If you’ve spent any decent time browsing around our coffee blog Bean Ground you would have come to the conclusion that we love manual pour over coffee. Taking your time to brew each cup of coffee by hand, tweaking and changing ratios on the fly is the only way to enjoy coffee as far as we are concerned.
However, we also completely understand that not all of you have the time or even the patience to hand brew a cup of coffee each and every morning. Sometimes automation is the preferred method for those of you that lead hectic lives and if you’re brewing coffee for more than one cutting corners is often an added bonus.
I hear ya! I’ll let you in on a little secret, sometimes it’s okay to be a little lazy when it comes to brewing coffee, but let’s keep that between ourselves.
If the above sounds like you what you need is a 4 cup coffee brewer. It’s automated, it’s going to save you time and to be honest some brewers can actually churn out a decent cup. Remember, sharing is caring and that’s why we think you should invest in a 4 cup coffee maker. Even if you have no one to share your coffee with, at least you can go back for a second refill or even thirds!
And to save you, even more, time, we have done the hard work for you (you’re welcome) and handpicked some of the best rated 4 cup coffee makers we could find. These brewers are to best of the best and can churn out 4 cups of great tasting coffee with little no effort; if you’re looking for automated drip coffee brewer your search ends here.
Why 4 Cups and Not 6 or Even 8!
4 cups of coffee is the “sweet” spot, it’s not too much and it’s not too little. Unless you work at a big office that runs on caffeine, a large family or you need to consume so much coffee to feed your jittering, caffeinated addiction, the 4 cup brewer is going to be the best option.
That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a 6 or an 8, and to be honest you don’t have to brew the full amount of coffee if it’s not going to be drunk. So yes, it can be nice to have the flexibility of a larger coffee maker but from our experience, the 4 cup is the perfect middle ground, and it doesn’t take up too much space.
Also, remember that a “cup” might not be as large as you think.
Do 4 Cups Equal 4 servings?
As confusing as this is going to sound you will most probably only get 2 servings of coffee from a 4 cup coffee maker, I know right! In the world of coffee, a coffee “cup” holds about 6 fluid ounces. A larger coffee “mug” contains closer to 8 or 9 fluid ounces.
So when a coffee maker manufacturer states that their brewer can churn out 4 cups, that’s not really true if you’re drinking from a larger mug like many of us do. So you’ll probably only get 2 cups worth of coffee with the mugs you have at home; making sense?
To help you visualize the size even more. A typical insulated travel mug holds about 16 fluid ounces and a Starbucks Venti holds a whopping 20 fluid ounces (that’s like a full carafe!).
Now that you’re more familiar with the real serving size of a 4 cup coffee maker does it make sense that this size of brewer is going to be the better option? It’s going to brew enough coffee for 2 people or it’s going to give you enough coffee for two large mugs!
Best 4 Cup Coffee Makers For 2018 (Sharing is Caring!)
So with further ado below you will find the 4 cup coffee makers that we feel deserve a place on your kitchen counter. All of these brewers come with just enough features and functions to aid in your morning coffee brewing ritual and some have enough to keep any coffee geek entertained and happy.
Cuisinart 4-Cup Coffeemaker with Stainless-Steel Carafe
On a tight budget and still looking for the best? Look no further than the Cuisinart DCC-450BK. It comes with just enough bells and whistles to make light work of your morning coffee brewing ritual. Some standout features include a brew pause function that allows you to sneak a cup of coffee even before the brewer has finished its cycle and an automatic power down feature that turns the brewer off after 30 minutes.
Sometimes less is more and the Cuisinart DCC-450BK doesn’t disappoint. It may not be the best-built unit out there but for a budget price, you can’t really go wrong.
Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker
Yes, I know this is a 5 cup coffee maker and not a 4, but I thought that could be overlooked, especially when I explained the cups sizes at the beginning of this article; that 1 extra cup might just be what you need!
The Zojirushi Zutto coffee maker is a great little compact unit that really offers a lot at this price point. What makes this unit smaller than most of the other brewers is the filter cone that sits inside of the carafe rather than above in the unit itself. This small design change really does reduce the height of the brewer so that it can easily fit under your kitchen cupboards with ease.
Other notable features include the built-in charcoal water filter, automatic keep-warm function, removable water tank for easy filling and cleaning, and water level reader. An excellent compact coffee brewer that churns out 5 not 4 cups!
Mr. Coffee 4-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
Another budget 4 cup coffee machine is this unit manufactured by Mr. Coffee. Surprisingly for its compact size and budget price tag it comes packed full of useful functions and features. Under the hood of this unit expect to find a delayed brew timer that lets you brew ahead of time (wake up to freshly brewed coffee), a pause setting so you can grab a mug half way through the brewing cycle, and an automatic shutoff timer.
The Mr. Coffee programmable coffee machine is an excellent unit that has all of the necessary features to ensure your morning coffee brewing ritual goes without a hiccup!
Yes, another 5 cup and not 4 cup coffee brewer but this machine just had to make the list and I think I save the best till last. The Bonavita Coffee Brewer is jammed packed full of some really great functions and features that make this machine stand out from the competition.
Its simplicity is what makes this unit a must have, but don’t be fooled by the Bonavitas simple approach because it brews one hell of a cup of coffee for an automated machine. The pre-infusion made allows for your ground coffee to bloom and degas which the other units above do not do, and the showerhead has been designed to evenly moisten the coffee grounds which is perfect for small batches of coffee. Again the other units do not do this and it really does make a difference to the taste of your final brew.
Another important function is water temperature and to be honest this is where many automated drip coffee makers fail,..but NOT the Bonavita! The unit can hold a consistent and precise water temperature of 195°-205°F so you are always guaranteed the best extraction.
Desirable Features of Any Drip Coffee Maker (Not Just 4 Cup Units)
It doesn’t matter what size of coffee maker you buy, ultimately all should have the same features and functions. Some manufacturers offer more and some less, to be honest, most of the time the extra “bells and whistles” are unnecessary.
However, the below features and functions are a must have as far as we are concerned. Here’s what you should be looking for when buying the best 4-cup coffee maker (or any drip coffee maker for that matter!).
Stainless steel or glass carafe: Try to look for a brewer that has a glass or stainless steel carafe. Stainless steel has a slight advantage over glass as it’s less likely to break if dropped (some units even have insulated carafes that will keep your coffee hot).
Programmable coffee machine: Having some basic programmability on your brewer can be extremely beneficial, and time-saving! How about walking down the stairs in the morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, YES, that’s possible after setting up the coffee maker before bed.
However, some coffee manufacturers can go overboard and offer settings that you’ll never use, so pick a unit with just the right amount of functions you’re going to use.
Permanent coffee filter: There’s a big ongoing debate whether paper or permanent coffee filters are the better option, in fact, I wrote an article on just that.
There’s NO real difference apart from maybe a very slight differing in taste. If you want to save a few bucks by not buying paper filters and don’t want to clog up landfills with your used filters a coffee maker with a permanent filter is going to be a great choice.
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