The worst morning isn’t waking up late for work and rushing to get yourself together. It isn’t skipping the shower and drenching yourself in cologne. It isn’t running for the bus, or yelling at red tail lights that never seem to move fast enough.
No, the worst morning is doing all that without a cup of coffee.
Besides death and taxes, tardiness may be the only other certainty in this life, but just because your alarm is giving you the silent treatment doesn’t mean you have to rush on without coffee. Therefore, today I will be reviewing the fastest coffee makers on the market.
What to Look For if You Need Caffeine in a Rush
To be fair, I’ve overgeneralized the type of person who would need or want a fast coffee.
That person may not be a constantly late type; that person may be someone who occasionally gets tired of the drawn-out process of manual coffee, or someone who entertains guests.
Whoever you are, and whatever specific need a fast coffee brewer would fulfill for you, there are four things to consider before buying:
#1 - Convenience
After speed, convenience may be the most important aspect of a fast coffee machine. Let’s roleplay a little:
Say you are the forever-late type, rushing in the morning to get your shit together and make yourself office ready.
A coffee machine that’s quick and requires the least amount of effort is a major time-saver.
Although there are some speedy manual machines out there, the time you don’t spend nannying your brew is time spent brushing your teeth or relieving yourself of last night’s Thai dinner (no one wants to walk into work with Pad Thai gurgling in their bowels).
Additionally, convenience could apply to any other scenario that necessitates quick coffee: serving your grumpy grandfather on Christmas morning, appeasing a possible business partner without interrupting the meeting, or urgently nursing a crippling hangover.
Luckily, when it comes to coffee machines, speed and convenience often go hand in hand. There are many one-touch machines that can churn out a piping-hot cup of coffee in under a few minutes.
#2 - Quality
Unfortunately, as with most things, shaving time typically leads to reduced quality, so you’d be wise to accept that quality is almost always sacrificed for speed.
Coffee is a delicate commodity, and without proper provocation will refuse to relinquish its closely guarded flavors.
However, like Henry Ford (the factory line magician), some creative inventors have found expeditious ways to unlock the delicious oils trapped in your coffee beans. Thus, there are coffee machines capable of producing not only a quick cup, but a tasty cup as well.
The question of quality typically comes down to process, as only some methods work well with speed-brewing.
#3 - Quantity
Though you may be inclined to think so, speed does not necessarily mean reduced quantity.
Many quick coffee machines are single cup brewers, but there are some that can fill an entire carafe just as quickly.
Whether you go with a 12-cup or one-cup brewer is (more or less) a matter of personal preference.
Virtually all of the fast, large batch coffee machines are automatic, and will suffer from the same issues as automatic single cup machines: inadequate temperature, malfunctions, leakages.
Despite these issues, there are many quick, automatic coffee makers that manage to consistently pour out steamy, flavorful coffee.
The only surefire way to avoid the inherent complications of automatic brewers is to go with a manual brewer, which gives you complete control over each step of the brew process.
Believe it or not, there are some manual brewers out there that can keep pace with some of the quickest automatic brewers.
#4 - Price
As you may have already guessed, some of these machines will be a bit expensive. After all, they do feature the holy trifecta of highly valued consumer goods: speed, convenience, and quality.
That said, there is one aspect that impacts price more than all the rest, and ironically enough it's not quality.
Convenience, in today’s fast-food-saturated world, is the clearest determinant of price, and the more bells and whistles your coffee machine comes with, the more expensive it will be.
However, as I’ve noted, convenience doesn’t always accompany superior quality.
There is a clear limit to how good of a cup an automatic machine can make. Manual coffee brewers, on the other hand, have a less defined limit, and, given proper use, can far exceed their robotic cousins.
For those purely interested in quality, good news, because manual is almost always less expensive - by a wide margin - than automatic. However, manual brewing requires a great deal more attention and devotion than automatic brewing.
The 5 Fastest Coffee Makers Available in 2016
With a better idea of how to judge the fastest-of-the-fast coffee makers, let’s dive into my top picks - from machine, to manual - and all delivering a great cup of joe:
1. The AeroPress
Kicking us off is one of the newest additions to manual coffee brewing: the AeroPress. This little gizmo is basically a hydraulic pump for coffee, which uses pressure to quick-brew some of the tastiest coffee you’ll ever enjoy.
Using the original brewing method laid out in the instruction manual, you can brew up a single cup of delicious coffee (or 2 cups if you use the inverted method) in just a few minutes.
The unique pressure method, used only in a handful of other brewers, is very efficient at unlocking the flavors and oils trapped within your grounds. Check out this hilarious video on how it’s done.
GO FASTER, MOMMY: The beauty of the AP is that you can use a wide range of grinds, and still brew a damn fine coffee simply by changing the brew time. If you are really in a rush, use a fine grind, and brew for 1-2 minutes.
Given its outstanding brew quality and tolerance for tweaking, the AeroPress has quickly become a favorite for many brewers (including us). However, it is not without its drawbacks.
For one, the AeroPress requires constant attention throughout the entire brew process. Another limitation is that it was designed, in our opinion, to only brew one cup at a time, though that single cup is damn delightful.
- As a manual brewer, you have complete control over each step of brewing
- Small and easily portable.
- Makes an unparalleled cup of coffee.
- Requires complete attention, leaving little room for multitasking.
