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Coffeemakers for hot, lip-scalding coffee?
December 23, 2005 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend a good drip coffee maker? Most important criterion: Makes HOT, lip-scalding coffee.

I like my coffee freakishly hot--so it's still barely drinkable even after I have added milk and sugar. Beyond this, I am not a coffee aficionado. My corner deli has a food service-grade machine that seems to have no problem making lots of very hot coffee.

I just took the plunge and bought the Cuisinart Brew Central, largely based on the reviews at amazon.com and coffeegeek.com. It's great, but it doesn't get the coffee hot enough for my tastes (although it does get hotter once it is in the carafe due to the heat plate).

Since this is my first hands-on experience with a drip coffeemaker, and because it comes well recommended, I don't know if all drip machines are like this, or if there are other better ones out there. The Bunn line of machines look like a good choice, but they don't have a clock/timer feature.

Any recommendations? Is this a basic limitation of drip coffeemakers?
posted by Brian James to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
technivorm brewers are about as good as auto drip gets, and should certainly brew hot enough to suit you. they'll cost you, though.
posted by jjoye at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2005


Zojirushi makes a phenomenal drip unit.

Vacuum sealed throughout, great water heating mechanism, insulated basket mechanism.

2 caveats.

Uses weird filter sizes, but normal cone filters will work.

Makes best coffee when filled with Room Temperature water. The heating mechanism nails the temperature perfectly with room temperature water. Chilled water isn't as good.

I think it's around 100 dollars retail..
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2005


The "best" water temp for coffee is somewhere between 185 and 200. I give that range because google search reveals many different opinions. Almost all "knowledgeable" sources seem to agree that boiling-hot water is too hot. Here is one page that refers to several sources.

So that's one problem. Then there's the fact that the coffee falls several inches in a thin stream, cooling off even more.

Then you pour it into, say, a ceramic mug that will absorb even more heat from the coffee.

I, too, like very hot coffee. I've tried a lot of brewing methods, and I think you're bound to be disappointed. I have an steaming-hot water dispenser at the sink to warm the cups, the pot, and the filter basket. And I use a Bunn coffee maker. And that's the hottest coffee I can make at home, without zapping it in the microwave.

You might be able to make hotter coffee by pouring the water yourself -- Chemex or Melitta, that sort of thing. But it's not easy to do when you really need coffee. And they're never going to come up with a timer for those posts.
posted by wryly at 4:16 PM on December 23, 2005


...for those POTS, that is.
posted by wryly at 4:18 PM on December 23, 2005


Simplest solution: heat up your milk before you add it to the coffee.

I think the stove-top espresso makers like this might also brew a little hotter than a drip, but that might just be because when I used them I would mix a small volume of strong coffee with a lot of really hot milk.
posted by footnote at 4:25 PM on December 23, 2005


I think the stove-top espresso makers like this might also brew a little hotter than a drip

According to Harold McGee, "The Italian stovetop moka pot operates above the boil, at around 230 degrees F, and produces a somewhat harsh brew." So this, or a percolator (which I understand makes not-so-good coffee, but operates around boiling) will probably be the hottest. If you prefer American style coffee, then the Italian coffee maker will produce stuff that is too espresso-like for you. Also, you might want to try to find a non-aluminum one.

By the way, McGee suggests that any style of coffee should be brewed at 190-200 degress F for best flavor.
posted by advil at 5:25 PM on December 23, 2005


Does it HAVE to be a drip maker? You could use a french press maker and then boil the water as hot as you want it.
posted by autojack at 5:44 PM on December 23, 2005


French presses are actually known for not producing the hottest coffee.
posted by smackfu at 6:17 PM on December 23, 2005


I'd get some kind of milk steamer to go with your coffeemaker, so the milk doesn't cool it down so much.

The advantage with French presses is that you can heat the water any way you want. Most drip coffee makers have an internal heating element which does not quite heat the water to boiling (that's actually too hot for ideal coffee by most standards, and they don't want all the water to escape as steam). With a french press, however, you can have the water at a rolling boil for 5 minutes before dumping it in, and it will be hotter. But you should brew it only as long as you want to, then drink it immediately, as they have no mechanism to keep the coffee hot.
posted by scarabic at 6:39 PM on December 23, 2005


Good comments so far...I'm open to trying the stovetop espresso pots. What do they call those things?

