Life isn’t always so smooth but your coffee can be. You just need some good coffee beans and a rocking coffee maker to make wonderful things happen.
Small drip coffee makers are a real bargain. They fit in the smallest kitchen space and are darn simple to use. Just press a few buttons, wait for some time, and poof! All the grogginess and existential angst takes a back seat with that first sip of fresh coffee.
With a small drip coffee maker, you can steal these moments of pure nirvana every now and then. And to help you with your hunt for the best small drip coffee makers, I have put together a list of 5 models you might love. Let’s explore them:
5 Best Small Drip Coffee Makers Reviews 2020
But before we get to the part where I shed light on each and every key element, advantages, and downsides of these coffee makers, here’s a quick rundown of this post, for those who are in a hurry:
- Best Value for Money: Zojirushi EC-DAC50
- Easiest-to-use Coffee Maker: Cuisinart DCC-450BK
- Inexpensive Coffee Machine: Capresso 5-Cup Mini Drip Coffee Maker
- Best Overall: Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker
- Most Premium Build Quality: KRUPS Simply Brew Drip Coffee Maker
1. Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
When it comes to gadgets, very few countries come close to Japan. Zojirushi is a killer combo of durable build quality and cutting-edge technology.
Sure it looks a bit expensive for a no-bells-and-whistles 5-cup drip coffee maker but a true coffee connoisseur will tell you that no good coffee machine ever comes cheap. It’s the rule of the cosmos.
Its solid plastic body has quite a bit of heft to it and doesn’t feel cheap at all. Rather the silver color emulates the plushy vibe and aesthetics of pure stainless steel. The box includes a mesh filter basket that’s specially designed for this unit.
It’s cone-shaped which results in better extraction. If you need to replace the filter, go for EC-DAC50 only because other products from other brands might not fit properly.
You can use #2 paper filters with the basket if the sludge at the bottom of the carafe is a big deal for you. I would personally use just the filter basket since I like full-bodied coffee teeming with pronounced flavors which is easier to achieve without a paper filter.
Performance-wise, the coffee maker is a beast. It fills the carafe to the 5-cup mark in just 3-4 minutes and keeps it warm for 2 hours with one flip of a switch. It brews the coffee at a very high temperature which helps to extract all those lovely coffee oils from the grounds that gives your coffee a clean body and balanced taste.
Are there any issues? Yes and no. There’s nothing automatic about this machine, nor you will find any customization option on the machine. Those who like to customize their brew might find it underwhelming but the beauty of these machines lies in this very operation simplicity.
The brew and build quality of this shiny little machine are better than many of its pricier counterparts, to be honest. To top it all off, the small footprint makes it perfect for tight spaces.
2. Cuisinart DCC-450BK 4-Cup Coffeemaker
This nifty little coffee maker employs a wide showerhead instead of a single stream spout to run hot water through the coffee grounds. The showerhead helps with the full saturation of the grounds, swelling them up in the process which results in a much better extraction.
It brings the water temperature to the range of 185-195 degrees, which is assuredly hotter than what most small drip coffee machines in this price range offer. For those who like to sip their coffee slowly while contemplating the woes of life, Cuisinart DCC-450BK would be a nice choice.
It takes about 10 minutes to fill the 4 cup mark and 5 minutes for 2 cups. That’s not flash quick but the rich-tasting coffee it yields makes it worth the wait.
The stainless steel carafe is nearly impossible to break, even if you go too rough on it. It doesn’t overflow and spill everywhere when the max brewing capacity is reached, a problem many budget coffee machines suffer from.
The no-drip pouring spout size is just perfect. There’s no dribble of coffee when you pour yourself a cup, which is pretty much all it has to do.
The machine is equipped with an aluminum plate warmer as well that’ll keep your brew hot and fresh for up to 30 minutes, which is not a very long time and the only noteworthy downside of this machine.
On the bright side, the coffee maker will turn off automatically after 30 minutes, so it’s okay if you forget to turn it off before heading to work.
About the cleanup, all you’ll need is dish soap and a soft scrub to get rid of the gunk from the carafe. It’s a one-button design, so even a kid can operate it and end up with a smooth cup of coffee (not that he should, just saying!).
Not to mention the small footprint, making it ideal not only for small kitchens but also for frequent travelers who spend most of their days in their RVs or a tent.
3. Capresso 5-Cup Mini Drip Coffee Maker
Usually, small coffee makers are all about the simplicity but if you want to have a little bit more control over how your coffee tastes without blowing your budget, Capresso might be the way to go.
With its integrated auto-brew function, you could just set your preferred brewing time and be welcome with a fresh pot of intensely aromatic coffee whenever you fancy.
Like all high-quality coffee makers worth their salt, this one too uses a multiple nozzle sprayer to make sure all the grounds in the filter basket are properly soaked for better extraction. The boiler heats the water to 175-180 degrees which is not exactly ideal for those who like their coffee hot enough to burn their mouth.
