Filter coffee is lovely. It’s been one of my favourite drinks for a long time – when it’s made properly, of course. Where an espresso can give you a good, intense kick, or a French press a nice, mellow drink, filter coffee allows you to brew strong, rich coffee that you can keep warm and drink throughout the day.
It’s perfect for those who like to drink coffee consistently and for those (like writers, for instance) who have tight deadlines and need to keep on their A game.
Not all filter coffee machines are equal, of course. Some are unreliable or inconsistent. Some are overpriced or cheap and rubbish. Some won’t keep your coffee warm enough. Some simply make a bad cup of coffee. Which is why we have made it our quest to find the best filter coffee machines the UK has to offer.
A good filter coffee experience is something to be treasured. Filtered coffee is a simple brewing method that will give you a nice, rich, quite strong coffee. It’s what you will often see in a nice hotel at breakfast time – bold and full bodied, somewhere between an espresso shot and a cafetiere coffee.
A filter coffee will generally take thickly ground coffee grains (as opposed to something like an espresso or Turkish coffee, in which finely ground coffee is most often preferable). These thick grains are flooded with nearly boiling water which is then filtered through either a permanent or paper filter. The end result is strong and smooth, with (hopefully!) no grains ending up in the bottom of your cup.
Simplicity is one of the main attractions of using a filter coffee machine. It takes little to no expertise to get yourself a very tasty cup of coffee. They are also fast to use and will often keep the coffee warm in an appealing glass jug for several hours.
Grains are a thing to look out for, however. If you’re using a poor quality machine or filter, they can get through. Trust me, you don’t want a mouthful of gritty coffee grinds. Unless the machine has a heater, it’s also not got much by way of longevity. Where espresso can be made to order and a cafetiere can keep its heat, especially with a cosy, filter coffee off the heat will cool fast and lose a lot of flavour.
These are minor gripes, however, and can be solved completely by investing in the right kit. Which, luckily, we’re about to show you how to do.
Choosing The Right Filter Coffee Machine
Choosing any piece of equipment for your kitchen is a bit of a balancing act. You want the best that’s available at the most competitive price. Of course, a five-hundred-pound coffee maker with all the bells and whistles will make you an amazing cup of coffee. However, so will a fifty pound one. It’s just a case of choosing the right fifty pound one.
Those bells and whistles are also important. Does the machine come with a bean grinder? If so, we’ll happily shell out a little bit more (but not too much).
A filter coffee machine with a built-in grinder (often called a bean to cup coffee machine) is pretty much the ideal. It will always give you the freshest brew and, if you decide to splash out and spend a bit on some artisan coffee beans, you will really be able to taste the difference. It really is a treat. They cost a little more, but every penny is worth it – and it saves you the cost and hassle of buying a separate grinder, which can easily cost as much as a mid-rate filter coffee machine anyway.
Built-in coffee grinders can take a little extra time and effort to keep clean, which many of us may not have. However, it will give you options. Reach for the pre-ground coffee during the week and then grind your own for Saturday mornings and Sunday brunches. Why not treat yourself a little?
Then there is the heating element – does it have one, how well does it work, and is the coffee still nice a few hours after brewing? This is perhaps one of the more common complaints with filter coffee machines. Realistically, you should be able to make a pot in the afternoon, grab a cup or two, and then be able to keep going for refills until early afternoon, knowing the coffee will be consistently hot.
Most coffee filter makers will use something like a warming ring. Though coffee is generally best served fresh, a good warming ring will keep the coffee in a good state for 2-3 hours, after which it begins to go lukewarm. However, it’s common with new health and safety regulations to have an automatic shut-off after 30-60 minutes, which is something to be wary of.
Then you need to ask what type of filter the filter coffee maker has – permanent, paper replaceable, or a mixture thereof?
As the name suggests, all filter coffee makers need a filter. It’s one of their defining features. Without it, you will just have a jug full of grains and you would be better off making Turkish coffee and being done with it.
Permanent filters – those built into the machine itself – are generally cheaper and less hassle. You don’t need to constantly buy and replace new ones. They do a decent enough job, but not great. You will still find a few grains slipping through, especially as the machine ages.
Paper filters – despite the hassle, paper filters are a better option. They capture far more of the really fine grains. You may notice a difference to the taste – the taste of paper can come through, especially for those with really sensitive palates. However, they give a better texture and the individual cost of each filter is negligible enough to not be an issue.
Finally, of course, we have the quality of the machine itself. Is it well-made, well-designed and practical? And, of course, does it make a nice coffee? If so, and if it’s priced competitively, and if it gives us all the extras we want for the money it costs, it may well make our list.
