cuisinart appears to have thought of everything with this particular coffee maker. Also, all the parts are dishwasher safe, so you can simply throw everything in the dishwasher and you are all set for your next cup.

The drawbacks – besides the price, are things that you can easily handle. The chute between the hopper and the filter basket can get clogged with grounds from time to time. However, the brush that is included in the packaging should do the trick with keeping this clear. Make sure you do this once a week. Also, be sure to replace the filters every month so that your water is always as close to pure as possible.

The reality is all drip coffee makers are not created equal, and the Cuisinart is proof that there is a better way to get great coffee.

Pros

  • All parts are dishwasher safe and easy to clean
  • Produces great cups of coffee very consistently
  • Many amazing features make this coffee machine completely convenient for whatever lifestyle you have

Cons

  • The price on this machine may not be affordable for some
  • You need to perform regular maintenance otherwise this machine will not perform optimally

#2 Black and Decker CM 5000B

It is vitally important that when you think of powerful things that you associate the right names with these items. Black and Decker is well-known to people who use power tools such as the drill, and because of this reputation, when it comes to building something that can both grind coffee beans effectively and brew a delicious cup of coffee, there is a lot of gravitas behind the Black and Decker brand.

The first thing to notice about the Black and Decker is while it grinds the coffee beans, the grinder itself is not very loud, and in fact the sound is quite easy to get used to and won’t annoy you. Many people can’t report this type of experience with a grinder, and that’s a shame because it takes away from the benefit of having a grinder and coffee maker.

The other significant features that people love include the easy to use programming settings and the deep filter and brew cup. The reason why these features work so well is because when you have an intuitive programming system, you don’t have to worry about the irritating scenario of if something goes wrong and your coffee isn’t made in the morning. Also, the deep filter and brew cup allow your coffee to steep longer so the flavor is more robust.

There are some problems with the Black and Decker. The first of these problems is the most important, and that is the machine leaks. The reservoir is not the most secure, and this could be very problematic. The other issue is the cheaply made parts. These not only contribute to the leaking but can create an overall fire hazard in your kitchen. Fortunately, Black and Decker will help you out, so they have that going for them.

Ultimately, the Black and Decker is a very good machine that will deliver a great cup of fresh ground coffee.

Pros

  • The grinder does not have a loud sound, so you don’t have to head to another room while it works
  • Intuitive programming makes this machine easy to use
  • Deep brew cup and filter means coffee steeps longer for better flavor

Cons

  • This machine leaks a significant amount of water in some cases
  • Plastic parts are not the most reliable

#3 Breville BDC650BSS

Sleek design is something that is very important for the modern person, in fact if something has a great design, the chances of it selling well are through the roof. But there are many benefits of a sleek design besides aesthetics. For something the be sleek, it must have efficiency built into the design itself. In other words, you can’t have something that is sleek but operate as if it as a jalopy.

Breville understands this very well, and their design incorporates great efficiency into a sleek design. They dare to create a built-in grinder and coffee maker that works very well when creating that cup of coffee that you will absolutely adore on your way out the door to work.

The other great features include the LCD screen. You can control everything about your coffee maker here and it is really easy to use. In fact, this LCD screen compares favorably to those on units at twice the price. The other great feature of this coffee machine is the grind controls. You can get 8 different settings, which is perfect for those with more refined coffee palettes.

The big issues, however, are the inconsistency with making a cup of coffee. It doesn’t always work the way it should and you can have the same settings but get a very different cup of coffee. The other problem is the price point. This is an expensive machine, and so if you are on a budget, this is not the machine for you.

Ultimately, having a great cup of coffee is achievable with the Breville, and the design and LCD screen make it a very appealing purchase.

Pros

  • Beautiful sleek design that is wildly efficient as well
  • LCD screen is great at taking all the guesswork out of making a cup of coffee
  • Grind controls are specific and allow you to find the flavor of coffee best suiting you

Cons

  • The cups of coffee it produces are inconsistent at times
  • This is an expensive machine, so unless you are in love with it the purchases at lesser prices may work better

#4 Hamilton Beach 49989

Perhaps life should be taken one step at a time, and when you are taking life one step at a time, it should be done in style. Hamilton Beach has taken that motif and turned it into a coffee machine that can produce up to ten cups of coffee but does so one at a time.

We know what to expect when we see a Hamilton Beach product – it must be stylish and somewhat innovative. When you have this particular Hamilton Beach product, you are certainly getting that – and more. How often do you end up throwing out the coffee at the bottom of the pot? Because of the single cup serving this means you only brew the coffee that you are going to use. The reservoir window means that you can easily see the how much water is in the system. The brewbasket is easy to use and doubles as the perfect vessel to fill the reservoir, and on the side is the clock and programmable features, meaning that delicious cup of coffee will be waiting for you the moment you wake up.

There are some downsides to the Hamilton Beach, however. This machine is a leaker – the reason is the brewbasket is intended to hold the coffee and dispense as needed. Well, the plastic wears and the screws will leak after prolonged exposure to hot coffee. The other issue is the brewbasket doesn’t keep the coffee warm, so you basically need to brew what you will drink right away otherwise problems will arise.

Ultimately, the Hamilton Beach is a very interesting product that can serve you quite well, just be careful with how you use the on-demand coffee dispensing.

Pros

  • Innovative design that makes it different than any other machine on the market
  • Programming is quite easy and means that coffee is waiting for you
  • Quite stylish and will fit perfectly in the design of any kitchen

Cons

  • Prone to leaking from the screws that hold the brew basket in place
  • There is trouble with keeping the coffee warm

#5 Capresso 464.05

The reason why people love the idea behind grind and brew is because the process is efficient and allows you to have great control over the process once you have purchased the beans. In fact, the reason why many love the grind and brew system is because ground coffee has its flavor diluted the moment it is ground and bagged. Whole beans are meant to be stored in an air tight environment and only to be taken out when they are ground.

Capresso knows this, and has staked their brand on providing a great experience. The good news is, for the most part they got it right. The single biggest achievement that this machine can claim is the conical burr delivers consistent grinds every time. This is important for having coffee steep correctly.

The other features that it does very well on are programmable settings. They go to another level and you can even set a type of grind to a specific time, for example a strong cup in the morning, and a mild cup in the evening. Another great setting is the drip tip. Many people like to get a cup of coffee before the pot has finished brewing. There is no spillage while you pour your cup and the machine resumes brewing without a hitch.

The problems this machine has involve how loud the grinder is. This is so loud it’ll wake you from your sleep. If you don’t like to be woken up, then you may want to pre-grind your beans the night before. The other issue is if you want to change up your coffee beans, it’s near impossible to get the beans out of the hopper.

Overall, Capresso does a good job in their entry into the grind and brew market.

Pros

  • Consistent grinds mean that your coffee will steep well and be consistent tasting each time
  • Programming system is very comprehensive and allows for incredible detail
  • Drip tip lets you pour a cup of coffee before the pot has finished brewing

Cons

  • The grinder is extremely loud
  • Very difficult to change beans out of the hopper

Whole Bean or Ground Coffee for your Drip Machine?

The preference is yours, but for the freshest coffee the best idea is to have a grinder on hand get the beans ground right before they go in a filter. If you have a coffee machine that grinds the beans, then making sure they are in an air tight container before putting them in the hopper guarantees fresh flavor.

For ground coffee, make sure you are always using a clean filter. Some filters do accumulate some scum and a really helpful tool to keep the reusable filter clean is a toothbrush. Get the water in your sink nice and soapy then start scrubbing with the toothbrush and you’ll be surprised what comes off.

The best part is when you maintain your drip coffee machine through periodic but vigorous cleaning, you can all but guarantee that your machine will produce amazing coffee for as long as you have it.

Conclusion

Everyone loves a great cup of coffee in the morning, and that is why you need to have a reliable grind and brew coffee machine. The machines reviewed above will give you the best possible performance while also making a fantastic cup of coffee. Get the one that best suits your needs and you will find that it was a great purchase that didn’t cost all that much.

Best Coffee for French Press – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Coffee for French Press - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

The French press is perfect for the host looking for convenience, and when you have the best coffee for French press then it’s a perfect marriage.

When you use a French press, it is vitally important to make sure that you use the coarsest possible grinds. Whether you use a manual or automatic grinder, having coarse grounds means that you will get the best coffee out of your French press. Furthermore, it keeps the coffee from scalding and providing an incredibly bitter taste. If you would rather not grind your own coffee, there are a couple options on this list that will provide you with exceptional flavor.

So, what about the coffee beans? Well the reality is you can’t have great French press coffee without great beans. Fortunately, we have reviews on the five best coffee beans to use in a French press. Check out the table below for our top picks.

The French Press

As with all things French, the French press’s elegance belies its brilliant design. The reason why this is a preferred method of brewing coffee comes down to how efficient the process is. There are many things that people do which compromise their French press coffee and this is much to their detriment.

The first is selecting the wrong type of coffee bean. Coffee beans must be somewhat hardy and able to withstand the 195 to 200-degree temperature of the water being poured in. Also, use a burr grinder to grind your beans and make sure it is the coarsest setting. This way you get the best possible grind for your French press.

The other consideration with the French press is the water temperature. One of the best tricks is to boil the water and then wait about ten minutes for it to cool, and it should be around 195 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature to pour in the French press.

Once you pour in the water over the grounds, make sure to vigorously stir vertically and then pump the French press. Let it steep for about four minutes and voila – coffee is served.

Once you experience French press coffee done right, the drip coffee maker won’t do it for you anymore. That is why it is important for you to consider the reviews of these different grinders, and the grounds are the key to success in the French press.

