Talk about promising the earth, Technivorm Moccamaster!
Talk about promising the earth, Technivorm Moccamaster!
The Dutch manufacturer boasts that the Moccamaster is “the world’s best coffee maker.” And this is the same old model that has been on shelves since 1968 and is virtually unchanged. Sure, it makes coffee at the touch of a button, but nothing else.
Despite all that, what sounds like sheer bluster is not only the honest truth, but there really is almost nothing out there to touch it. These machines are handmade in the Netherlands and make truly outstanding coffee, as the quality seals awarded by both the both the European Coffee Brewing Centre (ECBC) and the Specialty Coffee Association testify.
The Reviewer's Choice of Coffee Makers
The Best, Most Ingenious Coffee Maker on the Market Beats the Cheaper Alternatives
Unique design and range of colors
Inexpensive replacement parts
Coffee that tastes truly delicious
Water tank is not removable
Keep in mind that the specialty coffee scene wouldn’t usually touch drip-coffee machines with a ten-foot pole. You can just hear them thinking, “Uh, quality? Devotion to the art form? Not!” As a rule, many (older) machines in my drip-coffee maker review lack the sophistication and finesse necessary to create the perfect brew. In which case, the only kind of “filter coffee” worth making is the manual pour-over variety.
But the Technivorm Moccamaster flips the script by making coffee that’s practically indistinguishable from java made by hand with a dripper. Plus, it brews up big batches at the touch of a button! It’s enough to make even the sniffiest barista weak at the knees. And don’t forget the design:
My yellow handmade coffee maker has graced my kitchen for a good many years, but you can now also get it in white and just about every other color in the rainbow. The price might also make you see rainbows and stars.
Ever since pour-over coffee became the flavor of the moment, competitor brands have gone on the offensive dumping a slew of cheap Technivorm Moccamaster wannabees on the market. Some of the challengers make a strong case; others are just poor knock-offs.
Like my machine, my original Moccamaster review was a bit outdated. That’s why I’m updating it by pulling together everything about the Dutch supremo yesterday and today as well as its enduring reign as the best way to make drip-coffee at the touch of a button .
Table of Contents
Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Maker at a Glance: How Does it Make such Great Coffee?
With all the technical bells and whistles on board the Technivorm Moccamaster copycats, the original’s hardware seems almost quaintly old timey.
At a nuts and bolts level, this is just a coffee maker that heats water and then releases it via an outlet over coffee grounds in a filter. The resulting brew trickles out the filter into a glass or thermal carafe. Which is no different from Melitta, Breville or Krups.
So where’s all that revolutionary practically pour-over stuff? The dinkum is in the details.
- Nine-hole water outlet to gently moisten the grounds
- Carafe positioned alongside and not below the boiling element to ensure soft dispersion
- Precisely calibrated brewing temperature in relation to time
- Manufacturer’s 5-year warranty
- Affordable and readily available replacement parts
- Funnel in the carafe’s lid ensures an even blend
- Brews up 40 fliud ounces in just a few minutes
- Auto-shut-off, hot plate, etc. (long before many other manufacturers!)
And don’t forget the incredibly popular retro design that’s available in the wildest and widest range of colors. Some exclusively European brands have completely cloned the look.
To top things off, the high quality workmanship on the machine is plain to see on everything from the glass carafe to the water tank. I feels like a device you’ll be using for years to come. My “old” Technivorm Moccamaster still performs exactly as it did in my first video review — brewing up coffee to die for.
If German’s not a problem for you, you can check it out below:
The only flaw is that the water tank is made of plastic which gives a lot of people — me included — pause. But I can totally vouch for the fact that the workmanship is top notch and it’s made to last.
What Makes Coffee from the Moccamaster so Special?
While the rest of Europe was either loading up their portafilter baskets with dark roasts or scooping ready-ground supermarket beans into a Melitta filter-coffee machine, the Dutch were refining manual pour-over techniques.
