The Search for The Ideal Coffeemaker

Today the family coffeemaker died.

It was an old Black & Decker unit that I picked up from a surplus store (XS Cargo) about four years ago for about $30. We never really used the programming feature much as about a year ago it started to turn on by itself if we left it plugged in. Nice.

The machine met its demise as I prepped coffee for myself and a friend who was over for a visit. The thing simply decided it wasn’t going to pump water anymore. So that’s that.

Now we are in the market for a new coffeemaker. And while I tend to use my trusty AeroPress more often than not, whenever my wife and I want to have coffee in the morning it’s nice to have a machine to do the job.

My wife isn’t fussy about features. She wants to be able to simply press a button and – poof – instant coffee. She doesn’t care for programming the thing, doesn’t care if it grinds the beans1, doesn’t give a hoot about adjusting the brew strength. The only button she cares about is the on/off one.

That probably means we could have a crap coffeemaker. Except I also will be drinking coffee from this machine. And I actually want to enjoy my coffee, as opposed to whatever liquid swill that a cheap unit would offer.

So there’s the rub.

We need a unit that would satisfy my drinking needs and not put off my wife too much (which means that price is definitely a factor as she controls the purse strings around here — $100 or less is going to be the price range, I’d imagine). So while I may not be able to get the best coffeemaker out there, I’m not asking for that either. I’m asking for the “ideal” one. One that meets our criteria on all fronts…or at least as many as possible.

That means I need recommendations…and quickly.

Here’s what I’d like in a coffeemaker:

  • Programmable start and automatic shut off time.
  • A built-in burr grinder would be great.
  • Ultimately, something that makes an excellent cup of coffee; something that won’t make me regret not reaching for the AeroPress instead.

To recap, here’s what my wife would like in a coffeemaker:

  • A power button.

So if you’ve got suggestions, please leave me some in the comments below or on my Twitter feed. After all, I can only AeroPress for two for so long before it gets tedious. And I can say emphatically that my wife is not going to be doing any pressing of coffee at 5 a.m. despite her insatiable need for the stuff.

Which means my need to get a new — and ideal — coffeemaker is just as insatiable. Caffeinated wife, happy life, right?

Photo credit: Rosa Say (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

To be honest, my wife would prefer that the beans come from the store pre-ground. But that won’t cut if for me, so she acquiesced on that.