I’m usually all about hand brewing coffee. The feeling of hand-grinding my coffee beans, slowly pouring water from my Fellow Stagg, hearing the gentle drip as the liquid gold flows from the shiny steel Kalita— it’s a beautiful thing. But even I sometimes wish for a cup of coffee, ready and waiting, when I get up in the morning.
That’s what we’re talking about today— grind and brew coffee makers. Coffee makers with grinders. These magic machines cut the beans and brew the coffee. And some do so while you are still in dreamland. Wake up with the smell of a tasty Rwanda Bourbon tickling the senses? Yes, please, and thank you.
Below we check out the options in the running for the best grind and brew coffee maker in 2021. But, if you’re in a rush here’s our top pick:
Alternatives At A Glance
If you’re looking for a coffeeshop at home, this one’s pretty close. Grind, tamper, froth and brew to your hearts content!
Finding The Right Grind and Brew Coffee Maker For You
Looking at picking up a complete grind and brew coffee maker but not sure what to get?
With so many options around, it can be hard to figure out what’s good and what isn’t. Knowing what to look for can help a lot. When I choose or recommend a coffee maker, these are the things that I pay close attention to.
Drip or Espresso?
Grind and brew coffee makers are usually aimed at drip coffee brewing. Drip is a much simpler brew option, the mechanics of which aren’t too complicated for a consumer-level machine to achieve.
These machines can be had for sub $100, with a really good one, like the Breville BDC650BSS, going for $300. Not too bad at all for a complete, fully automatic coffee brewing setup.
Grind and drip espresso makers are an entirely different game, usually costing upward of $500.
Why the huge price jump?
Brewing espresso takes a lot more work. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to put together to make even halfway decent espresso. First, we need the coffee beans ground very fine, dose it, and compact it. Then we need to push an exact amount of hot water through the coffee puck with around 9 bars of pressure. This is before we even think about the steamed milk side of things.
To get a human to do this well can be a tricky, time-consuming endeavor. But a machine? It takes a complex bit of kit to do all of these steps or to engineer a workaround for these steps.
Does this mean you can’t have good espresso at home on a budget? No, not at all. There are some excellent manual espresso options available, such as the Flair, or the Rok. Both are very affordable and produce some delicious shots. But they aren’t what you would call ‘easy’ to use, nor are they too easy to clean.
If you love espresso at home, but don’t want nor have the time to learn how to use an espresso coffee machine, a super automatic espresso maker can be a good option. Something like the ESAM3300 by De’Longhi is well priced and can do a lot for the money.
Black or Milky Coffee?
How do you like your coffee? Black, or with milk?
If you’re a coffee lover who loves milk in their coffee, go with a machine that has adjustable strength controls. Because milk will dilute your coffee, being able to adjust the strength of the coffee will equal a big boost in flavor.
Adjusting the strength of a coffee is often as simple as using a larger dose of coffee beans. While not all machines have this option, most do in one form or another. Even if you like your coffee black, this feature is nice to have.
Cappuccino and cafe latte lovers will really only have 2 options– either a traditional espresso machine or a super automatic one. The former has a bit of a learning curve, while the latter is usually more expensive.
The Right Grinder Is Essential
At the top of the list, probably the most important part of the grind and brew machine, is the burr grinder. The coffee maker must contain a burr grinder. Excuse the pun, but blade grinders simply won’t cut it here.
Why do we need a burr grinder? For a couple of reasons.
See, all coffee beans are roasted differently. Some coffee beans are roasted dark, while others are roasted much lighter. Dark roasted coffee beans will be more soluble than light ones. And this means that we can grind dark roasted coffee beans coarser– because they are easier for the drip coffee maker to extract. The more we extract, the tastier our coffee will be.
Burr grinders are usually adjustable. This means that we can control the size of each particle of the ground coffee beans. We can go super coarse, or we can go extremely fine. To make a truly bangin’ cup of coffee, we need to be able to adjust the burr grinder.
