Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
- January 7, 2020
As coffee geeks, we’re always striving for the freshest and most delicious cup.
As mere humans, however, we’re always looking for ways to cut corners.
Is the combined coffee brewer and grinder the answer to our prayers? Maybe.
In this post, I’ll look at the pros and cons when it comes to having a grind and brew coffee maker and also give you my take on some of the best models out there.
Grinding and brewing at the same time. Could it be better than that?
Well, as you might be able to tell from the introduction, I’m not 100 percent convinced of the merits of this kind of device.
Sure, you can probably get a decent cup of Joe out of it, but who says you wouldn’t be able to do that just as effortlessly with a more traditional setup?
Products that do more than one thing at a time, are usually some kind of compromise. This also applies to grind and brew coffee makers.
Because these devices still have to be relatively cheap to compete, they tend to skimp on crucial parts. For instance, what grinder do you think is better: the standalone unit that costs $100 or the one that is built into a $130 grind & brew machine?
You can be pretty sure that the burrs are not going to be of the highest quality and that the motor will be weaker in the combo version.
By itself, neither a grinder nor a great coffee machine is that complicated to produce, but by combining them, you multiply the chances of something breaking significantly.
There is a general rule of thumb that’s worth paying attention to: The more complex the system, the easier it can malfunction. Many grind & brew devices live, and especially, die by this rule.
Okay, so that was the rant. I’m not going to change your mind, and you want to get a coffee maker with a built-in grinder no matter what. All right, in that case, I do have a few tips for you.
There is a long history of espresso machines with a built-in grinder compared to that of traditional drip coffee pots. This means that the companies tend to have a lot more experience pulling off this kind of design.
Also, because of the differences in espresso and filter coffee, it’s easier to obtain a fully automated experience.
If you still want to go for a coffee maker that grinds beans, then I’d advise you to be conservative. Go after a model that has many reviews and a solid warranty and customer service if an accident should occur.
There are some other features you’d want to think about as well. These aren’t necessary but might be nice to have:
|Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12 Cup…|
|Breville BDC650BSS Grind…||2,371 Reviews|
|Breville BES870XL Barista…||8,344 Reviews|
|Jura ENA 1 Automatic Coffee…||308 Reviews|
Among the budget brands, Cuisinart stands out. The company usually delivers acceptable quality and above average aesthetics.
This grind and brew coffee maker are held in pretty high esteem by the quality conscious Amazon shoppers. With more than a 1000 reviews, more of them very content, it seems like a safe bet.
This particular model has a built-in charcoal water filter, which is something I like. Some reviewers complain that it grinds too coarsely, resulting in a weak brew.
This device is programmable, which is always nice. Overall, it seems like you’re getting a lot for your money, so there have probably been some compromises somewhere in the supply chain.See more reviews
Usually, I’m not a fan of drip coffee makers with a built-in grinder, but if anybody can pull it off, it’s Breville.
This Australian company has been able to create some extraordinarily innovative and well-designed products in the last couple of years.
This particular model has somewhat positive reviews from most users and a range of handy options. It’s possible to adjust the grinder, which is a huge plus when you want to dial in your java juice.
It’s also easy on the eye. The lines are simple, and the brushed metal finish is understated and minimalist.See more reviews
This espresso machine and grinder combo is a modern classic. It’s incredibly convenient, yet it offers its users the right degree of customization and hands-on feel.
You can get up close with the portafilter and the coffee grounds, which is a plus if you’re looking for barista-level perfection.
The device also offers a couple of things not typically included in a cheaper coffee maker: PID and pressure gauge.
This model has almost 2000 reviews on Amazon, and most of the customers are indeed very happy.
You’ll be able to produce robust espresso and cappuccinos with the Barista Express.See more reviews
The Swiss brand Jura is one of the best out there when it comes to grind and brew devices. In Europe, Jura is one of the most used commercial espresso machine brands, and the company basically only does combo brewers, so you’d think they know a thing or two.
The company has equipped this coffee machine with conical burrs to grind out the genuine flavor of the beans.
The downside of buying European quality like this is that it’s not for the overly budget conscious.See more reviews
It goes without saying that you still can’t skimp on best practice if you want a decent cup of coffee.
Here’s some more advice to ensure that you brew a proper cup with your new tech wunderkind of a coffee machine.