What To Consider When Buying a Coffee Maker
When you’re in the market for a new coffee maker, there are a few things to consider. You’ll need to figure out which brew method is right for you, consider cost, counter space, and your favorite roasts. Most people decide to go with the classic drip coffee maker, which consistently delivers you a bold, rich flavor. But what you may overlook how large you want your carafe to be. While most drip coffee machines come with a 12 cup carafe, you can find some that come with 4 cups. You may want to consider going with one of these smaller options.
Why Drip Coffee Is So Popular
Drip coffee is the most popular method for brewing coffee in America. Every time you order a cup of joe at a diner, or when you pick up a large coffee at the local coffee shop, you’re getting a cup of drip. This hands-off way to brew coffee is consistent, works with any beans, and quickly makes you a fresh, hot batch of java every morning. You may prefer espresso, or you want the powerful flavor of a French press. But you can always turn to the reliable, delicious brew of a drip coffee make, so always keep the option open.
What Impacts The Flavor of Your Coffee?
The brew process has a huge impact on the flavor of your coffee. The surface area of the grind, the temperature of the water, and the time spent brewing all extract different chemicals from your beans. While most brew methods will work with any beans, you may have some types of beans that won’t work with the brew method. A medium roast may not shine with espresso, while a light roast will taste bitter when brewed with a French press. Drip coffee is probably one of the most versatile ways that you can brew your beans.
Drip coffee has boiling water, and a medium-coarse grind size. The water slowly drains through the beans, extracting all of the aromatics, oils, and acid in the beans to give you a well rounded, balanced cup. Whether you’re using a light roast from Jamaica or a dark Sumatra, you’ll extract the full flavor profile of the beans. This is the perfect brew for coffee fans of any preference, letting you get the perfect cup every morning.
Should You Go Cheap Or Buy a High-End Machine?
Baristas spend their entire careers learning the ins and outs of how to pull the perfect espresso shot. French press requires you to set a timer and filter out your beans at just the right time. And pour over requires you to constantly be pouring the hot water over your beans. These methods are all hands on, which makes an excellent cup of coffee, even though they take more time and effort. Drip coffee is the easiest and most convenient way to make your favorite beverage in the morning.
The cheapest coffee makers will let you brew an entire cup of coffee with the press of a button. On the higher end, you have ones that will automatically brew you a hit pot of coffee before you even wake up in the morning complete with a built in coffee grinder. Of course, the more convenient, the more you’ll pay for your maker. But even the cheapest drip machine is still more convenient than any other brew option.
Why You Should Use a 4 Cup Coffee Maker
Most coffee makers come with a 12 cup carafe. This will brew about 2 cups of coffee grinds to get you a full pot of joe, fresh and hot. But how often do you actually drink that much coffee in one brew? Odds are that, unless you’re hosting a party or brewing at the office, you’re just going to drink 2 cups of coffee, max. You may want to consider actually getting a 4 cup coffee maker. These smaller maker have a better cost value, are more space efficient, and can easily be moved around.
A large coffee maker takes up a ton of counter space. This may be fine if it’s your only coffee maker, but it can get in the way is space is limited, or if you want more than one. If you want to be able to fit a nice coffee grinder and an espresso maker, you’ll need all the space efficiency that you can get. Plus, you likely won’t even be using that much coffee at a time, especially if your primary coffee maker will be espresso.
A 4 cup coffee maker is incredibly space efficient, saving on your counter real estate. It makes an excellent backup machine that you can keep in the cabinet in case your main machine fails. Or you can buy one that’s even more space efficient to keep on the counter at all times. Whether it’s your primary machine or your backup, you can’t go wrong with opting for a smaller, sleeker machine over a bigger one.
You’ll get a cheap automatic coffee maker
A smaller coffee maker means fewer materials, thus less cost. Also factor in that drip coffee machines are usually the cheapest automatic coffee makers on the market, and you can find a sturdy, quality coffee machine for under twenty bucks. That also means that you can get a lot of mileage per dollar with a smaller machine. While $100 will get you a pretty sub par espresso maker, you can get a premium drip coffee maker for that price. That’s why you see these smaller machines populating hotel room counters, since they’re easy to replace.
