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Best Programmable Coffee Maker | Buyer's Guide for 2019 | Espresso Perfecto

Best Programmable Coffee Maker | Buyer’s Guide for 2019

Best Programmable Coffee Maker

Getting out of bed without hitting snooze more than once is a serious accomplishment. Do you know what makes it 10 times easier? The smell of fresh coffee.  

One of the big advantages of a programmable coffee maker is being able to have it start the day before you do. My wife loves to wake up to a latte in bed (in this case it’s me that’s programmed), but there is a great selection of coffee and espresso machines available that will act as your coffee alarm clock.

The other main benefit to a programmable coffee maker is being able to customize it to suit your drink preferences. Saving all my favorite brew settings is a little morning luxury that really makes my morning routine easy and even enjoyable.

Most programmable coffee and espresso machines worth their salt will allow you to customize brew strength, size, and taste. More advanced espresso machines will also allow you to tinker with temp and grind settings, which is great if you are a home barista at heart.

Traditional drip coffee makers and Italian style espresso machines differ on how they work, but I find both to have their place in the home and that there are some really noteworthy options for each. I’ve broken this article into two sections to showcase my picks for both categories.

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If you are interested in espresso machines, click the button above to auto-scroll, to learn about the best coffee makers with programmability, read on!

Drip-Style Coffee Makers

Whether you are new to brewing coffee or a fairly seasoned home barista; there is nothing better than waking up to the wonderful aroma of your favorite brew. With a programmable coffee machine, you can set the start time and your coffee will automatically start as directed.

Purchasing a coffee maker with a built-in grinder is another way to smooth out the morning caffeine routine. Having beans ground fresh to order really changes the taste of the coffee. There’s nothing like it. A programmable machine with a grinder should have a direct-to-brew feature that starts brewing your coffee seconds after the grinding is complete.

For these types of machines, you pour the whole coffee beans directly into the hopper and prior to brewing the pre-programmed machine will grind and release the selected amount into the filter. Most machines with a grinder will also include an option to turn off the grind function and use pre-ground beans, which is a nice feature.

This article will compare the best programmable coffee makers with a range of programming options to customize your experience.

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The Final Shot: The Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew Automatic Coffeemaker is my top pick as a top performer not only when it comes to the quality of coffee and ease of brewing, but for also being wallet-friendly and under $100.

Top Programmable Coffee Makers

  • Black & Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $Price
  • AutomaticMachine Type
  • Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $Price
  • AutomaticMachine Type
  • Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $$Price
  • AutomaticMachine Type

Choice #1 – Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker Review

The Cuisinart Grind-and Brew Automatic Coffeemaker is a top pick in the coffee maker category for both the quality of the brew and selection of great programmable features.

This machine is considered fully programmable, which means you can not only set a future brewing time, but it can also save your favorite coffee preferences.

The built-in grinding assembly gives you the option of adding whole coffee beans for an authentic fresh-ground coffee experience. All you have to do is pour in the water and coffee beans or grinds and set the brew time. The machine will beep 5 times to notify you when your brewing cycle is complete. It is quite literally a coffee alarm clock.

The grinder itself is set for a standard medium grind, which offers the optimal texture for brewing. You don’t have the option to change this setting, but for coffee you don’t really need to customize here the way you would for espresso.

If you occasionally use pre-ground coffee, you can easily select the “grind off” control to bypass the grinder. I like this setting a lot as I’ve found some grocery stores have a really tiny selection of whole beans and when you’re in a pinch, pre-ground is sometimes the only option.

The Cuisinart also allows the user to program the strength of the coffee it’s brewing. The instructions included with the machine recommend the optimal portions for brewing but you can adjust the amount based on your preferences for a stronger coffee.

Included with the machine is a commercial-grade, gold-tone filter that preserves the purity of the coffee flavor.  It’s also really nice not to have to worry about purchasing paper filters on a regular basis. The reservoir cover has an easy release button allowing for effortless filling of the water container.

This machine also has selectable settings to determine how much coffee is brewed for an ideal extraction. The 1 to 4 cup setting is designed specifically to brew smaller cups of coffee without sacrificing any of the superior flavor. The maximum cup setting on this machine is 12.

I’m also a fan of the smart “brew-pause” function, which lets you sneak a cup of coffee while you wait for the rest of the pot to finish. The pause time on this model is about 20 seconds, which is just about perfect for pouring a cup.