#1 Rising Sun Roasted Whole Coffee Beans

The Brazil peaberry is one of the most complex and rewarding coffee beans for any type of coffee machine, let alone the French press. There are many people who find the Brazil peaberry to be such an enjoyable coffee bean that they refuse to use creamer or sweetener in the coffee. That is a formidable coffee bean. The reason why is because the Brazil peaberry is a complex bean containing many different flavors including a wonderful natural sweetness that has a delectable aroma guaranteed to knock the cobwebs out and get you started on your day.

Now, why Rising Sun’s coffee the best version of the Brazil peaberry? It is quite simple – they take their time and select the right beans. The Brazil peaberry is about 5% of all available coffee beans, and as such is prized for its exquisite flavor. Rising Sun handpicks their coffee beans and has a very serious idea of what good coffee should taste like. Now, add this formidable coffee bean to the French press, and you may possibly have the best cup of coffee ever.

Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who delights in Rising Sun’s coffee. They will tell you quickly that there is no way they can ever go back to regular coffee beans ever again. These are the same customers who will also tell you that adding creamer and sweetener is borderline sacrilege because the Brazil peaberry is deserving to stand alone in a cup of coffee.

Now, unfortunately, even with the best coffee beans there are still things you must look out for. There have been occasions in which Rising Sun did not put the freshest beans in the bag. This will definitely mean a lousy taste and all the boasting about Rising Sun will be lost on that particular consumer. Also, for some coffee drinkers the flavor is not as strong as they would like. Perhaps these coffee drinkers don’t have sophisticated palettes, but either way this complaint has been made enough to take it seriously.

Ultimately, Rising Sun is a fantastic coffee that is perfect for your French press. If you do get a bag that isn’t fresh, be sure to contact their customer service as they will surely swap bags for you.

Pros

  • Possibly one of the only coffee beans that is worsened with creamer and sweetener
  • Amazingly complex and sweet flavor that delights and surprises
  • Coffee drinkers that are sophisticated and novices alike find Rising Sun to be the only coffee worth drinking

Cons

  • There have been problems with freshness when it comes to the beans being delivered
  • If you prefer a very strong coffee, this will not be the coffee for you

#2 Peet’s Major Dickason Blend

When you think of coffee with a distinctively seductive flavor that keeps you coming back for more, there’s only one name that should pop into your mind: Peet’s. The coffee shop turned coffee monolith has managed to delight their customers at every turn, so when it comes to a ground coffee perfect for the French press, is there really any doubt that Peet’s would step up to the plate and deliver?

First, the best part about Peet’s is that the grinds are done ahead of time and are uniform and coarse. However, the Major Dickason blend has a history with the eponymous coffee maker and quickly evolved into being one of the most sought after coffees at the original Peet’s coffee shop. Now having it available for your French press is a coup of the highest order – and no one’s complaining.

As you may already know, Peet’s coffee customers are devoted, and they note this particular blend has various fine notes that seem unique to the Peet’s roasting process. The full bodied flavor is perfect for the French press.

Perhaps, though, the best part about the Major Dickason’s blend is that it’s not bitter – something that Peet’s takes a lot of pride in.

Now, of course Peet’s is a fantastic coffee, but there are some things to be aware of before shoveling these grounds in your French press. The first is there are multiple instances where the roasting was done months before the coffee was shipped. This is a problem because the coffee is not fresh and gets that acrid, bitter taste. The other issue is it depends how you order the coffee. There are way too many instances of people ordering regular coffee, getting decaf, or getting different blends. Peet’s can do better.

For great coffee, Peet’s is a name that reigns supreme, and when you get the right bag, it’s certainly a refreshing way to use your French press.

Pros

  • Roasting process ensures complex flavors that take your coffee experience to the next level
  • People who love Peet’s LOVE Peet’s; that type of brand loyalty means there are a lot of good things going on here
  • Peet’s understands the needs of the French press and the grounds are the perfect size

Cons

  • The ordering system is full of surprises at times – and that’s not a good thing
  • Too many times bags of coffee have been delivered months after they’ve been roasted

#3 Lavanta Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

France may be the birthplace of elegant food and beverage, but long before France elevated coffee Ethiopia invented coffee. From the birthplace of coffee comes a coffee bean that contains intense flavor that is unlike any other cup of coffee you will ever drink – then add the beauty of French press coffee, and you have a cup of joe that is unlike anything that can be found in any restaurant or coffee shop.

The beauty of Lavanta’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is how packed with flavor it is. Your palette will be delighted with the floral notes dancing on your tongue along with the citrus infusion. The best part – these flavors occur naturally. Because Ethiopia provides such an unusual environment for coffee to grow, you get amazing flavors. For many coffee drinkers, once you have Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, there is no other coffee.

The flavor is described by many as lacking the strength of French and Italian roasts, there is a slight nuttiness to it but while the coffee itself is mild there is a lack of bitterness unlike other coffees. Furthermore, there is a flavor profile here unlike most other coffees, and that in and of itself is why people keep coming back to it.

The drawbacks of Lavanta’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe are that the coffee seems too understated and even a bit muted. If you have a palette that is accustomed to strong coffee, this is not the coffee for you. Steer clear if you have a preference for bold coffee, not even the French press will make it strong. People who are coffee-philes will love this particular bean, but if you are more casual, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is lost on you.

For people who seek to have an interesting experience that has lots of unique flavor, this is the perfect coffee for your French press.

Pros

  • Unique coffee that has fantastic floral notes and citrus infusions
  • Mild cup of coffee that will not leave you with a bitter taste
  • Only grows in certain areas of Ethiopia, truly unique

Cons

  • The flavor is not bold, so if you have a preference for boldness, this is not for you
  • Flavor can be too subtle for the novice coffee drinker

#4 Tanzanian Peaberry

When coffee snobs extoll the virtues of a certain bean, you know that you are on the right track towards getting a great cup of coffee. Tanzanian peaberry is exactly that type of coffee bean, and you can rest assured that when you have a cup of properly prepared Tanzanian peaberry that it could be one of those truly life-altering experiences.

And that, in a nutshell, it also the problem with Tanzanian peaberry. It is prone to fits of hyperbole that make you expect much and the build-up can lead to disappointment. That does not have to be the case though, if you manage expectations then it is entirely possible to have a great cup of coffee.

Because this is a delicate coffee bean, you have to really work on learning how to make this coffee properly. Tanzanian peaberry is a diva – it can put on a great show, but only if you fulfill all of its conditions. For the person who just wants to make a good cup of French press coffee, that can be too much to deal with. For someone who is willing to put in the time, there are few things that can be more rewarding.

Ultimately, that’s where the issues with Tanzanian peaberry fall. You can have the smoothest cup of coffee with no bitterness, or you can spend way too much time having to tinker and feeling as you didn’t quite get it right.

So, if you decide to take the plunge with Tanzanian peaberry, do you research and find out exactly how to make the best French press coffee with it. Sure, it is too much work sometimes to do this much research for a cup of coffee, but, rest assured, when you get it right, it is worth it.

Pros

  • Unbelievably smooth taste that has no room for bitterness
  • A coffee that is so good that coffee snobs extoll its virtues profusely
  • Taming the eccentricities of this coffee bean means you are a master barista

Cons

  • Requires a good amount of research and work just to get the right cup of coffee
  • Some instances of a lack of freshness in the bag, customer service will help however

Why French Press Instead of Drip Machines?

The French press is preferred over the drip machine because it has a purer coffee taste. When you have the drip machine, there are a lot of different factors in play. First, there is the filter, and depending on the type of filter you may be in a situation where if it is paper or reusable that the flavor of the beans is diminished.

In the case of all of these coffee beans, the French press truly extracts the flavor from them and allows you to really taste the coffee itself. This leads to a more satisfying cup of coffee and when you are spending serious money on your coffee beans, you deserve to have the best experience with those beans.

Also, the French press does not rely on stored water. With most drip machines, you just get the water out of the tap or keep it poured in the back of the machine. The French press has you boil the water first which removes any impurities. When you use a French press, your coffee has a much purer taste and is far more enjoyable.

Conclusion

Don’t spend your time trying to find the right coffee for French press on your own. These coffees profiled above are the perfect blend of whole bean and ground coffee that will give you exceptional taste and allow you to enjoy your French press wherever you go. The French press allows you to have it all with your coffee, so treat it right with these selections profiled.

Best Coffee for Cold Brew – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Coffee for Cold Brew - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

When you have decided to get into cold brew coffee, it is vitally important to be sure that you have the best coffee for cold brew. Because this is a different process for extracting flavor, it is imperative that your choice in coffee is one of the five listed on the table below for maximum flavor and satisfaction.

Cold brew coffee is one of the best techniques for flavor extraction. Unlike the drip machines where really, any bean will do, for cold brew, having the right coffee bean is the difference between a heavenly cup of coffee and something that just is not worth your time. Now, understanding all this, you also know that it takes a ton of time to find the right coffee, whether it is whole beans or grounds, and the reality is you don’t have enough time to spend inspecting each type of coffee for its flavor.

However, once you have cold brew coffee, you will find that going back to the standard drip makers are not as enjoyable, so it is vital to learn about the beans. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Cold Brew Coffee?

The process of cold brew was once restricted to the higher end coffee shops, a technique that only the most trained baristas would dare embark on. But the reality is cold brew is easy enough for the home barista to try their hand at. All you need is a bit of time to learn and understanding of the process.

The good news is the cold brew is more forgiving of the problems that come with brewing coffee. Specifically, flavor can be affected by a variety of variables – how you store your beans, the altitude at which the beans grow, soil considerations, etc. The bottom line is the process from bean to cup is not the simple idea that most think it is. Coffee enthusiasts know this well.

Cold brew allows for a more muted flavor, really allowing you to taste a different element of coffee and the nice part is for those with stomach issues like acid reflux, cold brew allows you a chance to enjoy that cup of joe without having to pop a Pepcid to keep your esophagus from becoming a five alarm situation.