Our Top 9 Filter Coffee Machines
We’ve collected nine of the best filter coffee makers available on today’s market, bringing them together in one handy list for you. They are all good in their own way. Each one brings something a bit different, from varying sizes, varying prices, varying settings, and even a few extra frills here and there (and some lovely design quirks).
And, of course, they will all give you a good cup of coffee, which is the most important thing after all.
1. Melitta Optima 100801 Coffee Maker With Glass Pourer
If you’re after a good-looking gadget for your kitchen then look no further. This coffee maker is beautiful, with an air of quality and luxury surrounding it. It comes in a shiny piano black with matt stainless steel finish to the door, where you will find the filter itself. The jug, water container and coffee maker all sit well together, looking crisp, clean and fully integrated. Though it is perhaps slightly bulkier than other products, it still looks and feels compact.
The jug is made from high quality glass which looks and feels far nicer than many of their competitors’ products. It contains enough coffee to make around 10 cups – or maybe 4-5 large mugs. If you’re in a rush, maybe use the timer and set it the night before as it can take a little while for the jug to fill – this isn’t the fastest filter machine going.
The digital display is simple to navigate and easy to use, and there is even an option to make the machine decalcify itself (handy if you live in a hard water area). The hot plate defaults to thirty minutes, though you can increase this to up to two hours.
And, most importantly, you get a very nice, smooth cup of quite strong coffee. Full marks all round.
2. Russell Hobbs Buckingham Filter Coffee Machine
The Russell Hobbs Buckingham has been on the market for ever – with good reason. It stands the test of time very well, which should tell you all you need to know. Russell Hobbs themselves have a reputation for high quality products, solid builds and high customer satisfaction. The Buckingham filter coffee maker is no exception.
The coffee machine has a permanent filter, which is easy to remove and clean. However, you can also use paper filters if you prefer (this is the option I would go with – keep the permanent one in the back of a cupboard in case you ever run out).
You get around 10 cups of coffee out of one brew, measuring in at just over a litre in their glass carafe. It’s also designed to be fast, coming up to temperature up to 50% quicker than its main competitors, and can keep your coffee warm with its handy ‘Keep Warm’ function.
3. Breville Mostra Easy Measure Filter Coffee Machine
The Breville Mostra Easy Measure Filter Coffee Machine is a must for those who value convenience and time efficiency. Simply set up the timer and go back whenever you’ve told it to have your coffee ready. It will have pre-soaked the coffee grounds for maximum flavour – expect a deep, mellow, absolutely delightful taste.
There is also an in-built freshness indicator, which will show you how long it’s been since the coffee was brewed. If you want your coffee fresh and fuss free, this one is for you. The colour coded measuring system will allow you to get the strength of coffee you like with unerring consistency, and it uses a permanent filter so that you don’t need to faff around with paper ones.
A convenient, straight forward, yet great-tasting brew. Wonderful.
4. Moccamaster Filter Coffee Machine
This isn’t for the faint hearted – the Moccamaster 79328 Filter Coffee Machine is by far the most expensive item on this list. In fact, it generally retails at around 8-10 times the price of our cheapest offering, the Geepas 1.5 litre.
So, deep breath. It will cost you. But is it worth it?
It has a very generous satisfaction rating in most quarters, just taking a casual look at some of the feedback available online. This is unsurprising. Moccamaster, a Dutch company, are generally worthy of their high price tags.
The machine is handmade (which is ridiculous in a good way) and very beautiful, in a Bauhaus kind of way. The parts are all incredibly well-designed and made of fantastic materials. For instance, the boiling element is made from antibacterial copper and can achieve the perfect brewing temperature of 92-96 degrees Celsius with unerring, regular panache.
But how does it function? Well, you get 1.25 litres, so around 8-10 cups. It will have your coffee ready in five minutes, which is fine. The machine is incredibly quiet and quite satisfying to watch, and you can use a range of different filters with it. The coffee, as you might imagine, is great.
However, it’s perhaps a bit of a novelty piece. Of course, there are far more expensive pieces of kitchenware out there, but you shouldn’t be ploughing money into a filter coffee maker. If you have the money to spend, love engineering, love design, and really want something that will ooze quality and charisma, go for it. Otherwise, any other item from our list will see you right for a fraction of the price.
The Moccamaster 79328 is a brilliant piece of kit, but buyer beware – it comes at a cost.
