A 4 cup coffee maker is in a way an ideal size for most households. It makes little sense to have a 10 or 12 cup model taking up space if you only drink coffee for breakfast and there are only one or two coffee drinkers in the household. It is also worth taking into account the rule of thumb that says, the smaller the size of the brew, the quicker the brewing time and the better the taste of the coffee.
Roast, Grind, and Brew – Just Don’t Cook
Another reason to choose a smaller machine is this. If you are trying to keep 10 or 12 cups of coffee hot, the coffee can cook, which can adversely affect the flavor. That is not apt to happen when you use a 4 cup or smaller coffee maker.
Cuisinart, Mr. Coffee, and Hamilton Beach are leaders on this category. For the most part, their 4 cup models are very affordable, and for the most part they do an excellent job of brewing a good cup of coffee.
Simplicity or Convenience?
Thinking about a programmable model? The Mr. Coffee Drx5 is a best seller. If your preference is for a coffee maker where you only have to know where the On/Off switch is located, the Mr. Coffee TF5 is an excellent choice. Mr. Coffee has a knack for producing low-cost appliances that keep going year after year, which would seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says the more you pay, the better the quality. This truism may apply to espresso machines, but not necessarily to 4 cup coffee brewers.
The TF5 is easy to use, easy to clean, and does not have the leaking or dripping issues common to all too many coffee makers. The filter and basket are easily removable, and the unit is compact and light weight. The same is true with the Drx5, the main difference being its added functionality. One disadvantage of the Drx5 is that its buttons are not recessed, and if you should accidentally bump one, the machine may start up. Added features can at times be a hassle. Do you really need to know what time it is?
The Cuisinart DCC-450 4 cup model is stylish to look at and is on a par with the aforementioned Mr. Coffee models as far as coffee taste is concerned. It has neither a clock nor a timer, but it is a fast little appliance with a stainless steel the carafe, and it is definitely a space saver. Like Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart excels in marketing coffee makers that are not subject to leaking or spilling.
Why More Might be Better
An interesting brand to consider is Zojirushi, a brand that is not so widely known, although that seems to be changing. Zojirushi has a product line of 5-cup coffee makers, which might seem to be a strange size, but actually makes a good deal of sense. If you are thinking of purchasing a 4 cup coffee maker, read what the box has to say about cup size. Some specify 6 oz. cups and some specify 8 oz. cups. A standard 4 cup brewer may not necessarily give you 4 full cups, not to mention 4 full mugs.
The Zojirushi Zutto 5-cup model is compact, elegant, and highly rated. It sells at about twice what you will pay for the Mr. Coffee or Cuisinart models. You will however get your four full cups of coffee.
The Mr. Coffee TF 5 may be your best choice when simplicity and affordability are key factors in your decision making. The Zojirushi Zutto is the definitely the most innovative of the models mentioned here, and may be the better choice if you have two coffee lovers in the household. Any one of the models mentioned here would be a good buy however.