Whether you’re continuing the work-from-home life, heading back to the office full time, working a less-predictable schedule as a gig employee or delving into the mysterious world of hybrid work, finding a coffee maker that suits your particular work style can ease the tricky morning transition and keep you energized throughout your day.
We asked a group of baristas and coffee pros to recommend their favorite coffee makers and machines for a variety of different lifestyles and work schedules, and they provided us with this list of 10 top-rated coffee makers. No matter how long your commute or how erratic your schedule, you’ll be able to find a coffee machine that suits your work-related needs.
If you’re a permanent WFHer
Office closures during the pandemic have redefined the nature of remote work. While the ability to work from home (or from a coffee shop, or from any other non-office area) once seemed like an unusual perk, more and more companies find themselves opening to the potential of permanent WFH setups (and, of course, some workers have always worked remotely and will continue to do so long after the pandemic finally ends). For those who work from home and want to take advantage of their remote status by enjoying a high-quality cup of coffee, our experts suggested the following WFH-perfect models:
For some WFHers (especially those who are new to this work style), the benefits of filling out reports and answering emails from the couch can feel a bit clouded by the absence of a coffee shop routine. Especially if you enjoy espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes, there can be a great deal of comfort to visiting your favorite local spot and grabbing an indulgent drink before heading into the office.
If this sounds familiar, coffee maven and blogger Chris Clark of Brew Coffee At Home has an at-home coffee maker for you: The Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System.
This “is one of the most versatile coffee makers that make cafe-style drinks without requiring barista skills,” Clark told HuffPost. “It comes with a few preset menus and built-in frother. Push a button, and you’ll get delicious drinks in a few minutes. What’s more, it can brew coffee hot or cold, so you can enjoy the smooth and refreshing cold brew coffee right at your home. This is also an SCA-certified coffee maker that follows the ’Golden Cup’ standard. In other words, it brews perfect coffee.”
Easy, affordable and consistent, a French press serves as a worthy coffee maker choice for those who don’t mind putting slightly more effort into their brewing process than a simple press of a button and who are willing to spend four-ish minutes to get the cup of dreams. Since the WFH lifestyle gives you more liberty to take a (little) bit of extra time to prep your java, a French press makes a great deal of sense for remote coffee enthusiasts.
“For the WFH human, I will always and forever recommend a French press. If you have the time to allow steeping, it really makes one delicious cup of coffee. I personally have always trusted the Bodum brand,” said Bethany Sousa, a supervisor at Killebrew Coffee in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sousa points out that “the most important [thing to remember] when making coffee at home is to grind just before each use, and to use a good grinder.”
For workers with long commutes
If your trip to work requires a drive or a train ride of 30 minutes or more each way, then you may find it challenging to brew a cup of coffee that will stay both flavorful and potent while hanging out in a travel mug for an extended period. These two machines produce coffee that can hold up to gridlocked traffic and subway delays.
1. Moccamaster by Technivorm KBGC Select Coffee Maker
“Sometimes, on those long commutes, a good cup of coffee is the only friend you have, so it is important that it has both quality and staying power,” director of coffee culture Michael Phillips of Blue Bottle Coffee said.
Phillips urges commuters to opt for a home coffee machine with professional-caliber brewing technology: the Moccamaster by Technivorm KBGV Select Coffee Maker.
“The Technivorm is known around the globe as one of the best home coffee makers on the market in terms of quality, thanks to its consistent temperature and well-designed showerheads,” Phillips said. “Plus, it allows you to brew a great half batch as well as a full batch, whereas most brewers are only optimized for the full. This means that you can brew the perfect half batch of coffee that will net you 20 ounces, pour it into a classy travel mug and enjoy quality coffee all throughout your commute.”
“The Hamilton Beach 49976 FlexBrew is the perfect setup for someone who has a long commute and is looking for a high-impact cup of coffee,” Rivera said. “It brews a quality pot of coffee” for your travel mug, and “also has a single-serve coffee machine connected that allows you to quickly brew and drink a cup while you’re getting ready for the day.”
For hybrid workers
Hybrid work, which requires employees to report to a physical workplace for part of the week while working remotely the rest of the time, is a post-pandemic trend that’s likely to remain a regular fixture for years to come. It stands to reason that an employee’s getting-ready routine will differ on in-person office days as opposed to at-home days. A coffee-making regimen (and machine) that works for both types of workdays can be difficult to pinpoint, but coffee experts identify these two coffee makers as superior candidates.
The incredible popularity of the Chemex coffee maker among professional baristas may indicate that it’s a model that demands a more expert hand than that of your average amateur coffee fan. However, barista and blogger Zach Wentz of Good Fika views the aesthetically pleasing Chemex as a smart move for hybrid workers of all coffee-brewing skill levels.
