Can an inexpensive drip coffee machine brew great coffee?

Here's an excellent taste test from Cook's Illustrated that shows how inexpensive drip coffee machines give you a taste that's... inexpensive and bitter.

Cook's Illustrated has fabulous recipes and taste tests and they are very experienced in what they do.

Drip Coffee Machine

They assembled 8 drip coffee machines from Braun, DeLonghi, Black & Decker, Cuisinart etc. and taste tested the results.

You'll see why I overwhelmingly prefer using a French Press for a great cup of coffee, and try to use a drip coffee machine only when I'm in a rush (i.e. in the morning) or when I'm preparing coffee for a party group.

The gourmet coffees brewed in Cook's Illustrated's drip coffee machines were full of off-flavors, bitter, acrid tastes, and wimpy flavor. The reasons? The beans don't get in contact with the water for enough time. There isn't enough water surrounding the beans to extract full flavor. The water never gets hot enough to release enough flavor from the beans. The brewed coffee gets further cooked when it sits on the heated platform, creating a stale flavor. The filter's funnel shape doesn't create enough surface area for the beans to mix with the hot water.

It's almost as if drip coffee machines can't create a good cup of coffee. They're designed for convenience, not for a great cup of coffee.

I've drunk tons of coffee from drip machines because they're so convenient. But this article underscores how much a drip coffee machine compromises flavor and prevents you from enjoying a perfect cup.

Note: The first page of this article at Cook's Illustrated is free but the rest are for subscribers.

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