About the durability, the frame of this unit is sculpted from stainless steel wonderfully paired with a sleek black plastic base. The glass carafe quality isn’t the best but it won’t shatter unless you go rough on it. It features an appropriately sized pout which prevents dribbling when you pour the coffee into the cup.
The unit comes with a gold tone mesh filter and sadly, it’s the only glaring weakness of this product. It’s flat shaped with a plastic bottom that doesn’t let all of the water drain through it. I’d suggest going for the #2 filter for this unit. It will make cleanup easier and also let very little sediment into your cup.
4. Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker
Keurig coffee makers have made quite a name for themselves lately due to their impeccably user-friendly operation. The K-Slim coffee maker is one of the smallest drip coffee makers I have ever seen. It’s only 5” wide and 12.14” tall, so no matter how little space you have beneath your kitchen cabinet, this machine will fit right into it.
The maximum capacity is 3-cups or 12 oz. and you can adjust the brew size using the 8 oz, 10 oz, and 12 oz. buttons at the base. It comes with a 46 oz. reservoir which should hold enough water for multiple brewing cycles.
Since it’s fully transparent, there’s no way for you to accidentally overfill it. Moreover, it’s removable, so you can take it to the sink and fill it with tap water in a snap. Those who don’t leave their home without a mug-full of coffee can fit a 7” travel mug into the machine for a quick brew.
You just have to remove the drip tray to fit the mug in. It takes max 2 minutes to brew an 8 oz. serving and turns off automatically in a minute after the cycle stops. If you wish to take a more eco-friendly approach, you can ditch the K-cup pods and opt for K-cup Universal Reusable Filter to use your own coffee blend with this machine.
It’s both an economical and efficient way to fine-tune the coffee to your liking. In addition to small space-friendly design and operational simplicity, another feature that adds to the appeal of this machine is the descale setting.
An LED indicator will alert you when it needs descaling, meaning you don’t have to keep guessing or comb the manual to find out the right time to declare. The only thing this aesthetically and technically-sound coffee maker lacks is a brew strength adjustment button.
5. KRUPS Simply Brew Drip Coffee Maker
Made in Germany from the finest quality stainless steel, this mini beast packs quite a punch and is one of the most ruggedly build coffee makers in its price range. Its neat contemporary design would definitely add a splash of glamor to your countertop.
Being only 5 ½” wide and 17” tall, you can easily tuck it beneath your cabinet and still have some space left above the unit to let the steam escape. Apart from saving essential space on your countertop, the machine also makes full-bodied, intensely aromatic coffee with one push of a button.
It houses a supremely powerful boiler that keeps the brewing temperature close to 200 degrees which extracts vivid flavors and gives the brew a sweet, lingering aroma.
Anything hotter than this can burn the grounds and make your coffee obnoxiously bitter. So as far as brewing temperature is concerned, Krups does hit the bull’s eye. You will have to wait for about 6-7 minutes to brew a full pot.
It’s a bit slower in this respect but makes up for it with the quality of the coffee. Once the brewing is done, you can let the warming plate keep your coffee at a drinkable temperature for about half an hour.
My only major complaint is about the design of the reservoir. It is not removable and the lid doesn’t open all the way which makes filling it a bit tricky. Lack of auto shut-off feature would be another bummer.
FAQs About Small Drip Coffee Makers
1. How do you clean a drip coffee maker with white vinegar?
Ans: White vinegar is one of the most effective descaling solutions for drip coffee makers. You should run a cycle with vinegar once or twice a month, depending on water hardness.
The process is pretty simple. Fill the tank with equal parts of undiluted white vinegar and water. Let it rest for 30 minutes and then hit the brew cycle button. Finally, run the cycle with fresh water 3-4 times to wash off the vinegar completely.
2. Is drip coffee stronger than espresso?
Ans: Espresso is the most concentrated form of coffee, so no, in terms of taste, espresso is way stronger than drip coffee. Even when it comes to caffeine concentration per fluid ounce, espresso is far ahead of its competitor. However, there’s more caffeine in a large cup of drip coffee than in a double shot of espresso.
A 12 oz. cup of drip coffee contains 120 mg of caffeine while a 2-ounce double espresso shot has about 80 mg. So even though technically espresso is more caffeine-rich, a cup of strong drip coffee will give you more buzz.
3. How much coffee do you put in a drip coffee maker?
Ans: Although you can always adjust the coffee to water ratio according to your taste, 8 grams or a tablespoon of coffee to every 4 fl. oz of water would be a good place to start.
Looks like we have come to the end of this saga of the best small drip coffee makers to root for when you’re narrowing down your options. I hope the information and insight I provided can nudge you in the right direction.
I scoured the web for endless hours to make sure all the products I feature here deliver on their promise and last for at least a couple of years without any hiccups. Now you do your due diligence and get yourself a coffee maker that you, my friend, deserve.