Coffee can be the thing you drink in the morning to wake up, not much thought to it just a caffeine hit.
Or it can be a wonderful hobby full of flavors to explore, fun things to learn, and coffee methods to master.
If you’ve landed here then I think I know which it is you’re looking for.
You want to explore the coffee world with a bit more focus, pay attention to the coffee you’re drinking, and take it on as something closer to a hobby than a passive drink. I know exactly where you are having been there myself right before I started this site, and I know exactly what you need.
With that said let’s dive into the wonderful world of coffee makers for beginners and find you the best gear to get started.
Top 5 Best Coffee Makers For Beginners
- Top Choice – AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Runner Up – Bodum Chambord 12 Ounce French Press Coffee Maker
- Best For Lattes & Cappuccinos – Bialetti Moka Express StoveTop Coffee maker
- Best Automatic Coffee Machine For Beginners- Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Glass Carafe
- Best Pour Over – V60
1. Top Choice – AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Easy to Use
- Makes coffee quickly
- Quite cheap
- Doesn’t require technique
- Only makes 1-2 cups of coffee
I personally started with a French Press when I was beginning the world of coffee outside of instant coffee and pod machines. But if I were to do it again, I’d go with the Aeropress.
It’s straightforward to use and is much more forgiving than a French Press allowing you to consistently make a great cup of day in and day out. Coffee grounds and off the boil water go in, it brews for around a minute, then you press down the plunger and coffee comes out. Couldn’t be simpler.
You will need some sort of kettle to boil water, be in on the stovetop or an electric kettle.
Plus you’ve got the option to make an espresso-like coffee that’s much stronger, which is tasty by itself but if you get a milk frother, like this one on Amazon, you can make latte and cappuccino style drinks. They aren’t exactly the same but they’re still really tasty.
And you can make great coffee in the Aeropress using pre-ground coffee. I know everyone online is obsessed with getting a grinder but it’s not necessary, not as a first purchase. You can get a long way and get a lot of enjoyment from making coffee at home with pre ground coffee, start with the grocery store, and then have a search for your nearest roaster.
The only problem with the Aeropress is you can’t make coffee for a group, you’re limited to 1 cup maybe 2 then you have to start again, which doesn’t take a hugely long time but can be a pain. But as you get used to making nice coffee yourself you can branch out into other devices that do make more coffee at once.
2. Runner Up – Bodum Chambord 12 Ounce French Press Coffee Maker
- Range of sizes
- Can master delicious coffee
- Doesn’t need paper filters
- Takes a little skill to make consistent
French presses are wonderful ways to make coffee, and an industry-standard in ways to fully extract all the flavors from coffee beans. There is an ultra-high-end cafe in Japan by a respected coffee authority who only serves coffee made in a french press.
But they take a little longer to master and get right because you can adjust how much coffee, how much hot water, and the fact it brews for 4 minutes before it’s ready means the end result can often differ between uses.
Compared to the 1-minute brew of an Aeropress which is short enough that the end result is usually fairly similar as long as you use roughly the same amount of coffee and water each time.
I like to use a scale with my french press so I can measure out the correct amount of water and coffee each time to make it right. But you can use a tablespoon and eyeball the water level.
But once you get it right you’ve got a wonderful cup of coffee awaiting you. The filter is metal which allows more of the coffee oils into the cup giving you a larger depth of flavor compared to a paper filter. And incidentally, don’t worry if you can’t taste what the bag says the coffee tastes like, just enjoy it and follow your gut if it tastes good or not.
The French press is an ideal choice if you want to get a little more hands-on with your coffee and enjoy the nitty-gritty of thinking with ratios to get the best cup of coffee.
3. Best For Lattes & Cappuccinos – Bialetti Moka Express StoveTop Coffee maker
- Doesn’t require a kettle
- Makes strong coffee
- Makes espresso-like coffee
- Can’t vary amount of coffee made
This coffee maker is a staple across Italian households, and Bialetti are the original maker so no better choice.