- Only a single-cup brewer.
2. The BUNN BXB Velocity Brew
Despite its oh-so-clever name (probably the result of countless focus groups), the BUNN BXB Velocity really is a fast coffee maker.
This speed demon can brew a ten-cup carafe in about three minutes - an unmatched record - which would make it a good choice for someone entertaining guests.
It uses a unique sprayhead to help ensure an even extraction of your beans, as well as a ceramic warming plate to keep your coffee warm. However, BUNN has made some serious sacrifices to create such a quick coffee maker.
Coffee should be brewed somewhere within the range of 195-205°F, but the BUNN BXB Velocity only brews at about 170-180°F. Although the Velocity is consistent, it is consistently under-brewing your coffee. Additionally, poor manufacturing leads to delicate parts, like the faceplate and sprayer, which may fail relatively quickly.
- For large batch brewing, the Velocity is the lightening fast.
- The sprayhead helps to ensure even extraction.
- Features a ceramic warming plate to keep your coffee hot as long as you want.
- Delicate parts make for a short lifespan.
- Under-brews your coffee every time.
- Hard-to-get-rid-of plastic smell will inhibit the pleasant coffee aroma.
3. The Keurig K55 - Yes, A K-Cup
I know what you are thinking, I can almost hear it as I type: “what is a pod coffee maker doing on a self-proclaimed coffee snob’s website?”If it makes you feel any better, I spent many sleepless nights on that very same thought.
However, the answer to that question is that the Keurig is fast.
The time between filling the reservoir with water and sipping on a fresh cup of pod-coffee comes in just under 2 minutes. Although the Keurig K55 only makes one cup at a time, there really isn’t a faster way to brew coffee.
One of the major issues with the Keurig is the massive amount of waste it produces and cost it incurs. Keep in mind that each cup of coffee requires its own individual plastic pod, and each of those plastic pods cost about $0.70, and each is going into the trash (not recycled).
Let me save you the math, and tell you that the outcome of that formula is bleak at best.
However, kudos to Keurig for making the reusable K-Cup, which allows you to fill the basket with your own grounds and lighten your trash bags.
- At about $100, the Keurig is the least expensive automatic machine on the list.
- Makes coffee in less than two minutes.
- Can purchase reusable K-Cups.
- Creates a lot of waste and extra expense (if you don’t use the reusable K-Cup).
- Inconsistent manufacturing quality - some are great and some crumble.
- Only brews one cup at a time, making it unsuitable for large groups.
Can we ask a favour of you? DON’T buy a Keurig - the world has enough waste problems as is - we've just listed it here for arguments sake.
4. The Colorful Brew French Press
The only other manual brewer to grace this list is Colorful Brew’s French press. Although manual like the AeroPress, this French press doesn’t require as much nannying.
The Colorful Brew can be summed up in about three easy steps: pour in hot water and grounds, steep for two minutes, press and voila!
All in all, this process takes about seven minutes - four to five minutes to heat your water and grind your beans, and then two minutes of steeping time - but compared to many other manual methods it’s both fast and simple.
However, with a brew time at about seven minutes, the French press is the slowest of the fastest. Additionally, though it’s easier than the AeroPress, it still isn’t quite as convenient as the one-push automatic brewers.
- At $24, the Colorful Brew is the least expensive coffee maker on the list.
- Simple and easy to use (for a manual brewer).
- Makes a rich and well bodied cup of coffee.
- Takes seven minutes to use, the longest on this list.
- Requires more attention than automatic brewers.
- Lack of a fine filter may result in some sediment on your cup.
5. The Moccamaster KBT
Moccamaster is well known for its high quality coffee makers, and the KBT does not disappoint. This brewer is competent, quick, and sexy (personal opinion).
Although it won’t completely fill the carafe as quickly as the BUNN, it will fill a half carafe (enough for three cups of coffee) in no more than six minutes. Compared to the other automatic brewers on this list the KBT is relatively slow; yet, what it lacks in speed, it makes up for in performance.
The KBT will last for a long time, and it will consistently brew between 196-205°F. It utilizes a unique immersion-drip method to ensure that you get an even extraction. Additionally, unlike the other automatics, the KBT will not come undone after repeated use.
Besides the comparatively long brew time, the only other negative mark against the KBT is its high price point. However, considering its excellence and convenience, it is worth every penny.
- Consistent quality over a long lifespan.
- Brews between 196-205°F, a better temperature than most automatics coffee makers.
- Includes a stainless steel thermal carafe.
- At $300+, it is the most expensive coffee maker on the list.
- Taking about six minutes to brew a half-carafe, it is the slowest automatic brewer.
As difficult as it was, I have chosen a winner for the fastest coffee maker of all time: the AeroPress. Although the AeroPress isn’t the fastest coffee maker, it is still damn fast.
Furthermore, as a manual brewer, it is entirely open to modification, and every step is under your complete control. This means you can achieve the same quality brew as the Moccamaster KBT without burning a hole your bank account.
The AeroPress is the most balanced choice of speed, quality, and cost. Any reservations you have over convenience or quantity will soon be dispelled once you taste the near-perfect cup of coffee this brewer can pump out.
What did you think of today’s roundup? Have you used any of these coffee makers? Tell me what you thought, and your own experiences in the comments below. And, if you liked the article, don’t forget to share!