Coffee makers have become an essential appliance in our homes, and there are so many models for any coffee lover!
But what things you need to look for if you need the absolute best coffee maker for yourself? How many cups should it brew? Should it have a steam wand or not? Filter or K-cups?
Too many questions!
Don’t worry, though: we prepared a comprehensive buying guide that will cover them all, just below! So, get cozy and read on!
How to Pick the Best 5-Cup Coffee Maker
Without a doubt, a 5-cup coffee maker is a useful kitchen device.
But to get the most out of it, you need to find something that would suit your personal needs and requirements.
To pick a suitable 5-cup coffee maker, consider the following factors:
- Size. While most of 5-cup coffee machines are rather compact, some models can be bulkier due to extra details (a large screen, for example). So, it’s always a good idea to measure your counter space before purchasing a new device for your kitchen. Keep in mind that different manufacturers have different cup sizes too. This means, some of the best 4-cup coffee makers can actually have the capacity of a 5-cup model (and vice versa).
- Auto shut-off. This function is energy-efficient and can also make you worry less about forgetting to turn your machine off. Typically, coffee makers shut off after 1-2 hours after brewing. The machines with a hotplate may turn off automatically after 40 minutes or an hour, depending on the model.
- Carafe type. Now, you have 2 options: glass or thermal. Using a glass carafe allows you to see how much coffee you have left. However, as glass carafes sit directly on a hotplate, it’s important not to leave it on for too long. This can make your coffee taste burnt (1). Now, thermal carafe coffee makers use insulated steel to keep your beverage warm. This means the coffee flavor would not be affected. However, using a thermal carafe, you won’t see how much coffee you have left.
- Programmability. This feature is optional but very handy. A programmable timer will make your coffee machine start brewing automatically (2). This means you can wake up to a fresh beverage in the morning. All you have to do is program the machine an evening before.
- Ease of maintenance. A good 5-cup coffee maker should be easy to clean. Some models have removable parts that are dishwasher safe. Others have a self-clean mode, which can make maintenance much easier.
- Extra features. If you want bells and whistles, you may try to find the best all-in-one coffee maker, something that would offer you multiple brewing options and adjustments. Some models also allow for temperature and brew strength controls. However, keep in mind that such coffee makers usually cost more (around $200-300 on average).
- Warranty. A standard coffee maker warranty lasts for about a year or two. Models that have stainless steel construction may have a longer warranty, but they also cost more. Whatever the case is, always read the warranty conditions before making a purchase.
- Water tank capacity. Some manufacturers combine their 5-cup coffee makers with larger water reservoirs to eliminate frequent refills. Additionally, some models are compatible with plumbing kits and can be connected to the water supply in your home. If that idea seems appealing to you, you can check some of the best coffee makers with a water line. However, make sure you use a filter if your water is harsh.
- Filters. Most 5-cup coffee makers work either with cone-shaped or flat filters. Make sure you find out that information in the online manual or ask the shop directly, so you know which one to purchase. We think that cone-shaped filters are better because they allow deeper extraction and produce a more flavorful body as the result. You can also choose between single-use paper filters and reusable steel filters. The latter are more eco-friendly, but they can clog with use, so be sure to wash them in a dishwasher regularly to get rid of the coffee sediment.
- Budget. It’s great if you have a defined budget for a coffee machine and stick to it. If you don’t, ask yourself which features are essential for you in a brewer and how much you are willing to pay. There’s no need to purchase a coffee brewer with a steamer if you only drink Americano.
When it comes to durability, you should keep in mind that most coffee makers have a plastic construction.
Plastic components don’t necessarily make a coffee machine bad. However, it’s better to pick among the BPA free coffee makers as they are a safer option and don’t contain Bisphenol A.
When shopping for a 5-cup coffee maker, check the water tank. A removable reservoir is much easier to fill.
Who Will Appreciate Using a 5-Cup Coffee Maker?According to the Statista Global Consumer Survey, 16% of Americans drink 4-5 cups of coffee per day. Even if you drink 2-3 cups a day (like 44% of the US population), you can still enjoy using a 5-cup coffee maker. This capacity is suitable for different users, including:
- Couples. If you and your partner drink a few cups of coffee per day, a 5-cup machine would be enough for the two of you. You can share one carafe and then brew a fresh beverage for your next coffee break.
