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I probably don’t need to take a lot of time to explain why a grind and brew coffee maker works for a lot of people.
Having one machine rather than two to do your coffee-making work is easier, quicker, often cheaper and even takes up less counter space for those of us with smaller kitchens.
But is a grind and brew machine ever as good as a separate grinder and coffee making set up?
Do you want the long answer or the short answer?
Long answer: There’s more to consider with a grind and brew machine than with a grinder alone, or a coffee maker alone. They’re a great option for those new to coffee, but some coffee snobs turn their nose up at them. That’s based on some incorrect or outdated assumptions, and I’ll look closer at it all in my buying guide.
Short answer: Yes, of course! But you need to do your research.
Grind and brew can mean a few different things, because ‘brew’ is ambiguous. My list of the best covers everything from drip coffee makers with grinders (at the more affordable end of the spectrum generally) to barista-style espresso machines with a grinder.
The Best Grind and Brew Coffee Makers of 2020:
- Built-in automatic burr grinder
- Grind control settings
- Features strength selector (regular to bold)
- 24-hour programmability
- Double-wall insulated stainless steel thermal carafe
- 12-cup capacity
- 8 oz hopper capacity
- 8 strength settings for every kind of taste
- Multiple serving sizes
- Easy to use
- 24-hour programmable
- Fully burr grinder
- 10-cup thermal carafe
- Half-pound bean hopper
- Flavor strength options (regular to bold or extra bold)
- Includes gold-tone commercial-style permanent filter
- Conical burr grinder
- 10 cups thermal carafe
- Highly intuitive controls
- Easy to use
- Semi-automatic espresso machine
- Integrated conical burr grinder
- Makes third wave specialty coffee at home
- Allows grind size control
- Integrated steam wand
- Super-automatic espresso machine
- Professional burr grinder with 13 adjustable settings
- Includes manual frother
- Easy to use control panel
- Blade grinder
- Auto Brew and Auto Shutoff
- Easy to clean
- 5 setting conical burr grinder
- 2 to 10 cup grind selector
- Easy control with LCD Display
- Keep coffee warm for hours
Let's discuss how these stand out grind and brew coffee makers can wake you up on great tasting coffee every morning.
1. Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind & Brew
Available in 10 or 12 cup sizes, and with either a thermal or a glass carafe this stylish grind and brew coffee maker would look great in any modern kitchen.
It’s both programmable and has a bunch of settings that can be customized. This is a great grind and brew option for beginners, because with the help of the manual you can experiment with grind and brew time to your heart’s content without the muss and fuss that might entail with a separate grinder.
When you’ve found out how to make coffee that’s the perfect strength, you can then automate things.
The Cuisinart allows a journey of coffee and discovery, but then becomes a really easy set it and forget it bit of equipment.
The two main issues with this machine are how tough it is to clean (the grinder chute particularly) and its strange lack of a hotplate. Obviously, the thermal carafe is an attempt to make up for this and to an extent, it does the job.
There’s also the argument that hotplates can singe coffee, and as this machine is programmable to the minute and cup a hotplate shouldn’t be needed.
This is a great burr grind and brew machine for beginners who nonetheless want to experiment. It might spark a real love of coffee in some, and it’s a sensible, good value purchase.
2. Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control Coffee Maker
This Breville might at first seem on the expensive side for a drip grind and brew coffee maker, but it’s elevated by a stainless steel burr grinder and an LED display.
It’s a stand-out coffee maker, with six grind options and eight brew options or ‘strength settings’. All of this means that you can experiment simply by pressing a few buttons.
Breville are a trusted name in coffee and kitchen appliances, and this machine is no exception. Its looks aren’t particularly inspiring, but they are classic and would fit in most kitchens no problem.
This machine might seem like a big purchase for coffee newbies, but if you’re serious about getting into coffee or if you’re already a coffee lover but want something very easy to use, then the Breville BDC650BSS is for you!
3. Cuisinart DGB-850 Fully Burr Thermal Grind & Brew
Cuisinart’s newest offering comes with 10 or 12 cups and a glass or thermal carafe.