Perfectly filtered coffee meets the following requirements:
- The medium-coarse grounds are fresh from the grinder
- The water is heated to the ideal brewing temperature of between 198 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. No more and no less.
- The water isn’t fired at the filter basket but instead gently sprinkled over it. Otherwise you can forget about getting an even extraction.
There was a time when no coffee maker could check all those preparation boxes necessary to produce the best possible coffee flavor and aroma. Which is not that it wasn’t technically possible. It was — look at how long the Technivorm Moccamaster has been around.
- The nine-hole showerhead outlet is instrumental to the gentle extraction process and flavor. There’s a world of difference compared to the traditional water-gun effect you get with other (cheap) filter-coffee machines. This water outlet rains down gently onto the surface of the filter basket.
- Together with the correct dosage, the heating element ensure the optimal water temperature. Thanks to the machine’s design, the water has a shorter route through the machine and is processed more gently.
- For decades, the manufacturer has emphasized the importance of putting high-quality, fresh coffee beans into your swanky, new green, black, silver or red machine. Everyone else couldn’t care less if you use industrially produced garbage from the supermarket.
Despite all the attention to detail, the Moccamaster brews up your pot in no time, as you can see from the tech specs below:
|No. of cups||Brewing time||Coffee temperature||Temperature after 30 minutes|
|2 cups 8.5 fl oz||1:20 minutes||194°F||194°F|
|4 cups 17 fl oz||2:40 minutes||201°F||199°F|
|6 cups 25 fl oz||3:15 minutes||203°F||199°F|
|8 cups 34 fl oz||4:00 minutes||203°F||199°F|
|10 cups 42 fl oz||5:30 minutes||203°F||199°F|
Before dig into how the Technivorm Moccamaster pairs fast throughput times with outstanding coffee, let’s briefly talk dollars and cents:
Technivorm’s high-and-mighty missionary zeal has never come cheap. Of course, you also have to take into the account that the coffee maker is handmade and engineered to withstand years of constant use. And a five-year warranty is also pretty exceptional.
But over $300 as a ballpark for a no-frills, filter-coffee machine without any modern whizbangs is an enticing thought for manufacturers, even if they took their time coming round to the idea. Which is why there are now a number of similar (or knock-off) machines on the market that cost less but aim to deliver the same results.
I’ve done a comparative video review of a couple of the better ones. Unfortunately, they’re only available in Europe and the video is in German. Sorry.
What's New about the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG Select Coffee Maker?
A lot of you joe drinkers have pointed out in the comments and in other places that brewing is a bit rushed when you only make a half a pot or even less instead of the full ten cups.
What’s the deal with that? Well, a smaller amount of grounds in the basket mean there’s less of a barrier blocking the water’s path. So it drains into the carafe too fast. The result is sub-optimal extraction. To make matters worse, the typical guesstimate dosage method just compounds the inaccuracies.
This isn’t just a Moccamaster problem, its bugbear on many coffee makers. But when you’re forking out over $300, the bar is set a whole lot higher. The people have spoken and the Dutch brand have finally responded with a solution in the form of the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG Select:
That might sound like small fry to some but for many customers their reason for holding out on purchasing a more expensive coffee maker just vanished into thin air.
But truth be told, I know of at least one competitor machine (sadly available in Europe only) that has a far smarter solution for making your prep more precise. How? With a built-in scale for weighing grounds and settings to ensure that just the right amount of water is added. The question is whether it can match the Technivorm Moccamaster for durability.
Which Moccamaster Models Are Available?
There’s a range of Moccamaster models — not all of them deserve your time or money.
If you’re looking for a machine for the office, the Technivorm Moccamaster KBGT with thermal carafe is a good choice. For home use, most people prefer the more stylish and handier glass version.
Bear in mind that, there’s no hot plate on the version with a thermal carafe. As a confirmed hot-plate hater, that’s absolutely fine with me.
The Technivorm Moccamaster Cup One coffee brewer only makes a single 10-ounce cup of coffee at a time. At just under $250, that’s highway robbery.
