I start every day with about 24 ounces of coffee, and like strong coffee and dark roasts. If you like wimpy coffee, read no further since out tastes differ.

First off, let me dismiss K-Cup machines. I bought a deluxe K-Cup machine, and a large assortment of pods, and could not find any pod that yielded a good cup of coffee. I returned the machine and donated all the pods to a teacher's lounge.

There are three remaining methods of making coffee that I wish to cover. The OXO 2–9 cup cofffee maker uses a drip method. The Senseo coffee maker from Phillips uses pressurized water through a pod of coffee and filter paper, and finally The Nestle Nespresso machine that makes espresso coffee using a disposable metal pod.

pc050012jjc.jpg pc050015_dxo.jpg
Senseo and OXO coffee makers

Nespresso Essenza espresso maker and some capsules.
My burr coffee grinder (for the OXO) is in the background.

OXO 2–9 Cup Coffee Maker

This OXO maker is certified to make good coffee by the Coffee Institute (I recall) to make a great cup of coffee. It does not disappoint, but of course it depends upon the coffee you use. Ars Technica also picked this as their choice for best coffee maker. 

Advantages

  • It makes the cheapest coffee per cup if you buy coffee at Costco.
  • The coffee is really good, but not as rich tasting as the Senseo coffee.
  • Any coffee can be used. No searching for special pods.
  • The canister holds up to 9 cups of coffee hot for an hour, so if you drink a lot of coffee, the extra time may cancel out.

Disadvantages

  • You need a proper burr-grinding coffee mill, which costs as much as the coffee maker.
  • It takes the longest to set up and to clean. I has more cleanable parts than the other brewers.
  • The clock does not remember the time, so I have given up resetting it (it is unplugged for cleaning the counter).

Senseo Pod Makers

The biggest problem with the Senseo makers is that they are very hard to get. Only a few over-priced models are available in the USA. Be careful that the Senseo you buy works on 110–120V. 

pc050005jjc.jpgDouwe Egberts was the original maker and purveyor of Senseo machines, but their coffee pods are awful in my opinion. Instead, go to Coffee Fool and try their dark roast pods. I prefer Dark Knight and Fire Starter. Fool's Organic Decaf House French Roast is also very good, and does not have that funny taste that mars many decaf coffees I have tried.

I do not like their Kona, Blue Mountain, Sumatra Mandheling, or Columbian Supremo varieties. Your tastes may be different from mine.

Coffee Fool has a sale every Friday that gives at least 20% off their prices. Get on their mailing list to be notified of sales. On Cyber Monday I bought some for 30% off + 10% off. 18 pods of Dark Knight costs $10.45 which at 40% off is $6.27. One pod makes a nice 12-ounce cup. Thus it costs me about 35 cents for a 12-oz cup. If you order $50 of coffee, shipping is free. It is about 46 cents a cup at 20% off. The Coffee Fool pods bags have a one-way valve in them. The pods are inserted into the bag hot out of the roaster. The heated expanded air escapes through the valves, and amount of air in the bag is greatly reduced. Thus, the unopened bags of coffee keep well.

With the right coffee, the Senseo maker gives you the best (non-expresso) coffee I have tried.

Advantages

  • Quick and easy to make (see the above video).
  • Just two parts to wash. Takes 15 seconds.
  • Senseo makes true crema on top of the coffee. Not only does this taste good, but it makes it much easier to carry the full coffee cup.

pc050014_dxo.jpgDisadvantages

  • Hard to find the Senseo machines, except online.
  • Stores rarely carry Senseo-style pods, although you can buy your own pod maker.
  • The high-end Senseo machines are 220V only and generally not for sale in the USA.

 

 

 

 

 


Nespresso Machines

If you like espresso coffee the Nespresso is the one to get. It makes a great (but very small) cup of coffee. It works really well at parties, where my guests can select a variety and make their own cup of coffee. I like almost all of the Nespresso varieties, although they indeed taste different. Nestles claims that the coffees used in their pods are roasted separately in oxygen-free atmospheres, and stored that way inside their capsules. The downside to this is that the capsules are expensive (70 cents and upwards). I almost always choose the larger (lungo) cup when I make my coffee.

Advantages

  • Smallest amount of counter space.
  • Easiest to use of all coffee makers (similar to K-cups).
  • Makes great coffee.

Disadvantages

  • The most expensive coffee option.

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Which coffee maker is the best?