These work with a water reservoir in the bottom that heats up and water gets pushed up through a small tray of coffee grounds up into the main chamber.
So it isn’t quite like espresso because that gets made at a much higher pressure but it makes small amounts of very strong, very delicious coffee that I can’t get enough of.
Again, if you combine it with a milk frother you’ll be able to make yourself lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, and all those sorts of drinks but at the fraction of the cost of an espresso machine, which can cost $500 for a basic model and thousands more for a professional one.
This is the easiest way to enjoy better quality ground coffee because you don’t weigh out the water, or the coffee grounds, you just put in as much as will fit.
They don’t work very well if you half fill them so the size you get is the size you have to go with. I’ve got a 6 cup model which makes far too much coffee for one so I’d say for a 1-3 cup if you’re making coffee for yourself and then scale up from there if you’re going to make coffee for more people.
4. Best Automatic Coffee Machine For Beginners – Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with 50 oz. Glass Carafe
- Approved by the SCA
- Built-in milk frother
- Can make a concentrated coffee for Lattes etc
- Easy to use
- Less hands-on
- No control over the brew
I have a lot of love for the budget coffee pot brewer, I think they make a nice cup of coffee.
If you want to get into coffee you’re going to find out that a lot of drip machines get poo-pooed by coffee people online and offline. Somewhat fairly as a lot of them don’t go hot enough to properly brew coffee.
But some coffee makers have gone to the effort of getting tested and certified by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) to show that they do in fact hit the mark and make excellent coffee, automatically.
And the Ninja Speciality Coffee maker is one of them, and the cheapest one of the lot.
It can make a range of coffee sizes so you don’t have to make a full pot every time and it even has a “specialty mode” that makes an espresso-like drink which you can then use with milk frothed in the built-in milk frother to make Cappuccinos. (It’s not espresso unless it’s made under pressure of about 9 bars)
A superb way to easily enjoy higher quality coffee without sacrificing any of the subtler tastes that you’d lose in a low-end drip machine.
If you want to get into coffee and want a drip machine, this is the one to get.
5. Best Pour Over – Hario V60 Starter Set
- The standard of pour-over coffee
- Can unlock full flavor of coffee
- Requires Technique
- Should consider scale and a gooseneck kettle
I remember walking out of a small coffee shop confused because they put the kettle on and didn’t serve espresso. How wrong I was!
Pour over is an excellent, if not the best, way to extract the full range of flavors out of your coffee. The coffee tastes smooth because of the paper filter, it takes about 3-3.30 minutes brew time and releases a stunning profile of flavors when done right.
And that’s the hard part, when done right.
Pour over has some technique required, you might even want to consider a gooseneck kettle like this one on Amazon so you can get the pouring technique down even easier.
Regardless of kettle shape, you’re going to want to watch James Hoffman’s video on the Ultimate V60 technique to learn the best way to use it.
This is the ideal choice for the beginner who wants to get more hands-on with their coffee, because you have a technique to learn and master.
The Journey Of A Beginner Coffee Enthusiast
1. Single Basic Brew Method – Fresh Pre Ground Coffee
This is the first step, you’ve got your way of making coffee that you like, probably a drip coffee maker, possibly an Aeropress, and you make that first step away from store-bought coffee, to freshly roasted coffee.
You’ll know your coffee has been freshly roasted because it’s got a roast date on the bag telling you when it was roasted. Large chain grocery stores tend not to stock coffee like that, some do, but not many. So what you need to do is have a look for a coffee roaster near you.
If you live in a city there’s a good chance you have roasters but if not you’re going to want to google “coffee roasters near me”. It’s more expensive but the difference in quality is like chalk and cheese. High-quality, freshly roasted, and freshly ground coffee. Yum.
