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Small but Mighty: The Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers

If you’re looking for the best small coffee maker, we’ve got you covered. In this review we’ll take a look at some really cool tiny coffee machines that will brew you tasty coffee while saving precious counterspace

Your coffee taste has evolved from those three a.m. coffee drip college nights. You’ve tasted other types of beans and probably developed your style of brewing. You’ve left behind those traditional drip coffee makers, right? Hold that thought.

Even though it might not be the most revelatory cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted, there are a few distinct benefits to keeping a small 4 cup drip coffee maker around.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different models on the market and their individual pros and cons.

in a hurry?

Here's my top pick

Bonavita 5-Cup...
This machine is a smaller version of Bonavita’s flagship coffee maker that has been approved by the SCAA.

What does this certification entail? It means that experts have approved it; that it brews at a perfect temperature and extracts all the good stuff from the beans.

It doesn’t hurt that it looks a lot better than most of its competitors.
Total Rating: Bonavita BV1500TS
  • Size
  • Brewing
  • Ease of Use
  • Price
  • Design
4.5

Why use a small coffee maker in the first place?

When you have people over, or when your family is in town, they may not be as amenable to waiting around for artisan coffee. Honestly, it’s just faster and easier to get a machine to do the work.

If you have a drip coffee maker, you can satisfy the craving of the crowd. You might roll your eyes and try to get them to try a French press at least once the craving is satiated, but for pure utility sake, you can’t beat the ease.

Another reason to keep a drip is that you can usually set a timer to start brewing. On mornings when you don’t have time to prepare coffee, you can have coffee ready when you wake up.

Again, not the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had, but better than none at all. Plus the smell of coffee already brewing when you wake up kind of makes up for the taste.

Avoid the bulky cone coffee makers

Since you aren’t planning to use a drip as your primary method of brewing coffee, it doesn’t make sense to keep a large unit around. A small 4 cup coffee maker should be enough to make a few quick cups and then store out of sight.

That being said, if you opt for an espresso style, it might be a little bit bigger because many come with attachments that can do other things such as froth milk. It’ll need more space, but the versatility might be worth sacrificing storage.

Best 4 Cup Coffee Maker – reviews

Mr. Coffee DRX5 Programmable Coffee Maker

Mr. Coffee 4-Cup...

The DRX5 is a compact programmable coffee maker that is space saving. Its simple design allows you to make coffee without sacrificing much storage space. It’s small enough to be left out on a counter without being in the way in most average sized kitchens. The carafe is glass, and the system uses standard, flat-bottomed, paper coffee filters. It has an on/off switch to make it easy to see if the burner is still on and it features a timer so you can plan a brew time of up to 24 hours.

It also has a pause brew function if you need a cup before the entire carafe is finished brewing. This can also be used to pre-infuse the brew, just like a genuine Portland hipster would do. It’s incredibly affordable, and the entire system is easy to clean. The reservoir drains entirely, and the carafe is dishwasher safe. One of the downsides is that the lid of the carafe is a little flimsy, but if you aren’t using it every day, this won’t be a problem. The glass carafe loses heat quickly, but at only four cups, you should be able to drain the carafe before it’s too much of an issue.

Pros

  • Programmable – plan 24 hours ahead.
  • Small and easy to store
  • Pause function 
  • Good price
See more reviews

Bonavita BV1500TS

Bonavita 5-Cup...

This model makes great coffee and comparatively to many of the coffee makers in this price bracket it looks the part.

Bonavita is popular with the specialty coffee crowd. Their coffee makers are often heralded as the thing that gets closest to a barista level pour over cup.

This model is no exception. It has pre-infusion and uses a special showerhead to disperse the water that’s designed to better extract the flavors from the coffee.

It also has a thermal carafe that will keep your coffee warm, which is a lot better than relying on a heat plate that will slowly evaporate the coffee and turn it into a bitter liquid.

The only tiny minus with this model is that the carafe is a little difficult to pour from without the lid installed. It’s not difficult to screw it on after the brew, however.

The bigger version of this coffee maker has been certified by the SCAA, so there’s no doubt that you’re getting quality.

See more reviews

CUISINART DCC-450BK 4-CUP COFFEE MAKER

Cuisinart DCC-450BK...

The DCC is a four cup coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe. It has a knuckle guard and a no-drip spout. It is an ultra-compact coffee maker that can stay on the counter without taking up much space.

One great feature of this maker is the pause-brew function. If you need a cup of coffee before the carafe is full, you can temporarily stop the brew to get some without coffee spilling out.

It doesn’t have a timer function, a downside, but it does feature a 30 minute shut off feature. It gives you plenty of time to empty the pot before things start to get cold. The stainless steel carafe is more durable than glass and safer than plastic.