The Cuisinart also has a large, easy to use and intuitive control display. Aesthetics-wise it’s pretty good looking. It features a brushed metal face and a carafe that is designed for easy pouring with an ergonomic handle.

Cuisinart also stands behind the quality of this product with a 3-year limited warranty.

Some users have noted that the grinder is a bit louder than expected, but some grind noise is pretty unavoidable for built ins.

The Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew machine is a popular pick on Amazon with a crazy 1,471 positive reviews and 4 out of 5 stars.

hotfeatures

Cuisinart Grind and Brew Machine Hot Features:
  • Fully programmable settings
  • Permanent Gold Tone filter and charcoal water filter
  • 12-cup coffeemaker with automatic bean grinder
  • Grind-off setting for pre-ground coffee
  • Brew-pause function
  • Auto shutoff between 0 to 4 hours
  • Adheres to North American Electrical Standards
  • 3 year limited warranty

Choice #2 – Black & Decker CM5000B 12-Cup Mill and Brew Coffeemaker Review

The Black & Decker CM5000B is a great coffee maker that gives users a customizable experience to brew coffee to match pretty specific taste preferences.

The CM5000WD comes in four different modern color options including black, white, red and grey. It measures in at 10.9” x 13.9” x 16.6” and is compact enough to be a great fit under a top hanging kitchen cabinet or on a bar.

The design features large buttons with a backlit display that respond quickly to indicate which function you’ve selected. The angled display panel makes it pretty easy to see the time and brew functions.

Like the Cuisinart, the B+D has a built-in grinder to give you the option of adding whole coffee beans for a fresher coffee experience. The automatic grind-to-brew cycle is the main programmable feature and ensures that you are able to grind fresh and preserve the aroma and essential oils for a really tasty cup.

My favorite feature is the all-in-one grinder and permanent filter that pop out for super quick, no hassle cleaning. You can even clean the brew basket in the dishwasher.

The auto shut-off feature offers added peace of mind as the machine turns itself off automatically to conserve energy. The programmable warming plate is also a nice way to pre-heat your cups and like the rest of the machine, it will automatically shut off after a specified time.

The sneak-a-cup feature allows you to enjoy your first cup of coffee without having to wait for the entire pot to finish brewing. On the Black and Decker, simply press the button to stop the flow of coffee and pour your cup before restarting. I like that you aren’t limited to 20 seconds like you are with the Cuisinart and can choose when to restart.

You also have the flexibility of using either coffee beans or pre-ground coffee by using the grind button to turn the grinder on and off. If you are using whole beans, the brewing cycle starts automatically after the grinding is complete. The grinder also performs extremely well for a more affordable machine.

I also appreciate that it isn’t a guessing game when it comes to refilling the water tank.The clear-view window on the water reservoir shows you exactly when the water needs to be refilled.

This machine has a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars and over 600+ reviews on Amazon.

hotfeatures

Black and Decker CM5000B Hot Features:
  • Quick-touch 24 hour programming panel
  • Auto shutoff
  • Easy to Clean
  • Strong Brew Option
  • Sneak-a-cup feature
  • Non-stick Carafe Warming Plate
  • Clear-view Water Reservoir
  • 2 Year Limited Warranty

Choice #3 – Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control Review

The Breville BDC650BSS is a great customization machine designed to meet the user’s specific preferences in more ways than some of the other options in this category.  

With the Breville, you have full control over the strength of your coffee with 8 different settings to choose from. The taste and flexibility of this coffeemaker are pretty much unbeatable in comparison with other programmable coffee machines in the same price range.

The burr grinder features stainless steel and 6 different grind control settings to give you the ultimate flexibility to customize the level of grind to meet your taste. With a consistent grind, you’re able to achieve really fresh coffee that tastes great every day.

If you prefer to use pre-ground coffee, simply select the pre-ground option for a quick brew. This machine also preserves the aroma from your coffee beans by grinding the beans right before brewing your coffee.

If you are making coffee for just yourself, you can use the single cup feature and avoid wasting a whole pot.

You also have the option to brew up to 12 cups with the included stainless steel carafe or if you prefer, brew right into your mug or travel cup. I love that this coffee maker fits even the taller travel mugs with a 7.5’’ height clearance.

The well-lit display tells you everything you need to know about making your coffee. The LCD screen provides real time notifications for grind size, strength, timing, water level and more.