On top of that, a burr grinder produces a more even particle size.
Essentially, this means that it cuts the coffee beans more evenly, so each particle of ground coffee is roughly the same size. No big chunks (known as boulders), and no tiny particles (known as fines). We want all the coffee to be about the same size.
Using a coffee maker with grinder that is adjustable and grinds evenly, we will almost certainly be able to brew a tasty cup of coffee.
The 7 Best Grind and Brew Coffee Machines of 2021
Featuring an adjustable flat burr grinder, solid stainless steel construction, and variable dosage and strength settings, the Breville Grind Control coffee maker might just be the most well-equipped grind and brew coffee maker around.
- Built-in stainless steel flat burr coffee grinder
- Adjustable grind and strength settings
- LCD display shows all the settings and controls
- More expensive than other grind and brew coffee makers
- It is heavy (7kg/16lbs)
This is a well throughout coffee maker with grinder made by people who seem to understand what’s essential for brewing tasty coffee.
One of the things I like most about the Breville BDC650BSS grind control is that almost everything can be user-controlled.
The grind can be changed via a dial on the top of the machine, while the coffee dosage, which is a strength selector, can be set from 2 to 8. These numbers correlate to how much coffee the machine will dose into the flat bottom metal filter. The coffee grinder part is fairly easy to clean, accessible via the top of the machine.
On the face of the machine, we find a large LCD display that shows all of the Grind Control’s stats. Water level and strength control, as well as brew size, anywhere from 1-12 cups, is displayed on the screen.
With this screen, we can also access the calibration mode. Here we can adjust and set the amount that each strength number will give us. Note that you will need a digital scale to celebrate this bad boy, as it relies on you to tell it the amount it is grinding, so it can calibrate itself.
This Breville coffee maker features a programmable auto-start, meaning that it too can be your expensive and somewhat large new alarm clock. Coffee is brewed into a 12 cup, or 60 ounces double-walled, stainless steel thermal carafe.
As for the downsides, this coffee machine is a beast. When I say that, I mean it damn heavy! Like, 16 pounds/7 kilograms heavy. It is also more expensive than most of the other grind and brew offerings on the list. But for what you get, this is a very good all-in-one coffee machine.
One more thing– not really a downside: Breville recommends against using distilled or reverse osmosis water. If you are using this kind of demineralized water, maybe just use a water filter instead.
Breville’s Grind Control coffee maker lives up to its name with its solid grinder and number of things that can be tweaked. It offers excellent control over the brew and this translates into a great cup of coffee.
This is undoubtedly one of the best coffee makers with this feature set in this price range, making my top pick for the best grind and brew machine.
The Cuisinart DGB 900BC is the big brother to the DGB 650BC.
So what’s different? In case you haven’t seen it before (scroll down to see the review), they finally ditched the blade grinder! The biggest difference between the two is the built-in conical burr grinder, as opposed to the blade grinder built into the previous model.
- Features a burr grinder with 8 ounce bean hopper
- Decent sized flat bottom filter basket with metal filter
- Fully programmable
- Comfort grip handle
- Grinder isn’t adjustable
- Fast brew times
The new conical burr grinder has six settings, adjustable via the dial on the face of the machine. One might assume that this dial is adjusting the ground coffee size, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Rather the dial adjusts the amount of coffee that is ground.
Each setting correlates to how many cups you are brewing. For a full 12 cup thermal carafe, use the number 12 setting on the adjustment dial. Just want a single mug? Use number 4 on the dial for a 4 cup brew. This function works like a coffee strength selector.
The grinder is fixed at a medium particle size setting, unfortunately. So there is no tinkering that can be done to optimize extraction.
If you want to use preground coffee in the Cuisinart DGB 900BC, that’s do-able via the ‘grind-off’ feature. Use this feature to bypass the grinder and add the ground beans directly into the metal flat bottom coffee filter.