FYI, the “old” Moccamaster coffee maker without the Select upgrade is the 741 model. So if you spot it on sale somewhere other than Amazon and other the big retailers, you can confidently bag it.
After all, the basic priciples and engineering are the same. And if you like to brew big batches in one go, you may not need the Select function anyway. In which case, tried-and-trusted 741 could be just the ticket.
A Guide to Getting the Best Coffee from the Moccamaster
Scoop grounds, switch machine on and you’ve practically got coffee in your cup. Standard procedure, right? Well, kinda. If you’re treating yourself to a $300-plus coffee maker, maybe a bit more care with the preparation and ingredients is in order.
Don’t panic, it only feels like work at the beginning. In a couple of days, it’ll be second nature:
- Use cold water – either filtered or fresh and frothy from the tap. And don’t decant into the reservoir using the carafe. Residual oils from previous brews not only mess with the flavor but can also build up inside the machine.
- Freshly grind your beans from a coffee roaster (!) to medium coarse.
- Stick to a dosage of about 7 grams (a quarter of an ounce) of coffee for every 3 fluid ounces of water.
- Use high-purity paper filters or a permanent one made from a neutral material. Melitta? Well, if you must.
Before firing up the Technivorm Moccamaster, take out the filter basket and moisten it with water. You’ll wash away any lint and ensure your extraction is nice and even.
Before pouring the coffee into your cup, give the brew a quick swirl inside the glass or thermal carafe. That way, you distribute the oils that give java its body more uniformly. The funnel that extends down from the lid into the pot mostly does this for you. Which is why other manufacturers like Philips, for one, have copycat versions on their top-of-the-range coffee makers.
Which Grinder Plays Best with the Technivorm Moccamaster?
Yes, you guessed it (the heading was a dead giveaway): I think the Technivorm Moccamaster is only half the drip-coffee equation. A grinder is the other half. And the same is true of any cheaper Moccamaster wannabee machine. At the risk of repeating myself, I have to say: No grinder, no point in spending all that money on a coffee maker in the first place.
Grounds worthy of cofficionadio’s heaven — the manual pour-over dripper — have the distinct advantage of being a medium coarseness that just about every grinder I’ve reviewed can get right.
A classic that is both affordable and gets my stamp of approval is the Baratza encore. It’s a solid, well crafted choice for pairing with a drip-coffee maker, as it produces a nice even grind.
Just in case you were wondering, there is no coffee machine with grinder that emulates the Moccamaster’s workings. At least, I haven’t spotted one yet. If I could whisper in the manufacturers’ ears, I’d tell them that’s the big automatic drip-coffee machine innovation that’re missing.
Descaling and Cleaning the Moccamaster
Same old story here: Every coffee machine, whether it’s cheap or expensive, has be cleaned and descaled regularly. Sorry, not sorry!
Each new layer of scale or coffee residues is one step closer to clogs and blockages. Long before it gets to that, your brewing time and temperature are affected. And those are precisely the make-or-break components in a machine.
Technivorm recommends descaling once every three months or about 100 brews. Since no one actually keeps count or saves the date in their calendar, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your machine.
Once the taste, throughput time, temperature or other key parameters change, it’s high time.
In fact, my experience living in big cities suggests that limescale will cause your machine to start acting up far sooner than manufacturers’ indicate. Don’t panic, descaling and cleaning are really no biggie. In fact, you don’t even need to study the user manual.
To ensure that your machine lasts for years to come, it’s vital that you buy an extra jug to fill the water reservoir. The carafe is only for coffee! While I can’t promise you’ll do less cleaning, it will improve the taste of your joe.
Simply rinse the filter basket and lid under running water. The carafe will need a bit of buffing to get rid of watermarks.
Household products, such as citric acid, work a charm on limescale. As long as you don’t make the solution too strong, there’s no need to overcomplicate the cleaning process:
Just fill the water tank, add a spoonful of citric acid powder and switch on the machine as usual (minus the coffee, of course). You can repeat the process a number of times if necessary. Do a final run with just water. And the job’s done. See, I told you it was easy as pie.
