A Good Hot Cup of Coffee

So you like coffee. A lot. Me too. I like it so much I’m a home roaster. And an importer. That’s right. I import green coffee beans direct from the La Minita plantation in the Tarrazu region of Costa Rica. Why? Well, because (get ready) it’s the best inexpensive way to enjoy the best organic, free-trade, gourmet coffee on earth. (Here is more on how I got started, and you can, too.)

Apparently, I am not the only coffee lover in our EC family. You send me lots of questions and comments on the subject. Here one:

Which coffeemaker makes coffee the hottest and then keeps it hot without burning it?


“Hot” is a nebulous term when it comes to coffee. For McDonalds, hot meant a big lawsuit when its hot coffee burned a customer who spilled it in her lap. For my grandson Eli, hot means anything even slightly warmer than tepid.

Coffee aficionados insist that the water temperature for a drip coffee brewer needs to be hot at exactly 179 F. the moment it hits the coffee grounds. Personally, I find that to be on the cool side, which confirms “hot” is a matter of personal taste.

Automatic drip coffee makers have an internal thermostat to control the water temperature and they range from 155 F. to 205 F. depending on the make and model. Most machines will not allow the customer to change this setting—a feature most of us don’t think about when selecting a coffeemaker.

Manual coffee makers like Chemex (8-cup about $36) and Aeropress (about $30) leave this matter up to the brewer. When I use my Aeropress, I heat the water to boiling, then allow it to cool for just a few minutes until my instant read thermometer hits 190 F. Using this method I make only the amount we will consume immediately. Keeping it hot is not an issue.

OXO ON 9-CUP COFFEEMAKER. This beautiful machine dispenses coffee into a thermo carafe, which keeps the coffee hot for a long time. Water is heated and held throughout the brew cycle at 197.6  to 204.8 F. The carafe will keep coffee for an hour or two (not hot, as I define the word). This machine does make an excellent cup of hot coffee and gets very high marks with hundreds of reviewers. About $200.

BUNN 13000 12-CUP. This is the coffeemaker I own and use almost continuously. Bunn keeps water heated to 191 F. and ready to go at all times. That means when I pour the fresh pot of water into the machine to brew a pot of coffee, I’d better have the coffee grounds in the basket and ready to go because hot coffee begins pouring into the pot instantaneously. This machine makes up to 12 cups of coffee into a glass carafe and the warmer keeps it hot. We live at a semi-high elevation of 5,280 ft., and this machine works flawlessly. I have owned so many coffeemakers in my life—loved some, hated others—all of which finally failed. I do not plan on replacing this beautiful Bunn machine in the foreseeable future. It is trouble free, highly dependable and makes fabulous coffee. It cannot be beat. And it looks cool, too. About $260.

Neither of these two automatic coffeemakers that brew hot coffee are cheap. However, both are inexpensive when you consider you will not be replacing either one, for a very long time, if ever.

For a true coffee lover, a coffeemaker is an investment in one of life’s pleasures. The joys of a good cup of coffee cannot be overstated.


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  • Renita

    I think the best way to keep coffee hot and fresh after brewing is a thermal carafe. Mine goes right in from my coffeemaker and I usually have a second cup a few hours later – still hot and not oxidizing thanks to air, nor getting that “burned” taste from an overly hot burner.

  • Anne

    Coffee roaster here and I have tried all different kinds of coffee makers, even a vacuum coffee pot. I prefer a automatic drip coffee pot but would love to have a Bunn.. Maybe in the future.

  • MaryM

    Bunn! Been using them for … Good grief! 35 years, took my first one to graduate school. Way back when they had a lifetime guarantee, if anything wnet wrong you sent it to Bunn and they sent a new one. Sadly, that’s no longer the case BUT my most recent Bunn has a thermal carafe and I love it! The key is to preheat the carafe before you brew the coffee and then it stays quite hot for several hours. Got the coffeemaker on clearance (what?!?) for $89.

  • Karen

    I have been roasting LaMinita beans since I read an article on home roasting you posted some 10 years ago! Love my Behmor Coffee Roaster – and let me tell you, if you have problems, their tech support goes above and beyond to help you out and keep your 8-year-old roaster going! Now I’m such a coffee snob 😉 Nothing beats fresh-roasted beans for coffee.

    • Mary Hunt

      But we’re really nice snobs, right Karen? And yes, love the folks at Behmor.

  • recyclefraulein@yahoo.com

    I would turn down a cup of instant coffee in a heartbeat. I am not a fan of it at all. Now back to the McDonalds lawsuit….. I remember reading about it in the German Newspaper and the Stars and Stripes newspaper. The German’s made fun of the person that sued McDonalds and kept saying only in America.

  • Stumbo

    For instant, I put the freeze dried coffee into a cup (and add a bit of cinnamon and cacao powdered chocolate), heat filtered water to a rolling boil (about 170 degrees) and pour into cup fusing all while stirring and then keep quickly stirring for about 10 seconds. For flavor I add enough evaporated milk, half and half or heavy cream to turn the coffee a nice tan color, then stir quickly for another 10 seconds. I don’t think you’ll turn this cup down! The super hot water is the trick!

  • Sue Lilley

    How do you order from La Minita Coffee Plantation? I looked on their website, but didn’t see that information.

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