There’s a reason the automatic drip machine is the most common coffee maker in American households. They strike an excellent balance between simplicity, convenience, and versatility, especially models with programmable timers and other helpful features.
If you’re shopping for a 12-cup coffee maker for your kitchen, one of the models below is sure to satisfy your needs.
The range of customization options on the Cuisinart SS-15P1 is its most appealing quality. Its second single-serve brewer is compatible with ground coffee or K-Cups and you get a range of size and strength controls. While it takes up a bit more counter space than most coffee makers, the wider footprint is a minor tradeoff for its impressive versatility.
The convenient design of the Ninja CE251 has a removable side-loading reservoir that’s easy to both fill and clean. It also comes with a small batch setting for brewing 4 cups or less and 2 strength levels (“classic” and “rich”). Thanks to the carafe’s flavor straw and the high-temperature boiler, you’ll get a consistently delicious cup every time you brew.
The dual brewing options on this Hamilton Beach coffee maker make it a convenient choice. You can brew straight into a travel mug on the single-serve side and both sides are programmable. it’s also relatively compact for a dual-brewer, so it’s a very versatile option for any size kitchen.
If you’re looking for a straightforward, budget-friendly 12-cup coffee maker, this model from Mr. Coffee fits the bill. Anyone can use its simple one-button operation, and it’s slim and light enough to fit even in small spaces like tiny home kitchens or RVs.
Thanks to the clear LED display on this Posame coffee maker, you can program the brew the night before and wake up to hot coffee in the morning. The carafe and reservoir are larger than other models, too, so it’s an ideal choice for entertaining.
The thermal carafe that comes with this Cuisinart coffee maker keeps your coffee hot longer without the need for a warmer. The brewer is impressive, too, with programming options like auto-shutoff, auto-start, and a brew strength selector.
This compact and intuitive coffee maker is an easy way to brew delicious coffee anytime, anywhere. It can be programmed up to a day in advance and includes an energy-saving 2-hour automatic shutoff. The conveniently compact design, pause and pour feature, and audible ready signal make it a perfect fit for any busy lifestyle.
Black+Decker makes its kitchen appliances to the same quality standards as their tools, and you can see this with their Programmable Coffee Maker. Along with a range of convenience features, its optimized heating element brews at the perfect temperature for a flavorful brew, while the warming plate keeps it piping hot for 2 hours.
The simple operation of the Yabano Programmable Coffee Maker combines with its low counter space footprint to make it a great fit for any home. You can change the strength of the brew or set the timer easily with the clear digital display. Convenience features like brew pause and auto-shutoff are the icing on the cake.
Everything about the Cuisinart DCC-1100BK is designed to make brewing a perfect cup of coffee easy. The built-in charcoal filter removes contaminants from the water, while the showerhead water dispenser gives a more even extraction of the coffee. Whether you’re brewing 1 cup or 12, it’s a breeze to brew flavorful coffee with this machine.
The robust customization options on the Cuisinart DCC-2650 give you more control over your brew. Along with programmability and strength control, it has an adjustable warming tray and a small batch setting. A built-in water filter prevents impurities from impacting the coffee’s taste, as well as reducing calcification and scale build-up in the water lines.
The K-Duo adds a drip brewer to the usual single-cup operation Keurig is known for. On the carafe side, you can brew anywhere from 6-12 cups and keep it hot on the included warming plate. The single-serve brewer also has strength and volume settings and gives you the versatility of brewing from K-Cups as well as ground coffee.
Grinding right before you brew is the best way to get fresh coffee. The built-in grinder on the Cuisinart DGB-625BC lets you have both the convenience of programmable auto-brewing and the aromatic, flavorful taste of brewing from fresh-ground beans.
Grind size is one of the most important factors in getting a flavorful cup of coffee. Generally speaking, the longer the water will be in contact with the grounds, the coarser you want the grind to be.
With drip coffee, the ideal grind size depends primarily on the shape and style of your filter. For a paper filter with a flat bottom, you want to use a medium grind level. Cone-shaped paper filters, on the other hand, require a finer grind, typically the setting labeled “medium-fine” on your grinder. If you’re using a metal mesh permanent filter, stick with the medium grind level.
One great thing about drip machines is their versatility. You can use any roast level or bean that you want—it just depends on your personal taste.
The lighter the roast, the brighter the brew. Conversely, dark-roasted coffee will have more of the back-end bitter notes associated with brewing methods like espresso.
Darker roasts also have less caffeine per bean than their light-roasted equivalents. If you’re looking for the biggest energy boost, go with the lightest roast you can find.
If you’re looking for the most classic “drip coffee” flavor, your best bet is to start with a medium-roasted bean from South or Central America. Costa Rican, Colombian, and Brazilian coffees tend to have the most balanced taste in the cup.
Those who prefer a fruitier, brighter brew will likely prefer African beans to any other. A light- or medium-roasted bean from Kenya, Ethiopia, or Tanzania will serve your palate well.
Compared to other automated brewers, like espresso machines, auto drip machines are surprisingly simple. Water poured into the reservoir flows through a tube with a heating element. The hot water is then dispersed over the ground coffee in the filter basket.
The heating element is the most important part of this equation. It has to get the water to at least 195° within a few seconds to properly brew a cup of coffee. Most use a resistive heating element, similar to what you’d see inside a toaster.
The addition of programming features adds more electronics to this design, but the basic operation is the same. Water still flows through the tube immediately before the brew then is sprayed over the ground coffee once it reaches optimal temperature.
A “cup” in the coffee world isn’t always the same thing as a cup in baking or other measurements. The official volume of a “cup” as a measurement standard is 8 ounces. Most coffee machine manufacturers use a smaller measure, so a “cup” means either 5 or 6 ounces.
This gets even more confusing since most people consider a 12-ounce mug to be the standard “coffee cup” size. Basically, you should expect a full 12-cup carafe to yield about 6 actual servings in practice. If you want a precise measure of how much a carafe holds, look for its capacity in ounces, instead.
How to Get the Best Cup from an Auto Drip Coffee Maker
How to Make Coffee With an Automatic Drip Coffee Maker
Brewing Guide: Auto Drip Brew
Standard Coffee Cup Sizes: Everything You Need to Know