Technivorm Moccamaster Spares and Shopping Tips
Once you’ve forked out just over $300 for a coffee maker you, you won’t want to toss it over minor niggles. And the Dutch do a stellar job ensuring you don’t have to:
- You can get a replacement glass carafe with a funnel insert to fit under the drip-stop basket for $35 on Amazon
- Although you’ll probably never need one, the standard #4 Technivorm Moccamaster 13253 brew basket is also available for about $20.
- A set of branded filter papers comes in the box with your machine — at least mine did. Stocking up on them is relatively affordable compared to other reputable suppliers, such as Hario. Plus, their filter properties are grade A. Of course, a permanent filter or other appropriate solution will do the job as well.
- Since the plastic water tank is fixed and cannot be removed, you won’t find a replacement. So it’s best to clean it with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.
Verdict: Is the Technivorm Moccamaster the Best Thing that's Happened to Coffee?
I admit that my review of the Technivorm Moccamaster 741 vs Select is not totally impartial. After all, my yellow coffee machine (can you hear the Beatles?) has been in my kitchen for years and I’m a fan of what good quality it is. I love the colors, design, functionality, it’s special touches and, of course, the mouthwatering coffee.
The Reviewer's Choice of Coffee Makers.
On the other hand, we can and must now get down to a nitty-gritty assessment of price and value. There’s no shortage of newer machines that have have adopted the Moccamaster philosophy and produce coffee of a similar quality but will set you back a lot less.
Although the Breville the Precision Brewer costs virtually the same as the Technivorm machine, it’s even better suited to brewing up giant batches.
A brand available exclusively in Europe not only takes translating manual dripper coffee to a machine even further also has loads more tech on board. The problem is it’s not very stable and the workmanship is equally shaky.
At the end of the day, none of the other players on the drip-coffee market can hold a candle to the “Master” because it’s virtually indestructible and so ingeniously conceived. So all alternatives look like pale imitations. And considering the long years of day in, day out service you’ll get out of this coffee maker without breakdowns, the price starts to look pretty fair.
What you’re really paying for here is high-quality hand craftsmanship and a product that has been thought through from every angle. Which is exactly why I give it ten out of ten. Even if many of you get cold feet at the thought of paying that for a coffee maker.
Would you spend $300 for your daily dose of drip coffee: Yes? No? Maybe? Let’s talk it through some more in the comments.
Moccamaster FAQ: You Asked, We Answered
The sheer volume of comments this review alone has received was reason enough for us to reprise some of the most common questions and complaints. As always, I’m happy to expand this section as new info comes to light.
It’s apples and oranges. Super-automatic espresso machines only produce variations of super-automatic espresso, while the Moccamaster only makes drip coffee. They’re not just completely different operating mechanisms, but also two totally distinct preparation techniques and flavors. You have to decide which style of coffee you prefer.
To clean your machine’s water tank and pipes, Technivorm sometimes recommends a pricey product called Clean Drop, among others. It’s designed to remove dirt in general but it won’t descale your machine. A money-spinner plain and simple, if you ask me.
A lot of you have complained that after just a few brews, a stubborn patina forms on the carafe. You can prevent this from happening by keeping the hot plate switched off so that fats and oils don’t get baked onto the glass.
An insulating thermal carafe is optimal in an office kitchen. In other respects — easy cleaning and stylish looks — glass gets my thumbs up.
Scores of you have had a good grumble about this, so was an automatic candidate for this list: The lid on the Moccamaster carafe lid is a bit loose and sometimes it drips when pouring. No two ways about, the designers need to take another look at it — at least on the older version.
It can now! The new “Select” version solves one of the biggest issues with the machine. Just use the switch to set the machine to use half the usual amount of water. And just like that, 25 fluid ounces taste as awesome as the full 40 ounces! Hooray!