Want to make great coffee? You don’t need some fancy machine that costs hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars. Sometimes, all it takes is a basic coffee maker that just gets it right. And, who wants to have some terrible Gift of the Magi situation where you spent all your money on an expensive coffee maker and have no money left for the coffee itself? Avoid that ironic tragedy with an affordable coffee maker—take a look at the best cheap coffee makers just a little money can buy!
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This Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker gives you everything you need, and nothing more. Simple and fairly good-looking on a countertop, it includes an obvious on/off button as well as a water-level window so that you can confidently measure out water. It also has that wonderful functionality that lets you pour a cup of coffee before brewing is finished—no need to hunch over the coffee maker, muttering “Come on, come on!” while the brew cycle completes. For only $24.99, Mr. Coffee gives you coffee-filled mornings but also supports group festivities with up to 12 cups brewed at a time. If a timer for the morning is non-negotiable, you can get a programmable version for a few more dollars (with just a bit less countertop appeal).Buy Now
If convenience is your biggest priority or you’re really short on extra space, the AdirChef Grab N’ Go Personal Coffee Maker has you covered. For $21.95, you get a coffee maker with a travel mug that’s perfect for small spaces—fit it on that last bit of countertop, and use it whenever you need quick coffee on-the-go. Or, pack it along for trips where the coffee situation will be nebulous—no need to take a chance on that potentially-terrible hotel coffee. With a permanent filter, you truly need only provide coffee and water!Buy Now
Intro to Hand-Pouring
Many of the pour-over brewing methods use inexpensive components, but they might a) be a little daunting to inexperienced brewers, and b) add up when you need to buy multiple gadgets (filters, gooseneck kettle, kitchen scale, etc). The Clever Coffee Dripper by CoastLine takes care of these issues! You do still need filters, and yes, measuring with a scale does help achieve excellent coffee, but, with a Clever, you can get away with just hot water and coffee scoop measures. For $26.95, embark on your journey to truly great coffee, improving your blooming and measuring methods along the way, should you choose. It doesn’t hurt that clean-up is extremely easy—toss (or, even better, compost) the filter full of grounds, rinse off the Clever, and you’re done!Buy Now
For the Coffee Snob
You say “snob,” I say “connoisseur”! For those of us who love a hand-brewed cup of coffee made with freshly-ground single origin beans, the AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker is hands-down the best choice. Like the Clever, you need only a filter, hot water, and coffee to start making a great cup. The AeroPress might require a bit more practice to perfect, but it’s well-worth the effort. Plus, with lightweight plastic and rubber components, it’s super packable for the office, camping trips, or vacation (when those things become a reality again). At just under $30, it comes in a touch pricier than the above coffee makers, but remains a very affordable contender in the coffee maker world.Buy Now
A good cup of coffee shouldn’t be cost prohibitive—just because your budget is low, this doesn’t mean your caffeine levels should be, too! If the above options still seem a bit pricey, get yourself over to your neighborhood thrift store (as soon as it’s safe to do so), and keep your eyes peeled for coffee makers. Resale shops are no stranger to second-hand auto-drip machines or French presses; between all the misguided holiday gifts and KonMari-ing, you just might find a high-end coffee maker on the cheap! Get the gadget, buy the beans, and enjoy that java.
Related Video: What Is the Difference Between French Press and AeroPress?
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