Once you have the beans, you are off to the races!

#1 Tiny Footprint Cold Brew Elixir

When you are looking for a cold brew bean that also provides you with a socially conscious mission, then Tiny Footprint’s cold press blend is the perfect coffee bean for you.

Forgetting for a second the flavor benefits of this coffee, it is important to remember where coffee beans are grown. Chances are, most of the storebought coffee beans are harvested on coffee plantations, and that is a massive problem in terms of how the labor is treated along with the carbon footprint left. Still, there is no judging if you prefer one of these coffees. However, Tiny Footprint made an experiment out of getting a fantastic coffee bean where the workers were treated fairly and the carbon footprint would be negligible.

As the review suggests, this is a fantastic bean. The flavor is perfect for a cold brew coffee, and for those suffering in summer climates, this cold brew coffee is the perfect complement to a summer day. The flavor is quite balanced and the hints of chocolate keep you coming back for more – who doesn’t love chocolate?! There is some assertiveness in the flavor to remind you that, after all, you are drinking coffee, but the bean matches perfectly to the process. Overall, it is hard to find a cup of cold brew coffee that is superior to Tiny Footprint.

Now, a word on the company itself – Tiny Footprint was founded in 2010 with the goal of providing coffee with a carbon negative end process. They have formed cooperatives with various high altitude Andean coffee farmers who are third party certified as organic and Fair Trade. The reason Tiny Footprint is able to claim they are carbon negative is for every pound of coffee purchased they make reforestation efforts specifically in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest. Since 4 pounds of CO2 are used to produce one pound of coffee, to make a long story short, they invest heavily in reforestation efforts.

So, it sounds like this is a great company that produces a great coffee bean – too good to be true? In some ways, yes. The price point on Tiny Footprint isn’t the most affordable, and you can’t find it in your local grocery stores, so it is most convenient to order it online. The other problem is many report that Tiny Footprint’s coffee struggles with consistency. Of course, you never want a stale batch, but this is something that happens more often than it should.

Overall, Tiny Footprint provides an excellent coffee bean for cold brew that gives you a sense of purpose every time you put the cup to your lips.

Pros

  • Balanced flavor with a hint of chocolate
  • Quaint but assertive notes provide that unmistakable coffee flavor
  • Every time you purchase the coffee beans you are helping out the rain forest - literally

Cons

  • Price point and availability can be problematic
  • Some issues with flavor consistency

#2 Starbucks Narino 70

For those who love good coffee, Starbucks perpetually delivers on the promise of creating exceptional coffee for the discerning coffee drinker. In fact, when you think of brands that are synonymous with great coffee, Starbucks is usually always at the top of the list.

So, because Starbucks is a very smart company, they have gotten in on the cold brew phenomenon by releasing their Narino 70. The goal with this particular cold brew was to get the right bean and properly roast it while giving you, the home brewer, little to do in the way of brewing that delightful cold brew.

Because the coffee is divided into different packs, it makes it extremely easy to brew your coffee. Simply fill a pitcher with water, throw in the right amount of cold brew packs, put it in the fridge overnight, and the next day you have delicious cold brew coffee. It does not get any easier!

Now, here’s the best part – Narino 70 is a great tasting coffee! Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules Winnfield exclaimed approval for the Big Kahuna Burger? That’s how you’ll feel after drinking a cup of Narino 70. Except without the violence.

Now, the big issue that many people have with this particular cold brew is that the coffee seems a bit overpriced based on what you’re getting. Some people report having to use more than the recommended serving amount to get the right flavor. This is problematic because if the packs were a bit larger then you would not go through them as quickly.

Ultimately, Narino 70 is a great attempt at a cold brew everyone can love and Starbucks does a good job getting their share of this particular market.

Pros

  • Great flavor and consistency with each pack
  • Packs make brewing cold brew coffee extremely easy and efficient
  • Starbucks has made this particular coffee so that it could be the perfect type of coffee for a cold brew

Cons

  • The packs seem to be a bit weak so you may have to double them to get the desired flavor
  • Does not feel like you get the right amount of packs for your money

#3 Cold Brew Kitchen Reserve Blend

When a business literally takes the name of what their market is, you can bet they offer a product that is tailor made for their customers. Cold Brew Kitchen does exactly that with their Reserve Blend – this is an excellent coffee for the cold brew enthusiast.

When you think about consistently between different bags of beans or grounds, it is something that all fair-trade coffees struggle with. Cold Brew Kitchen, however, has found a way to do it with success and they boast of using hand selection to ensure the best possible flavors.  This particular medium roast is noted for its warm aroma and does not seek to be more than it is – a plain good cup of coffee. For those summer days when you want something refreshing yet enjoy a good cup of coffee, it is quite difficult to do better than this particular bean.

Now, again, part of what you are paying for is the consciousness of the coffee. Cold Brew Kitchen uses fair trade practices in order to get you a coffee that is not borne of mistreated workers or harmful to the land. This is what accounts for its price point.

The other issue Cold Brew Kitchen has is the boldness of the medium roast. This particular product claims to be medium but many people have noted that it is a bit weak. Keep that in mind, and also remember the cold brew process does mute flavors, so if you want bold flavor, then you need a bolder bean.

Overall, Cold Brew Kitchen does a good job getting you a great cup of cold brew coffee – after all, what’s in a name…

Pros

  • Good flavor that hits all the solid notes you expect in cold brew coffee
  • Specializes in cold brew coffee
  • Fair trade designation means you are getting coffee that is good to the environment and workers

Cons

  • The medium roast is a bit weak
  • Some consistency issues even though they claim beans are hand picked

#4 Madesco Code Blue

Madesco is very proud of their cold brew coffee, they claim that it even resuscitates! Not sure what they mean by that, but they are really keen on promoting their cold brew coffee that way. Also, as a company, they claim to be leaders in providing the right cold brew beans for coffee enthusiasts. Again, that can be debated – much like resuscitation – but what is not up for debate is Madesco produces an excellent cold brew coffee bean at a pretty good price.

Now, the other thing Madesco does is include recipe books and all other types of materials with the purchase. If you are looking for just a bag of cold brew coffee, it can be overwhelming, but you have to admire their enthusiasm. Having options is not necessarily a bad thing. They advertise a bold, robust flavor for your cold brew, so in essence they are trying to counter the narrative that cold brew coffee is muted and weak. Their cold brew claims to be anything but that.

The truth is for the most part they are right. This is a good cold brew coffee with a unique taste. It certainly is not for everyone – some will find it not to be the most consistent of flavors – but it certainly makes a valid attempt to resuscitate. Combine that with their enthusiasm for the cold brew process, and you have a company that seems dedicated to doing a great job and will only get better.

The downside is what was said before, the flavor is not for everyone and you may be overloaded with other things besides the coffee.

Overall, Madesco does a good job of getting you enthusiastic about cold brew – and that is never a bad thing!

Pros

  • Robust flavor that will have a great appeal for many cold brew consumers
  • Madesco is all-in on cold brew, so you can only imagine that the products and services will keep getting better
  • No reports of inconsistency from bag to bag

Cons

  • The amount of stuff you get besides the coffee beans can be a bit overwhelming
  • The flavor isn’t for everyone – Madesco is trying to overcome the muting effects of cold brew

#5 Cold Grinds French Roast

Boldness is a characteristic that in America, at least, is rewarded and lauded. To be bold is to set forth courageously despite those naysayers who tell you why something can’t happen. In the case of cold brew coffee, boldness is something to be applauded because cold brew is known to mute the flavor of coffee, so having the right cold brew coffee should delight the senses and allow you to bask in the glory of boldness.

For Cold Grinds, that is exactly what they set out to do. Besides the bold flavor, Cold Grinds is especially impressed with their ability to infuse the most caffeine into their cold brew formula. This is a point of pride that they even issue warnings about the amount of caffeine.

Similar to the Starbucks Narina 70, Cold Grinds works in the pouch system, so you just simply remove the pouches, defiantly place them into a pitcher, fill with water, set in the fridge and go on with your caffeinated self.

Though you may be a champion of the morning cup of (cold) joe, there are some things with Cold Grinds you should be aware of – besides the caffeine. The first is the bags don’t submerge, which is a major problem in the cold brew world. It detracts from the flavor of the coffee. The other major problem is the steeping times – if you don’t time it exactly right then the flavor of your coffee is not as strong.

Overall, Cold Grinds may win with boldness, but in the chase for greatness they overlooked a couple critical components.

Pros

  • Refreshingly bold flavor from a cold brew, not the norm
  • Boasts high amounts of caffeine, perfect for that morning jolt
  • Pouch system makes the cold brew experience extremely easy

Cons

  • Pouches don’t sink to the bottom so your coffee flavor could be off
  • Finding the right steeping time is not easy with this particular brand

The Cold Brew Process

For people who love coffee but want a milder, less acidic method of enjoying a good cup of coffee, the cold brew process is something that they embrace enthusiastically.

The key with cold brew is it must be a longer steeping and brewing process than with the drip coffee makers. With the traditional brewing systems, water has to be warmed between 195 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. For cold brew, temperatures that hover around 90 degrees Fahrenheit are critical. The next step is to store the steeping coffee in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, you can enjoy the coffee with cream and sugar just as you would a regular cup of coffee. You will notice immediately how cold brew is less acidic and sits better in your stomach. Once a staple of coffee shops, cold brew is now available for everyone and it is important to have the right beans for this purpose.

Conclusion

When you need a change of pace for your morning, there are few things that can be more refreshing than cold brew. Fortunately, you can use cold brew coffee in a variety of ways – even as a refreshing cool down drink! The choice is yours with this versatile version of coffee that is easy on the stomach – and the wallet.

