The Best 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker - When You Need A Whole Lotta Joe
You are the office manager of a small boutique firm, or you love entertaining large family gatherings, or you own a small diner, or you drink more coffee than you do water.
Whatever the reason, you are in need of a coffee machine that makes good coffee, and a lot of it.
So for you, my friend, I am going to be counting down the 3 best 12-cup coffee makers.
OUR #1 PICK
The Best Value For Money
The KRUPS EC311 SAVOY Programmable Coffee Maker
This programmable coffee maker has a minimalistic yet elegant design that makes a great addition to your kitchen! Compared to the other brewers on the list, it brews at a higher temperature at 180°F. It uses a metal filter, which is easier to clean. If you want to make a high-quality brew, this is the one to have.
I know the image I put out.
I am a coffee snob who typically only brews coffee on a per-cup basis with an intensely hands-on manual brewer (full disclosure - I’m drinking AeroPress coffee right now), so maybe you’re wondering “why 12-cup coffee machines?”
It is because I have tasted the rare and reclusive, diner coffee that is actually good.
It is because I know that delicious coffee doesn’t exclusively come from some obscure contraption the hipster at the end of the bar “just can’t believe” you’ve never heard of.
However, before we jump into my picks for the best 12-cup coffee makers, let’s take a look at what these machines are, and how they brew:
The Jumbo Brew
The most obvious feature (seriously, it’s in the name) of these machines is their massive brew quantity.
But to be clear, I am not referring to the automatic single cup machines, that can spit out 12 cups of coffee one after the other.
A 12-cup coffee machine brews its 12 cups of caffeinated goodness in one single batch, into one mammoth carafe.
Brewing this way, makes serving large parties exceptionally easy - simply wait for the brew to finish, and, like the generous coffee-god that you now are, begin doling out the life-giving elixir.
As if drip brew holds the patent on large batch coffee machines, you will not find a 12-cup machine that does not use the drip method.
This is mostly because large batch brewing would be impractical for most other brew methods; excluding cold brew (a post for another day).
That said, there are many popular gourmet brew methods that are, in essence, drip brews.
Besides having massive amounts of coffee at your fingertips, there are other convenient features that 12-cup coffee makers provide.
For one, most come with a programmable timer, so you can have your coffee brewing and ready by the time you make it into the office.
Another programmable feature many (but not all) of these machines come with, is a brew strength setting; which allows you to control the boldness of your coffee.
A Hot Plate
What virtually all 12-cup makers come with is a hot plate to help keep your carafe of freshly brewed coffee hot.
This feature comes in handy when you brew for self-serve, and the whole carafe won’t be emptied all at once.
And to make sure you aren’t heating an empty carafe, or needlessly sucking electricity from the local grid, many of these machines also have an automatic, 2-hour shut off.
What To Look Out For
When it comes to automatic brewers, there are a few factors you want to consider before making your purchase.
One of the first questions you should ask is how consistent is the heat source. Temperature is an important variable that can drastically affect the flavor and strength of your coffee.
Not enough heat results in under-extracted coffee, and too much heat can burn your beans giving your coffee a bitter and unpleasant taste.
You want a coffee machine that brews consistently at a temperature somewhere between 195-205°F to ensure that you aren’t wasting any of the flavor locked inside your coffee beans.
Size - Is Bigger Really Better?
A second important consideration is the machine’s size.
Right now you should swallow the fact that one of these brewers is going to take up a significant amount of space; yet how much space differs from brewer to brewer.
Think about where you want to put your coffee maker, and how much available room you have.
Most of these machines can be fairly tall, so make sure you have at least two feet of vertical space wherever you plan on putting it.
Can It Be Easily Cleaned?
A final note on these brewers - and an arguably important one - is to pay attention to how easy (or difficult) it is to clean.
Since your 12-cup maker will be dispensing large amounts of coffee, you can safely assume that it is going to need some regular cleaning.
You can avoid a trip to the therapist by choosing a machine that is easy to clean on your own.
The 3 Best 12 Cup Coffee Makers in 2016
Now that you’ve got an idea of what to look for in your coffee machine, lets dive into the list.
However, a quick note before we start: each of these machines features a hot plate, a programmable timer and a 2-hour shutoff, so I will not be mentioning those features in the individual reviews.
#1 - The VonShef Programmable Coffee Maker
Although not from a well known brand name, The VonShef 12-cup coffee maker outperforms many others. It’s not known for making life-changing coffee, but it does churn out decent tasting coffee quite consistently.
Sitting at roughly 17 inches in height, this machine is the tallest on our list; yet it is still slim enough to tuck in between all your other kitchen appliances.
One of the major drawbacks of this machine, is that it is made entirely out of plastic; even the metal-looking face and sides.
Before first using the machine, some users reported having to wash it out with vinegar to get rid of the plasticy taste in their brew - eek.
#2 - The Kenmore 12-Cup Programmable Aroma Control Coffee Maker
Despite the fact that “aroma control” seems to merely be a jazzy marketing word - seriously, there is absolutely no description for what this actually means - this coffee maker is a worthy buy.
It looks like an upgraded version of the VonShef.
The outside of the Kenmore is entirely stainless steel, which gives it a sleek and modern appearance, and it is slightly smaller than the VonShef as well.
Appearances aside, the Kenmore functions on a level par with the VonShef.
Although there isn’t any issues with plasticy smells or taste, the Kenmore does seem to have a limited lifespan - roughly 8-12 months.
Additionally, this machine comes with a built in water-filtering device, but you will have to buy the water filters separately.
#3 - The KRUPS EC311 SAVOY Programmable Coffee Maker
The final item on this list, and the most expensive - although not by much - is the Krup Savoy.
In my humble (but perfect) opinion the Savoy is the better looking 12-cup machine, compared to the other two.
It is a sleek, all black rectangle that could easily fit on the set of Star Trek.
Anywhere that your find this bad boy for sale online, you'll find very favourable customer reviews, which is due, in no small part, to its higher brew quality.
The Savoy, unlike the other machines, uses a metal filter, which is easy to clean. Additionally, it brews at a consistent 180°F; which, although not the best brew temperature, is still better than the other machines on this list.
THE VERDICT: What's The Best 12 Cup Coffee Maker?
Today’s winner is the Krups Savoy!
Compared to the other two coffee machines, the Savoy is better at delivering well-brewed coffee on a consistent basis.
It is light and compact, and does not suffer from the longevity or quality issues that plague the other brewers.
Although the Savoy is the most expensive, it only costs $10 more than the cheapest option on the list, and its improved quality is well worth the price.
Wrapped up in a sleek design, it comes with all the bells and whistle’s you should expect in the winner for best 12-cup coffee maker.
If you’ve tried any of these machines, tell me your experience in the comments below. Also, let me know if you found this article useful, and, if you did, be sure to share with your friends!