“The Chemex is actually the original batch coffee brewer. It’s a simple device: an hourglass-shaped carafe with a handle. You put your paper filter up top and you pour over. But instead of making a single coffee-mug-sized brew, you can make two or three cups, which is perfect for the commute when you’re filling up that tumbler for the car or train ride, and perfect for those days you’re working from home and you want a second cup but don’t want to pour over again.”
To make a pour-over batch of coffee to barista standards, “you need a 0.01 gram-accurate scale, a good, consistent grinder (handheld won’t work here), and a pouring kettle,” Wentz said.
Ultimately, the Chemex serves as a prime example of a low-effort coffee maker with major rewards.
If your idea of an ideal coffee maker for hybrid work styles consists of a portable device that’s simple, efficient and inexpensive, then you can’t do better than the AeroPress.
“An AeroPress is a simple, manual single-serve coffee maker. It’s affordable, compact, light and made of durable materials, so it’s optimal for traveling,” said Tim Sutton, the expert behind the blog CoffeeGeek TV. “Users can enjoy coffee on the go anywhere as long as there’s ground coffee and hot water.”
He talks us through the AeroPress coffee-making process like so: “Basically, it works almost like a syringe and a French press. Add finely ground coffee and hot water into the chamber, then insert the plunger and press it down until all of the coffee is pumped out. A cup of joe can be served in a few minutes with minimal work. The quality is fairly consistent as well, even if there can be some variations in the coffee-to-water ratio and contact time. So it’s hard to mess up.”
For gig workers
The rise of gig work ― on-demand services like ride shares, dog walkers and app-based maintenance helpers ― led to an increase in the number of employees who find themselves juggling unpredictable schedules and relatively little notice before they’re called out to a job. For these workers, coffee makers that focus on efficiency without compromising quality are especially useful, and these two versions deliver on both fronts.
A nonlinear schedule calls for coffee convenience above all else, and that’s why founder and coffee writer Lukas Van Vyve of Emergent Brew selected the Nespresso Essenza Mini for gig workers.
“Brewing a cup is as easy as putting a coffee capsule inside the machine and pushing a button,” he said. “The process doesn’t take more than one or two minutes, so you don’t waste any time and are always ready to go off to your next assignment!”
“For a nice drip made quickly while you’re getting ready, we’d recommend the Zojirushi Zutto,” suggest Seth Kligerman, Kyle Horne and Will Landicho, owners and baristas at Forin Cafe in Philadelphia.
The Zojirushi Zutto, according to the Forin team, is “a compact machine that won’t overwhelm your counter, desk or even your cabinet, if you chose to stow it away. It features a removable water tank, which is a nice touch as well. The hot plate turns on when you turn the machine on, so if you have to get your schedule ready for the day and forget about your brew, it’ll still be hot when you’re ready to head out the door. Its conical dripper also mimics a cone, so it creates a great-tasting cup for your morning, afternoon, or whenever you need the pick-me-up. Finally, it’s a fast brewer and an easy-to-clean machine, which is great for people who need efficiency.”
For office workers who want to drink cold brew all year long
Some may perceive cold brew as a totally seasonal treat. But true devotees know that it’s always the right time for a strong brew poured over ice, regardless of the temperatures outside. If you work in an office with a hot coffee percolator, but want constant access to your beloved cold brew, then check out these recommended coffee makers.
“Gone are the days where cold brew was considered a summer-only, specialty coffee drink,” coffee expert and blogger Katie Woodburn-Simmonds of Home Coffee Expert told us. “Now, cold brew can (and should) be enjoyed year-round, so why not from the comfort of your desk, too?” She recommends a no-nonsense, fuss-free cold brewer from Japanese coffee powerhouse Hario ― the Hario Mizudashi Coffee Pot.
The Mizudashi is incredibly easy to use, and is also very affordable, Woodburn-Simmonds said.
“The 1-liter size will make around 4 cups of coffee to satisfy the caffeine cravings throughout the day, but it is also available in 600ml, if that’s a little too much,” she said. “Either way, it can easily fit in the work fridge, your desk drawer, or beside your screen to entice you in.”
If you’re looking for a low-cost and aesthetically charming model that still does the job, Sousa suggests this Primula.
“It’s portable and cute, and for a more portable and visually pleasing look, this is a great find!” she said.
The Primula features a soak chamber for the grounds and a mesh filter, which prevents any coffee bits from sneaking into your glass of cold brew while also providing you with the level of flavor strength that you desire from your iced java.