If you are new to the coffee-making world, you might be slightly aghast at the number of gadgets required to brew a good cup of coffee. Between the hundreds of coffee machine options, coffee bean grinder options, varieties of coffee beans, conical burr vs blade, milk foamers, coffee bean containers…
There's so much to choose from! Thankfully, there’s a solution that’ll make your mornings a little bit easier by reducing the number of machines you need: buy a coffee maker with a built-in grinder.
If you’re like my mother, you might think purchasing pre-ground coffee will suffice (bless her heart), but nothing could be farther from the truth. You don’t just have to take our word for it. Ask any home barista that grinds their own beans, and they’ll tell you: It’s not even close.
Well, it’s one less appliance to fit on your counter, which is always a bonus. Surprisingly, many of these combo machines aren’t much larger than a stand-alone coffeemaker. The bean reservoir can add a bit of height, but it’s far less than you’d anticipated.
If you already have a perfectly good conical burr grinder that’s still in great shape, it may not make a ton of sense to drop some extra dough on a combo machine, but if you don’t have a conical burr grinder or your grinder’s in need of replacement, hop on over to this article talking about why you should definitely opt for a conical burr grinder.
The fact of the matter is, beans ground using a conical burr grinder are simply better — the conical burrs grind more evenly, create less heat, and ultimately provide a better tasting cup. So whether you buy a stand alone grinder or a combo grinder plus machine, make sure it uses conical burrs!
On to the second reason why having a coffee maker with a grinder built in is the total 'bee’s knees': it’s so streamlined and convenient.
The ultimate cup of coffee is a thing of timing and beauty. In a perfect world, the beans are ground a mere second before blooming in a splash of hot water between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, before being totally doused in that same temperature water. In a perfect world, the burner never burns the coffee, a barista makes you your coffee in the comfort of your own home, and everyone and everything leaves you alone until you’re well into your second cup of caffeine.
Since we live in a non-perfect world, we can only strive to get as close to that dream as possible. Combo grinder and coffee machines really get you pretty close, though.
The moment beans are ground, they begin to oxidize — it’s why you’ll never hear coffee experts encourage you to buy pre-ground beans. Oxidation begins to stale coffee just about immediately, which can degrade the unique flavors to a bean.
These combo machines make it a single-button push to grind and brew, so you get the freshest ground coffee possible.
There are two key questions you should ask yourself before adding to cart and clicking purchase:
1. How much do I want to invest in my morning coffee experience?
2. How often will I use the machine and for what purpose?
When eyeballing these prices, keep in mind that you’re looking at a two-machines-in-one and the prices often reflect that. You can find machines for as little as $50 bucks and as high as… well, the $6,000 Jura Giga 6 which features two separate grind units, dual boilers, and a virtual reality so you can actually visualize it in your kitchen for reals.
While you definitely don’t need to buy a $6,000 machine to get a top quality morning experience, there’s definitely a correlation between price and quality when it comes to these combo machines.
To figure out what price range is suitable for you, analyze your daily habits and what you hope to use this new machine for. Are you a big entertainer? Do you want to program it to grind and brew for you in the morning? Are you going to take our advice and choose one with a conical burr grinder?
The more you want, the more dollar signs you may find attached to the price, unless you can find a top-notch deal. Today, we’ll focus on coffee makers that are on the more on the affordable side of things.
Black and Decker has a lot of hands in a lot of honey pots — they make lawn equipment, power tools, and an unsurprisingly solid coffee maker and grinder combo machine. It may not have the conical burr grinder that we’d ideally want, it’s just not something you’ll find at this price.
Despite that, this budget-friendly machine has a surprising number of easy-to-use features for such an affordable option. QuickTouch Programming means you can easily set the Mill and Brew to start up to 24 hours ahead of time. It also allows you to choose your brew strength to regular, bold, or strong based on your preferences.
The grinder is directly attached the permanent gold-tone reusable filter and the machine makes up to 12 cups of coffee. The fact that the manufacturer’s consider 5 ounces a cup of coffee is a whole different matter, but there you have it.
KRUPS may not be the same sort of household name that Black and Decker or Cuisinart are, but they offer a great affordable option that includes the ideal grinder: a conical burr! The grinder offers five different grind settings, which is fewer than a typical stand alone, but hey, I’m just happy it’s here to begin with!
On top of giving grind size options, you can also adjust how many cups, between two to 10, and three brew strength selectors, mild, medium, and strong. Set the machine to auto start just a few minutes before your alarm goes off to wake up to the delicious smell of coffee, and enjoy every last drop with the two hour keep-warm function.
If you’re like me and hate waiting for the entire pot to brew, you can even pause this machine to snag a cup early! I mean, we’re getting pretty close to the perfect world here.
Gevi makes a lot of kitchen appliances, but their name might not be familiar to us here in the US. Gevi is based out of China and they’ve put together a great Grind and Brew coffee maker at a decent price.
It features a conical burr grinder, an LCD screen, brew strength control, programmable options, and a large 200 gram bean reservoir, which you’ll be grateful for as you brew again and again without having to refill.
You’ll see extra features in all sorts of little places, such as the ability to choose between more grind sizes. The Gevi Grind and Brew has a total of eight, so you have more versatility if you have a specific preference. There’s also an anti-drip design, so you can slide out the carafe whenever you like without splashing precious caffeine everywhere.
Cuisinart is a well-known name in the kitchen appliance, so it’s unsurprising that Cuisinart is popping up on this coffee maker and grinder combo list.
Hit your snooze button until you hear the audible 5 beep that means the Grind-And-Brew has freshly completed your pot of joe. Brew up to 10 cups if you’re entertaining (albeit only 5 ounces each) or set it to only make between 1 and 4 if you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up
If you’re really jonesing for caffeine, the Cuisinart features a BrewPause feature and it eliminates the dicey issue of overheating any leftover since it features a thermal carafe rather than a heating plate.