This is a small, neat grind and brew machine perfect for smaller kitchens. It’s not the cheapest grind and brew machine out there, but for its mid-level price, it offers a lot. The controls are pretty intuitive, with three strength options and easy selection for the number of cups. A large, bright display finishes off the usability of the DCB-850.
The machine’s looks match its practicality, with simple black and silver design that will fit into any modern kitchen.
A DirectFlow system means that the beans you put in the half-pound, airtight bean hopper are ground in the burr grinder and moved seamlessly to the brew basket with its permanent filter. Water is also filtered through a modern charcoal filter.
The grind off feature is interesting, allowing you to use pre-ground coffee if that’s what you have in the house.
This is a deceptively simple grind and brew machine. It’s neat and unassuming, but it does everything you would want from a piece of kit like this to a really high level.
The DGB-850 doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it does its job very well and has really high-quality components for every part of the coffee-making process.
This is the perfect grind and brew machine for a perfectionist coffee lover!
4. Capresso 465
There’s a lot of buttons on this thing!
A slow burr grinder, plus a heating element in the carafe rather than a hot plate, ensure that coffee is never singed with this machine. Plus, it is more precisely programmable than some similar machines so you really can get the exact brew you want.
The downsides are how genuinely slow the burr grinder is, and the noise the thing makes. This might be a problem if you’ve programmed an AM coffee and live in a smaller house or apartment.
Or maybe you could see it as a built-in alarm clock feature?
Overall, the Capresso 465 is a good option if customizability is really important to you or if you are prepared to trade quality of grind and brew for speed and silence in your daily coffee making!
5. Breville the Barista Express
The Barista Express is certainly more expensive than most of the grind and brew machines I’m covering, but it’s also a semi-automatic barista-style espresso machine. Aka, it’s pretty excellent value compared to similar machines!
The burr grinder doses right into the portafilter, then you just tamp, insert and pull your shot of espresso.
You can customize the grind as well as the extraction time, and when you’ve found your perfect espresso settings you can fix them for next time. Digital temperature controls mean that you’ll never burn your coffee, though, no matter how much you play around!
The steam wand is great and means you can work on your microfoam and your milk pouring skills at home.
Obviously, this is a coffee machine that it might take some time to get used to, but it’s a great example of a grind and brew espresso maker.
This is the machine for people with barista-dreams, and maybe a little more time on their hands in the morning!
6. De’Longhi ESAM3300 Super-Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
This is an unusual grind and brew machine, and an unusual coffee machine overall, as it makes both espresso (single and double) and long drinks.
Basically, making impressive espresso drinks couldn’t be easier than with the De’Longhi Super-Automatic! Of course, that’s not what some coffee enthusiasts want. The lack of interactivity and barista-style features on this machine will annoy some.
As with all De’Longhi products, this is a really well-made machine. This goes for both the espresso maker and the burr grinder. It’s not the cheapest, but at a medium price-point for what it delivers, the Super-Automatic should none the less last many coffee making years!
If you’re after barista-level coffee without barista-level fuss, especially if good microfoam is a dealbreaker for you, then go for the De'Longhi ESAM3300 Super Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine.
7. Black + Decker CM5000B
This offering from the usually more hardcore-gadget related Black and Decker is an excellent cheap and cheerful grind and brew machine that could become a kitchen staple in any home.
A twenty-four-hour brew timer means you can pour in your beans, set and forget this coffee maker. Large buttons and a bright display means anyone can use the machine easily, even if they are groggy in the morning or can’t find their glasses (yes, I am talking about myself most mornings pre-coffee).
An interesting sneak-a-cup feature lets you pour a single cup mid-brew without making a mess. Useful if you really need to go find those lost glasses, or get on with your morning routine before the 12-cup carafe is full.
Obviously, given its value price tag, the CM5000B isn’t the most intricate grind and brew machine out there. It has a simple filter system, and a blade grinder. But it is very user friendly, and makes good coffee.
This is the obvious first step up from a simple coffee machine with grinder, and it’s super affordable.
