GE Café Specialty Coffee Maker Review
Are you searching for a new coffee brewer? Hoping for one that brews a mean cup of hot coffee, requires no effort at all, and looks like a piece of art on your countertop? Well, you’re in luck because that brewer exists! It is the GE Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker.
This review examines what makes this admittedly expensive brewer stand out. We’ll look at what it offers, what it’s lacking, and whether it’s worth the price. So read on for everything you need to know before you buy.
SUMMARY: The GE Café Specialty Coffee Maker
- SCA-certified 10-Cup drip coffee maker with thermal or glass carafe option.
- Wi-fi enabled smart brewer with programmable temperature and brew strength.
- Gorgeous design is available in three colors (black, white, and stainless steel) with copper accents.
Brewing at the pre-programmed ‘Gold’ setting (you can also select your own strength and temp if you choose), I can honestly say it was the best cup of homemade coffee I’ve ever had.– Customer
The Full GE Cafe Coffee Maker Review
The Café brand was launched in 2018 by GE Appliances to produce high-end home appliances emphasizing smart connectivity and outstanding style. Along with this new coffee maker, other Café appliances include refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and microwaves. They all share the same sleek, modern aesthetic with signature copper accents. A full set makes for a swoon-worthy kitchen, but even the brewer alone is a gorgeous addition to any home.
Design – 4.5/5
Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker is undeniably beautiful. Its sleek lines and smooth curves give it a modern yet timeless feel. It looks expensive, like something you’d find on the counter in a millionaire’s mansion, but it’s an affordable luxury. It’s available in three finishes – stainless steel, matte black, and matte white. All three are beautiful and have the same copper accents, a signature of the Café line of appliances.
Café Specialty coffee brewer is primarily metal, as you would expect at this price, so it is durable and easy to keep clean.
A quick wipe with a damp cloth is all it needs to stay looking its best, and it won’t rust or corrode. The removable water reservoir is plastic, which is standard for all home brewers and helps track water levels.
Inside the conical brew basket, you’ll find a reusable micro-fine mesh filter made from titanium-coated stainless steel. You can put coffee grounds directly in the metal filter for a full-bodied brew or add a standard #4 paper filters if you prefer a cleaner cup.
This coffee brewer is a bit larger than the typical cheap drip coffee maker, but it’s on par with other machines in its brewing quality. It measures 12.5” deep by 14” tall by 7.3” wide and weighs 10 pounds. So while large, it won’t look out of place in an average kitchen, and it’s so beautiful that you almost want it to be big enough to attract a little attention.
Features – 4/5
The Café Specialty drip brewer offers plenty of programmabilities, making it a great coffee maker for anyone who likes some degree of control over their brew settings – though not quite as much control as a manual brew method like a pour over. The coffee maker’s features are accessible using three buttons and a knob on the front for hands-on programming, but this model is also Wi-fi enabled, so you can control it using the SmartHQ app, Alexa, or Google.
Using the three buttons and the knob, coupled with a very subtle screen above, you can adjust the temperature of your brew between 185 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, considered the optimal range by coffee experts (1). This allows you to brew coffee to your taste, but different coffees brew best at different temperatures so that you can get the most out of any coffee beans. Generally, lighter roast ground coffee extracts better at higher temperatures than darker roast at lower temperatures.
You can also change your brew strength, which slows or speeds the brewing cycle. There are four settings – Light, Medium, Bold, and Gold. The Gold setting uses a brew method that has been rated by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) as optimal for specialty coffee. This is a great place to start if you’re new to brewing and unsure of your coffee taste.
One thing this automatic brewer can do that you can’t do with a pour-over? Brew on a timer. The 24-hour clock timer allows you to pre-program a brewing time, so you can go to bed knowing you’ll have a fresh pot of coffee waiting when you wake up. Or head to the office knowing a perfect cup awaits you when you get home.
Lastly, you can program the brewing volume. The Café Specialty smart coffee maker can prepare as little as a single cup and as much as 10 cups at a time, and it is smart enough to adjust its brewing method to scale for smaller quantities.
A Surprising Omission
One feature I was surprised to find this drip machine missing is the brew pause option common to many cheap coffee makers. If you pull out the carafe to grab a quick cup in the middle of a brew cycle, it will keep going, leaving you with a mess. So if you know you can’t wait for that first delicious cup, plan on using the timer, so your java is ready before you are. That said, it would be great to see a future iteration of this machine respond to an “Ok Google, pause my coffee” command.
The Café Specialty coffee maker is available with either a glass or thermal carafe. The glass carafe is about $20 cheaper, but Home Grounds is a big fan of the thermal version. Coffee makers with a thermal carafe keep your coffee hot without using a hot plate – a win for coffee flavor and energy consumption – and they’re much more durable. So if you’re prone to breaking things, a thermal pot might even cost you less in the long run.