When you’re looking or a nicer coffee machine, you can get a high end 4 cup coffee maker without breaking the bank. They’re smaller and more resource efficient, so you can get a good coffee maker with all of the automatic brewing and grinding for a fraction of the price of a similarly priced espresso machine.
They have great portability
When you buy a larger coffee maker, you basically have to leave it one place on your counter. While you may be able to move a 12 cup coffee maker between the counter and the cupboard, you’re really limited in terms of portability. If you travel frequently for work, or just want to get your own coffee maker for a vacation, a 4 cup coffee maker will be easy to move around. You can even get machines that are specifically designed for portability, coming with stainless steel carafes to make sure that you won’t break them in travel.
Portability may not be the first thing you think of when you’re considering purchasing a coffee maker, but it adds tons of usability to your purchase. Whether you’re buying it specifically for travel, or you just want it to be an option, getting a 4 cup coffee maker will let you bring your preferred brew method anywhere. While it’s not a factor for everyone, it’s perfect for frequent travellers or vacations.
How Long Should a 4 Cup Coffee Maker Last?
Coffee makers will last longer depending on a few factors. An unmaintained, cheap coffee maker can stop working in a few months, a high end, frequently cleaned machine can last for many years. You have to factor durability when you’re purchasing your machine, and you want to make sure you’re cleaning your coffee maker regularly. Fortunately, you don’t have to crank up the price to get a sturdy device, and you only have to clean it every few months.
If you buy a $15 Mr Coffee machine, you’re not going to keep that thing for too long. But if you throw in an extra few dollars, you can get a maker that will last for years. For any coffee maker that you purchase, you want to make sure you’re cleaning them every 4 to 6 months. All you have to do is mix some white vinegar and water into the carafe and turn your machine on. Then, run it a few times to clean it out.
10 of The Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers
There’s no shortage of options when it comes to 4 cup coffee makers. You can find them in any price range, with a host of features. You’ll want to consider your budget, space efficiency, portability, and quality. Make sure you’re maintaining all of your machines, and make sure that you have the right coffee grinder if the machine doesn’t come with one. All of these coffee makers are going to brew you a delicious cup of joe, so just make sure that the machine has the features and price point that you want.
1. Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker
This machine is a simple, discreet way to brew your coffee every morning. It has a stainless steel carafe, and a tall, tower design to minimize counter space. It’s durable, affordable, and will get you consistently delicious coffee. It’s a bare-bones, no frills coffee machine that doesn’t come with any timers or automatic brewing.
2. Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Switch Coffee Maker
This is one of the most classic 4 cup coffee makers that you can find. Mr. Coffee is one of the most well known brands in coffee makers, and this budget model is perfect on the counter. It isn’t as space efficient as some other models, and doesn’t come with any timers or settings. But it gets you a quick pot of joe every morning. Plus, it has an unbeatable price, making it a great last-minute backup.
3. Premium PCM5422B 4 Cup Coffee Maker
Amazon is one of the best places to find affordable, durable products in any industry. Their 4 cup coffee maker is compact, and is one of the most affordable items on this list. You get a no-frills coffee maker with just a simple hot plate. All you do is add your grinds, hit start, and wait a few minutes. It has a sleek design, making it a nice addition to your kitchen space.
4. Farberware 2-4-Cup Percolator
This isn’t actually a drip coffee maker, but it deserves to be on this list. It’s a 4 cup percolator, which works pretty differently than drip coffee makers. Instead, you add the coffee to a small filtered case, which you then pour boiling water into and let it brew. This 4 cup, stainless steel percolator is the perfect way to get quick, convenient coffee without having to brew half a gallon of joe. Plus, it’s sturdy, lightweight, small, and easy to transport.
5. Brentwood RA39141 4-Cup Coffee Maker
This is the cheapest item on the list, coming in at just around $15. It’s the most stripped down option on the list, and is a quick, convenient solution to any coffee machine needs. It’s perfect for people looking for a replacement machine, makes a great backup, and is ideal for coffee fans with limited counter space. Of course, it has very limited features, offering you a quick batch of coffee.