Because the serving size and strength are programmable, no measuring is required. A few users have noted that the Breville does consume a greater amount of beans than the other models. This may be due to the strength selection option, but it is worth keeping in mind.

This machine ranks #6 on Amazon in the Coffee Makers with Electric Burr Grinders category with more than 180 positive reviews.

hotfeatures

Breville BDC650BSS Grind Control Hot Features:
  • Programmable auto start
  • 8 Strength Settings
  • Real time feedback
  • Removable drip tray
  • 7.5” height clearance
  • Espresso Machines
  • Temperature control
  • Bright LCD screen

Best Programmable Espresso Machines

Programmable espresso machines are one of my favorite products because they make some really fantastic specialty beverages with minimal fuss and the best ones are super intuitive to use.

Espresso machines can seem a little intimidating to rookie users, but shopping for a machine in this category is a great place to find something that will make café-worthy drinks, without having to hone any real barista skills. The programming takes care of most of the work, so you’re really free to enjoy the experience.

In espresso-speak a programmable machine with that level of automation is usually considered a super-automatic machine.

For the full, hands-off experience, super-automatic espresso makers with built-in grinders are the best way to go. The integrated grinders make the process seamless and also cuts down on the mess of grinding separately.

My own espresso machine has this feature and I’ve never regretted the upgrade.

There is a wide range of programmable machines available, but I’ve curated a list of the best three options.

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The Final Shot: From my short list, the De’Longhi Magnifica truly offers the best in class automatic features and is really a stand out when it comes to features and affordability. For an upgraded experience and a heftier price tag, the Accademia from Gaggia is all luxury and automation and another great pick.

Top Programmable Espresso Machines

  • Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $$Price
  • Super AutomaticMachine Type
  • Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $$Price
  • Super AutomaticMachine Type
  • Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine
    Product Name
  • 4Rating
  • $$Price
  • Super AutomaticMachine Type

Choice #1 – Delonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Review

The De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica is a programmable espresso machine that consistently delivers exceptionally aromatic espresso with slick automation that makes using it pretty easy.

This is a high-performance machine in a fairly compact housing. The integrated burr grinder is surprisingly quiet, space-saving and automatically grinds coffee beans to your desired coarseness.  The burr grinders are what you should really look for when buying a machine with a built-in grinder. The stainless blade grinders just can’t compare.

De’Longhi designed the Magnifica so you don’t need to be an expert to operate it. The advanced customizable features allow you to select the richness, temperature and density of espresso beverages. The Magnifica even adapts to your preferences by remembering your favorite strength, size and density so you can prepare your daily drink with just a button push.

The beans-to-brew system delivers top quality drinks by grinding beans fresh to order. As is the case with all super-automatic machines, I really recommend using less oily beans to ensure maximum performance of the built-in grinder. You can also use the second chamber for pre-ground coffee, but fresh beans deliver the most aromatic flavor. Pre-ground beans really don’t compare, I don’t think I’ve used them more than twice.

The stainless steel double boiler on the De’Longhi distributes heat evenly and the machine even has an instant reheat feature so there’s no wait time between pulling shots. I make lattes and cappuccinos for both my wife and myself every morning, so minimal wait time is key.

The frothing system on this particular machine is also a favorite feature. The frothing wand is designed to accommodate any size milk container by rotating 180 degrees for easy milk frothing. This part of the process is manual, so keep in mind you will need to hold the milk pitcher and rotate slightly when steaming and frothing milk.

The coffee spigot height is also adjustable to fit all different cup sizes, other models don’t offer this feature which can be frustrating when you want to use a taller cup.

The De’Longhi also has an auto-shut off function after three hours to conserve energy. I’m not great at remembering to shut off my appliances, so this is a feature I tend to look for.

Cleaning the Magnifica is pretty easy, both the water tank and drip tray are easily removeable for washing.

This machine receives a stellar 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with over 600 reviews.

hotfeatures

De’longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Hot Features:
  • Low pitch adjustable burr grinder
  • Direct-to-Brew grinding
  • Instant reheat feature
  • Patented cappuccino system
  • Removable drip tray
  • Specialized call center for set-up and maintenance help
  • Programmable control panel
  • Specialized call center
  • Easy to use rotary

Choice #2 – Gaggia Brera Superautomatic Espresso Machine Review

The Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine represents the modern face of Italian craftsmanship with a brushed stainless steel panel and sleek design. This machine has a built-in ceramic burr grinder that automatically grinds coffee beans just prior to brewing for optimal flavor.

