Revamp Your Countertops with These Top 7 Space-Saving Coffee Makers
Achieving the ideal balance of efficiency and design, these leading models produce top-quality coffee in a compact form.
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If you find yourself in a situation where you often end up discarding half a pot of coffee due to being single, sharing living space with a non-coffee drinker, or simply wishing to avoid excessive caffeine intake, a small coffee maker may suit your needs. Similarly, if you have limited kitchen space and your current coffee maker is more of a hindrance than a help, then a compact alternative may be for you. Small coffee makers can significantly reduce waste and clutter on your countertops, whilst still producing that daily cup of joe. Thankfully, there are compact versions of nearly every type, from the French press to drip coffee makers to espresso machines.
We asked Matt Patterson, President and Founder of Civilized Coffee, for his expert opinion on small coffee makers. Patterson emphasized the importance of considering “the time and effort you are willing to devote to creating your coffee," highlighting the contrast between grinding your own beans and inserting a pre-packed pod into the machine.
The best small coffee makers blend form with function, allowing you to savor each cup without waste or inconvenience. Below are some of our chosen models.
Pros: The clever design includes a filter inside the carafe, potentially saving counter space.
Cons: There is no automatic shut-off function, increasing the risk of fires or burns when in a hurry.
Our top model recommendation is the Zojirushi Drip Coffee Maker, which provides similar features to larger models while remaining compact. This machine is smaller due to its exceptional design, which houses the filter inside the carafe without reducing the number of parts.
The water tank can be detached and includes a charcoal filter which lasts up to two years; the machine also has an automatic keep-warm function that maintains the coffee's temperature until it's finished. It features a basic button for switching on and off, but take note that it lacks an automatic shut-off feature. Remember to switch it off manually after each use to avoid rushing and potentially causing damage.
Price at time of publish:
Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 10 inches Capacity: 5 cups
Mini Nespresso Machine Review
Advantages: For the espresso lovers out there, this compact mini Nespresso machine is a great option that's easy to use.
Disadvantages: It may not have as many functionalities as other Nespresso machines available on the market.
The small size of this Nespresso machine can be misleading because it packs a punch. With 19 bars of pressure, it produces espresso with a generous amount of crema. Even though it only makes a single shot at a time, it comes with a 24-ounce water tank, so there's no need to refill for each drink. It's the ideal option for those who are short on space but desire a quick caffeine fix as it heats water in less than 30 seconds. Note that this machine is exclusively for espresso and cannot produce drip coffee.
Price at the time of publication: $213
Dimensions: 4.4 x 9.3 x 12.8 inches Capacity: Single serve
Bialetti Coffee Maker Review
Advantages: This stovetop coffee maker is an inexpensive, classic way to make strong coffee without requiring an outlet.
Disadvantages: Aluminum is used to make it, which can affect the flavor for sensitive taste buds.
If you want an espresso-like coffee quickly without investing in an expensive machine or training as a barista, then this Bialetti coffee maker is perfect for you. The Italian company is well-known for its stovetop espresso makers that enable people to enjoy their favorite Italian coffee in the comfort of their own home without any barista-level skills or equipment. The process of making coffee with this machine is simple: disassemble the device, remove the filter, fill the bottom with water until you reach the safety valve, add coffee to the filter, reassemble the two parts, and heat on medium heat.
Price at the time of publication: $40
Dimensions: 5.51 x 3.94 x 6.69 inches Capacity: 3 cups
Pour-Over Coffee Maker Review
Advantages: The borosilicate glass used in the carafe doesn't affect the flavor of your coffee, and leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
Disadvantages: The pour-over method can be slower compared to other methods.
For coffee lovers who enjoy a more refined method of preparation, this pour-over coffee maker is ideal. It uses borosilicate glass, which leaves no chemical smells or flavors behind. If you have any leftover coffee, the carafe can safely be stored in the refrigerator. Though the pour-over method requires more time than automatic coffee makers, the result is a smoother and more balanced cup of coffee.
Price at the time of publication: $20
Dimensions: 3.5 x 5.25 x 5.75 inches Capacity: 1-2 cups.
For aficionados of the pour-over coffee experience, this three-cup rendition of our favored model is an absolute must-have. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing - with its trendy wooden collar, halfway mark, and spill-free spout - it's also highly practical. With the pour-over method, you're able to sip on the full flavor of your coffee, as the grounds are saturated gradually, and you're able to customize your cup according to your preferences. To attain optimal results, we recommend using a gooseneck kettle and the brand's bonded filters, which are capable of filtering out sediment and reducing acidity. Additionally, this device is crafted from borosilicate glass, which is hand-blown and safe for cleaning in the dishwasher.
Price at time of publish: $42
Dimensions: 9.8 x 4.9 x 0.9 inchesCapacity: 3 cups
Pros: This device consistently provides a smooth and flavorful coffee experience and is easy to clean in the dishwasher.
Cons: You will need to heat the water separately.
