The Best High-Tech Coffee Makers under $300

In the past year of quarantine and working from home, we’ve changed a lot about how we live our daily lives. One thing we changed at our house is the amount of coffee we drink, and we now drink A LOT of coffee. Our coffee consumption is centered-around our Nespresso CitiZ Machine, a Christmas 2019 gift from our kids. It produces delicious espresso in a flash, plus you can return the spent pods to Nespresso for recycling. Win-win!! But, that convenience has a price. A high price, when four adults are drinking coffee All. Day. Long. Don’t get me wrong, the Nespresso pods are reasonably priced, and they offer a variety of strengths and flavors to satisfy every taste. Our only issue was our increased volume of consumption, which made our Nespresso pod spending skyrocket in 2020.

Something had to change. So, we decided it was time to incorporate a more traditional coffee maker back into our daily coffee routine. Of course, we’re keeping the Nespresso machine around for those times when we want a single shot instead of using it as our sole source of caffeine during the day. And so our search began to find the best high-tech coffee makers under $300, then narrow it down to one!

Our coffee paraphernalia - pour-over, french press, and the aero press
Our various coffee-making paraphernalia: the stovetop espresso maker, chemex pour-over, both glass and insulated stainless steel french presses, and the AeroPress.

What we wanted:

  • water heated between 195° to 205° as recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA)
  • a rain-style water system that allows for more uniform saturation of the coffee grounds for full flavor extraction
  • a “bloom” feature allowing a slow initial discharge of gases from the grounds before full saturation
  • an insulated stainless steel carafe to keep coffee hot without a heating element (so it doesn’t burn)
  • a small-ish countertop profile

Since we’ll be saving money by using fewer Nespresso pods, we considered a budget of up to $300 to make that ideal cup of coffee at home.

Here are the finalists:

Bonavita Connoisseur One-Touch Coffee Maker, Stainless Steel

The Best Affordable High-Tech Coffee Makers - Bonavita Connoisseur

The Bonavita Connoisseur’s wide showerhead design evenly distributes water over the coffee grounds to ensure uniform flavor extraction. The showerhead works with a flat-bottomed filter basket to ensure even saturation. The result is an optimal flavor profile at your desired strength at the touch of a button, making an 8-cup carafe in about 6 minutes.

The optional pre-infusion mode mimics the artisan pour-over brewing method by pausing the water flow allowing the coffee grounds time to bloom. A 1500-watt heater maintains an optimal brewing temperature between 198°-205°F with and an audible signal when the brewing cycle ends.

This machine is the most reasonably priced at $145.99.

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe

Ninja™ Specialty Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

This space-age looking specialty machine has a thermal carafe and brews a variety of coffee from classic coffee to specialty drinks to iced coffee at the touch of a button. It even has a fold-away frother. Six brew sizes give you the flexibility to brew anything from a single cup to a travel cup to a half or full carafe.

This machine seems to have it all, but it might be doing too many things. I mean, I only need a pot of really good coffee.

OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker

OXO Barista Brain coffee maker

This sleek beauty has a microprocessor-controlled brew cycle that replicates the pour-over method to produce 2 to 9 cups of ideal SCA certified coffee. Water is heated and held at the perfect temperature between 197.6° to 204.8°. A “Rainmaker” shower head evenly disperses the water over grounds for uniform saturation and full flavor extraction. An LED interface features a backlit screen that displays the coffee maker status and freshness indicator.

A single dial allows you to program the number of cups and control the 24-hour start timer. The double-walled stainless steel carafe keeps your brew hot and fresh long after brewing is complete.

I love the mix of black and stainless steel. Plus, it is very highly rated on Amazon. This coffee maker does we need without the extra features we don’t. Priced at $199, it sits well within our budget. Bonus!

Breville Precision Brewer Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe, Brushed Stainless Steel

The Best High-Tech Coffee Makers under $300 - Breville Precision Brewer

This stainless steel beauty has a patent-pending steep & release valve that automatically holds the water in contact with the coffee when small cup volumes are brewing, even without the carafe in place. While set in gold cup preset mode, water temperature and brew time are automatically adjusted to meet the SCA standards. Brew any volume exactly how you like it with the included flat bottom & cone filter baskets.

This one is a strong contender, but the price is starting to climb at $299.

Technivorm Moccamaster KBT Coffee Brewer, 40 oz, Polished Silver

The Best Affordable High-Tech Coffee Makers - Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Brewer

The Moccamaster KBT model features a thermal carafe and a manual-adjust, drip-stop brew-basket that provides adjustability in how fast coffee flows into the carafe and brews a full 40oz pot of coffee in six minutes. The thermal carafe will keep your coffee hot for up to an hour.

A unique, copper boiling element rapidly heats water to control brewing temperature between 196º to 205º F, which is crucial for coffee extraction. It then automatically switches off when the water reservoir is empty.

The manual adjust-brew basket has three settings controlled by a toggle switch on the front of the brew basket that allows you to steep your coffee longer or even close the brew basket and pull the carafe away while brewing.

The Moccamaster is the GOAT of home coffee brewing systems. It does everything we want and need, plus it looks like a cross between a percolator and a robot.

The Decision:

After much debate, we chose the OXO Barista Brain. It’s easy to use and it turns-out consistently smooth and delicious coffee every time. We stayed well within our budget and went with a brand we knew and trusted – OXO.

Informal Survey: Part of our research involved my husband asking around at work (a place filled with highly technical, coffee-loving people). It turned out that most people owned either the Technivorm Moccamaster or the Breville Precision Brewer. Coincidently, our closest friends recently purchased the Technivorm Moccamaster. And they love it. So, if your budget allows, these two machines are also great options. Happy brewing!

Do you have a high-tech coffee maker? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

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