5. DeLonghi Filter Coffee Machine
This is from another stalwart of the hot drink kitchen appliance marketplace – DeLonghi’s filter coffee machine has all the pedigree you would expect of them. Like many similar options from such big brands, it has been on the market for a long time and keeps selling well – this should tell you something about what you’re getting here.
You get 10 large cups of coffee from DeLonghi’s offering, all of them smooth and silky. It comes with a good looking jug that can be removed at any time during the brew. The filter coffee maker has a non-drip function to stop any unwanted spillages or mess. It uses paper filters, which is a large part of the reason behind its coffee’s smooth finish, has a handy water level display and auto shut off, and takes manually controlling.
6. Geepas 1.5 Litre Filter Coffee Machine
Right, let’s look at an absolute gem of a bargain. The Geepas 1.5 Litre is the cheapest product on our list – it may even be the cheapest filter coffee machine on the market, as we’ve yet to see it beaten. It comes in at roughly half the price of most of the other products on this list, and less than half than some of them.
You won’t notice a dip in quality consistent with this price. It punches above its weight and then some.
You get a whopping 1.5 litre capacity (dangerous, perhaps, for some of us caffeine addicts, and certainly tempting). This will translate into something like a dozen generous cups, so if you’re looking to kit out an office space or a large family’s kitchen, this is a good place to start.
The Geepas 1.5 Litre will automatically shut off when the water levels are too low, or when it has been left idle for too long, so it’s pretty safe. You can use paper filters with it, though it has the option for a permanent one. Finally, you get a two-year warranty.
If you’re one for a bargain, this is for you.
7. Russell Hobbs Luna Coffee Maker
Here’s another one from Russell Hobbs – the stylish looking Luna Coffee Maker. It uses the latest technology in coffee extraction for a full bodied, smooth flavour, and is fast working with its fast-brewing tech and advanced water filtration, allowing you to get a high-quality cup of coffee in no time at all.
It’s another big one, too. It’s large, 1.8 litre water tank will give you a dozen or more generous cups of coffee in one sitting. The auto keep warm plate will make sure that you can make the most of this, drinking the coffee over several hours if needs be.
It’s also particularly easy to use the timer on the Luna Coffee Maker. You get a 24-hour programmable timer with clear LED display so that you can have your coffee ready whenever you want it to be.
It comes with a three-year warranty, leaving with a bit of peace of mind.
8. VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Machine
VonShef’s digital filter coffee machine has a reputation for customer satisfaction. There is good reason for this. It’s well-built, well-priced, easy to use and really quite attractive. Its crisp, clean, black and stainless steel design is smart and just space-age enough to give you a bit of a kick.
It’s another biggie, giving you a 1.8 litre jug that is good for around 14 cups of coffee. This can be ready at any time thanks to its 24-hour timer, which is incredibly straight forward and easy to use. You can choose the strength of coffee it makes easily using a simple ‘mode button’, so beginners and connoisseurs alike should be happy.
You get an automatic shut down with it, a warming plate that actually keeps your coffee warm (not always guaranteed in this price bracket!) and it uses a permanent, washable filter that is pretty straightforward to bring out and clean. It comes with a two year warranty.
9. Morphy Richards Evoke
It wouldn’t be a complete kitchen appliance list without a showing from Morphy Richards, and this one definitely deserves its place here. It’s one of my favourite looking filter coffee machines, especially if you go for the red metallic finish – it looks like the coffee machine Iron Man might make (in a good way).
The Evoke 162522 has a fast brew function so you can get a good cup of coffee going in a hurry. It also has a programmable timer for those who like to plan ahead and keep things organised. There is an adjustable coffee strength selector, so that you can tailor your brew to your own tastes, and you will get 1.25 litres, which is roughly 8-10 cups.
Morphy Richards have also used what they call ‘pour over technology shower head’ to create a fuller flavour. I don’t know quite what this means, or how it works, but it does seem to work: you get a lovely, full, balanced flavour form the Evoke 162522.
All this, and it’s reasonably priced too, at the middle of the road in this list. Well worth a look.
Now you’ve read what we have to offer, what do you think? Which one will you go for? If you like to know you got a bargain and managed to source a fantastic machine for next to nothing, something like the Geepas 1.5 litre will be perfect for you. If you want trusted brand names that come with good quality at an average price, DeLonghi or Russell Hobbs might be for you. Or, for those big spenders who know quality when they see it and want their coffee just so, maybe it’s the Moccamaster 79328. Whichever you go for, you won’t go wrong – these are all great pieces of kitchenware that will deliver lovely filter coffee.