The Cuisinart DGB900BC is fully programmable, including a 24-hour delayed start time, as does it’s predecessor. There is something truly beautiful about waking up to a carafe of coffee, brewed, and ready to drink.
That is, for me, the biggest drawcard of this machine. It might not produce the best coffee available, but it is easy and convenient. For those who like to watch impatiently as their coffee brews, this machine does have a brew-pause feature, allowing you to sneak a cup before the carafe is finished.
A full 12 cup thermal carafe of coffee takes around 5 minutes to brew in this machine, which is a little on the fast side. There are coffee strength controls on the face of the machine, so these should help curb the possibility of a horribly under-extracted cup of coffee. According to Cuisinart, the included stainless steel 12 cup carafe will keep your coffee hot for a solid 8 hours.
While I am glad that Cuisinart went with a burr grinder on this model, It seems like a strange choice to not make the grind size adjustable. This would really help avoid those really fast brew times we see in this machine.
If you go with the Cuisinart DGB900BC and run into very under-extracted, fast brews, try adding a paper filter to the basket to slow the brew time down slightly.
Related read: Cuisinart brewers
If you want a coffee maker that will make your current alarm clock redundant, the Cuisinart grind and brew DGB 650BC might be just what you’re looking for.
- Choose between a glass or thermal carafe
- 24 hour delayed start timer
- Flat bottom filter basket
- Utilizes a blade grinder
- The grinder is loud
This grind and brew combo from Cuisinart is a very basic, entry-level coffee maker that is fully programmable and easy to use.
Set the 24-hour timer to wake you up with a fresh carafe of coffee, and it will do just that. But the thing is, it’s not the smell of the coffee that’ll wake you— it’s the violent noise of the grinder smashing those coffee beans!
The DGB 650BC coffee maker includes a blade grinder, so there is no control over how coarse or fine the coffee is ground. Just let it do its thing and hope for the best! While blade grinders aren’t ideal, they are better than using week old pre ground coffee.
There are two versions of the DGB-650BC— the difference between the two being the carafe size and construction material. The glass carafe option will hold 12 cups, while the double-walled, stainless steel thermal carafe holds 10 cups.
If you want to brew an easy single mug of coffee rather than a whole carafe, that is an option too, using Cuisinart’s 1-4 cup function. Though it is highly discouraged (highly!), using pre ground coffee is also not a problem thanks to the ‘grind-off’ feature.
Pressing the ‘grind-off’ button allows you to bypass the grinder and use the machine as a standalone brewer. When using the included grinder, the ground coffee doses right into the metal, flat-bottom brew basket.
What are the best things about the Cuisinart grind and brew?
The brew basket is nice and wide, it comes with a water filter, there is a brew-pause feature, and the delayed start timer is super handy. But I couldn’t in good conscience recommend this coffee maker to you. It’s the year 2021, and this coffee maker uses a blade grinder…Burr grinders should be a minimum at this point.
The Cuisinart DGB-650BC is inexpensive; I’ll give it that. But if you can stretch the budget, you’d be better off spending a little more and getting a grind and brew machine that uses a burr grinder rather than blades. You’ll be happier in the long run— I promise.
Historically, finding a good espresso machine in the sub $1K price range has been a tall order. And finding one with a quality built-in grinder at that price point is kind of outrageous. But that’s exactly what we’ve found here with the Breville Barista Express espresso machine. A quality, legitimate espresso machine with a built-in and competent grinder.
If you’re looking for a coffeeshop at home, this one’s pretty close. Grind, tamper, froth and brew to your hearts content!
- A high quality, legitimate espresso coffee machine
- Conical burr grinder with fully adjustable grind size and dose amount
- Can brew black coffee as well as milky coffees
- Has a fairly steep learning curve
This tasty grind and brew uses a thermacoil heating system and has the ability to build up 15 bars of pressure. That’s More than enough to brew some tasty spros, followed by some silky smooth steamed milk. Shot buttons can be programmed volumetrically, so using a set of scales isn’t essential either.