Best Budget Espresso Machine – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Budget Espresso Machine - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Your espresso should not cause you to break the bank, and that is why we have put together this list to help you determine the best espresso machine for you to purchase.

The reality is you do not need to break the bank to get an espresso machine that will do the job of making great espresso shots. All you need is something that is reliable and easy to use. Once you begin making espressos then you can upgrade your skills to creating delicious macchiatos, lattes, and other types of drinks. The best part – not having to break the bank to do it!

Usually, if you love espresso you know that it’s time to invest in an espresso machine. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Should You Spend More?

When it comes to espresso machines you could spend nearly $1,000 for a super impressive machine or you could spend less than $50. The reality is when you are on a budget it is a bit foolish to spend gobs of money on an espresso machine. In fact, unless you are someone with supreme barista skills, having those very expensive machines often leads to levels of frustration because you do not feel like you are getting great value for your money.

On the other hand, having a budget espresso machine allows you to enjoy espresso without the pretense and expectation built into those more expensive machines. The best part – all of these budget machines provide you with the same flexibility to create the espressos you would like without having to spend too much time having to learn the vagaries of how to brew espresso.

So, when you are looking for a simple espresso machine that delivers a fantastic drink without all the bells and whistles built into a machine, this list of the top 5 best budget espresso machines is the perfect way to have an elegantly brewed coffee while saving serious cash.

#1 Mr. Coffee ECM 160

Mr. Coffee is a brand that is well known for providing exceptional quality at a price that is best described as budget. The reality is between the quality of the Mr. Coffee product relative to the price, nearly any Mr. Coffee machine is a great value, and when it comes to their budget espresso machine, there is no difference between the reputation and the actual truth of this particular espresso machine.

The trick for Mr. Coffee is they keep things simple – as always. This has not changed with their espresso machine – if anything, what it has done is enhanced the reputation of the brand. The operation of this particular espresso machine is extremely straight forward, and there is no reason that people at all levels of espresso experience will not have an easy time creating fantastic espresso shots. If anything, Mr. Coffee makes it seem easier than it actually is.

The machine has many detachable parts making for incredibly easy cleaning – just pop them into the dishwasher and they are easily cleaned. The glass carafe also is incredibly useful for your espresso. With the no-heat handle and the no-drip spout, this guarantees that your espresso remains hot and gets where it needs to be. The milk frother is also quite powerful and allows you to get the right amount of foamed milk for any and all of your drinks with ease.

There are some drawbacks to this particular model, however. The first is that there are some leaking issues with this particular variant of the Mr. Coffee machine. The best explanation is because the water is heated so hot that it eventually causes the other parts to degrade without continual maintenance, but how accurate that is can be questioned. The next issue is on some of the machines the plastic has not been sealed properly and that leads to an odor in your drinks. Mr. Coffee however has good customer service and they are dedicated to helping you get a machine that works for you.

Overall, this is the top budget espresso machine, so enjoy your Mr. Coffee and know you will have it for a long time.

Pros

  • Removable tank and drip pan make for easy cleaning
  • Glass carafe has a no-heat handle and no-drip spout, making it very easy to pour your espresso shots
  • Milk frother does a good job creating the right amount of foamed milk so that you can have the best lattes and macchiatos

Cons

  • This unit has a propensity to leak thanks to too hot water traveling though weak parts
  • Plastic is not necessarily sealed all that well on some unit and leads to a plastic odor in your espresso

#2 VillaWare NDVLEM1000

Perhaps when you look for things to work well the simplicity of design is the most critical element, or maybe having something that just works in a straightforward manner is what is most critical. Either way, when you look at the VillaWare, right away you realize this machine is a different version of a budget espresso machine – its design fits in any kitchen and its function is perfect for the barista on a budget.

Perhaps the first thing that jumps out at you is the large dial. VillaWare sought to make things easy, and this dial allows you to do everything you need to do to get espresso. It is a one stop in all senses, and once you decide to turn that knob, the system heats the water extremely quickly for you and waiting for your espresso is something that does not take too long.

Also, the VillaWare is replete with removable parts including the water tank and the drip pan. Cleaning this device is incredibly easy, and it allows you to focus on the important things – such as how many of your guests need a great espresso!

There are some areas in which the VillaWare comes up short though. The first is there are issues with the water reservoir. Specifically, the hose at the bottom is prone to leaking. The other major issue is that this particular model is not all that reliable. Perhaps it is because the VillaWare is fairly new, so it has some growing pains, but for a budget espresso maker, it acquits itself well enough.

The VillaWare has charm and style that will match your espressos, and is well worth the investment.

Pros

  • The control knob is so ridiculously easy to use you will wonder what the fuss is about making espresso
  • This particular unit is incredibly stylish and will fit perfectly in any kitchen
  • Removable parts make cleaning the unit ridiculously easy for the dishwasher or for hand washing

Cons

  • The water reservoir has some issues with leaking – specifically the plug has been known to fail
  • The unit is not built to last, whether it is because it is a new model or there are design flaws remains to be seen

#3 Bialetti 07008

So, here’s the thing, not every espresso maker is something that you plug into the wall. And this is a wonderful thing because if the power goes out, so does your espresso. However, if you have a manual coffee grinder along with the Bialetti, all you need is a heat source and you are on your way to great espresso without having to deal with the vagaries of electricity.

Now, here’s the best part – using the Bialetti is unbelievably easy! All you need to do is fill the pot with water, fill the filter with grounds and screw it on tight, then heat it up for about two to three minutes Once you see a couple spurts of espresso and steam coming out you are ready to go with your espresso.

Sounds easy, right? Guess what – it is! This is perfect for camping or any outdoor type of activity. If you love espresso and enjoy the outdoors, what could be a better combination than the Bialetti and a great hike?

Now, there are some downsides of the Bialetti. The first is this is a complex item to clean, you need to be sure to watch out for the washer and various other parts. Ultimately, if this is not cleaned properly than your Bialetti won’t perform as well. The second is kind of obvious. The reason there is simply that you can’t necessarily control the heat the way you can with an electronic machine. So, therefore, it is entirely possibly to overheat or underheat the water and not get the right tasting espresso.

The Bialetti is a great espresso maker for those seeking a different way to make a great drink, but it has its flaws and if you are alright with those, then it’s the right espresso maker for you.

Pros

  • This particular unit does not require electricity and therefore you can use it anywhere
  • Makes great espresso in less than three minutes
  • Design is very stylish and the device itself is really straightforward to use – there are no gimmicks here

Cons

  • Cleaning can be a very involved process and you need to check the different parts of the device for wear and tear
  • Heating the water is a very inexact science, and that can affect the taste of the espresso in different and not all that positive ways

#4 Excelvan 6811

When you have a device that does one thing and does it well, that is an amazing thing. In today’s world where everything seems to have multiple purposes, the device that just does what it advertises is unique and a welcome respite from this overzealousness for multi-tasking.

The Excelvan is small, and it has just one job – make great espresso. The design of it is probably the biggest asset. The Excelvan is small and portable – you can fit it anywhere in the kitchen and it has its rightful place with ease.

The next great thing about the Excelvan is the large four cup carafe. It has a great handle allowing you to easily handle the carafe without burning yourself, and also has a simple to use milk frother. Frankly, the straight forward design of this particular espresso machine makes it nearly perfect.

But, the key word to that last sentence is “nearly.” There are some problems with the Excelvan that must be explored before going forward to sing its praises. The first problem is it has a high wattage and has been known to catch fire. Of course, there is no need to tell you why this is bad, and if there is a need, then you probably have bigger concerns than espresso. The other issue it has is the steam is not consistent and causes problems brewing the espresso.

The Excelvan is a great espresso machine if it will be your first, otherwise if you have some experience it can be a bit frustrating.

Pros

  • Small design is perfect for people who lack counterspace or want to place it in an unobtrusive area
  • Perfect design for the carafe including making it four cups in capacity and with a no-heat handle
  • Milk frother is very easy to use and can produce excellent foamed milk

Cons

  • Has a high wattage capacity which means there is a potential for it to catch fire; plug into a surge strip
  • The steam function on it is inconsistent at times and that will greatly affect the quality of your espresso

#5 De’Longhi EC155

If you are looking for something that allows you versatility, the De’Longhi does a great job allowing you to have the most convenient options at your disposal – namely you can either have espresso pods such as Nespresso or you can use ground coffee. This alone makes it a tremendous value as you can have multiple uses for your espresso machine.

Now you may think that with multiple ways to brew espresso, that this machine would be complicated. You are very, very wrong. In fact, the De’Longhi makes it very easy to brew the best shot of espresso consistently and with little work on your part. Frankly, pulling espresso shots couldn’t be easier.

However, for some the best part of this particular espresso machine is the removable water tank. Instead of having to worry about getting in the tank and cleaning it out, because this water tank is removable all you need to do is throw it in the dishwasher and life is easy. That’s the key with the De’Longhi, making things easy with common sense solutions to normal espresso problems.

There are some problems with the De’Longhi, however. The first of these problems is this unit does not have a good track record when it comes to durability. Perhaps it is the different parts or maybe it is just as simple as this is a budget item and is budget built. The other problem the De’Longhi has is some leaking issues. Going back to the original problem with how durable it is, the problem becomes that many of the parts are thin plastic, so when heat goes through the plastic, it gets weak.

Finally, if you are seeking for an entry into espresso making, then you can do far worse than the De’Longhi, it’s a good machine for the price.

Pros

  • Being able to brew both pods and ground coffee makes this an incredibly versatile machine
  • Removable water tank is a fantastic addition and makes cleaning the De’Longhi much easier than other machines
  • Very easy to consistently create great espresso with the user-friendly controls

Cons

  • This machine has low reliability compared with the others
  • Because much of the construction is thin plastic, what tends to happen is the plastic wears out and there become problems with leaks

The Espresso Process

The big difference between espresso and drip coffee comes from how the water is filtered through the grounds. The most important thing is having the finest possible grind for your espresso. When this happens, you can have an easier time forcing the water through and getting the most concentrated cup of espresso.