8. KRUPS Grind and Brew
KRUPS is a big name in coffee these days, and rightly so. The German appliances brand often team up with other manufacturers on coffee machines, and they tend towards stylish European minimalism at a very reasonable price tag.
Their coffee maker is no exception. The built-in conical burr grinder is extremely practical, and at this price point burrs rather than blades are incredible value. It’s also great looking, if simple, with a 10-cup glass carafe and classic black and chrome design.
You can make between 2 and 10 cups of coffee, choose from 5 grind settings and 3 strength settings, plus there’s a bright LCD display for changing settings.
Basically, you’re saving money because this machine is simple, which means that in sacrificing additional features you’re actually getting a better basic set up than with many slightly more expensive all in one grind and brew options.
If you want a balance of reliability and price, then KRUPS Grind and Brew makes sense.
Ultimate Guide to Choose Best Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
1. Machine Options
As most of you probably know ‘coffee maker’ can mean a lot of things. If the machine is at all automated, it will usually be either a drip coffee maker or an espresso machine.
Think about how much coffee you and your household consume, and what type. If you won’t have anything but a latte, then don’t get a 12-cup pot drip machine! Likewise, if you’re a busy household with a thirst for coffee, is a semi-automatic barista-style machine going to work.
Drip coffee makers are cheaper, and make larger quantities of coffee. Think about the extra features you need with one of these -- a timer should be a no-brainer, but if you have a larger household do you need a hotplate? Do different members of the family like various strengths of coffee? Can you shell out for the best grinder option, and do your coffee tastes necessitate that?
Espresso machines are much more akin to what you’ll see in a coffee shop. They use pressure and steam, so are generally larger and more expensive. Some (like the De’longhi) are super automatic, but most require at least a little work from you as the user. They’re also at a much higher price point.
I love an espresso machine, but when I’m thinking of the ease of grind and brew, I would usually be picturing a drip machine with a quality grinder.
Which leads us to…
2. The Specifics of the Grinder
The old question used to be ‘blade or burr’, but at this point it seems pretty clear cut (clear… ground? Sorry… forgive me…) that a burr grinder is better for your beans. It crushes instead of slicing, and doesn’t generate damaging heat.
Heat can burn the oils in your beans even just in the grinding process, and bouncing around in a big blade-cave can bruise them as well as being massively inconsistent making grind settings a bit of a joke.
That being said, if the whole setup is cheap and cheerful, you might not be able to tell burr from blade by taste (because everything else will also be efficient but not obsessively so) so don’t sweat it too much if value is your number one concern!
Fresh-ground coffee will make the most difference to taste, really, because no matter how it’s stored, ground coffee begins to lose flavor after just half an hour. That’s why the grind and brew system is such an innovation! The coffee is ground, and never exposed to the air before being brewed and imbibed by lucky old you!
Really, even the most intense coffee enthusiasts will agree that freshness is the key, next to the quality of the beans and the roast. No matter how qualified you feel in terms of your journey with coffee, a grind and brew set up can help you make sure you’re getting genuinely fresh-ground coffee every time rather than miscalculating and keeping a bit for the morning or (more annoying) realizing someone you live with has left a bunch in the grinder and if you don’t use it you’re being wasteful!
This is a weird one, because coffee machines with grinders come in many shapes and sizes.
To break it down into espresso vs drip, and therefore sort of automatically into high and low price points, I would say the Breville Barista Express is the best of the espressos and the Cuisinart DGB-900BC the best of the rest.
The Barista Express is actually great value for the quality of its features, and the Cuisinart DGB-900BC, while simple, does pretty much what every other drip option does but with fewer unnecessary add ons!
See why I said this was complicated?
A burr grind and brew maker will save you time daily, but working out what you want from your machine has to happen first.
The set and forget options will make sense for most people, because the inbuilt grinder is all about saving time. That being said, do spring for something with a burr grinder if you can afford it. You can read what I have to say on grinders here, which will help if you want to do additional research on which grind and brew machine will best suit your needs.
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