It uses real, 54mm stainless steel portafilters, though it also comes with a set of pressurized ones, great for beginners. The tamper this coffee machine comes with is adequate, but not the best. If you buy this machine and are a super geeky espresso fan, you’ll probably want to upgrade.
Grind duties are taken care of by the machine’s stainless steel conical burr grinder that is fully adjustable. The adjustability of the grind size is essential when it comes to espresso, so it’s good we have that here. We can also adjust the dosage using the ‘grind amount’ dial on the face of the machine.
Domestic espresso machines have been long infamous for low powered steam wands. Thanks to the low levels of pressure, velvety milk is simply impossible. The Barista Express is not one of those machines. As long as you give it a little time to build up some steam, it’ll have enough to get the job done.
Due to the thermacoil heating system, you can’t brew and steam at the same time. You’ll need to do one, then the other. I’d recommend brewing the espresso first, then waiting 30 seconds or so before steaming the milk.
So who should avoid the Breville Barista Express? To be brutally honest, if you are not looking for a new hobby, best to avoid espresso all together.
Espresso is a hard thing to get right. No doubt having a grinder built into the machine makes things easier, as does the pressurized portafilters, but it will still take some time to learn the ropes. Espresso machines also aren’t that easy to clean, and do need to be cleaned frequently.
The Barista Express is a real espresso machine. It features everything that a commercial machine does. And even though this machine is fairly expensive, you certainly get your money’s worth.
If you are looking to dive deep into the world of espresso, but want the compactness of an all-in-one machine, it would be hard to find a more suitable machine.
Related read: Semi-auto espresso makers
With a capacity of just 20 ounces, the Personal Cafe Grind and Drip coffee maker by Krups lives up to its name. It is clearly designed as a personal coffee maker with grinder, brewing enough coffee for a single person’s morning caffeine.
- Simple interface
- Built-in stainless steel flat burr grinder
- Small size good for small spaces
- Grinder only has 2 grind settings
- Can’t really control the coffee dose
While this Krups grind and brew machine isn’t fully programmable, it is super easy to use. So it may not wake you up with a coffee first thing, but it won’t do much to stand in the way between you and the good stuff.
With just two control buttons, you can’t really tinker with this coffee maker. This kind of simplicity is certainly a pro for some but will be a con for others.
Now let’s talk about the grinding and dosing on this Krups grind and brew. The grinder does have steel burrs, which is a huge plus. But the burr grinder only has two grind settings…a huge downer.
Because all beans have a different level of solubility, two grind sizes aren’t nearly enough to dial in your perfect cup of coffee. As for dosing, there are two strength settings to choose from— regular and bold. While it is nice that the strength settings can be adjusted, as with the grind size, two settings aren’t nearly enough.
If you want to use pre ground coffee beans, you absolutely can. Using the ‘brew only’ button will bypass the grinder. Just add your coffee to the included stainless steel flat bottom filter.
The 20-ounce glass coffee pot sits on a small hot plate. The inclusion of a hot plate in such a small capacity brewer I find a bit strange. It could be useful for a single person who wants a couple of coffees in the morning, but unnecessary if both cups of coffee are poured right away. But to be fair, it is called the ‘personal’ grind and brew, so I guess singles are who Krups are aiming this coffee maker at.
So who should buy the Krups Personal Cafe Grind and Brew? I’d say anyone who is dead set on buying a combo coffee maker but doesn’t have a lot of space in the kitchen. It is super compact with a small footprint and isn’t very tall. Also, singles who sit and drink a couple of coffee might find the hotplate a nice touch.
For me though, the not very adjustable burr grinder and the lack of dosage control wipes this grind and brew coffee maker out of the top three picks.