However, there’s more to it than just forcing the water through, there needs to be the right temperature and pressure. This will lead to a fuller, more concentrated espresso along with having the right level of crema topping it.

Having the right espresso machine means you get this process consistently repeating itself and thus, getting a great cup of espresso.

Conclusion

A budget espresso machine does not mean that you are someone who skimps on quality. In fact, many of these budget machines perform their functions admirably and allow you to do a great job of brewing espresso. Don’t waste your time and money saving up for a big time espresso machine – instead give yourself the gift of great espresso without breaking the bank thanks to these machines that we have reviewed for you!

Best Automatic Espresso Machine – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Automatic Espresso Machine - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Having a great espresso drink such as a latte or macchiato doesn’t mean that you have to spend all sorts of time working on brewing the drink, and the best automatic espresso machines allow you to enjoy the greatness of espresso in a convenient way.

Whether you are seeking to pull a great shot of espresso or create a lovely macchiato, ensuring that your espresso machine is up to the job is critical to the success of these drinks. Furthermore, espresso serves as an elegant addition to your dinner parties or even for just a simple, intimate gathering amongst friends and family. As you already know, your life is enhanced by espresso, just as it has been for so many years in European cafés and American coffee shops.

Usually, if you love espresso you know that it’s time to invest in an espresso machine. Check out the table below for our top picks.

Why Espresso?

The simple answer – espresso is unbelievably enjoyable if you already love coffee. If you like coffee but want to kick it up a notch, the logical step is indulging in espresso.

On its own, a shot of espresso is quite the caffeinated drink. In fact, it boasts the highest concentration of caffeine. But that is not why you drink espresso – it is mostly about the taste and texture. This is why espresso is the base for more indulgent coffees such as caffe lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, café mochas, etc. Getting a great shot of espresso means that producing these types of drinks at home is easier than ever.

Because of the highly-concentrated taste, espresso is one of those things where you need to figure out for yourself what your preferences are. The right espresso machine has enough flexibility for you to refine your palette while at the same time giving you subtle guidance on how to most effectively make a good shot of espresso.

One purchase you should consider – porcelain espresso cups, they are the perfect accoutrement for all espressos.

#1 Breville BES840XL

There is a reason why this machine is at the top of the list of anything that involves the best espresso machines, and that is because the Breville BES840XL is unbelievable in its ability to consistently produce the best shots of espresso time and time again. When you are looking for good espresso from home, this machine is so good that you will swear you have been transported to some Italian bistro.

So why is the Breville considered to be the best? Well, this machine is uncanny in its consistency and that is mainly because it does an exceptional job keeping the water at the right temperature (for espresso, the ideal temperature is between 195 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit). With low water pressure at the beginning of the extraction along with easy to understand controls, you will quickly get the hang of using this particular machine for your espressos.

Because the Breville has a bunch of removable parts, cleaning the machine is easy. As with any espresso machine, it is imperative to clean it so that you never have to worry about the flavor being contaminated. Breville makes it easy to remove the different attachments including the water tank and drip tray. Because they are safe for the dishwasher (provided they are on the top rack) you are not spending undue time scrubbing each attachment.

The biggest problems people have with the Breville come from enormously high use. The stream rings will have a propensity to fail and some have reported problems with the pump failing after a while. However, as long as you refrain from abusing the unit and keep it cleaned and well maintained, these are issues that probably will not affect you right away, if at all.

Ultimately, the Breville is the best in its class, and time after time home baristas come back to this device because of how consistently it produces the best shots of espresso.

Pros

  • Removable tank and drip pan make for easy cleaning
  • Automatic features make this particular espresso machine extremely easy to use and incredibly convenient
  • Unbelievably reliable with controlling water temperature

Cons

  • This may not be a unit that is good for every day making of espresso
  • Steam rings have a propensity to fail roughly every 18 months

#2 Gaggia Brera Automatic Espresso Machine

There are times when being an originator is a point of pride, and when it comes to the automatic espresso maker, there is only one name that can be associated with the invention of this particular device – Gaggia. The Italian company pioneered the automatic espresso machine and is responsible for the explosion of these devices on the market – and, unfortunately for them – the competition in this particular niche.

Gaggia will claim, rightly, that their automatic espresso machine is one of the best on the market thanks to their relentless commitment to modernizing their initial design. In this case, the LED display serves as notice of Gaggia’s intent to keep working to make their automatic espresso maker one of the best in the marketplace. Other features include the hopper and bypass switch, pannarello steam wand, removable brew group and front loading water reservoir. Gaggia’s goal here was to be both innovative and user friendly, and for the most part, they have hit the mark splendidly.

And, like all things Italian, Gaggia’s device is stylish and trendy, so it is perfect for your kitchen regardless of the theme of your kitchen décor.

There are some issues which must be discussed with the Gaggia, however. The biggest problem that people speak about is that the unit does not have impressive durability. There is a need for descaling quite often and ultimately if you are looking for an automatic espresso machine that you can use frequently then this particular unit probably will give you a good amount of trouble.

Ultimately, Gaggia makes a great product and if you are seeking to use an espresso machine time and again, this machine will serve that purpose with great efficacy.

Pros

  • LED screen makes it incredibly easy to use this particular device
  • Stylish design means that you have an easy time fitting this particular device in any kitchen
  • Because Gaggia is credited with innovating the automatic espresso maker, they are obsessed with making sure they keep getting it right

Cons

  • This unit needs more descaling than needed in many other similar devices
  • This unit is not built to last if you plan to use it often to make espresso, and that is quite unfortunate

#3 Saeco HD8645

Simplicity is something that is a premium ideal, and when you think about simplicity in the world of the home espresso brewing, few items have this so well done as the Saeco HD8645. Frankly, this machine makes brewing espresso ridiculously easy – even for an automatic espresso maker.

Thanks to LED indicators and the ability to save your preferred settings, making a great shot of espresso is ridiculously easy. All you need to do is set up things the way you like, then it is just a fait accompli to make great espresso every time and wow your guests and yourself. Frankly, the ease of use of the Saeco is what sets it apart from other automatic espresso machines. That is surely saying something because the whole point of the automatic espresso machine is to make the guesswork a relic of the past with brewing espresso.

The other great features include the easy cleaning functions and the five different grinder settings. You can get a full bodied espresso or get an incredibly fine grind so that you have the most potent shot of espresso. Frankly, the versatility of this machine may be its biggest strength.

However, with strengths come weaknesses, and the Saeco does have a few issues that require disclosure. The first of these issues is that if you are a heavy user of this espresso machine it will wear out and need repair quickly. The other big issue is that the LED interface has a tendency to get buggy. The last thing you need when brewing espresso is for your machine to work in a glitchy manner, and unfortunately that happens too often to be a rarity here.

Ultimately when you decide to take the espresso plunge, this machine produced by Saeco will give you tremendeous versatility for your espresso desires.

Pros

  • This machine is unbelievably versatile and this is best exemplified through the 5 different grind settings
  • Easy to create your preferred settings; the ubiquitous set it and forget that everyone seeks
  • Fantastic milk frother goes along with an amazingly unobtrusive design

Cons

  • If you are someone who uses an espresso machine frequently then you will be disappointed at its reliability
  • For people who enjoy the LED screen, be aware that it can be quite buggy and unreliable

#4 De’Longhi ESAM300

With this particular automatic espresso machine, De’Longhi does their very best to automate the espresso process even more than the normal automation that occurs in automatic espresso machines. Fortunately for the espresso enthusiast, this machine succeeds in many different ways so that getting that great shot of espresso and brewing those great drinks like macchiatos and lattes is easier than ever.

The first thing that De’Longhi does unbelievably well is making sure the programmable settings are easy to follow. As you can imagine, programming an espresso machine is not the easiest undertaking – for those of a certain age, it could be the equivalent to programming a VCR. De’Longhi takes much of the guesswork out of the programming and allows you to focus on getting that shot of espresso that you so eagerly seek.

Another great feature is their “direct to brew” system that easily grinds the beans and makes for easy cleaning. This is vitally important. Espresso grinds are extremely fine so there is always a problem with the grinds themselves accumulating throughout the pathway from the hopper to the filter. Thanks to this system, it has never been easier to clean your espresso machine and ensure that you have the best, and most fresh grounds heading straight into the filter.

There is a lot to love about the De’Longhi, but there are also a few things that are worth lamenting. The first is the customer service is remarkably unhelpful. So, if your espresso machine has issues, good luck getting it fixed. The other big issue is for an automatic espresso machine it has very inconsistent brewing of espresso. This is a big issue because the appeal of the automatic espresso machine is the consistent brewing; however, for every time this is reported several other people are satisfied with the consistency, but it can be an issue nonetheless.

Getting a great espresso machine is as simple as finding something that appeals to your sensibilities. In the case of the De’Longhi, their goal of making the process as easy as possible has a lot of hits with a couple prominent misfires.

Pros

  • Easy to clean system allows you to get the best espresso grinds every time.
  • This machine is unbelievably easy to program, even for people who call themselves technophobes
  • The goal of this machine is making espresso as easy as possible, and in large measure they have succeeded

Cons

  • Customer service is way too adversarial for many people, and this is a big problem
  • For an automatic espresso machine, consistency is key, and this particular machine has some issues with consistent brewing

#5 Krups EA8250

When you are looking for a machine that functions as beautifully as it looks, there are rarely options that satisfy both those who seek out aesthetics and those who seek out functionality. However, life is short, so you should not have to compromise on beauty in order to get efficiency, and Krups decided that their automatic espresso machine would be the emphatic rebuttal that shows the world that you can have a smart looking machine that pumps out great espresso time and again.

