By Richard Moy, Cheapism.com
Many women can't fully wake up without some sort of caffeine in a cup, and a new study only adds to coffee's appeal. Researchers found that women who consumed two to six cups per day were 15 percent less likely to die from heart disease and other ailments (compared with 10 percent for men). But depending on where it comes from, all that coffee can impair your budget. The convenience of stopping by a coffee shop or popping K-cups into a pod brewer comes at a cost. Brewing at home with an affordable automatic-drip machine lets you spend less to get your fix -- and put some of the savings toward high-quality beans and a grinder. Experts advise that freshly ground coffee, rather than a pricey coffee maker, is the key to producing a superior cup.
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Here are Cheapism's favorite budget coffee makers:
- The Black & Decker Brew 'n Go DCM18S is a popular and inexpensive single-cup brewer that costs as little as $19. Although it uses ground coffee instead of pods, it lets you brew an individual serving directly into a 15-ounce travel mug that comes with the coffee maker. In reviews posted online, consumers say the machine is simple to use and also comes in handy for making tea, oatmeal, or instant soup.
The Hamilton Beach Ensemble 43254 is a sleek-looking countertop appliance that won't blow you away with bells and whistles, but reviews indicate it's a reliable machine at an affordable price (starting at $38). Consumers who own this coffee maker appreciate that they can count on a hot pot of coffee to be waiting for them every morning. This is a full-size machine with a 12-cup capacity.
- The Mr. Coffee JWX27 comes with a few extras that some other machines on our list don't have, such as a brew-strength selector, a cleaning cycle, and a water filter. Experts note that this 12-cup coffee maker consistently produces the high temperature required for a good brew. Perhaps its best feature is a starting price of $35.
- The Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit 48464 is the most expensive machine on our list, with a starting price at $47. However, this 12-cup machine eliminates any worries about breaking a glass carafe, as it holds coffee in an internal thermal tank, letting you fill a mug directly from a spout. It offers four different brewing modes: regular, bold, iced, and 1-4 cups.
Related: Best cheap coffees
All of the coffee makers on our list, with the exception of the Black & Decker Brew 'n Go, are programmable machines that you can set the night before to brew for the morning. They also turn off automatically. On the Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit, the automatic shutoff can be adjusted to keep coffee hot for up to four hours instead of the typical two.
The Hamilton Beach Ensemble and Mr. Coffee JWX27 come with a conventional glass carafe that sits on a hotplate to keep coffee warm. While reviews indicate that both machines deliver piping-hot brew, it's typical for coffee to taste bitter or burnt after sitting too long. Many consumers have been won over by the novel designs of the Black & Decker Brew 'n Go and Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit, which don't employ a hotplate.
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