2. Scale to Weigh Out Coffee – Beyond The Drip Machine
This was my next step, I wanted to get my French Press coffee more repeatable and this was the way to do it. Fair warning, if you’re American you’ll need to get a gram scale and start getting used to the world of grams. Coffee uses small amounts for a single cup and grams are the best way to measure it.
If you’re still on a drip machine you’ll also want to move to a more adjustable method of coffee making, the Aeropress or the French Press being the next go-to’s.
Now you can start experimenting with the different brew ratios and alongside a timer on your phone start figuring out how to make your coffee even better. But there’s only so much better you can make it before you need…
3. Grinder + Whole Bean Coffee
This is the next stage to unlocking flavor out of your coffee. Some people say ground coffee starts to lose flavor after 20 minutes let alone a few weeks in a bag. If it’s fresh, as in within weeks of roasting, it’s still a huge step up from bulk misc coffee so I think ground coffee is perfectly fine. But when you’re ready you’re going to want to move onto a grinder.
Which will bring you to wondering if you can go cheaper with a blade grinder, or a hand grinder or you should save up and get a burr grinder for $100-200. And I’m here to tell you the best option is to save up and go for the burr grinder.
Keep enjoying your fresh ground coffee and start saving, it saves the heartache of a blade grinder not working properly and saves the pain-in-the-ass that is grinding your coffee by hand. Learn from my mistakes, wait, and get the proper burr grinder.
4. The Realm Of Pour-Over
Next, you’ll start looking at pour-over coffee, wondering if it’s too complicated and wondering if you need a gooseneck kettle to make it work. You don’t, and it isn’t. Just give it a go, pour-over devices are cheap, filters are in abundance, and if you don’t like it no big deal.
But once you start getting the hang of it I think you’ll fall in love. There’s some practice needed, and now and again you’re going to make a subpar cup, but you’ll start to get it right and wonder how you ever drank coffee any other way.
5. Wondering about Espresso – Then getting priced out of espresso
Next, you’ll want to start making Espresso at home, wanting to delight your friends with Lattes and Cappuccinos. Only to read up on everyone telling you it’s a terrible idea, that you’ll never get a good espresso at home for less than $2000 all in, and that it’s a pointless and expensive endeavor.
I say screw them, if you want to make espresso, go right ahead with a budget machine. You’re not trying to win any award, you’re not trying to get people to flock to your cafe, so read up on some reviews, and get the machine you want to get. It’s still going to be fun and enjoyable!
6. Do You Dare, Do A Cupping?
There’s no going back once you do, you will officially be a hipster barista if you’re cupping coffee at home!
Cupping is the way baristas and roasters taste different brewed coffees, they grind several coffees to a specific size, pour in the same water all at the same water temperature into small cappuccino-like cups, and tase it with a spoon doing lots of slurping. It’s the best way to taste the coffee without it being affected by the brewing method.
I’ll write a more detailed guide on this yet but that’s the essence of it. It’s a way to make side by side coffee exactly the same so you can taste the different flavors. And it’s actually a lot of fun, especially if you’ve got a few friends to do it with you so you can all taste the coffee together.
You can also do something similar by making the same coffee using different methods and seeing how it affects the taste.
And congratulations! You’re now on your way to being a coffee aficionado, have fun on the rest of the journey! Now back to the matter at hand.
Other Things to consider when buying a coffee machine
You can spend endless amounts in the world of coffee. Some grinders alone are upwards of $700! So be mindful of your budget, you don’t need to spend excessive amounts to be able to make good coffee at home. just basic gear, a basic brew method and you’re off to the races.
Some techniques are more hands-on than others. You’re always looking at about 5 minutes to get a nice cup of coffee together, but if you go with a Moka Pot you can stick it on the stovetop and leave it and it works itself, compared to a pour-over where you really need to be present and actively making your coffee.
Black Coffee vs Milky Drinks
They aren’t always made hand in hand, Milk-based espresso drinks are hard to make at home exactly as you’d find in a coffee shop, but you can get something that’s damn close and still very enjoyable. Just don’t resort to the Keurig! There are better ways to make good coffee at home!