Perhaps the biggest example of Krups’s commitment to ease of use comes with the LCD screen and simple operation knob. Krups knows that creating great espresso should not be a major undertaking, so they have streamlined the entire process by making it so simple that a twist of a knob allows you to set up your espresso machine with ease and for consistent use.

The other great features include how the Krups is prepared for you to make a lot of espresso. The 60 ounce water tank is massive when stacked against the competition, and the bean hopper holds plenty of beans in an air tight environment as well. With removable parts including the drip pan you don’t need to worry about having trouble cleaning the machine.

There are some drawbacks to the Krups, however. The first is this particular machine is bereft of detailed instructions, especially concerning the milk frother. When you spend as much money as this machine requires, it really should come with greater details on how to use it. The other major issue is that while this machine is easy to clean, it requires a lot of frequent cleaning. When you are using the espresso machine often, that can end up being a massive pain to deal with.

Fortunately, the Krups has lots of positives that outweigh the negatives, but ultimately it is on you, the user, to discern whether the form and function are worth flying a bit blind in use.

Pros

  • This unit is incredibly stylish and its commitment to style is exceeded only by its functionality
  • The removable parts make cleaning this particular espresso machine unbelievably easy
  • If you want to brew a ton of espresso, this is the machine for you – the large water tank and hopper mean more storage of the essential beans and water

Cons

  • The instructions for using this particular machine are not particularly detailed, which, when considering the price, is a major disappointment
  • Though the machine is easy to clean, it has to be cleaned quite often, which is quite an annoyance

Why Automatic Espresso Machines

Most espresso machines are grouped either as semi-automatic or automatic espresso machines. Understanding this distinction, and how this distinction works, will help you select the right machine for your espresso brewing purposes.

For people who are multi-taskers, there is no better option than the automatic system because you can easily set it and forget it. For the other types of machines, they require you to be more present. Many of these automatic machines have a one touch brewing system which means that you literally just hit a button and the machine takes care of everything up to the point which you imbibe the espresso.

Whereas the semi-automatic machine takes out the guessing in the grinding, the automatic machine then not only controls the grinds but how much water is forced through the system. So, this is why you can set and forget your automatic espresso machine.

Conclusion

Having an automatic espresso machine means you have a device that makes exceptional drinks with incredible consistency. The reviews above are of the best automatic espresso machines, so you can be confident that your purchase is an informed decision if you choose one of the machines listed above.

Best Espresso Machine Under $100 – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Espresso Machine Under $100 - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Are you a coffee drinker who would like to find the best espresso machine under 100 dollars?

That is a very affordable price if you really enjoy the ice little jumpstart to your day that a robust cup of espresso will give you in the morning. You may be surprised to learn there are many very good espresso machines that can be yours at a very affordable price.

Many of these models we will take the time to review right here. That way you can see for yourself what these convenient and easy espresso makers have to offer. You no longer have to spend a fortune to enjoy the stout, flavorful and aromatic benefits that drinking espresso coffee provides to you.

We have decided to take a look at 5 very good espresso machines in this article and any one of them can be yours for less than a Ben Franklin. Take a quick look for yourself.

The Top Model Espresso Machines for Less Than $100

Rank

Espresso Machine

Servings

Key Features

Rating

Price

1​

Nespresso Inissia Red by Breville

Single Serving

– Uses pre-measured single serving capsules
– 23.8 ounce removable water tank
– Folding drip tray allows carafe use
– Simple push button operation

2​

MateoJo Stovetop Espresso Maker - Italian Moka Pot

6 - 2oz. servings

– Durable aluminum espresso maker
– No electric parts to go bad
– 100% satisfaction guarantee
– Espresso served in just minutes

3​

STARESSO Espresso Coffee Maker, Red Dot Award Winner

Single Serving

– Compact travel size
– Just add boiling water
– High pressure brewing
– Espresso served in just minutes

​4

Nespresso Essenza C101 Espresso Maker

Single Serving

– Uses pre-measured single serving capsules
– Programmable controls
– Backlit volume display
– Simple push button operation

​5

Unique Imports Powerful steam Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

1–10 2oz. servings

– Stylish looks
– Simple and fast
– Powerful hot steam brewing
– Glass carafe with Cool-Touch handle

Reviews of the Best Espresso Machine Under 100 Dollars

Here are some very nice espresso coffee makers that are all affordably priced at less than $100 each:

#1 Nespresso Inissia Red by Breville

This is a very interesting and good working espresso coffee making model. It is not limited to just making espresso either as it can make several different types of coffee. It is a single serving type coffee maker that use specially made single serving capsules.

Making espresso with this machine could not be easier. All you have to do is load the pre-measured packet and then lightly press espresso button. This coffee maker will then do all the rest for you. The flip up drip tray conveniently allows you to switch back and forth between espresso cups and the glass carafe used for making coffee.

One drawback is you can only use the proprietary packs of coffee with this espresso maker. That does not allow you any experimentation between brands to try and find the perfect espresso blend for you.

This espresso make will look great on top of any countertop or table you put in too. In comes in one of three different colors. Each model is built using only high quality parts that are all easily cleanable after you are done making your coffee.

This espresso making unit also has a 9 minute safety shutoff and some energy saving settings built into it too. It also comes with a full 2-year warranty.

Pros

  • Uses pre-measured single serving capsules
  • 23.8 ounce removable water tank
  • Folding drip tray allows carafe use
  • Simple push button operation
  • 9 minute auto shutoff
  • Energy saving feature

Cons

  • Espresso selection is limited
  • Proprietary packet systems can cost more
  • Allows for no customization in the coffee making process

#2 MateoJo Stovetop Espresso Maker - Italian Moka Pot

Here is some very innovative thinking when it comes to espresso maker design. This unit brews your espresso simply by using the heat from your stove top. What makes that nice is you get some brew features that are found on much more expensive espresso makers for a fraction of the price.

Some people are skeptical that this coffee machine will do the job. Take it from us it really does work. Those that have used it rate its performance very highly too. It is very simple to use and your perfect blend of espresso will be ready to drink in just a few minutes.

This coffee maker allows you to experiment with many different type of espresso blends too. That means you can take your time trying different ones until you the right combination of beans that is prefect for you.

You would expect this espresso maker to be very durable too. It is made out of all aluminum parts and there is no electrical or display unit parts that can go bad. You have to make sure the aluminum salts are kept from building up on the interior of the pot due to health concerns.

Best of all it comes with a complete 100% question free satisfaction guarantee. So if you try it and you don’t like it you can simply return it.

Pros

  • Durable aluminum espresso maker
  • No electric parts to go bad
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Espresso served in just minutes
  • Allows you to experiment to create your perfect blend
  • Great customer support
  • Makes 6 - 2oz. servings

Cons

  • Have to be careful cooking with aluminum
  • Not dishwasher safe or detergent safe

#3 STARESSO Espresso Coffee Maker, Red Dot Award Winner

Our list of espresso makers has been interesting so far and this one keeps that trend going. This is a portable and simple to operate espresso maker. What surprises people the most is how well it works. It even won a prestigious Red Dot Design award.

All you have to do to get a cup of your favorite espresso blend is to add the grounds, add boiling water and then apply pressure to the grounds using the top. In just a matter of minutes you will have a shot of robust espresso coffee to wake you up.

This unit is also versatile enough that you can make iced coffee or iced tea with it too. So it can be a welcome travel companion during the warmer months.

This coffee maker has a very sleek and compact design so you can actually take it anywhere you go. It will also break down in three easy to pack parts. You will not find an easier espresso maker to use as you travel.

This is one tough coffee maker too. It is made of very durable ABS plastic. It is a nearly indestructible material under most conditions.

Pros

  • Compact travel size
  • Just add boiling water
  • High pressure brewing
  • Espresso served in just minutes
  • Low acidity and bitterness
  • Can make cold coffee or tea too
  • Easy to clean
  • Reddot award winning product
  • Durable ABS plastic

Cons

  • Single servings only
  • Super-hot coffee lovers may not like this espresso maker
  • Poor customer service

#4 Nespresso Essenza C101 Espresso Maker

Here is the second pre-measured capsule espresso brewing machine from Nespresso on our top review list. This company is known for having quality coffee brewing products in all price ranges and this espresso maker proves that. You will not find a simpler way to make and enjoy a good stiff cup of espresso any time you want one.

All you have to do is just fill the water reservoir, load a pre-measured capsule into it, set the desired pressure level and then activate the espresso button. In just a few minutes you will be enjoying another very consistent tasting cup of espresso.

There display is also nicely backlit to help you see such settings as the amount of espresso you will make and the desired pressure setting to use with it too.

Cleanup with this model espresso maker is very simple. All the surfaces on it are non-stick and easily accessible to clean. This espresso maker even ejects the used capsules to make things simpler for you.

This is another espresso coffee maker that has some style to it also. You will never have to worry about it not looking good on your countertop thanks to its subtle good looks. It also comes with a 2-year warranty from Nespresso for a little extra piece of mind with this purchase.

Pros

  • Uses pre-measured single serving capsules
  • Programmable controls
  • Backlit volume display
  • Simple push button operation
  • 9 minute auto shutoff
  • 30.4 ounce water tank
  • Up to 19 bars of pressure

Cons

  • Espresso selection is limited
  • Proprietary packet systems can cost more
  • Allows for no customization in the coffee making process

#5 Unique Imports Powerful steam Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

This espresso making unit was a nice surprise for us as we were researching it. There were a lot more handy features on it than you would expect for its low cost. Unique Imports did a real nice job putting this espresso maker together.