The water gets to a sufficient temperature to brew a robust cup of coffee, however. Be sure not to touch the carafe on the bare metal because it will be hot.

Pros

  • Ultra compact
  • Pause function – great for pre-infusion.
  • Stainless steel carafe – keep the coffee hot!
See more reviews

 Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine 

Capresso 303.01...

If you want something a little fancier, the Capresso is a small espresso and cappuccino maker. You can adjust the strength of your coffee as well as a milk frother and steamer option.

If you can’t stomach the idea of plain coffee, but still want the ability to brew quickly, this type of maker might be a better option. You can make both espresso and cappuccino relatively quickly, though the frother takes some practice. You can also adjust the level of steam. There are thumb guards and a boiler cap.

It has a glass carafe that is dishwasher safe. It is easy to disassemble for cleaning, but you will have to remember to descale it every once in a while.

It has a remarkably small footprint for a fancier coffee maker. It won’t take up much space in average kitchens making it easy to store on the counter.

It doesn’t have a timer option, but it does have a wow factor for guests.

Pros

  • Ultra compact
  • Pause function – great for pre-infusion.
  • Stainless steel carafe – keep the coffee hot!
See more reviews

ZOJIRUSHI EC-DAC50 ZUTTO

Zojirushi EC-DAC50...

The Zutto is a higher end drip coffee maker that’s rated to five cups. It features a charcoal water filter to improve the taste of the coffee, making it one of our best tasting drip coffee brews on the list.

It’s a glass carafe with a cone-shaped filter. The cone shape ensures that water gets evenly through the grounds to produce a more robust cup of coffee. It’s easy to clean, and the water filter lasts up to two years with regular use.

It also has a space-saving reservoir so you won’t have to sacrifice much counter or storage space. It does not come with many extra features such as the ability to program ahead, but it does feature an automatic keep warm function.

It’s a little higher on the price point than a simple coffee maker, but if your water doesn’t taste great out of the faucet, the charcoal filter option might be worth the small extra cost.

Pros

  • Water filter for extra clarity
  • Clever design with the filter ‘hidden’ in the range server
  • 5-cup capacity
  • Very small and easy to store
See more reviews

MR. COFFEE JWX9 5-CUP COFFEE MAKER

Mr. Coffee Advanced...

Mr. Coffee does drip coffee well. This is another programmable version of their classic coffee maker featuring a slightly bigger carafe size without sacrificing space or speed – technically it’s a 5 cup coffee maker. It brews a hot cup of coffee and has a keep warm function.

You can program your coffee to start up to 24 hours ahead, and it has a convenient pause brew function so you can get a cup before the entire carafe is finished brewing. The carafe is durable stainless steel, which doesn’t allow you to see how much is left in the pot, but doesn’t break as easily as glass.

It’s easy to clean with a removable filter basket, and the carafe is dishwasher safe. There’s no backlight on the time screen, but as long as you aren’t programming in the dark, this isn’t an issue. If you’re making coffee right then, it has a simple on/off switch.

Pros

  • Programmable timer
  • Stainless steel carafe
  • Beautiful brushed stainless steel look
See more reviews

Go deeper: How to find the best 4 cup drip coffee maker?

There are few key features that you definitely want to get right when picking a new coffee maker.

Accurate brewing temperature should be at the top of the list. Coffee makers with crazy temperatures will either burn your coffee or won’t get the coffee hot enough to brew anything more than a weak puddle. Or just be inconsistent. ideally, you want a model that consistently brews around 195-205 °F.

Consider a timer

You also want a coffee maker that brews rather quickly. A 4 cup cone filter coffee maker should be able to brew a pot of coffee in minutes. If you’re going to wait around for your water to heat slowly or the coffee to fully steep in the case of cold brew, you might as well go with those methods.

Another great feature to look for is a timer. A programmable coffee maker will allow you to make coffee the night before and set it to begin so that coffee is ready when you wake up. If you know your morning is going to be hectic or so early that the thought of preparing coffee on the spot makes your head hurt, a timer will save the morning.

Stainless steel, glass or plastic?

You’ll need to decide if you want a glass, stainless steel, or heavy-duty plastic carafe. Plastic and steel are hard to break, and steel lasts the longest.

Plastic and glass are transparent, so you’ll always know how much coffee is in the pot. Glass is rated highest by coffee aficionados. You can also get options that come with just a travel mug or the opportunity to pause brewing to place another mug underneath. If you aren’t planning to make coffee for other people, this might make your coffee brewing more simple.

Top featured Image: S. Nillsson | Source

Further reading: Best Drip Coffee Maker

about the author

about the author

Hey, I'm Asser Christensen from Denmark – the founder & editor of this site.

I have been crazy about caffeine for almost as long as I can remember. Today, I'm a licensed Q Arabica Grader and full time coffee writer.

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