Like the De’Longhi, a simple button touch is really all the skill you need to operate the Gaggia. The machine has a pre-infusion feature that maximizes the flavor and aroma of your espresso beverage. You can pre-select the amount of coffee you wish to brew and the machine will facilitate the grinding of the beans, filling of the filter basket, tamping and extraction.

The 15-bar pump and stainless steel boiler quickly bring the water to the ideal temperature for brewing, with minimal wait time in between shots.

The telescopic coffee dispenser is also designed to fit any size coffee cup and the stainless steel Panarello steam wand can be used manually to froth milk for delicious cappuccinos.

The Brera features a Mavea water filter that provides an excellent filtration system and reduces build up. The machine also has handy notification lights that let you know when to perform maintenance. I love that the machine handles this so you don’t have to try and guess when it needs a little upkeep.

The water tank on the Brera is pretty small compared to the other models in this list, which can be a bit of a pain to refill frequently. Access is easy, but if you are enjoying several cups a day, this may be a deal breaker for you.

The Brera boasts a solid 4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.

hotfeatures

Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine Hot Features:
  • Easy to use controls
  • 15-bar pump
  • Stainless steel boiler
  • Mavea water filter
  • Auto shutoff
  • Flavor pre-infusion
  • Sleek, compact design
  • Telescopic coffee dispenser
  • Brushed stainless steel face
  • Panarello steam wand

Choice #3 – Gaggia 1003380 Accademia Espresso Machine Review

The Gaggia Accademia is a high-end super-automatic espresso machine that places at the top of its class in design, functionality and quality.

This is Gaggia’s premium model, so the price tag is definitely higher than the other two models I shared, but if you have the budget, it’s going to be worth the extra investment.

With the Accademia, you can fully customize the amount of milk, coffee strength, water temp and brew amount and on the color screen. Your preferences can be saved and stored so your daily espresso is a one touch process.

The machine is able to store up to 10 coffee settings. Every member of of your household can program the machine with their preferences so mornings at home are ridiculously easy. Think of this machine as your personal coffee concierge.

I really like how quickly the Accademia heats up to make espresso – it literally is ready to brew in seconds. It dispenses the coffee using an telescopic spout that adjusts to over 6 1/2 inches to accommodate all different cup sizes. The pre-brewing system is also designed to extract the maximum amount of flavor, to mimic the experience of a professionally-brewed shot.

The bean compartment is designed with a freshness seal that locks in the beans to keep them fresh and preserve the aroma. Similar to the Gaggia Brera, this higher-level model also includes a Mavea water to filter out the water impurities and limit buildup.This particular model is also self-cleaning, which makes it pretty effortless to maintain.

This is a pretty picky note, but I LOVE that the brew group on this machine is removeable. That can be a problem with a lot of higher-end super automatics, which necessitates yearly maintenance trips that are usually a couple hundred dollars each time. On the Accademia, you can clean this mechanism yourself and save the hassle and money.

The one caveat with this machine is that the automatic milk frothing doesn’t get the milk super hot. It’s hot, but not really hot. For users who like their drinks extra hot, some extra manual steaming is necessary. This is pretty minor, but worth noting if you’re looking for perfect programmability.

With 3.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the reviewers love the high performance and functionality of the Gaggia Accademia.

hotfeatures

Gaggia Accademia Espresso Machine Hot Features:
  • Customizable flavor setting
  • Adjustable telescopic coffee dispenser
  • Ceramic burr grinder
  • Double lid aroma saver
  • Built-in coffee grounds container
  • Programmable coffee quantity
  • Pre-brewing system

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of some of the programmability options for both drip-coffee makers and espresso machines. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

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Questions? Leave a comment below!

Chatting about coffee is my passion! Leave me a question in the comments, I answer each and every one and would love to get to know you better.

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About the Author Michael York

I am a die-hard espresso fan. I love every form of the drink from straight espresso shots to lattes and cappuccinos. I currently use a Breville BES870XL Barista, it is an awesome machine. BUT, my dream machine is definitely an Italian Quickmill Andreja. Those bad boys make badass espresso. I love answering your questions, leave a comment or question below!

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