Whether or not you’re familiar with the Capresso name, you will be now. The Capresso Coffee Team is aptly named—it’s your very own coffee team for your personal kitchen and it takes care of everything.
The Coffee Team uses conical burr grinders, a total must, and is programmable to grind and brew the moment you wake up. Brew 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 cups at your desired strength, mild, regular, or strong. Adjust the grinder to use one of five grind settings based on your desired preference, and enjoy the extra measures Capresso has taken to ensure clean up is easy.
Using direct-feed technology, the Capresso not only saves space but also keeps moisture away from the bean hopper for a way easier clean up. Top this machine off with the Stop-and-Serve function so you can sneak a cup before the full pot’s completed, and it’s hard to beat!
Whether you want a single cup or a full pot, the Breville Grind Control Coffee maker has you taken care of. Ditch the wasteful single-serve and opt for this beaut, which offers fresh beans that you don’t have to grind yourself, the same capability to make one cup, and saves you money! It’s win-win-win.
The half-pound capacity hopper won’t force you to refill it every time you want a 12-cup pot of the good stuff, and the 60 ounce water tank capacity. The front and center LCD screen gives you real-time info on the brew strength, grind size, grind and brew times, and more.
All in all, this is a model featuring tons of options, a solid manufacturer’s name to back it up, and the ability to ditch your single-serve. We’re getting a bit higher up in the price range, but it’s a good combination of cost to features offered. I 100% recommend.
De’Longhi is a popular name is pro-sumer products. Hailing from the coffee lovers paradise, the ever-famous boot-shaped country Italy, there’s an inherent feeling of quality from their machines.
The De’Longhi Magnifica, in particular, is a super-automatic espresso and coffee machine made from high-quality materials featuring a low need for technical expertise. The professional aesthetic makes it look like it would be at home in a classic cafe, but this is designed for home use—for you.
Choose between 13 grind settings, which is on par with what you’d get in a stand-alone, and choose your type of drink, as well. There are multiple espresso strengths, cappuccino, latte, hot water, and Americano options at your fingertips. Top it off with a manual steam wand to foam your milk for delicious mixed drinks.
Make sure to also check out our full review of the DeLonghi Magnifica. You see why it also made our list of the best espresso machines, which you can find here.
The top-most top-of-the-line machine we’re going to talk about today is one that would be distinctly at home in your local coffee shop. It features things like “dose control grinding” and “digital temperature control (PID)” which might immediately make you think this machine is outside of your capabilities—but no!
There will be a little bit more of a learning curve with this Breville Barista Express, but you’ll feel like a total pro when friends and family come over and you can whip them up a cappuccino toot sweet, micro foam included thanks to the steam wand! The one thing to note with this beaut is that it’s not for making a full pot of coffee—it’s for single-serve drinks.
The Barista Express is not only one of our favorite brew and grind machines, but it’s also one of our favorite espresso machines in general (see here). It is user-friendly for a variety of consumers with different levels of expertise and experience. Read our full review of the Breville Barista Express here.
We feel it’s important to re-emphasize that the freshness of ground coffee beans has an enormous impact on the taste of brewed coffee. It’s one of the reasons we’re big proponents of this grind-and-brew coffee maker category, especially if you’re not keep on adding extra machines to your counter, extra steps to making your coffee, or just really appreciate a streamlined process.
The size of the coffee grinds you use impacts extraction, which in turn impacts flavor. Extraction happens when water runs through the ground coffee, and it is measured by the number of solubles that are removed from the coffee and enter the water. The Specialty Coffee Association says that the best extraction lies somewhere between 18% and 22%.
You can see pictures of different grind sizes and a basic overview of which sizes match which brewing methods here.
Additionally, when you purchase a coffee machine with a built-in grinder, you can rest assured knowing that the grinder you’re using is designed specifically to compliment the actual coffee maker. This leaves out much of the guesswork that home baristas encounter when they're looking to purchase a coffee grinder that's independent of their coffee machine.
You’ll notice that the machines we talk about have two different types of grinders, and we want to break down those two types so you can have a real grasp on what you’re getting with each. The two main types are blade grinders and burr grinders.
Most baristas will recommend using a burr grinder, and there are several solid reasons, but the largest is consistency. Conical burr grinders can be made from either steel or ceramic, which honestly is a whole other debate in and of itself. Ceramic burrs are stronger and last twice as long as the steel alternatives, but they come with a significant price increase.
On the other end of the ‘grinder spectrum’, a blade grinder works much like a blender. It uses fast-spinning blades to cut up the coffee beans. However, because of the way the blades chop up the beans, there’s no way to guarantee a consistent particle size distribution, so you’re likely to end up with grinds that are all slightly different sizes.
This may not be terribly noticeable for beginners, but blade grinders can't hold a candle to the overall quality and consistency of a burr grinders, either ceramic or steel. When you have an inconsistent particle size, the flavor is going to be all over the place, some of the particles will be over-extracted, others will be under-extracted, and the whole cup of coffee will be a mess.
The most important takeaway of the blade vs. burr grinder debate is that the burr is considered a higher quality piece of equipment that produces higher quality coffee. As with all purchases that promise higher quality, machines that use burr grinders will be slightly pricier, so keep that in mind.
Our pick for the best coffee maker with a grinder is the Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control.
The Breville Grind Control offers excellent value to cost ratio and is great for the everyday coffee drinker. The Grind Control’s customizable features, single-cup or full-pot options, really sealed the deal for us.
Happy coffee grinding and brewing everyone!