The 3 Best Smart Coffee Makers
Does an appliance really need a mobile app to be considered “smart”? When it comes to coffee makers, not necessarily. The best smart coffee makers are highly programmable to brew different strengths, styles, and volumes of coffee, suited perfectly to your preferences. And just like the coffee they brew, smart coffee makers come in many forms. To help you decide which model is right for you, here are a few things to consider.
For the most versatility, look for a model that can brew coffee in varying strengths. A good machine will dial-in on the precise timing and water temperature to brew to your desired strength, so you’ll never need to add extra coffee to the filter again.
If you like to change up the type of coffee you drink, invest in a machine that brews directly over ice to create iced coffee. Certain machines can produce a rich, concentrated brew that, when combined with ice, dilutes to create flavorful iced coffee that’s never watered-down. If you want even more out of your coffee maker, look for one that can brew loose tea, as well.
Most smart coffee makers can brew different volumes, from single cups to large carafes. But if you’re strictly a single-serve coffee fan, you can find a machine that offers the convenience of pods with the technology to customize your coffee.
However you enjoy your brew, the best smart coffee makers take the guesswork out of the process to elevate your at-home coffee-making game.
1. The Best Overall: Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe
The overall best pick comes from Breville, whose precision brewer coffee maker combines sleek styling with all of the technology needed to create just about any brew or volume of coffee. Use the simple dial to choose between six different brewing styles including gold, fast, strong, iced, cold brew, and my brew.
"Gold" is Breville’s “gold standard” cup of coffee that’s precisely programmed to meet standards set by the Specialty Coffee Association. "My brew" gives you the option to customize settings such as bloom time, brewing temperature and flow rate to bring out the best out of whatever coffee you’re using.
Prefer cold brew? Place grounds in the basket overnight and wake up to a perfectly-extracted carafe of cold brew coffee. And if you’re a fan of pour-over coffee, the basket removes to accommodate a drip adapter that can be set directly over your vessel of choice. The generous 60-ounce thermal carafe will keep coffee warm to enjoy throughout the day. And, here’s something you don’t see very often: The Breville comes with both flat bottom and cone filter baskets to brew any amount of coffee just the way you like it.
2. The Best Single-Serve: Keurig K-Elite Single Serve K-Cup Pod Maker
Single-serve coffee lovers will appreciate this pick from Keurig that combines the convenience of pods with customizable strength, volume, and iced coffee capabilities. The "strong brew" button allows you to increase the strength and intensity of your coffee’s natural flavor, regardless of its origin or style. Whether you want a short 4-ounce pour, or to fill a 12-ounce travel mug, the drip tray can be removed to fit cups and glasses up to 7.2-inches tall.
If you prefer your coffee cold, select the "iced" button to brew rich, hot coffee over ice for full-flavored iced coffee. Since most of us are short on time in the morning, the one-minute brew time provides a quick coffee fix, and it’s a steamy cup, at that. The programmable temperature control brews from 187 and 192 degrees Fahrenheit, and it also has a high-altitude setting. If you want to make hot tea, cocoa, instant soup, or oatmeal, think of the Keurig as a kettle and make use of the hot water setting. A generous 75-ounce water reservoir holds enough to brew 8 cups of coffee between refills. One note for those who like the single-serve pod format but are trying to curb their plastic use: the K-Elite is compatible with Keurig’s My K-Cup reusable coffee filter, which can be purchased separately here.
3. The Best For Coffee & Tea: Ninja Hot And Cold Brewed System, Auto-iQ Tea And Coffee Maker
Ninja’s hot and cold brewed system is the best choice for people who enjoy coffee and tea, as it offers five brew styles and six brew sizes for both beverage types. That’s right, the machine is pre-programmed with specific settings like temperature and brew time to bring out the best flavor, whether you have coffee grounds or tea leaves in the basket. And there’s no need to worry about flavors intermingling. Ninja provides two separate baskets which the machine recognizes, and duly displays coffee or tea options.
With two turn-dials to select the brew size and the type of coffee or tea you’re brewing, the Ninja takes the guesswork out of everything else. While it isn’t an espresso machine, the Ninja comes with a built-in, fold-away hot and cold frother to make milk-based drinks using its "specialty brew" setting. Coffee drinkers of all styles will enjoy the other included "classic," "rich," "over ice," and "cold brew" settings. Best yet, the Ninja’s 50-ounce thermal carafe will keep coffee and tea hot for up to two hours, so you can bring the pot to the table to serve.
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