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As cost of coffee rises, how to savor every cup

Top-rated coffeemakers and coffees from Consumer Reports tests

Published: February 19, 2014 03:15 PM

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The next time you buy coffee, the jolt you get may come not from the caffeine but the cost. The coffee futures market is heating up due to hot, dry weather in Brazil that’s harming the crop, according to the Wall Street Journal. That means the price of your morning cup could go up in the next few weeks. Even as prices rise, it’s still more economical to make coffee at home than to buy it in a coffeehouse, especially if you use one of the top-performing coffee machines and top-tasting coffees from Consumer Reports tests.

While pod coffeemakers have been growing in popularity over the last few years because of their convenience, in Consumer Reports tests the flavor of coffee made from pods, packs, or pouches hasn’t measured up to that of the coffee made in drip machines. If you want the speed of a single-serve machine but prefer a more robust brew, consider one of the brew-and-dispense models that did best in our tests.

Topping the list of brew-and-dispense models is the Mr. Coffee BVMC-ZH1B and at $50, it’s also a CR Best Buy. This 12-cup machine offers great brewing and convenient operation and we found its setup, operation, and cleanup fairly easy. The Viante Brew-N-View CAF-05T, $140, did nearly as well but cost almost three times as much. Still, we liked the clear water reservoir on this 10-cup model and that you can easily fill travel mugs. For $100, the 12-cup Cuisinart Coffee on Demand DCC-3000 had top-notch brewing and convenient operation and a gauge that tells you how much coffee is left.

We also tested several mug-to-go coffeemakers but none rose to the level of our top picks list and only one, the KitchenAid Architect KCM0402ACS, $100, got excellent marks for brewing performance. Its mediocre scores for convenience kept it from our picks.

Best brews
If you’re going to be spending more on coffee, you might as well get the best. In our coffee taste tests, Allegro Kenya Grand Cru sold at Whole Foods got top marks. Our tasters described it as bright and fruity with the aromatics associated with high-quality arabica beans. They also liked Kenyan coffees from Green Mountain and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. If you prefer Colombian coffee, our tasters liked Colombian from Gloria Jean’s and Newman’s Own. They also recommended Ethiopian coffee from Caribou and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. None of the coffee blends or coffee pods in our taste tests made our list of top coffee picks.

Whichever brew you prefer, it might be a good idea to stock up now before prices start to climb. The Wall Street Journal says it can take a few weeks for the higher prices to trickle down to the retail and coffeehouse level.

—Mary H.J. Farrell

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