To begin this review, let’s consider just what it is we want our coffee maker to do. We’re looking for a great cup of coffee, one that suits our taste and gets the most from the quality beans we’ve invested.
To do that, the coffeemaker needs to keep the coffee to precisely the right temperature, then distribute the heated water evenly over the coffee grounds and leave it in contact with the grounds for the proper amount of time. The criteria are few but they need to be done right.
The devil is in the details, and unfortunately, the majority of coffeemakers fall short in one way or another. As you’ll see in this review, the Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Maker is an exception.
Why the Technivorm Moccamaster is Exceptional
The short answer to that question is quality materials, exceptional engineering, and an unwillingness to compromise.
These coffeemakers are made to last. This is evident simply in the heft of the machine. The model I have has an aluminum casing covering the “guts” of the machine and a stainless steel thermal carafe to collect the brewed coffee. Other models have various combinations of plastic housing and glass carafes, but they all share the same precision engineering.
The predominant thing that sets this coffee maker apart is the precise way it heats the water. You can count on the water being within plus + or – 3° of 200°F throughout the brewing cycle. I’m not aware of any other coffee maker that’s as precise.
To accomplish this, Technivorm uses copper in its heating elements rather than the less expensive aluminum that virtually all other manufacturers use. The control mechanisms of the heating elements are precisely engineered.
The heating elements and their controls take up a considerable amount of space. In the pictures, you’ll note that the water reservoir is on the left. The heating elements fill the housing underneath that. It’s an impressive mechanism.
In contrast, in a typical Mr. Coffee-style coffeemaker, the heating element is a short piece of aluminum tubing in the hot plate under the carafe. It’s not a very good way to do things, but it is cheap to produce.
On the Technivorm, the designers pay attention to even small details such as how the water is delivered to the spray head. In most coffeemakers, the tube carrying the heated water to the grounds runs through the reservoir tank of the unheated water.
That makes it virtually impossible to keep the water at the correct temperature, even if it started that way. On the Technivorm coffee makers, the delivery tube is completely separated from the reservoir tank. It makes a difference.
As if quality materials and no-compromise-accepted engineering weren’t enough, I’ll Technivorm coffee makers are hand-assembled and individually tested before leaving the factory. If you purchase one, you can count on receiving a quality machine.
Brewing the Coffee
While heating the water to the correct temperature throughout the brewing cycle may be the most difficult thing an automatic coffee maker has to do, it’s also important that it keeps the water in contact with the coffee grounds for the proper amount of time – either too long or too short. Again the Technivorm excels.
The spray head has nine holes that evenly distributes the water over the grounds. Not only that, but you can adjust the period that the water sits in contact with the grounds before it begins to drain into the waiting carafe. You adjust this to your personal preference. After a little experimentation, you can reliably brew your ideal cup of coffee – neither watery and weak nor over-extracted and bitter.
What the Experts Say about the Technivorm
I think you can tell I’m pretty impressed with the Technivorm Coffee Maker. I’m not the only one. When the persnickety folks at Cook’s Illustrated tested automatic coffeemakers, the Technivorm was the only one they rated as “highly recommended”.
Even more impressive, the Technivorm is one of only two coffee makers approved by the trade group the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Are There any Downsides to This Coffee Maker?
Few things are perfect in this life, and this coffee maker is no different.
For one thing, I can’t say that I love the design. After all, most of us keep our coffeemakers out on the counter in plain sight so it would be nice if they look great. To me, this maker looks kind of clunky. I wish they’d paid as much attention to design as they did to engineering heating element. This is a matter of personal preference
One of the earlier models (KPT-741) had what I consider a serious design problem: the carafe didn’t fit under the filter holder with the top in place. Newer models (like the one I recommend below) don’t have this problem, but I believe the KPT-741 is still available so you may want to avoid it.
A big issue is the price. For most of us, $300 or so is a lot of money, especially for a coffeemaker. If you pay attention to the important details I’ve mentioned on other pages on this site, you can brew a great cup of coffee.
However, there is something to be said for convenience and if you want expertly brewed coffee without having to do it all yourself a Technivorm coffee maker can be a worthy investment.
The controls are pretty bare-bones. It’s an on-off switch. If you’re looking for a built-in digital clock and the ability to have the coffee brewed in waiting for you when you first get up, you won’t find that here.
This is a high-quality coffee maker that focuses on producing excellent coffee. Its most unique feature is its precision control of water temperature. Its main drawback is its premium price and lack of automatic controls. However, if the price point is within your budget and you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles you be pleased with this coffee maker.