KitchenAid Coffee Maker Review: A Basic Brewer With A Twist
The KitchenAid Coffee Maker has everything you expect from a drip coffee machine – plus a few surprising bonuses. Features like a spiral showerhead, dual brew buttons, and a modern design help it stand out.
Read on for an in-depth review of the KitchenAid KCM1208 coffee maker, and find out if it’s the right coffee machine for your kitchen.
Summary: The KitchenAid KCM1208
- 12-cup automatic drip coffee machine with glass carafe
- Spiral showerhead for even wetting of coffee grounds
- Sleek modern design with a compact footprint
The coffee maker makes an exceptionally flavourful cup of coffee equal to a coffee shop pour over coffee.– Customer
The Full KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker Review
KitchenAid is a well-established maker of kitchen appliances, perhaps best known for the ubiquitous KitchenAid stand mixer coveted by amateur bakers everywhere (1). But they also make excellent coffee machines, cold brew coffee makers, and espresso machines.
Design – 4/5
The KitchenAid 12-Cup Coffee Maker walks an impressive line between price and design; it looks more expensive than it is. Although the exterior case is made of plastic, it has a modern aesthetic that would look right at home in a luxury kitchen.
This drip coffee maker is available in two colours, charcoal grey and onyx black, both of which have a similarly sleek feel. They have well-placed stainless steel accents, a clear removable water tank, a digital display, and a 12-cup glass carafe.
The KitchenAid KCM1208 coffee maker is a relatively compact machine, suitable even for those without luxury kitchens. It measures 34 cm tall by 19 cm deep by just 25 cm wide. So it occupies little counter space and easily slides under upper cabinets. It has two brew buttons – one on the side and one on the front – which gives you more flexibility when orienting this machine on your countertop.
Features – 4/5
The spiral showerhead is the most exciting feature of this drip coffee maker (and the twist I teased in the title). Cheaper coffee makers often rely on a single water spout that dumps hot water in the center of the bed of ground coffee.
This coffee maker uses 29 holes arranged in the spiral to shower the coffee bed, mimicking a skilled barista’s pour-over technique.
This ensures an even wetting of the coffee grounds, resulting in improved extraction and a better cup of coffee. In fact, this design will outperform most pour over coffee makers, according to the famous barista and coffee roaster Scott Rao (2).
A good batch brewer has a wide, flat spray head that disperses water more evenly over the coffee bed than can be done using a kettle.
It is also much simpler and more convenient on a busy morning.
The more common features are all there, too. You can choose between Regular and Bold brew strength, and a 24-hour brew timer guarantees your coffee is always ready when you are. The Pause-and-Pour feature automatically stops the brewing process when the carafe is removed, so you can easily grab a quick first cup.
Some Minor Quibbles
The hot plate kicks on with the brew cycle and turns off automatically 2 hours later. Given that this machine is on the pricey end, it would be nice to be able to adjust the warming time or temperature settings. Once it turns off, there is no way to turn it back in without starting another brew cycle.
Another small complaint is that this model beeps at the end of the brew cycle and when the hot plate turns off. While the beep can be a convenient reminder, the option to turn it off to maintain quiet mornings would be welcome.
Ease of Use – 4/5
A few features take the Kitchen Aid coffee maker from great to outstanding in this category.
The water tank’s dosage chart, printed on the side, guides the correct ratio of coffee to water for brewing between 2 and 12 cups. Paired with the measurement markings on the Gold Tone filter, you’re guaranteed consistent results. We love that the dosage chart gives coffee measurements by weight and volume (3).
The KitchenAid coffeepot has an extra-wide spout that makes pouring easier than most. Customers rave about this feature, and it’s a wonder more brands haven’t copied the design. It really works! It’s convenient if you often pour your coffee into a travel mug with a narrow opening.
How to Clean a KitchenAid Coffee Maker
Day-to-day maintenance is a breeze. It’s easy to monitor the water level in the clear reservoir, and it is removable and has an extra large opening for easy filling. The included charcoal filter keeps the machine’s internals tidy.
A cleaning indicator light on the control panel lights up after every 100 brews, reminding you it’s time for a more thorough cleaning.
Descale using white vinegar or a commercial descaling solution to keep it running its best.
Value for Money – 4/5
This is a mid-priced automatic drip coffee machine. It’s about twice the price of the cheapest and most basic coffee makers, but it’s less than half the price of the fancier and more expensive options. This middle ground makes it an excellent value for many coffee lovers.
Your purchase includes the brewer itself, a charcoal water filter, and a GoldTone filter. The included filters definitely add value. The charcoal water filter improves the taste of your coffee and adds to the machine’s longevity. The GoldTone coffee filter is a reusable metal mesh, so you’ll save money not buying paper filters.
Things we liked:
- Spiral showerhead for optimal extraction
- Bold and Regular coffee options
- Reusable GoldTone filter included
- Unique carafe spout for minimizing spills and drips
Things we didn’t like:
- No control over hot plate duration or temperature
- Plastic exterior
- No way to turn off beeping
Do Not Buy The KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker If…
You want something more basic and affordable: If you’re willing to do away with features like the spiral showerhead, coffee strength control, and two brew buttons, you can save money with a more basic model. Our Black+Decker Coffee Brewer review highlights one great option.
You prefer a more durable build: If you prefer to spend more upfront for a longer-lasting product, choose a metal rather than a plastic coffee maker. The iconic Technivorm Moccamaster KBT741 is an aluminium machine hand-built in the Netherlands to very high standards.
You want a smart coffee maker: If you live life through your phone, buy a drip coffee maker that can communicate with an app. The GE Cafe Specialty Coffee Maker is that and so much more. Though pricey, it’s gorgeous, offers tons of customizable brewing features, and is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association to brew a perfect cup.
The KitchenAid Coffee Maker straddles a middle ground that will appeal to many coffee lovers. Its design, features, and price all set it apart from more basic programmable 12-cup brewers. However, it is much more affordable than the upper-tier drip coffee machines, making it accessible to a wide audience. You’ll get your money’s worth if you value convenience, great coffee, and good style.
- Baldwin, C. (2020, February 24). How the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Achieved Icon Status. Retrieved from https://www.eater.com/2020/2/24/18629399/kitchenaid-stand-mixer-history-kitchen-essential-baking-appliance
- Rao, S. (2016, October 8). Some Observations on Hand Pours. Retrieved from https://www.scottrao.com/blog/2016/10/8/some-observations-on-hand-pours
- Armijos, L. (2018, March 2). Coffee Brew Ratios: What You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/03/coffee-brew-ratios-what-you-need-to-know/