Coffee -- the black, liquid gold that keeps the world rolling and gives us the energy we need to start the day. We owe a lot to coffee, and we've come to be much more demanding of our coffee machines. This is why, in today's fast-paced and modern world, a smart coffee machine is probably a solid investment.
A smart coffee machine is essentially a coffee maker equipped with advanced electronics, allowing it to be connected to other devices such as smartphones or smart home systems. This integration means the coffee machine can be controlled remotely, programmed for specific times or different brews, or even be responsive to voice commands.
Before we start, I'd definitely say a smart coffee machine isn't for everyone. If you drink much of your coffee from a cafe -- it's probably not for you. I've you've got plenty of time in the morning and enjoy the routine of brewing a coffee, you're probably better off with a different type of barista coffee machine.
But if you drink coffee functionally and want to have it accessible at the click of a button, and if you value time and want to be more efficient, then you should definitely consider a smart coffee machine. Some of you have a smart home already (or you're working on it), so it's also worth considering it. Without further ado, here are some of our favorite smart coffee makers.
The best smart coffee machines
We'll get through each product individually, but here's a general idea of what we looked at. I selected smart coffee machines that incorporate a blend of traditional coffee-making excellence with modern technological conveniences. Here are some features that a smart coffee machine should have:
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: Allows the machine to be controlled remotely using smartphones or voice-controlled assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant.
- Integration with Smart Home Systems: Compatibility with systems like Apple's HomeKit, Google Home, or Amazon's Alexa ecosystem.
- Customizable Brewing Profiles:
- User Profiles: Save preferences for different users, so each person can have their perfect cup of brew at the touch of a button.
- Recipe Saving: Ability to save specific coffee recipes, adjusting factors like water temperature, grind size, and brew time.
- Sustainability Features: low-energy modes and overall efficiency
- Advanced Brewing Techniques:
- Pre-infusion or Blooming: Pre-wets the coffee grounds for optimal extraction.
- Pressure Control: For machines that make espresso, the ability to control the pressure can affect the flavor profile.
- Multiple Bean Reservoirs: Allows for different types of beans to be stored and used.
- Safety Features:
- Auto Shut-off: Turns off the machine after a certain period of inactivity.
- Child Lock: Prevents unintended use by children.
- Multifunctionality: Ability to make different types of coffee beverages, from espresso to latte to cold brew.
Gevi smart coffee machine
The Gevi 4-in-1 Smart Pour-over Coffee Machine is a marvel for coffee enthusiasts. With its sleek silver and aluminum design, it's not just a coffee machine but a statement piece for your kitchen.
The build quality is impressive, and it's evident that Gevi has put a lot of thought into the machine's construction. The first cup of coffee I brewed was nothing short of exceptional. The flavors were rich and robust, and I could tell that the machine's precision played a significant role in that.
The Gevi smart coffee machine also has a built-in grinder and different features for different types of beans and coffee. Overall, it has 51 grinding options and it can process a wider variety of coffee beans to produce many different extraction levels. But it also has a simple Auto mode if you don't want to bother too much with it.
For a machine that boasts so many features, it's surprisingly user-friendly. Whether you're a coffee novice or a seasoned barista, you'll find the Gevi intuitive and straightforward to operate. Brewing coffee can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.
All in all, the coffee maker is absolutely a premium choice -- and it feels like one. Herein also lies the only big downside we can mention: the price tag. The Gevi is not an entry-level coffee maker, it's an expensive one. Granted, it has all the flexibility and ability you can reasonably ask for, but it will set you back a bit.
So if you want a premium and you're willing to pay a premium, this is probably one of the best things you can get. If not, here are some more affordable options (that also do an excellent job).
Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker starts off impressive because of a very simple reason: it makes excellent coffee. It also looks great, with a stainless steel design and a carafe that can keep coffee hot for one hour after brewing. I'd say it fits especially well in modern kitchens, but really, with a gray, steel-type design, you'll be able to fit it anywhere.
The app is straightforward enough, allowing you to set it up. The device itself is also easy to set up. I'd say it's not hard to clean, but not particularly easy either. It's like any coffee machine basically -- you will have to clean it up.
The smart part of the coffee maker enables you to control the strength, size, and temperature of your brew from anywhere. You can schedule up to 10 cups of brew in advance and it will remember the program even if your electricity runs out or you unplug it for some reason. It's perfect if you're trying to set up multiple coffees in the morning, for different people, who like different types of coffee.
Some people have complained about WiFi connectivity. I haven't been able to replicate this problem, but presumably, it can happen if your WiFi connectivity is bad where you plan on installing the smart coffee maker. I'd say first check the WiFi, and only if it's good proceed to buy the machine.
The price is much more affordable than the Gevi. You're still paying a hefty sum, but for a premium smart coffee machine, it doesn't seem like breaking the bank.
Keurig K-Supreme SMART Coffee Maker
If you're looking for something that has an even better price point, it's hard to compete with the Keurig K-Supreme SMART Coffee Maker.
In terms of design, I thought it looked pretty sleek. I like the white color, but someone pointed out that the power cord is black, which may not match well with all-white kitchen aesthetics. Now, I'll be honest -- my eye is not that keen and not that attentive to details so I paid that zero thought. But if you are all about that design, it's worth looking at this as well.
What I was paying attention to, however, was how you use it. The larger water tank means fewer fill-ups, which is a plus especially if you're lazy like me. I've also observed a few minor things that could be improved. I occasionally need to lift the pod lever multiple times to reboot the machine's electronics to make coffee or hot water. Another minor issue is that the pressure from the pod dispenser sometimes splashes coffee onto the machine, especially noticeable on the white model.