- Solo users who drink coffee multiple times a day. A 5-cup machine will help you save some time in this case. You can brew 5 cups at once and then enjoy them throughout the day.
- Families of coffee lovers. You can brew a full carafe and share it with everyone, and then brew a fresh batch again. With a 5-cup model, your family won’t have to deal with stale coffee.
- Small kitchen owners. 5-cup coffee machines are quite compact. They don’t take too much counter space while still brewing a decent amount of coffee.
- Small offices. Such a capacity can be enough for an office, provided that only a few people would use the coffee maker.
Another cool thing about 5-cup coffee makers is that they brew coffee rather fast. It’s an ideal option for busy users or someone who hates waiting for their coffee.
Types of 5-Cup Coffee Makers
The market has a lot to offer, which can make some shoppers feel lost and confused.
Let’s sort the types of coffee machines to see which one would be the most suitable for you:
- Manual. Stovetop coffee makers and pour-overs belong to the manual category. They are affordable but pretty basic. With a manual coffee maker, you are free to experiment with your coffee grounds, coarseness, water and coffee ratio, brewing time, and so on. However, keep in mind that manual coffee makers require more time (and effort) to brew your favorite beverage.
- Capsule. Capsule models use coffee pods instead of loose grounds. Most of them are single-serve coffee makers, but you can still find larger capacity models. Capsule machines are favored to their fast operation and user-friendly design. They are also rather compact and ideal for solo users. The most highly-rated among them are Keurig coffee makers, which combine fast operation and coffee quality.
- Bean-to-cup. These grind brew makers do all the work for you. They grind the beans and brew coffee with just a touch of a button. It is a perfect option for those users who want a fully automatic machine. Note that bean-to-cup models are quite pricey and may not be suited for shoppers on a budget.
- Drip. Drip coffee makers use a filter coffee system. They are quite versatile, and you can find many of them among the best dual coffee makers that offer multiple brewing sizes. This type is good for people who want simplicity combined with customization. Drip coffee machines are quite affordable too, although you can still find some high-end models, especially the ones that are SCA certified (3).
Drip filter coffee makers are the most popular ones, followed by capsule models.
This can be explained by their fast operation and ease of use. And luckily, drip models come in all shapes and sizes, including the convenient 5-cup capacity.
How many scoops of coffee do I need for 5 cups?
To brew 5 cups of coffee, you will need around 8-10 tablespoons (or 53 grams) of coffee grounds.
What kind of coffee filter is suitable for a 5-cup coffee maker?
You can use both paper and reusable mesh filters with a 5-cup coffee maker. Keep in mind that paper filters absorb some of the coffee oils and make milder tasting beverages. Metal mesh filters are more eco-friendly and budget-efficient.
When should you replace a coffee maker?
If the beverage quality has changed, or your coffee maker doesn’t heat the water properly anymore, it might be the time to replace it. Another sign is constant water leaks.
How long will my coffee maker keep the brew hot?
Some coffee makers have programmable settings on a heated tray and can warm up your coffee for 4-6 hours followed by an auto shut-off function. The type of your carafe also plays a role: thermal double-walled coffee pots cool down more slowly and will keep your coffee hot longer than glass pots.
A good coffee maker can easily make your life more invigorating, and now you know how to choose a model that will work best for you. We recommend outlining a budget and some essential features such as programmed start, heated cup tray, and adjustable cup settings. Also, a good coffee machine should have a precise pump and durable heating element, so don’t skimp on that. Finally, if you plan on experimenting with your coffee beverages, you might want a brewer with a steam wand to warm up some milk or water for steeping tea.
- Mike Quinn (2018, April 07). Thermal vs. Glass Carafes: Which Is Better for Your Cup of Joe? Retrieved from https://foodal.com/drinks-2/coffee/brewers/thermal-vs-glass-carafes/#Glass-Carafe-Pros-and-Cons
- Marshall Brain, Jessika Toothman (n.d.). How Coffee Makers Work. Retrieved from https://home.howstuffworks.com/coffee-maker4.htm
- Specialty Coffee Association (n.d.). SCA Certified Home Brewer Program. Retrieved from https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.