Do well designed drip coffee makers exist?

French-pressers and pour-overers be damned. All I need in the morning is a nice pot of drip coffee. I’m in need of a new machine, but your typical coffee maker under $50 or so is a bulbous plastic monstrosity. Can anyone point me in the direction of a well designed drip coffee maker that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?

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Technivorm Moccamaster. Looks like a piece of laboratory equipment and built like a battleship. ‘Arm and a leg’ is relative, but its more than $50. Been using mine for seven years, and it makes excellent coffee, because science.

That’s a little out of my price range, though something like that or the Chemex Ottomatic is the ultimate goal.

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Ratio 8.

Designed by my buddy James Owen:

I don’t think it is technically a drop, more of an automated pour over.

OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker. It makes a very good cup of design fuel assuming quality beans that have been ground properly. Can be had on sale for $150-160.

I haven’t seen that one, looks nice.

Here’s a shameless plug for my own work.
I’m a ceramicist based in Auckland, New Zealand and I make a single cup ceramic coffee dripper (among other things).
See here: Coffee Dripper - White | Taus Ceramic

These are slipcast percelain, and I make them in my studio from a 5 part mould.


May sound like nitpicking but the last one I bought, I thought was well designed, until I got it home and realised the top lid was too large to open fully under the wall cabinets. Also it was a pain to keep clean with too many tight corners, and creases to get into. But it looked good! And I have to say I really appreciate a timer. It’s really nice to wake up to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee. The lid may not be an issue for you but these were just a few observations.

Then I was recently given one of those coffee machine thingys, and my god I remembered immediately why I never got one. I’m not a coffee geek by any means. I do like a good cup, but a coffee machine for me is honestly a bit of a waste. Talk about poor design. The noise of the mill, the confusing interface, the numerous containers… I understand there are many factors that affect the quality and thus many features, but most of them are really set and forget. And every coffee machine I’ve used is really confusing.
My ideal coffee machine would be quiet, it would have two rotary knobs for choosing the amount and intensity and one big red button that says “F***ING COFFEE!”

technivorm Moccamaster or the Chemex Ottomatic (very biased on this!!), I know there out of your price range but they should last a lifetime!

Moccamaster is the ‘industry standard’ quality drip machine here in Finland. It’s very well made with metal parts, and should last you at least a decade, so the higher cost is justified IMO. We have the highest per capita coffee consumption, so people like a dependable machine that can brew up to 3-4 pots every day, and Technivorm fits that bill.

IMO one of the features you want is a separate heater for the pot, so both water and ready coffee are held in their optimal temperatures. Cheaper machines have one heater that sort of does both. Ideally you’d have a thermos pot, so coffee stays hot without a separate heater. Glass pots are not very good at retaining heat! One of those thermos Technivorms would probably be my ideal machine, at least if brewing more than 1-2 cups at a time.

I wanted something a bit smaller, so I ended up with Kenwood Kmix. Wouldn’t say it’s superb, but it’s somewhere between a basic plastic one and a Technivorm.

Personally, I don’t like the automatic timer + grinder machines. The grinder makes a ton of noise, and the water tends to go a bit stale after sitting overnight. My ideal setup would be a regular drip machine + a separate grinder that does one weeks worth of coffee at a time. That seems to be an ok interval.

There are numerous picky little design issues that I have with the Technivorm Moccamaster. I have one of the thermos pot models, and the lip on the pot, while sleek and stainless, inhibits pouring of coffee into all but the widest mouth containers. Getting it into a travel thermos, forget it. Use a funnel. The fit-up between the plate under the pot and the main body of the machine is fussy, and it needs to be seated right for the thermos to depress the button that tells the coffee maker to work. The water reservoir becomes foggy with condensation if the cover is left on, following brewing…I tend to just open the cover and leave it askew so it can breathe. Finally the design surfacing of the plastic parts would be laughable, if it didn’t recall some crazy laboratory machine.

So - its not all about ‘design’ with the Moccamaster, its more like learning to live with the idiosyncrasies in order to get superior coffee and reliability.