An 8-cup coffee maker is the Goldilocks of home brewers for most households. They’re more compact than 12-cup machines but have a larger capacity than single-serve brewers—in other words, they’re just right. Sound like something you need in your kitchen? Let’s look at the top models and how you can pick between them!
The Bonavita BV1900TS is our top choice for pure coffee flavor. It’s certified by the Specialty Coffee Association to meet the Gold Cup Standard of brewing. It has a large showerhead water dispenser and pre-infusion mode for optimal aroma, and brews at the ideal 195°-205°F for full flavor extraction.
The convenient design is another perk of the BV1900TS. It’s both compact and easy to use. Simply press a switch to turn it on, and it shuts off automatically after brewing. Since it comes with a thermal carafe, you won’t need a warming plate to keep your coffee hot.
The Cuisinart PurePrecision is another great choice for coffee connoisseurs, letting you enjoy the delicious flavor of pour-over brewing without all the effort. Its advanced brew system uses the same pre-infusion bloom and pulsed pouring as manual pour-over.
You’ll still get full control over the flavor of the brew, too, thanks to both strength and temperature adjustment options. The addition of programmability and brew pause makes it hands down the most convenient way to brew pour-over at home.
This Bodum Columbia French Press is a great choice for RVs and camping as well as home brewing because it’s portable, durable, and can be used anywhere you have access to hot water. The insulated double-walled carafe keeps your coffee hot for hours, with a 3-level stainless steel mesh filter to keep any grit from getting in your cup.
The Bonavita Connoisseur is a variant on their BV1900TS model reviewed above. It has the same SCA certification for brew quality and simple one-button operation. The main difference you’ll notice using it is that it gives you an audible alert when the brew finishes.
The distinctive retro design of the Russell Hobbs CM3100 coffee maker is certainly more fun to look at than most coffee makers. Its fully-modern in its functionality, though, with an advanced showerhead dispenser that gives you consistently even saturation and extraction.
The gauge display on the CM3100 is an especially neat feature. During the brew cycle, it shows you the progress. Once it’s finished, you can see how long the warming plate has been on.
The Russell Hobbs CM4300 uses a unique Vortex technology for the water dispenser that gives you a more even grounds saturation than standard drip brewers. Its illuminated display lets you easily brew a pot even when it’s dark in your kitchen.
Here’s another impressive brewer that takes the “manual” out of manual brewing. The Brim 8-Cup Pour Over Coffee Maker has the pulsed water system and consistent temperature control required to unlock the full flavor potential from the beans. Since it uses a metal mesh filter, you’ll get a fuller-flavored brew than with traditional pour-over, as well, perfect for those who like a richer cup of coffee.
If you want a compact and user-friendly 8-cup brewer, this Bosenkitchen Coffee Maker is a great choice. The controls are intuitive, with an LCD screen interface that makes it easy to program the automatic brew start. The no-drip spout and locking lid on the thermal carafe prevent spills and messes, keeping your coffee contained (and hot) until you’re ready to drink it.
All coffee makers work in basically the same way, but that doesn’t mean they’re all created equal. For a truly delicious cup of drip or pour-over coffee, you need a high-quality brewer. Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when you’re shopping for an 8-cup coffee maker.
In order to fully extract the flavor compounds from coffee, the water needs to reach at least 195°F. If the water gets too hot, though, it can scorch the coffee and have a burnt, flat taste in the cup. Ideally, the water should be under boiling, with a maximum temperature of around 205°F.
Coffee brewers with powerful, precise heating elements can reach this temperature range quickly and maintain it throughout the brewing process. If your goal is to get the best possible coffee taste, the quality of the heating element is one of the most important things to consider.
Once the water is hot, the next step is how it interacts with the grounds. In both drip and pour-over brewing, you’re looking for full and even saturation, but these two brewing methods differ in how they accomplish it.
In a drip brewer, the water is dispensed continuously over the grounds after heating. The best method is a showerhead dispenser, which spreads the water out more evenly over the brew basket, avoiding dry spots that can lead to uneven extraction.
Pour-over brewers use a pulsed brewing method. This takes longer but can extract more aroma and taste out of the beans by allowing them to degas or “bloom” between pulses.
You’ll see two main filter shapes: flat-bottomed and cone-shaped. Generally, cone-shaped filters give a stronger, richer cup, since they extend the amount of time the water spends in contact with the coffee.
Along with that is the question of whether to use paper filters or a permanent metal mesh filter. Some coffee makers come with a mesh filter included, but you can buy them easily for those that don’t.
A paper filter is preferred by those who like a smoother cup. It removes some of the oils and acids from the coffee, giving it a thinner mouthfeel and lower acidity that’s kinder on sensitive stomachs. Paper filters are more wasteful, though, and while they’re cheap individually those costs add up over time.
Metal mesh filters produce a cup more similar in flavor to French press. It’s bolder in flavor and more full-bodied. Eco-conscious coffee lovers also appreciate the reduced waste of using a permanent filter.
A delay brew start option lets you set up the coffee maker hours before you want to drink it. When the time is right, it will start brewing automatically.
If you want to wake up to the smell of fresh-brewed coffee, programmability is a must-have feature. It’s also great for when you’re entertaining—you can focus on your guests and let your coffee brew itself.
The only disadvantage of pre-programming your brew to start is that you’ll need the beans to be ground and ready in advance. This can cause some flavor loss compared to grinding immediately before the brew. For many, though, that’s a small trade-off for the convenience.
Getting the right coffee to water ratio is key in brewing a delicious pot of coffee no matter what machine or brewing method you’re using. Here’s an easy step-by-step process to follow that will help you get it right each time.
The main disadvantage to grinding the coffee before measuring is that you could end up with some wasted grounds, since coffee should be brewed within 15 minutes of grinding for the ideal flavor.
That said, if you normally use pre-ground coffee you won’t need to concern yourself with the scale. A scoop measurement is accurate for ground coffee since the particles are more consistent in size and density than whole beans.
This is a slightly more complicated question than it seems on the surface. For one thing, coffee beans get less dense the longer they roast. This means a tablespoon of dark-roasted beans weighs less than a tablespoon of light-roasted beans.
How much coffee you use also affects the strength of the brew, so in many ways the “right” amount of coffee is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer a richer cup, adding more grounds is one way to get it.
That said, the National Coffee Association has defined the ideal coffee-to-water ratio as 2 tablespoons of ground coffee for every 6 ounces of water, or 3-4 scoops for an 8-cup brew.
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The Golden Ratio for Brewing Coffee
Coffee Maker Buying Guide
The Difference Between Pour-Over and Drip Brew Coffee