Help a non-coffee drinker buy a coffee maker?
June 19, 2014 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I would like to get Mr. BlahLaLa a new coffee maker. Bonus difficulty: I don't drink coffee.

Help me help my man get his dose of caffeine. Here are the requirements:

-- Takes "regular" coffee. We were gifted a Nespresso machine and though Mr. BlahLaLa loves it, two years in I'm becoming increasingly annoyed at how expensive the pods are.

-- A smallish machine. He generally only needs 1 cup. Maybe 2, max. And our kitchen is tiny. I do have counterspace being taken up by the Nespresso right now, though, so I could swap it for a new coffee machine.

-- Easy to clean. This was the best part about the Nespresso -- meaning, there's basically nothing to clean. I get that it won't be that easy with a regular coffee maker, but since I'm probably the one who'll have to clean it, I want it to be easy.

-- Bonus if it's programmable. Mr. BlahLaLa has to get up by 5am most mornings and it would be lovely to have a cup of coffee awaiting him.

-- Bonus if it's on Amazon Prime

-- Hit me with any unknown unknowns I might be missing because I'm not a coffee drinker.

I have seen some previous questions with varying requirements. Because I'm such a non-coffee drinker and thus am ignorant about so much of this, I decided to ask fresh with my specific requirements.
posted by BlahLaLa to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have the 25 year old version of this Black and Decker one-cup coffee maker and it still makes a DAMN fine cup of coffee!

If you like the Nespresso, just buy Refillable Capsules and you can use your own coffee!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Probably an Aeropress or Chemex? Combined with a kettle on a timer, you're all set for great coffee.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:27 AM on June 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

If footprint is your main concern, Chemex for sure. Small footprint, even with a kettle and grinder. Mega easy to clean. Get the one with the glass handle, it's easier to clean. No fussing with the wooden collar, and you can pop it in the dishwasher. If you're using the paper filters, as opposed to the metal little buddies out there, cleanup is pretty easy; rinse it out after you're done, and throw it in the dishwasher once a week (or hit it with a tiny dose of Purocaff. Even if you buy really expensive coffee, you're going to save money with a setup akin to this, even though that's not on your list of concerns.

If you're looking for something Fancy™, I would go with the Ratio coffee maker. Not quite programable, but it's just a pushbutton setup; throw coffee and a filter in it, push the button, go take a shower and you've got coffee. It brews a really good cup. It's also really pretty, and made in the USA.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:06 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was at George Howell's roastery last week, and they had a bunch of Bonavita coffee makers there, which they said they take with them on site when they're doing cuppings out and about, so that's good enough for me! They're easy to use and not insanely expensive.
posted by spindrifter at 11:12 AM on June 19, 2014

We just bought this. Works great, recommended by Consumer Reports, programmable, cheap.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 11:13 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't really know what kind of coffee the Nespresso machine makes, but if it's a concentrated, espresso-type brew that you can choose to dilute with water (aka, an "Americano"), the Aeropress is going to get you the closest of these options. Easy cleanup and people swear by them. The Chemex makes drip coffee, which is "waterier" (and is also the default coffee you'd get most places in the states). If he's just drinking a cup at a time, I suggest brewing directly into the mug with one of these little $5 Melitta cones.
posted by ndg at 11:26 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would suggest just getting refillable pods for the nespresso machine if it's otherwise great for you guys. Most of the Nespresso machines that I am familiar with make a more espresso-style (concentrated) drink and you probably wouldn't want to replace that with a coffee maker unless you were sure that is what your SO wanted. I am a coffee fan but I think people can get sort of "You will like this new coffee system because the coffee is the BEST" and it seems like you have priorities that don't see "perfect cup of coffee" as the optimal outcome. I am like you. I also get tired of people trying to tell me that there is a complicated system that will work better for me. So, in order of what I think fits you best, here are my suggestions

1. Refillable nespresso pods as Ruthless Bunny says and then spend the extra cash on coffee accessories, travel mugs, whatever

2. Something like this which you load the night before and then Mr B just needs to flip a switch and will have espresso-like coffee in about two minutes in the morning

3. If you know he's looking for coffee not espresso, something like this is basically a simple, small footprinted coffee "one hitter" (or something like this with an internal tank and no carafe) which will solve the problem.

Ultimately, as you can see by the other responses, coffee preferences are very personal so you might want to talk to Mr. B about what his priorities are and try to interfile them with your own to try to find something that would be a present for him but also not more of a hassle for you. Best of luck.
posted by jessamyn at 11:37 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Aeropress: 12 oz of coffee at a time, purportedly lower acid than other brewing methods, and super-easy cleanup. I adore mine.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2014

We are an aeropress house, which is nice as I'm more likely to drink tea than coffee and I use the kettle to boil water for cooking as well. We do not put the kettle on a timer, but you go push the button and then you go pee and when you come back it's just about to boil.