Our preferred compact French press is the smaller variation of our test-winning model. This tried-and-true gadget produces a consistently evenly-balanced coffee brew that we absolutely adore. “I like to brew my coffee fresh and utilize a French press," he says. "I consume a sizable amount of coffee, and I don't have enough time to make a pour-over every time I desire a cup.” The Chambord French press is strong enough to withstand the dishwasher's intense cleaning cycle, yet the borosilicate glass material ensures it will not influence the flavor of your coffee. We're also thrilled that the filter is made of stainless steel rather than aluminum, and that Bodum still uses the same techniques it utilized in the '50s to handcraft coffee makers.
Price at time of publish: $50
Dimensions: 6.6 x 7.5 x 4.2 inchesCapacity: 4 cups
Pros: Easy to use, Produces a robust and balanced coffee experience, Disassembles into small parts for convenient storage.
The Best Small Coffee Makers of 2021
Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Maker
Cons: If you are looking to make cold brew, you will need to plan ahead for the 12 to 24-hour wait time.
Looking for a well-made, user-friendly, and stylish cold brew maker? Look no further than the Oxo Good Grips Cold Brew Maker. This compact and convenient gadget has earned our top pick for its consistency, ease of use, and beginner-friendly features. Perfect for anyone who finds traditional coffee too acidic, the Oxo produces a concentrated coffee that can be mixed with milk, water, and ice. Once brewed, it can be stored in the fridge for days.
Price at time of publish: $52
Dimensions: 9.53 x 9.53 x 14.72 inches Capacity: 32 ounces
Pros: Compact design makes it highly portable and easy to use, and it removes sediment well.
Cons: Not as suitable for everyday use as it is for traveling.
The AeroPress is a great choice for coffee lovers on the go. This gadget works similarly to a French press, but is smaller and produces a less bitter and acidic brew. Simply add coffee grounds to the filter, pour hot water over them, stir, and press down the plunger with gentle pressure. You can customize your coffee strength and use it for up to three espresso shots. The AeroPress is quick to rinse out and can be stored easily.
Price at time of publish: $40
Dimensions: 4.75 x 4.75 x 11.75 inches Capacity: 2 cups
Zojirushi 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker
For those who love drip coffee, Zojirushi 5-Cup Drip Coffee Maker is an excellent choice. It is large enough to serve two people but still small enough to fit in a small kitchen or office. It is also a great option for those who prefer cold brew, as it allows you to make a large batch that can be kept as concentrate in the fridge.
Price at time of publish:
Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 10 inches Capacity: 5 cups
When looking for a small coffee maker, whether you prefer French press, drip, or cold brew, it's important to find one that fits your needs. Consider your lifestyle, brewing preferences, and how much coffee you will be making. With the right small coffee maker, you can enjoy perfectly brewed coffee anytime, anywhere.
When it comes to small coffee makers, size does matter. Although purposely designed to have less capacity than their larger counterparts, they still come in a range of sizes. Espresso machines are the smallest of the bunch, producing only one or two shots at a time. Meanwhile, compact pour-over and cold brew coffee makers can usually make up to eight cups with ease. For the most space-saving, hassle-free option, look no further than travel-friendly coffee makers like the AeroPress.
Unlike larger models, smaller coffee makers tend to be more streamlined in their features. When deciding on a model, your focus should be on finding a machine with the features that matter most to you. Whether you value the convenience of a dishwasher-safe design or an automatic warming function, there’s sure to be a small coffee maker that fits the bill. Though they may not offer the same bells and whistles as their larger counterparts, they still produce high-quality coffee.
Have questions? Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked coffee maker questions.
How do you clean coffee makers?
According to Matt Patterson, founder of Civilized Coffee, there's one golden rule when it comes to cleaning any coffee maker: avoid using soap. Patterson explains that soap can leave behind an undesirable residue that can affect the taste of your coffee. Instead, clean your coffee maker with vinegar and rinse it thoroughly.
How long do coffee makers last?
Typically, you can expect a coffee maker to last around five years. If you're looking for a model made of glass, choose one made of borosilicate, as it's shatterproof. Plastic coffee makers, such as the AeroPress, may not last as long as models like Nespresso, which are more thoughtfully designed. Patterson cautions that even with the best quality and care, coffee makers can still break.
What is the best coffee-to-water ratio?
The ideal coffee-to-water ratio may depend on the individual’s preferences, according to Patterson. However, there are some general standards to follow. The coffee grind size should correspond to the desired brewing method. For instance, for cold brew, a coarser grind is used for an extended steeping period. On the other hand, espresso requires finely ground beans and a short brewing time. Water temperature also plays a role in determining the ideal coffee-to-water ratio. While hot water results in a faster extraction, it might produce a bitter flavor if too hot. Lastly, the brewing method and time affect the coffee's taste profile. For a 32-ounce French press, Patterson recommends using one ounce of freshly ground semi-coarse coffee and a 10-second grind in a Bodum grinder. After adding hot water (not boiling), give it a quick stir and let it sit for four minutes before pressing and serving.
Consult with coffee experts like Matt Patterson, founder of Civilized Coffee, when choosing the best small coffee makers on the market. These machines still produce high-quality coffee despite their smaller size and fewer features.
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