For one it is really simple to use. Just fill the water reservoir, add the espresso bean grounds, set it to brew the way you want it and then hit the espresso button. A few short minutes later you will be enjoying a robust cup of espresso.

You can also brew several 2 ounce servings of espresso with it at one time. That makes it great for large families or to use when entertaining guests.

One thing we were concerned about it was its nearly all plastic construction. We were afraid this might lead to some durability issues on down the line. You do get a one year warranty with it for some extra peace of mind after you purchase it.

It does have a somewhat stylish look despite the fact that it is made out of plastic with metal accents.

Pros

  • Stylish looks
  • Simple and fast
  • Powerful and hot steam brewing
  • Glass carafe with Cool-Touch handle
  • Brews up to 10 – 2 ounce servings
  • Can be used to make lattes too
  • 1 year warranty
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Possible durability issues with its majority plastic construction
  • No automatic shutoff

Handy Espresso Machine Buying Guide

One thing you don’t want to do is run out and buy the very first espresso maker that you see. A quick buying decision can leave you stuck with an espresso machine that you don’t like very much.

The best thing to do is base your espresso maker buying decision on what features you would like to have in your espresso machine and how versatile you want it to be. If you do this you can rest assured you will get the right espresso maker that will keep you happy cup after cup.

Here are some key characteristics of espresso makers to focus on when shopping for a new one:

Type

As you can see from our review list of the top espresso makers fewer than 100 dollars, there is a wide variety in the types of coffee makers you can brew espresso with. That is a good thing because that means you stand a great chance of buying an espresso maker you will really like.

Here are the different types of espresso makers available in the coffee machine marketplace:

Drip espresso maker

These are the most popular coffee makers in the marketplace but they are not very good at making espresso specifically. They just do an ok job of making it because the way they are designed. They have trouble capturing the full robust flavor of the beans.

If they have a pressure adjustment feature built into them then they do a much better job when used for making espresso.

Single serving pod/capsule espresso maker

This type of espresso maker is very simple to use if you only want a single serving of espresso at one time. They work by adding a prepackaged capsule or pod into the brewing chamber. You just add water and press a button and soon your espresso will be ready.

The big drawback with these is they are not versatile at all. If you don’t like the manufacturer’s blend of espresso you are kind of stuck. They also don’t allow you to experiment with your own espresso blends and the single serving feature is not good in big households or for when entertaining guests.

Steam espresso maker

These style coffee makers do a good job at making espresso. They use steam near its boiling point to saturate the espresso grounds and slowly capture the rich flavor they have to offer. They usually have a pressure feature on them you can use to make the espresso you are brewing even stronger.

The drawback with them is they are slow but the tradeoff is they will usually allow you to make bigger batches of espresso.

Moka pot

These espresso makers offer a very simple way to brew espresso. They are much better than people give them credit for. You saw that in one of our reviews on the top espresso makers.

They are models that have no heat source of their own so they have to be used on a stove top. They are simple to use and fast. Since they have no heat source built in they are not very portable at all.

Manual espresso maker

Here is another type of espresso maker that does not have a heat source of its own. They do work really well for such a simple coffee maker. Pressure is the key with these espresso makers.

You pour the boiling hot water into the unit and then use a press to increase the pressure on the espresso grounds to quickly capture their full flavor.

They work fast but they have no ability to keep the coffee hot for very long.

Capacity

You have to decide how many people at a time want a cup of espresso in your household. If you are just a single user or share your espresso maker with just one or two people, then you can get a single serving or smaller capacity espresso machine.

If you have a large family that craves the rich flavor of espresso coffee then a small capacity espresso machine most certainly will not work for you. This is true if you like to serve espresso when you entertain guests too.

So have an idea of the number of servings you need to make at one time when you are shopping for your new espresso maker.

Ease of use/Programmable functions

You want your espresso maker to be as easy to use as possible. For most people that means having to do no more than adding the espresso grounds, adding water and pressing a button. It is not always that simple but it’s nice to think it can be done.

An espresso maker that has a timer function that enables you to have coffee waiting for you when you want it is a nice feature to have also.

Durability

It’s nice to have an espresso maker that lasts you a long time too. Avoid models that are built using many cheap parts. Stainless steel, sturdy plastics and other metals are your best bet. They will really help you extend the life of your espresso maker if you take care of it.

Looks

Chances are your espresso maker is going to be used often enough that you are never going to put it away. If that is the case then you at least want a model that looks good. Brushed metals, stainless steel features and shiny polymer plastics add a little style to any espresso maker. Looks should not be the most important aspect of your espresso maker but you definitely want to consider them.

Ease of cleanup

You want to spend more time drinking that rich, robust and frothy espresso that you love and not spend time cleaning up when you are done. Since that is the case look for features built into an espresso maker that make it easy to clean.

These would include such things as surface materials that are easy to wipe clean, parts that can be removed and put in the dishwasher and easy access for cleaning non-removable parts.

Warranty

Even though we showed you that you can buy a nice model espresso maker for under $100 dollars that by all means does not make them a disposable item. Since that is the case you want to get as long and comprehensive a warranty as you can get with your new espresso making machine. This is especially true if your espresso maker has many electronic functions on it.

A warranty is also a good tool to use to help you make a final buying decision between two similar model espresso makers that you really like. Warranties can be a good indication of how well a manufacturer thinks their espresso maker is built too.

Which Espresso Maker Do We Like The Best?

These are all very good working and budget friendly espresso makers. The one model we like the best just may surprise you. That is the Unique Imports Powerful steam Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. We just thought there were many nice features built into this espresso maker.

So why exactly do we think it’s the best espresso machine under 100 dollars? For one it has a more versatile volume setting than the other model espresso makers. It will allow you to make from 1 to 10 two ounce servings. Most of the other models only had single serving settings.

This machine is very simple to use too. It only takes a few short steps to get your espresso grounds brewing. Your espresso will be ready in just a few short minutes too. Another nice characteristic it has is that it can make delicious lattes too.

It is definitely an espresso machine worth checking out if you are currently searching for a new one.

Best Espresso Coffee Beans – 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Best Espresso Coffee Beans - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Are you a diehard coffee lover that thinks the best espresso coffee beans are necessary to make a great cup of this stout coffee? Then you would be 100% correct.

The secret to any coffee lies in the beans but even more so with espresso. Everything about the brewing process with espresso is much more delicate than with regular coffee. That includes the temperature of the water forced through the ground coffee beans to the coffee bean grind itself. When it all comes together and is done right you will experience an amazing cup of espresso.

Why do people like espresso so much? That is because espresso will give you much more of a jolt than regular coffee. Espresso tends to be a bolder (not bitter) and a more robust type of brew that will kick-start your day and keep you going throughout the morning. That is why it is such a popular type of coffee for many.

Read on and see our reviews of the most popular choices of espresso beans.

The Top Coffee Bean products Used to Make Espresso

Rank

Coffee Beans

Content

Key Attributes

Rating

Price

1​

Peet's Coffee Whole Coffee Bean, Espresso Forte, Dark Roast

12 oz

– Blended by skilled Baristas
– Stout body with rich bold flavor
– Americas and Indo-Pacific bean blend
– Thick and creamy consistency

2​

Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee - Classic Italian Espresso - Dark Roast

2 lbs

– Dark Roast Arabica Coffee
– Generous sized 2 pound bag
– Colombian and Sumatran bean blend
– Deep color and complex flavor

3​

Lavazza Super Crema Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee

2.2 lbs

– Velvety Crème
– Big 2.2 pound bag
– Honey and almond aroma
– Long lasting flavor

​4

Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean

2.2 lbs

– 100% organic product
– Large 2.2 pound bag
– Fruity and chocolaty aroma
– Worldwide bean selection

​5

Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso, Whole Bean Coffee

5 lbs

– Huge 5 pound bag
– Dark coffee with rich flavor
– Slow roasted in small batches
– 100% Italian coffee bean selection

Reviews of the 5 Best Espresso Coffee Beans

Espresso coffee blending is truly an art and has to be done just so in order to make a great cup of it. Here are 5 companies that we think get it right.

#1 Peet's Whole Coffee Bean, Espresso Forte, Dark Roast

Peet’s is a specialty coffee shop that started in the San Francisco Bay area way back in 1966. They are so good at what they do they now have stores from coast to coast. They are a company that only employs the most experienced barista’s and the robust flavor of this coffee blend really backs that up.

The baristas at Peet’s know how hard it is to get espresso coffee blending just right. They used time tested methods of blending that make their espresso taste consistent from package to package. This package contains the whole beans so you have to grind it yourself so you get the best flavor possible from the espresso you make with it.

Many people have a hard time choosing which coffee blends they like best. The more earthy coffee that is found in Indo-Pacific beans or the slightly spicy taste than is found I the beans in the Americas.  Well with tis espresso blend you don’t have to choose because you get both.

When you look at this coffee once it’s brewed the first thing you will notice is how dark and frothy it is. That is the sure sign of a good espresso that is properly blended. This coffee has a very stout body about it to say the least.

Those who have tried this coffee rave about its flavor too. The carefully crafted bean blend gives this masterfully created coffee blend a rich core of flavor that will give you a nice little kick when you consume it.

Pros

  • Blended by skilled Baristas
  • Stout body with rich bold flavor
  • American and Indo-Pacific bean blend
  • Thick and creamy consistency
  • Tangy core of flavor
  • Whole bean product

Cons

  • Best used within 90 days from manufacturing date
  • Needs to be ground

#2 Cafe Don Pablo Gourmet Coffee - Classic Italian Espresso - Dark Roast

Don Pablo coffee was born in South Florida in 1989. Since then its popularity has grown substantially and it’s now sold in stores everywhere. Despite their growth, the owners stuck to their promise of only making their coffees in small batch roasting facilities. That would explain why he flavor that you get with this espresso is very rich, robust and unique.