Cleanup is why I love it. There's basically none.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:18 PM on June 19, 2014

I have been a big fan of the Clever Coffee Dripper, as I am the only one in the house that drinks coffee. I bought a cheap electric kettle just for use with this and have been surprised how often I use the kettle for other things in the kitchen. The good thing about the Clever Coffee Dripper is that you can use it as just a traditional pour over or you can let the water sit and then drain it after a few minutes depending on how much of a hurry you are in or how strong you want the coffee to be. Clean up is just as easy or easier than a traditional coffee maker as you pretty much just dump out the filter and rinse it out.

I used to have a single cup coffee maker, I'm pretty sure it was made by Hamilton Beach, but I never had good luck with it.
posted by bigdave at 12:27 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yup the refillable pods are the way to go with this one. We have the Perfect Pod Maker and it's spectacular and much less expensive than buying pre-made pods.
posted by sockermom at 12:35 PM on June 19, 2014

I have the Bonavita 8-cup with Thermal Carafe. Might be a bit much if he really only needs 1-2 cups, but I love mine. Very fast, looks good, easy to use. Also the carafe keeps the coffee piping hot for hours. Do you ever have company where you might need a bit more coffee?

Also, how much effort will he tolerate to make his coffee? I don't use pour-over or more manual methods because I am lazy and want to press a button then lie down again for 5 minutes during brew. I put the water in the night before and grind the beans in the morning. Perfect coffee every time.

Note: The BonaVita does not have a timer.
posted by freecellwizard at 12:51 PM on June 19, 2014

I'm on the Aeropress bandwagon. But I don't bother with grinding beans and all of that whatnot. A brick of Cafe Bustelo is $4 at Target and will make 20-30 awesome cups. Just keep the coffee in a small tupperware box in between uses and keep the scoop dry.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:54 PM on June 19, 2014

I just bought the cheaper version of the Mr Coffee that Ms Vegetable linked above- $25 at Target,- and I'm pretty happy with it. I was using a Clever dripper because I'm also the only person in my house who drinks coffee, but I got tired of having to deal with boiling water and measuring out the coffee in the morning. I also wanted to be able to brew enough for two (16 ounce) cups in the morning without having to go through the whole process twice. The Clever dripper made better coffee, IMO, but the Mr Coffee is fine, and it's waiting for me when I roll out of bed.

One thing to note when buying coffee makers that I didn't realize, is make sure you know what they define as a cup. The Mr Coffee makes up to twelve 5 ounce cups of coffee- so for two 16 ounce cups, I make six "cups". Measure your mugs!
posted by MadamM at 1:19 PM on June 19, 2014

Another aero press user. It brews up to four cups at a time... I often do two in the morning, and set one aside for later and nuke it at the office.

It is a little fiddly though... Automatic on a timer sounds appealing at 5am!
posted by jrobin276 at 2:07 PM on June 19, 2014

There are reusable (metal) filters for the aero press too.
posted by jrobin276 at 2:08 PM on June 19, 2014

The right answer is obviously an Aeropress, as so many others have said above.

-- Takes "regular" coffee: Check. Best with freshly ground recently roasted beans, of course.
-- A smallish machine: Check. Takes next to no space in my kitchen.
-- Easy to clean: Check. It's self-cleaning, apart from a quick rinse of the plunger.
-- Bonus if it's on Amazon Prime: Check.

The only problem here:
-- Bonus if it's programmable. Mr. BlahLaLa has to get up by 5am most mornings and it would be lovely to have a cup of coffee awaiting him.
Alas, no.

-- Hit me with any unknown unknowns I might be missing because I'm not a coffee drinker.
Aeropress produces the most delicious cup of coffee you will ever taste. My wife is "not a coffee drinker" but I have to make two shots every single time I use mine. (A birthday gift from her, of course.)

Of course, inverted is the one true method - don't listen to anyone who says otherwise.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:18 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

We have this Breville coffee maker and it's awesome.

You just pour in the beans and it grinds them when it makes the coffee and you can set the strength (it actually steeps the coffee if you want it really strong). The best part is that you can set the amount also; from small cup to large cup or full pot. Cleanup is super simple, it has a reusable filter. I also like Breville because they gave us a brand new blender when a part on ours broke, even though it was over 2 years past the end of the warranty.

Pricy, but worth it. It doesn't make gourmet coffee, but it makes the best regular coffee in a convenient way.
posted by dripdripdrop at 4:18 PM on June 19, 2014

I am barely capable of operating a Mr Coffee until I've already had a cup. But I have been pretty happy with my french press. I've seen ok ones at Target, decent ones at Starbucks, and I think the quite nice (but not machine washable) one my coworker gave me might be from Costco...
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:03 AM on June 20, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, people of AskMeta. Mr. BlahLaLa looked over your suggestions and he's going to think about it and make his selection.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2014

Response by poster: Okay, we went with this one. Cheap enough, good enough. There are better ones, and cheaper ones, but this fits on our small counter and requires very little work at 4:45am.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2014

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