6. Barsetto 4 Cup Coffee Machine
This Barsetto coffee maker is a perfect option for any coffee fan. It’s similar in design to the cheapest options on this list, but a little more elegant and durable. It has a sleek black design that makes it look perfect on your counter, even while it’s taking up very little space. It gets you a consistent brew, though it doesn’t come with all of those timers and nicer features that you see in upper end models.
7. Brew Express Built-In 4 Cup
This is by far the most interesting option on the list, and definitely one of the most expensive on this list. It’s a premium, stainless steel coffee maker that is actually built into your wall. It’s perfect for RVs and luxury kitchens, and it doubles as a single cup coffee brewer. It comes with a timer and alarm, letting you wake up to a freshly brewed cup of joe every morning. It’s billed for RV and Yacht use, since it’s more stable. It’s a great, fun option to get that perfect cup of joe.
8. Brew Express BE-104R-223A 4-Cup
Same brand and same type of coffee machine as the RV and Yacht model, but this option is designed for the kitchen. It’s more elegant, made of glass rather than stainless steel. You build it into your kitchen wall for a unique, fixed coffee maker. It also comes with all of the features like timers as the other one, but doesn’t need to withstand shaking and rumbling from vehicles. It’s similarly priced, targeted at an audience who truly values their counter space and coffee.
9. Krups ET3530 SAVOY Programmable Thermal
Krups isn’t usually associated with premium products, but this hybrid 12-4 cup machine is perfect for any coffee fan. It does have a large 12 cup carafe, but it has a tower design to minimize counter space. It’s going to be just as space efficient as a 4 cup machine, and it’s designed to have a 4 cup setting. You can minimize your coffee waste, and it comes with a suite of timers and options to let you wake up to a fully customized brew every morning.
10. Viante CAF-50 Grind and Brew Coffee Maker with built in Coffee Grinder
This is the creme of the crop of these coffee makers. It comes with tons of features that make this machine absolutely worth the price. The machine itself is pretty large, but it comes with timers, the 4 cup carafe, and a built in blade grinder. This is an all in one package that makes a perfect addition to your coffee arsenal. It’s not space efficient, but it’s going to give you a great cup of joe while minimizing the number of machines floating around your kitchen.
The coffee grinder itself is actually not that high quality. It’s a blade grinder, and doesn’t do dosing like you might expect a built in grinder to do. Typically the highest end grinders use burrs rather than blades, which get a more consistent grind and prevent overheating. Still, it’s a useful addition to the machine, and it doesn’t bring the price up too much.
How To Buy The Right 4 Cup Coffee Maker For Your Needs?
When you’re buying a coffee maker, you want to make sure that your getting the best product for your needs. Between cost, features, space efficiency, and quality, you have a ton of factors to consider. So when you’re looking at this list of makers, you want to look at what suits your needs. If you just want a budget model, you may have to compromise on the features on your machine. So let’s go over the pros and cons for a few of these options to single out a few of the best models.
If price is what you’re going for, you can’t go wrong with the Brentwood. It has limited features, and won’t last you that long, but it’s unbelievably cheap. It’s the perfect last-minute replacement for a busted machine, and is the best thing to take on vacation. Of course, all it does is brew coffee, so you won’t be able to do anything else with it. And if you happen to break it or forget to clean it, you can easily afford a replacement.
If you’re after the best features, you will absolutely want to go with the Viante CAF-50. This machine comes with every feature you could want, and comes in below $100. It has a timer and a grider, making it the best way to brew a small, 4 cup pot of joe every morning.
Making the Perfect Morning Brew
No matter what you decide, you can’t go wrong adding a 4 cup coffee maker to your kitchen. It’s a simple, easy way to get yourself that perfect morning brew. It’s a good backup in case your main machine breaks down, and it can be a great main machine on its own. Whether you go with a cheap machine or a top of the line model, you’ll get that powerful, delicious roast every morning. You won’t be wasting any counter space with the sleep, space efficient design. It’s the perfect way to perfect your morning coffee routine.