Coffee is one of those things that can enhance a lot of experiences in life. I can think back to steaming cups enjoyed over campfires; on bleary mornings at music festivals high in the Colorado mountains; and on snowy hillsides on the search for the perfect Christmas tree.
Years ago, my mom and I used to love to sneak away to Starbucks on marathon afternoons at the family business; and I have lost many afternoons in Target, vanilla latte in hand, blissfully browsing the $1 section.
Going out for coffee is still one of my favorite treats in life, but one consistent way I, (like most people) get my daily dose is by brewing coffee at home. Of course, the quality of the actual coffee you're brewing makes a huge difference in the quality of your cup at home. Our coffees are so good, they'll taste good out of just about any old coffee brewer you can find. (Come see us at a farmer's market one of these days and see one in action!) But, one thing I've learned in this business is what you brew on really DOES matter, and not all brewers are created equal.
I thought it might be a good idea to share some of my favorite brewers and brew systems to help you on your search for the best cup of coffee. (Full disclosure: The products linked here will link to Amazon, and we earn a small commission if you purchase one of these items through the link.)
Now, I know we all have our own personal preferences when it comes to coffee. My recommendations are based on a few criteria, that are formed from the personal taste of Chris and I.
There are two main things we look for:
1. Reliability - We use our coffee equipment a LOT. We brew multiple pots per day, so any good brewer has to be able to withstand our heavy usage. If a brewer is overly complicated, needs cool-down time, or needs intricate cleaning in between brews, I am NOT interested.
2. Durability - Not only do we use our coffee brewers a lot, but some of them travel with us to markets and demos, so we need products that are well made and build to last. We also hate waste, so we try to buy quality products that will stand the test of time.
The last coffee pot we had at home pre-dated our personal relationship by at least a year (Chris and I have been together since 2009!) When it finally died last summer, it felt like an era of our lives had ended. I actually got teary eyed when we threw it away.
RIP, Old Friend
The durability thing also applies all parts of the brewer - the carafe, the brew basket, the switches - all of it. I don't want to always be tracking down replacement carafes because I accidentally shattered one in the sink; or always gluing buttons back on after one-too-many early morning mashings. This means we lean a little towards function over form, but I think all these picks are stylish enough for even the schmanciest of fancy kitchens.
This is the brewer we take to farmer's markets, events, and demos! It hits all the boxes for us - simple, durable, and lightweight and portable. It can brew an entire pot of coffee in about 12 minutes - which is faster than a few others on this list. It's programmable, has a small footprint, and can brew pot after pot without stopping. It also has a "strong" button if you like a stronger brew.
Cons: The reusable filter that comes with it isn't great, so there could be an added expense of buying disposable filters or a better reusable one. I'm also never a huge fan of brewers that have an open water reservoir and brew basket. I am fairly notorious for messily making coffee, so I have to be careful with this brewer so grounds don't end up in the coffee. Also, the cord is a bit short. This is probably something only I care about (again, because we use this at farmer's markets), but I feel it's worth mentioning.
We have two older versions of this brewer at the shop and use them multiple times per day. They are retired market brewers, but still have a ton of life left in them even after all this time. One thing in particular I like about this brewer is the conical (vs basket style) filter. There are differing opinions, but I personally like the taste of coffee brewed in a conical filter over the basket style.
Cons: Super basic, not a lot of added features. This is a 10-cup model as well, so on the small side.
is a 12-cup, slightly fancier model of this brewer, with a few more bells and whistles, (and a higher price-point), if that's your jam.
All three of these brewers are real work-horses, and would be the perfect "starter" brewer for just about anyone. They are made by two longstanding, trusted brands in the coffee industry.
If you're a K-Cup kind of person...
I'll be honest, Keurig brewers and I have had a rough year. We started packaging k-cups in house in 2022 (Find them HERE!)
, so that meant a whole lot of trials to find exactly the right grind and the *perfect* amount of coffee to make the perfect k-cup.
We had a Keurig brewer from our early days in the coffee biz and hadn't used it much. We got *ONE* brew out of that machine and it was dead. DOA. Ceased to be. It was a newer style, of which I have seen in many adorable colors, but it barely worked long enough to notice.
So we went back and found the classic, clunky style of the OG Keurig brewer, and whaddya know? It works like a champ. Despite a few overfilled cups in our early trials, it has been easy to keep clean and reliable to use.
Cons: For me, the downsides of this brewer are mostly about how it looks. It *does* come in red, but overall I think the design is dated, bulky, and a bit blah.
This is the brewer we landed on after our Old Reliable left our Earthly relm for the Big Countertop in the Sky.
Our next brewer had big shoes to fill, so I wanted to make sure I chose the right brewer for us. I read countless reviews, and put waaaaay too much thought into this purchase.
I finally landed on this one from Ninja and have been incredibly happy so far. I love the removable water reservoir (and the fact that it empties each time, so water doesn't sit in there getting all icky). It's super easy to use, is programmable, and "remembers" your previous settings so you can get it going with one button. It has a small pot feature, and a "rich" brew function if you like a stronger pot.
Cons: This brewer does take a little while to brew a whole pot - I'd say around 15 minutes. That doesn't matter much at home, especially if you program it in advance, but it's something to keep in mind if you often brew in a hurry. It also has a fairly large footprint, and rubber feet on the bottom, so you can't really slide it around on the counter easily. If you have low-hanging cabinets or limited space, this brewer might not be for you.
I'm definitely biased with this one, but this little coffee pot got me through college. When I was living on my own for the first time, all by myself in a big city, this coffee pot was the very first one I ever purchased and it never let me down.
When I graduated, I took it with me, and it ended up living in the kitchen of my first Adult Job ™️.
Now, it lives in my parents' kitchen in New Mexico and brews multiple pots of Dad's Blend (their favorite) every day. To say this brewer is a work horse, is an understatement. We go way back, and it's still going strong after 6 moves, 3 states, and more than 20 years of daily use. The pot is small, so it can brew an entire pot (4 cups) super fast.
CONS: The carafe, while stainless steel, is not insulated, so it gets HOT and the combo with the heating element can lead to burned coffee. But with only 4 cups, usually there isn't much coffee sitting around long enough to burn anyway.
I hope my experience can help you find the right coffee brewer for your needs and brewing habits. Ultimately, any brewer can make great coffee if you start with great coffee...Find your new favorite by browsing our fresh roasted coffees HERE
, or try one of our 35+ flavored coffees HERE
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