People often describe the flavor of this bean blend as having a hint of chocolate in it along with some other subtle and earthly flavors. Many of those who have tried it claim to now be diehard repeat customers. That is a strong tribute to any type product.

The appeal of this coffee starts when you first look at in in the cup. It has deep dark look to it with just the right amount of frothiness on top. It is extremely full bodied to say the least. This espresso certainly passes the eye test with flying colors.

This can be used in a French Press coffee maker but you have to get the temp just right (185 degrees approx.) or you won’t get the full flavor experience. This espresso blend comes in a generous size 2 pound bag.

Pros

  • Dark Roast Arabica Coffee
  • Generous sized 2 pound bag
  • Colombian and Sumatran bean blend
  • Deep color and complex flavor
  • Grown only in high nutrient volcanic soil
  • Whole bean product
  • Hint of dark chocolate and earthy flavors
  • Small batch roasting facilities

Cons

  • Not certified organic
  • Needs to be ground before using
  • Have to use precise temp when using a French press

#3 Lavazza Super Crema Espresso - Whole Bean Coffee

What better brand of espresso to buy than one that is highly popular in the land where espresso coffee was first brewed. That’s right; this is one of the preferred brands in Italy. Italians are known for their love of this style coffee.

Lavazza has been a well-known name in coffee for a while now and this is one of their best selling products. It is made from 100% top shelf Brazilian coffee beans. That soil there is rich in organics and produces some of the most robust flavored coffees you will find.

This espresso blend has a little bit of a unique flavor style. Those who have tried it said they can detect a little bit of almond and honey in the aroma. It’s a very dark espresso coffee too and that can be attributed to the richness of the beans it’s made with.

The best part of this espresso blend may be the crème it creates on top of the cup. It look very rich and velvety which is a good way to tell a quality cup of espresso.

One of the things many users like about this coffee blend is that the beans in it do not look oily when the package is first opened. That means the beans were not over roasted. This espresso package has a nice 2.2 pound portion and the package contains only whole coffee beans.

Pros

  • Velvety Crème
  • Big 2.2 pound bag
  • Honey and almond aroma
  • Long lasting flavor
  • Brazilian coffee blend
  • Whole bean productLow oil

Cons

  • Too much air in the packaging
  • Has to be used when fresh (3 months no longer)
  • Need to grind before using

#4 Kicking Horse Coffee, Cliff Hanger Espresso, Medium Roast, Whole Bean

You do not see many medium roast espresso blends that have as rich a flavor as this one. You might say it’s as unique as the products name. Don’t let the unusual name fool you though. All Kicking Horses coffees are very popular and sell well.

Why do so many consumers become repeat buyers of this brand espresso? It has everything to do with its great proprietary blend of coffee beans. There is a real worldly flavor to this espresso due to the fact its beans come from such varied places as Africa, Indonesia, Central America and South America too.

It has a surprisingly rich flavor given the fact it is a lighter roast espresso. Its aroma is slightly to the fruity and chocolate side. Many users find it hard to describe the taste but it is always associated with such words rich, bold and divine. All of those words tend to describe an espresso that is way above average in taste.

The brighter crème on top adds a nice appealing touch to this blend of espresso too. It’s a very frothy blend to say the least. Each sip truly has a kick to it like the name says.

One of the best things about this fine coffee product is that it is certified organic coffee. You are not only getting pure coffee without additives but that in turn gives you a much purer taste too.

It is packed in a good size 2.2 pound container so you can enjoy many cups of it before you will have to worry about purchasing another bag. The product inside consist of only whole beans.

Pros

  • 100% organic product
  • Large 2.2 pound bag
  • Fruity and chocolaty aroma
  • Worldwide bean selection
  • Whole Arabica bean ingredients
  • Brighter Crème

Cons

  • Bag it comes in could reseal better
  • Quantity is too much for casual espresso drinkers

#5 Coffee Bean Direct Italian Roast Espresso, Whole Bean Coffee

Here is a company that likes to bring you espresso and other coffee blends at reduced prices thanks to economies of scale. That is not to say this is not a very good coffee blend. Coffee Bean Direct is known for putting together coffee blends that are original and flavorful. This is a very good quality espresso blend.

This is a very dark coffee once it’s brewed and has a very rich flavor to it. Many people like it better in iced coffee as opposed to drinking it straight. It has a nice darker toned crème on top after brewing also. Some drinkers rightfully compare it to a French roast coffee.

This is the biggest size espresso product on our list. That is great if you are a very avid espresso drinker but not so good if you just like to drink espresso casually. There is the potential for some waste because Espresso beans should be used within 3 months of the date of packaging.

The package contents only include non-ground whole coffee beans. That is the best way to capture their true flavor. Coffee bean direct also believe in packaging their coffee blends almost immediately after they are brewed.

Pros

  • Huge 5 pound bag
  • Dark coffee with rich flavor
  • Slow roasted in small batches
  • 100% Italian coffee bean selection
  • Only whole beans in package
  • Thick frothy crème

Cons

  • Beans are a little too oily
  • Quantity is too large for some users
  • Some users only like this blend in ice coffee
  • Regular customers note some inconsistencies among batches

Best Espresso Coffee Beans Buying Guide

First of all it is important to remind you of something. That is to keep in mind that some of how you choose your espresso blend is always based on personal preference. Of course we cannot begin to guide you on that. That is like telling someone what kind of music they like.

There is however a few parameters that you can use to get you looking in the right place for an espresso coffee blend that is sure to satisfy you. Think of these as a pathway that keeps you going in the right direction but ultimately you will have to choose which way you go when you get to the fork in that path.

It will especially help you if you are a newbie to espresso drinking. If you make the right espresso blend selection you will be in for an incredible coffee drinking experience.

Here are some things to consider when buying an espresso blend of coffee to drink:

Package size

We have mentioned in a few of the reviews that espresso coffee blends are best used up within three months of the packaging date. That makes size very relevant to your espresso purchase.

If you are a passionate espresso drinker you will have no problems using up a 5 pound bag of the product in a couple months. More casual espresso drinkers would end up throwing a large amount of this coffee blend out. So base the size of the package you will purchase on your espresso drinking habits.

Roasting type

You will only find espresso beans that roast in two different ways. That is dark roast blends and medium roast blends. Dark roast blends tend to be stout and have more kick. That is the reason they are the beans used most often to make espresso. Medium roast beans have more of a variety of flavor and that flavor is usually more subtle than that of dark roast beans.

Bean selection

Where the beans come from that your espresso blend is made from is important to the taste they produce. Certain areas of the world are known to produce more robust coffee flavors than others. Beans that come from the arid and mountainous regions of South America are an example of great coffee bean growing areas.

You also have the Sumatra region of Indonesia and certain areas of Africa that are renowned for the flavor of their coffee beans too. So look to see where the beans come from for any espresso blend you are thinking about purchasing.

Looks

Most people greatly discount looks when it comes to espresso but that is not wise. In general the best and liveliest espressos have a bold and stout dark look to them. As you try different blends of espresso coffee pay attention to the looks and shade of it to get an idea of what level of darkness in the espresso appeals to you the most.

Flavor/Company reputation

Above all else it will be the flavor of a blend of espresso that makes you a repeat buyer. With that being said at some point you will have to make a first time purchase. That means there will be a lot of unknowns on your part.

That is what makes reviews of the top blends of espresso like ours so important. It helps you get information that is relevant to your purchasing decision from those that have experienced a particular blend of espresso. It is the best way to select a product to purchase if you can’t sample it directly.

Crème

This one could probably just as easily have been put under looks too. That foam with a creamy consistency that you observe on the top of your newly brewed cup of espresso is called the crème.

The crème that is present on the top of a fresh brewed cup of espresso does three things. It alerts you to the fact that you have a good blend of beans that brews up well and it adds to the visual appeal of your coffee. It also is the way that the appealing aromatics that espresso has are released.

Package life

When shopping for any coffee it is important to check the date of packaging. Most espresso blends will not be as fresh and tasty after being on the shelves for 2 or 3 months. Three months is a great place to draw the line on an espresso coffee purchase to be sure unless you will use it up right away.

Many people have found it very convenient to order their espresso online too. It’s a good way to shop because you can usually save some money and the mail is normally fast and reliable. When you purchase online you do not have the advantage of seeing the manufacturing date on the espresso blend. If it arrives within a few weeks of expiration then send it back for an exchange right away.

Return Policy

Try to purchase an espresso product that has a somewhat liberal return policy too. This is especially true if you are purchasing your espresso bean blend online line. You never know what happens in transport and if the packaging always remains airtight. You want to be able to return espresso beans that look overly oily or extremely dry when you open the package.

The top espresso craft coffee products can be expensive so you certainly don’t want to throw your money away along with the bad package of espresso beans.

Our Final Thoughts on Which Espresso Blend Is Best

If you are an espresso fan then most likely you would like any of the blends on our review list of the top espresso blends. There was one that is generally preferred over the others. That is the Peet's Whole Coffee Bean, Espresso Forte, Dark Roast blend. There were several things that stuck out about this very nice coffee blend.

One thing to note is that it comes in the smallest sized package of any espresso blends on our list so you are assured to get fresh and flavorful beans every time. It’s also one of the stronger and darker espresso blends on our list too. It is robust, rich and leaves a very velvety and aromatic crème on top after brewing too.

We think the fact that it combines beans from the flavor rich growing lands in the Americas and Indo-Pacific regions ensures a quality blend in each bag. The super experienced baristas that Peet’s employs also contribute to the consistent quality of this product.

It is packaged in affordable 12 ounce bags so we highly recommend every espresso lover purchase one and give it a try. It definitely uses some of the best espresso coffee beans you will ever sample.

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