What is a good coffee for a beginner?
Any coffee that is freshly roasted is ideal for a beginner. Preferably from a local roaster but if you don’t have a local roaster than have a look online, in America lots of roasters, like Blue Bottle ship all across the USA, but if you live elsewhere I’m sure there will be someone who’s selling freshly roasted coffee online.
If not… Then there’s a business opportunity!
How do you start drinking black coffee?
It gets easier once you start making nice coffee. But the best way is to always taste it black before you put in any milk/cream/sugar. Have a sip before and see what you think. Then it’s a case of just going for it, committing to a full cup of black coffee, and drinking it.
Do I need a coffee grinder?
Not at the start, you can go a long way without a coffee grinder despite what people say. You can practice your coffee brewing and tasting coffee with coffee that’s pre-ground. The only place it limits you is the method you chose to use because coffee is prepared at one grind size for one method and to use it in other ways often doesn’t work.
You can do it of course but it’s something to be aware of.
Other Coffee Makers for Beginners
Technivorm Moccamaster 59616 KBG
- SCA certified to make great coffee
- Hot plate has temperature control
- 5-year warranty
- Works quietly
- Auto shut off after 100 minutes
- More expensive
- smaller 40 oz capacity
The Bonavita Moccamaster comes up again and again on this site as one of the best coffee machines around.
It’s SCA certified to make exquisite coffee and is up to a high enough temperature to make great coffee. It’s made of high-quality materials that are built to last, just make sure you clean it through if you live in a hard water area.
I love the design of this too, even the water tank looks good, it’s all very retro.
It’s a quick brew making 10 cups in 6 minutes and the hot plate has two temperature settings, 175F and 185F for a little more control over how you like your coffee.
The only reason it’s not the top pick is it’s double the price, which I know for a beginner puts a lot of people off, and fair enough! But if you can afford it, you’re not going to be disappointed by the superb cup of coffee you get on-demand from this machine.
Easy brewing method, a fast brewing process, and ideal for the coffee lover who cares about a high-quality cup of coffee at the end.
Kalita Wave 185 Drippers
- Makes 16-26 ounces of coffee
- More forgiving than the V60
- Fits onto coffee cup
- The metal design needs pre-heated
The best way I’ve seen this compared to the V60 is that a Wave consistently makes coffee that’s 80-85/100 in terms of quality while the V60 can get you to 95/100 but occasionally falls to 70/100.
So the potential high isn’t as high, but it does make good quality coffee time and time again. I didn’t put this at the top because I wanted to give people that challenge and that potential to have coffee that leaves them stunned.
But this is still an excellent choice if you want to get into pour-over. The only practical difference is that the Kalita Wave lets coffee out of 3 holes while the V60 lets coffee out of 1 hole. Such a simple change but such different results.
If this is the path you’re on I’d actually recommend getting both so you can compare them and see what you think. It’s not like they take up a lot of counter space and you can have some fun making all the different versions.
ESPRO P7 Double Walled Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated French Press
- Better filters than other French presses
- Double-walled insulation
- Stainless steel
If you’re going on pure quality alone in a world where budget is no object then the Espro is easily the best French press available.
It works with two filter baskets to give you a coffee that’s smooth and silt free as any paper filter method while still having the thicker tasting coffee oils in the cup.
Its double insulated thermal carafe keeps your coffee hot and is designed so that it doesn’t keep brewing once you’ve plunged it.
This will make the best cup of french press you’ve ever drunk, it’s somewhat priced out for beginners but if you’re interested in jumping straight to the big leagues or you’ve got a little extra to spend then you won’t be disappointed.
There are of course other great coffee maker brands, Breville, Cuisinart, Chemex, Bunn, but for a beginner coffee brewer, I’m happy with my choices here.
And heck, if you want to go with a cheap Mr. Coffee machine then you go right ahead.
Welcome to the wonderful world of coffee!