It also seems to have some problems with some pods, especially eco-friendly pods. By that I mean the machine doesn't seem to really recognize some of the pods. This may differ based on the type of pods you get and you may get some weaker coffee or spillage if that happens, so I definitely recommend checking beforehand, if you plan on using pods. However, given that coffee pods (even the ones that claim to be eco-friendly) are not eco-friendly at all, I'd suggest not using pods to begin with.
Homokus 12 Cup Coffee Maker
If you're looking for a cheap smart coffee maker that still gets the job done, this is it. The build quality's good, the coffee's good, the design is sleek -- you wouldn't guess the price just by looking at it.
However, the WiFi does seem a bit trickier than with the others. The instructions were a bit confusing as well, but nothing you can't sort in a few minutes. After you set it up, if you've got a good Wi-Fi connection, you shouldn't really have any issues.
I didn't need to replace parts, but apparently, most parts are not replaceable with this coffee machine. In other words, if something goes bad, you can't really change it -- though at this price, it's kind of hard to complain. I doubt you'd use this coffee machine for decades, but you can get good mileage out of it before you need to fix or change a part.
Basically, you get good value for the money. That's pretty much it. Other reviewers did mention problems like leakage or problems with programming, but I haven't been able to replicate that. Still, I imagine there's a fair bit of luck involved, and if you're particularly unlucky or make a mistake setting it up, I can imagine some faults popping up.
But if you want a smart coffee machine that is affordable and checks all the boxes, you can't really do much better than this.
Ultimately, I tried to touch upon a wide range of prices, and I mentioned coffee makers with various capabilities. It all depends on what you want. Every smart coffee maker has the basic, programmable functionality. Every product on this list makes good coffee. At the end of the day, for me, that's the most important thing. From there on, it all depends on what you want.
Do you want a super cool, reliable machine that can grind beans in different ways and make coffee accordingly? Or rather an entry-level product? Do you want something down the middle, emphasizing the quality-cost ratio? We've got you covered either way.
Why get a smart coffee machine
Smart coffee makers are a relatively new addition to the market. There's still a pretty remarkable diversity of products, but I'd say the market is still not mature enough yet -- and there's plenty of room for improvement. But before deciding on what product you want, you should first decide if you should get a smart coffee machine at all. Here are its main advantages:
- Convenience: Imagine waking up in the morning to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. With a smart coffee machine, you can schedule it to brew coffee right when your alarm goes off. Or, if you’re on your way home and fancy a cup, you can start the brewing process from your smartphone.
- Integration with Smart Homes: For those who have smart home systems in place, a smart coffee machine can be seamlessly integrated. For example, your home could recognize when you've entered the living room in the morning and trigger the coffee machine to start brewing.
- Customization: Some smart coffee machines allow you to adjust brewing parameters through apps. This means you can tweak the water temperature, brewing time, or even the coffee-to-water ratio to get your perfect cup, every time.
- Maintenance Alerts: These machines can notify you when it's time for cleaning or when the coffee beans are running low. It takes the guesswork out of maintenance and ensures you always have a fresh cup when you want one.
- Environmental Benefits: Some smart coffee machines are designed to be more energy-efficient, turning off when not in use or optimizing power consumption based on usage patterns. This is not only good for your electric bill but also for the planet.
- Efficiency: If you drink multiple coffees throughout the day, or if different people in the household drink different types of coffee, this can save a lot of time.
The main disadvantages of a smart coffee machine
When discussing smart coffee machines, it's important to note that while they offer a range of advanced features and conveniences, they also come with certain disadvantages. Here are the main drawbacks of a smart coffee machine:
- Complexity: Traditional coffee machines are straightforward to use. With smart coffee machines, the added technology can make the setup and operation more complex, especially for those not familiar with smart devices.
- Cost: Smart coffee machines tend to be more expensive than their non-smart counterparts. The integration of technology and advanced features can drive up the price.
- Maintenance: These machines often come with more parts and sophisticated components, which can make cleaning and maintenance more challenging. Additionally, if a technical issue arises, it might require specialized knowledge or professional assistance to fix.
- Reliability Concerns: Introducing electronic components and software means there's a potential for glitches or malfunctions. Over time, software might become outdated, and updates might be required.
- Dependency on Connectivity: Many smart coffee machines rely on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. If there's an issue with the connection, some features of the machine might not work as intended.
- Security Concerns: Any device connected to the internet is potentially vulnerable to hacking. While the risk might be low for a coffee machine, it's still a concern, especially if the device is connected to other smart home systems.
- Environmental Impact: Smart devices, in general, have a larger carbon footprint due to the manufacturing of electronic components. Additionally, they might have a shorter lifespan than traditional devices, leading to more electronic waste.
- Loss of Manual Control: While automation is convenient, it can also mean losing the art and ritual of manually brewing coffee. Some coffee enthusiasts believe that the process of making coffee is as important as the drink itself.
- Potential for Obsolescence: Technology evolves rapidly. A smart coffee machine might become outdated faster than a traditional one, leading to the need for replacements or upgrades.
The bottom line
The world of coffee has evolved tremendously over the years, and the introduction of smart coffee machines is a testament to how technology is shaping our daily rituals. While the allure of convenience, customization, and integration with our smart homes is undeniable, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before making an investment.
For some, the traditional method of brewing coffee, with its tactile and sensory experience, might be irreplaceable. For others, the efficiency and modernity of a smart coffee machine might be just what they need to kickstart their day.
In the realm of science, it's always about pushing boundaries and exploring new frontiers. Similarly, in the world of coffee, innovation is brewing (pun intended). Whether you're a tech enthusiast or a coffee purist, the key is to find what works best for you and enjoy every sip. After all, coffee is not just a drink; it's an experience. So, choose wisely, brew passionately, and savor the moments that coffee brings to your life. Cheers to the future of coffee!