After thinking about it, the machine at the corner deli is probably directly connected to a hot water line. I might just resign myself to getting the water to near-boiling temp before adding it to the machine (which seems like a step an automated machine should take care of for me, but...)
posted by Brian James at 6:39 PM on December 23, 2005


If you're looking for a traditional drip machine, consider this: all of them boil the water at some point, and all of them cool it enough for it to condense at some point. It's just how they work, so there's not going to be much variation before the water hits the beans.

To keep the coffee as hot as possible, you could go with a vacuum carafe model. I got one free from Gevalia a few years ago, and it's great. The coffee never drips through the air, so it reaches the carafe with as little heat loss as possible.

If you warm the carafe with hot water beforehand, I think your problem would be solved.
posted by Geektronica at 6:54 PM on December 23, 2005


jjoye's got it: Sweet Maria's says, "The Technivorm is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) to brew at the correct 200 degrees Fahrenheit. "

note: I believe anything Sweet Maria's tells me. Seriously; the dude knows coffee.
posted by RockyChrysler at 7:33 PM on December 23, 2005


The Cuisinart is seriously under-temperature (mine measured at 172 degrees), plus it doesn't allow the proper amount of coffee to be used when brewing a full-sized pot. Sure was nice looking tho :-) I had mine for a day before I took it back.

Two brewers that I know (have measured myself) to brew at 195+ degrees are the Zojirushi Fresh Brew, and the Starbucks Barista Aroma (I've tried the now-discontinued 4 cup Quatro, and the 8 cup; I'm pretty sure the 12 cup Aroma Grande is probably fine temperature wise too.) All of these units have stainless steel thermal carafes.

As much as I despise Starbucks' coffee, I have to admit their coffee makers rock -- the Zoji works well, but for a few dollars more (and I think there's a holiday sale on now too), the Starbucks units have a lot more to offer (removable reservoir, metal filter.)

Plus you can find the stores on every nearly corner, and take one back if you don't like it...
posted by nonliteral at 8:13 PM on December 23, 2005


In the winter, of course, your tap water is probably going to start off 20-30 degrees cooler than it does in the summer. So stick it in the microwave and heat it up to lukewarm before brewing.
posted by kindall at 8:36 PM on December 23, 2005


I bought a Technivorm and was seriously unimpressed. The coffe was flat and boring. The reviews had my hopes built up but either my unit was defective or the reviewers were batshitinsane. I sent it back.

I have been using a Krups Moka Brew for a couple of months and could not be happier. The brew is a cross between espresso and drip. It uses steam pressure to force the water through lightly packed coffee. It uses proprietary filters, but they are inexpensive, and you can make your own with regular paper filters and scissors in a pinch.

It really produces some of the best coffee I have ever had. It takes a couple of days to get the grind and the tamping pressure dialed in but it is as easy to use as a regular drip pot. Shop around on the internet and you can find them in the mid 70 dollar range.
posted by vronsky at 8:36 PM on December 23, 2005


Have you tried microwaving the mug for 15-20 seconds first?
posted by chimmyc at 10:51 PM on December 23, 2005


I'll second the vote for the Zojirushi thermal maker. That's what we use in the office.
This one from Bunn is also very good. Recently got it for home when I saw it at an inexplicably low price on a clearance shelf.
posted by jclovebrew at 11:23 AM on December 24, 2005


There are 3 autodrip coffee makers sold in the US that brew at the proper temp (the others are all too cold). One is the Technivorm that folks have mentioned. Another is the Melitta Clarity, although it needs to have its sprinkler head drilled out a bit. The third is the Presto Scandinavian, which is what I use. It is the least expensive. And, yes, I do measure temps myself (McGee's range is a little wide).

The Presto also has a timer and all of that, although you'll stale your ground coffee doing that.

I'd also recommend pouring your coffee into a good thermal pot immediately after the brew cycle ends.
posted by QIbHom at 12:19 PM on December 24, 2005


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