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There is a vast range of coffee machines and makers, ranging from the $9 Black Friday deal at Walmart to units for over $400 and even $2000. Are these high-priced coffee machines worth their dollar amount, or is it just marketing? That is what we are going to talk about in today’s article.
Expensive coffee makers are worth it, as they have better temperature control, even water distribution and control, as well as better build quality and durability, that allow you to keep your coffee maker for longer. However, while it may get you a better cup of coffee, the taste may be negligible if the value to your needs outweighs the extra cost.
With that said, let’s dig into why an expensive coffee maker may be worth it (or not worth it) and see if those sound like the good aspects for you.
1. Better Coffee Taste
Ultimately, every reason that follows this one creates a better-tasting cup of coffee. All of the additional research and development, more expensive components and design go into giving you a better coffee experience.
The higher price you pay for a coffee maker (or machine) means a cup of coffee that tastes better, no matter what brew method it is or whether it is human-powered or electric-powered.
If you enjoy the best cup of coffee possible, an expensive coffee machine will be worth the additional cost. However, if you don’t notice the difference, you should save a few bucks and opt for a budget option.
2. Temperature control
The most important aspect of an expensive coffee machine is temperature control! Controlling the temperature of the water used to brew coffee allows for the right amount of coffee extraction from the ground coffee beans.
Too hot of temperature (over 205 degrees) will over-extract our beans, resulting in a bitter taste to the coffee (this is a common reason why many cheap coffee makers create lousy coffee).
On the other end of the spectrum, if you brew coffee lower than 195 degrees, you will under-extract the coffee, which results in a more sour taste, as it loses out on the sweet and bitter flavors that the coffee needs.
To achieve optimal coffee extraction, expensive coffee machines will keep the water at just the right temperature.
3. Even water distribution and control
Suppose you have watched someone make a delicious cup of pour-over utilizing something like a Chemex. In that case, you will notice that they evenly distribute the hot water (that we talked about above) over top of the coffee grounds. This is performed circularly, starting from the middle and moving outward.
Cheap coffee makers habitually dump their hot water over coffee grounds, which results in channeling (water only going through specific parts of the grounds) rather than fully saturating the ground coffee. This can cause a sour taste and under-extracted cups of coffee.
On the other hand, expensive coffee makers will mimic this motion and evenly distribute the water like a human would make coffee manually.
Quick Note: Another thing expensive coffee makers will do, allows for a bloom. This is when you put an initial amount of water on the coffee grounds, which will bubble up. Once you allow it to settle, you will continue the process. Inexpensive coffee makers do not allow for that break between the two dousings.
4. Build quality and durability
While the build quality and durability do not necessarily make a better cup of coffee, it does justify a price point. The better a coffee maker’s build quality, the longer it will last, and the less likely it will need to be replaced down the road.
Would you rather have ten cheap coffee makers over five years or one excellent coffee maker that makes better coffee over the same period? You choose.
Are you on the hunt for a great coffee maker? We have a complete guide of all our favorites in this article here.
Why would an expensive coffee machine not be worth it?
1. You can’t tell the difference.
Only some people can tell the difference between a high-quality coffee and a standard cup. If you fall into that camp, don’t worry, you aren’t alone! You can save a few bucks by opting for a lower-end coffee maker and moving on. However, if you can either quickly tell the difference or want to learn the difference, a higher-end coffee machine will be well worth the investment.
2. You don’t have the budget
I will never ask you to extend your budget to purchase a better coffee machine. If you don’t have the budget, you can decide whether to save up to get a better machine with better temperature control and evenly distributed water, or you can get a less expensive coffee machine (or a manual coffee maker).
What are great alternatives to expensive coffee machines?
If you wish you had the quality of an expensive coffee machine but don’t quite have the budget, consider a manual coffee maker or manual espresso maker. One of the most costly aspects of an expensive device is its automation; if you remove that automation and control that yourself, you can save plenty of money.
- Brewing Method: Immersion
- Brew Capacity: 8 ounces
- Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions: 5.3" High by 3.9" Wide by 3.9" Deep
- Extremely easy to use
- Very portable
- Easy to put in a bag when not in use
- Makes fantastic, high quality coffee
- Doesn't make a large cup of coffee
- Brewing Method: Pressure (espresso)
- Brew Capacity: 18 grams (0.63 ounces)
- Weight: 5 pounds
- Dimensions: 14" High by 4" Wide by 10" Deep
- Awesome way to make manual espresso at home
- High quality build
- Makes real espresso with minimal tools
- Takes up quite a bit of counter space
- Higher price than some competitors
Ultimately, while expensive coffee machines make an exceptional cup of coffee by having better temperature control, outstanding water distribution, and higher quality builds, you need to decide if those things are important to you.
Right now, I utilize a mid-tier coffee maker you see right here and have decided to hold off on owning an expensive one. However, that may change shortly if my budget allows it. As someone that started with cowboy coffee, even the coffee maker I own now is a far cry from that.