When taking a look at the DGB 550BK by Cuisinart, you may be overcome by feelings of Deja Vu. And that’s fair enough. The DGB 550BK grind and brew has almost the exact same feature set as it’s sibling coffee maker, the DGB650BC. And yes, both of these coffee makers use blade grinders, causing both coffee makers to be incredibly loud.
- Fully programmable
- Nice big filter basket
- The built in grinder uses uses blades, not burrs
- No control over the brew or grind settings
Though the features of both coffee machines are largely the same, the design of this grind and brew machine is a little different.
The Cuisinart DGB 550BK offers a 12 cup/60 ounce glass carafe that slots in just below the machine’s flat-bottom brew basket. The ground coffee (or should I say chopped coffee, being that it is from a blade grinder) is funneled directly into this basket. Those who want to use pre ground coffee can do so by using the machine’s ‘grind off’ feature.
You can choose to brew a full 60 ounce pot of coffee, or brew single cups using the 1-4 cup setting. According to Cuisinart, using this setting will optimize extractions when brewing a smaller batch of coffee.
There are a couple of good things about this grind and brew maker. First, 60 ounces is a pretty generous size. So if you want a coffee maker that is easy to use, brews lots of coffee in one go, and you don’t mind sacrificing grind quality, this might be a decent option. Second, it is fully programmable— a nice option to have.
If you are planning on buying a coffee maker to ease yourself gently into the daylight AM hours, this is not the machine for you. It is too loud.
Likewise, if you want to sneak out of bed before your significant other and lovingly brew a pot before they wake, your efforts may end in projectiles flying in your general direction. Unless, of course, your kitchen is far enough away from your bedroom!
The De Longhi ESAM3300 super automatic espresso coffee machine has been around for a long time. It has been one of the staple automatic espresso coffee makers ever since it’s release. It is super easy to use, easy to clean, features an adjustable steel conical burr grinder, 8 ounce bean hopper, and a Panarello steam arm.
- Easy to use
- Affordable when compared to other fully automatic espresso machines
- Adjustable grinding and dosage settings
- Loud grinder
- Doesn’t have the most powerful steam wand
While this machine is very pricey when compared to even the best grind and brew drip coffee makers, it is still considered a budget machine as far as super automatics go.
Keeping a traditional espresso coffee machine in an office or even a house with a few coffee drinkers is a legit nightmare. Very few people (usually) know how to use the machine, let alone clean it.
It quickly falls into a sad state of disrepair. This espresso maker can help curb that problem by making the brewing process easy and fully automatic. Keep a few beans in the bean hopper during the day and all your friends, colleges or family need to do is press a button.
While the De Longhi ESAM 3300 is super easy to use, you don’t get away completely scot-free. You still need to steam the milk. The steam arm is ok for a super-automatic, but certainly not the best by any means. It does get the job done, and you’ll be reasonably happy if you aren’t too picky about the milk portion of a cappuccino.
Thanks to De Longhi’s implementation of a Panarello steam arm, you don’t need to invest time in learning how to steam milk. A plus for people who want a quick latte without investing the time.
Because this machine is a super automatic espresso coffee machine, you can’t get in there and adjust everything the way you could with the Breville Barista Express. You can adjust the dose, as well as the shot volume, and choose one of 13 ground coffee sizes.
The fact of the matter is that super-automatic espresso machines are usually really expensive. And this one really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not cheap. But the De Longhi ESAM3300 is one of the most well priced super automatics I’ve seen, a decent choice for automatic espresso on a budget.
The Final Verdict
I’m starting to think that it’s not just some whacky coincidence that Breville makes two of the best coffee machines on this list.
Both the Breville Grind Control, and the Breville Barista Express automatic espresso machine are excellent quality coffee machines for the money. Both are capable of producing delicious coffee could might rival that of a coffee shop.
If you are looking for a grind and brew, drip coffee maker, you can’t go wrong with the Breville Grind Control. If you are looking for an all in one automatic espresso machine and don’t mind learning the ropes, you’ll make good friends with the Barista Express.