Coffee Flavor – 5/5
This coffee maker brews excellent coffee. Indeed, for serious coffee lovers, it should be on a very short list of brewers that can do justice to high-quality specialty coffee beans. Thanks to the adjustable temperature settings, it is suitable for all roast levels. Dark roasts come out sweet and smooth, while lighter roasts are bright and complex. If you opt to use a paper filter, you’ll get a crisp and clean brewer. The metal filter yields a fuller-bodied cup with a heavy mouthfeel. Both are delicious; so go with your personal preference.
What is an SCA Certification?
The Café Specialty drip coffee maker is one of few worldwide drip coffee makers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association through their home brewer program. This certification is a big deal. To receive this designation, coffee makers undergo rigorous testing to ensure they brew to the highest standards for extraction, temperature, and consistency – what the SCA calls the Gold Cup Standard. And these standards aren’t chosen arbitrarily; they’re research-backed and expert-approved (2).
These requirements are based on decades of industry knowledge and research by the Coffee Brewing Center
Buying one of the best SCA-certified coffee makers guarantees that your coffee tastes just like it should, as though a professional barista prepared it.
Ease of Use – 4.5/5
As already mentioned, the Café Specialty drip coffee maker is Wi-fi enabled, so you can program and run it entirely using your smartphone. It is the only SCA-certified home brewer to work with the SmartHQ app, Alexa, and Google. This will be particularly valuable going into the future, as smart coffee makers, other home appliances, and Internet of Things technology become more prevalent (3). Of course, you can also operate it the old-fashioned way using buttons on the machine, which is equally straightforward.
Once you’ve established your preferences for brew strength, temperature, and quantity, this machine remembers your brew settings, so there’s no need to reprogram each time. With Voice-to-Brew controls, preparing your perfect coffee becomes as simple as saying, “Alexa, make me a coffee.” It’s hard to beat that when it comes to ease of use.
Value for Money – 4/5
How much value you feel you get from the Café Specialty drip coffee maker will depend on how highly you value the quality of your coffee. Sure, you can grab a 12-cup Mr. Coffee brewer on Amazon for $29.99 – about a tenth the price of the Café Specialty brewer – and if you want an affordable way to get caffeine into your body, you should.
But if you want a coffee machine that takes coffee as seriously as you do, the Café Specialty drip coffee maker is an excellent value.
If you’re a bargain hunter, you’ll be pleased to know that it is one of the more affordable SCA-certified options, cheaper than the famous Technivorm Moccamaster, the Breville Precision brewer, and the Ratio 6 brewer. Because of its affiliation with GE, it’s widely available at several major stores, making it easy to shop around and find deals.
It’s certainly less expensive than visiting a coffee shop daily on a quest for the best-tasting coffee. You’ll have made your money back in a few months by not regularly visiting Starbucks, and you’ll honestly be enjoying a much tastier morning brew.
Things we liked:
- SCA Certification
- Can customize drink strength and temperature
- Wifi-enabled to run with an app
- Very attractive design
Things we didn’t like:
- No brew pause
- No cold brew or iced coffee options
Don’t Buy the GE Cafe Specialty Coffee Maker If…
You don’t care about programming: If you’d rather not mess around with choosing your coffee’s brew temperature and strength, opt for the Technivorm Moccamaster. This iconic brewer from the Netherlands is pre-set to brew you a perfect coffee every time simply. The SCA guarantees it. Learn more about it in our Technivorm Moccamaster review.
You want more versatility: On the other hand, consider the Breville Precision Brewer if you want something with even more features to play with. Along with letting you choose coffee temperature and brewing strength, you can also adjust bloom time. Plus, there are additional modes for preparing cold brew and iced coffee.
You prefer something more affordable: If $300 is more than you want to spend on a coffee machine, that’s understandable. And you’re in luck because some of the best drip coffee machines on the market are more affordably priced. We were impressed with the basic Cuisinart DCC-3200 or the more advanced (and SCA-certified!) Oxo brew coffee maker.
Or if you don’t mind learning manual brewing, you can’t go wrong with a simple plastic V60 pour-over brewer. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve for manual coffee brewing, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be making cafe-quality coffee at rock-bottom prices.
The Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker is the perfect home brewer for anyone who cares as much about great style as they do about great coffee. It’s an elegantly designed appliance that produces Gold Standard coffee, as certified by the experts at the SCA. The Wi-fi connectivity is a beautiful bonus, making brewing coffee at home just as easy as ordering it at a coffee shop, even if you have special requests like an extra hot or bold brew.
- National Coffee Association. (2022). How to Brew Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/How-to-Brew-Coffee
- Specialty Coffee Association. (2022). SCA Certified Home Brewer Program. Retrieved from https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer
- Austin, P.L. (2019, July 25). What Will Smart Homes Look Like 10 Years From Now? Retrieved from https://time.com/5634791/smart-homes-future/