Some people think that there’s no such thing as too much coffee.
But hear me out:
There are days when you only need a cup. Or two.
Especially if you’re one of those people who appreciate versatility. For you, I have prepared a guide of the best dual coffee makers.
Basic Factors to Consider
These days, top-rated 2-way coffee machines have a lot to offer. Depending on your budget, you can get a model with countless features and extra bells and whistles.
But do they really matter?
Well, it depends on your personal preferences. However, there are key factors that make or break a good 2-way coffee machine:
- Compatibility with different types of coffee. Now, some models rely on ground coffee when it comes to both carafe and single-serve brewing. Others support coffee pods for the single-cup mode and make great single-serve coffee makers for solo users. However, many users are concerned about the pods (or capsules) as they are difficult to recycle due to their small size and tend to end up in the landfills (1). Some manufacturers offer compostable or even reusable pods, which is great news for environmentally conscious coffee drinkers. No matter where you stand, compatibility with different coffee types is what makes 2-way machines so versatile. If you want only the freshest coffee, you may consider some top-notch grind and brew coffee makers that allow users to grind the beans right before making coffee for the most flavorful beverages.
- Water tank capacity. For a dual coffee maker, the size of its water reservoir is crucial. If your coffee machine has a small water tank, you’ll probably end up getting tired of refilling it constantly. Therefore, it is recommended to choose models with larger reservoirs (at least 48 ounces). If refills seem way too bothersome to you, there are also coffee machines with a water line that eliminate the need to use a water reservoir at all. Such coffee makers can be plumbed into your home water supply and pump water directly from it for each brewing cycle.
- Programmable features. Now, a good automatic coffee maker should allow for programmability. This would make it more convenient to use. The most common features you may come across are a programmable timer (which makes the machine start brewing on the set time), a standby mode (which will help you save on electricity a bit), and an auto shut-off for your peace of mind. Keep in mind that you need to pay more for bells and whistles. Most budget coffee makers under $100, for example, would come with a limited set of features.
- Durable materials. Typically, manufacturers use stainless steel or high-grade plastic (or both) for their coffee makers. Stainless steel models tend to be more expressive, but they are recyclable and more durable. Additionally, many users note that stainless steel coffee machines look better. As for plastic models, they are cheaper and more lightweight, which promises good portability. On the other hand, they are more prone to leaking and usually have a shorter lifespan.
- Coffee quality. Obviously, you want your beverages to taste good. But how do you know that a coffee maker can fit this criterion before you buy it? Well, firstly, you can check the brewing temperature. If a coffee machine maintains an optimal temperature (like these SCAA-certified coffee makers, for example), chances are the end product will taste good. Additionally, you can check the water valve to understand how well the coffee grounds are saturated during the process. For instance, good automatic pour-over coffee makers use a special dispersion system for a more even extraction. As for regular drip coffee brewers, they might also come with different sprinkler types, each of which will result in a different coffee flavor.
What Else Should You Look For in a Good 2-Way Coffee Maker?
When browsing through the top-rated coffee machines, many aspects should be taken into consideration.
Once you have defined the basic functionality you expect from your new dual drip coffee maker (2), you may want to take a look at additional factors:
- Brew strength control. Many coffee makers, even simpler ones, offer at least 2 brew strength options: regular and bold. This feature is important if you appreciate versatility.
- Ease of maintenance. A good dual coffee maker should be automatic so that it wouldn’t require much effort on your part. Some models have a self-cleaning mode to prevent the calcium buildup, which will save you time and potentially extend the lifespan of your machine. And if you want a truly low-maintenance device, you may want to look at those models that come with dishwasher safe parts.
- Carafe materials. Now, you may come across 3 types: steel, glass, and plastic. The latter is not a good option since it may give your coffee a plastic smell. Glass carafes are convenient to use since they allow you to see how much coffee you have left. On the other hand, they don’t retain heat that well and rely on a thermal plate. And if you use the plate for too long, it might make your coffee feel burnt. Also, don’t forget the energy efficiency concerns (3). As for steel carafes, they tend to keep coffee warm longer. The best thermal carafe coffee makers don’t use a hot plate, which means the flavor of your beverage won’t be affected. But keep in mind that they are usually more expensive.
- Carafe capacity. Typically, dual coffee makers can brew from 8 to 14 cups of coffee into a single carafe. While this depends on each specific model, you need to decide for yourself how much coffee you (and maybe your family) may need during the day. Keep in mind that a larger carafe would probably make the whole device bulkier, so you may require extra counter space for your new machine.
- Single-serve size options. While simpler models brew into a standard 8-ounce cup, better options can also make larger quantities, for instance, for your travel mug.
- Functionality. Many good coffee machines can brew different types of beverages, and that’s a great option for those who appreciate versatility and want an all-in-one coffee maker. If you are a fan of cold brew, keep in mind that dual coffee machines rarely support this function, so you may want to consider other types, like these coffee makers.
- Perry Miller (2019, March 28). The problem with coffee pods and the eco-friendly alternatives to use instead. Retrieved from https://inhabitat.com/the-problem-with-coffee-pods-and-the-eco-friendly-alternatives-to-use-instead/
- Beverage Factory. In Depth Buying Guide: Drip Coffee Makers. Retrieved from https://www.beveragefactory.com/resources2/coffee_tea/buying_guides/coffee-guides/dripcoffee-indepth.shtml
- Doityourself Staff (2009, September 23). Comparing Glass and Stainless Steel Coffeemaker Types. Retrieved from https://www.doityourself.com/stry/comparing-glass-and-stainless-steel-coffeemaker-types
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.