Best Under Counter Coffee Maker 2018 -Review & Buying Guide
Table of Contents
- 1 Featured Under the Counter Coffee Makers
- 2 The Best Space Saving Cabinet Coffee Makers to Buy
- 3 Guide to Buying the Best Under Cabinet Coffee Maker
- 4 What About Single Serve Cabinet Coffee Makers?
- 5 Under Counter Coffee Maker Installation
- 6 Under the Counter Coffee Maker Pros and Cons
- 7 How to Brew Better Coffee
- 8 How Long Should You Brew Your Coffee?
An under the cabinet coffee maker can mean lots of convenience to a small kitchen, an RV or someone who just wants to tuck away the occasionally coffee maker that could mess up with the kitchen decor.
Naturally, undermount coffee makers tend to be smaller and sometimes inferior to their full-fledged cousins designed to sit on your counter top.
This means that you might have to be content with a smaller carafe, refill the water more often and brew your coffee in parts if you have many people around.
Nonetheless, the small coffee maker would be a true delight to someone who was prepared for such a setback.
Featured Under the Counter Coffee Makers
- Black+Decker SCM1000BD (Recommended)
- Nostalgia BESET300Blue Retro
- Black+Decker SDM2000BD
- Black & Decker SDC850 SpaceMaker
- Hamilton Beach 46201
- Brew Express BE-110
There are many good under counter coffee maker models out there regardless of your budget. We are going to go through the best coffee makers in this category. Our suggestions will be based on our comprehensive under counter coffee maker buying guide that teaches you the things to look for when choosing the perfect brewer for your kitchen. You can use this guide to fig out which cabinet coffee maker you should buy. If you want to look at our list, here you go:
The Best Space Saving Cabinet Coffee Makers to Buy
1. Black+Decker SCM1000BD (Recommended)
The SpaceMaker Black+Decker SCM1000BD is a programmable 12-cup under the cabinet coffeemaker with a couple of perks that will make it an excellent choice for the power drinkers. Its brewing volume makes it a perfect match for a busy office, a huge home or a staff room.
Black & Decker put the bulk of this Space Maker coffeemaker on an almost rectangular construction whilst letting the huge glass carafe hand down from one side with the handle facing you for easy removal.The carafe sits on a hot plate that extends how long the coffee stays hot after the initial brew (up to 2 hours).
Even though you won’t get wireless connectivity, the Black & Decker SCM1000BD will give you smart features like programmable brewing and an automatic shut off feature. You can schedule your brew to happen anytime within the next 24 hours using the straightforward buttons on the front-facing control panel and an LCD screen that shows you what you are setting. If you forget to program it early, you can always sneak a cup by halting the drip process and taking some coffee mid cycle.
The water reservoir is a thin and tall affair that can be quite the bother when filling up but will serve you well and you don’t have to remove it often unless when cleaning it up. Everything about the Black & Decker SCM1000BD feels solid and firm. The carafe firmly clicks into place and your coffee wouldn’t spill even if you have the coffee maker installed in a yacht, a houseboat or an RV.
An important thing to remember when buying any SpaceMaker model is that they only mount on flat bottomed cabinets. Any rail or lip will make it hard to install the mounting bracket and you might have to hire a carpenter to offset the problem. This is the best under counter coffee maker and its genius can only be matched to the Brew Express BE-110 built-in space saving coffeemaker system.
There are two disappointments that you can easily overlook bearing in mind that this is an under $100 coffeemaker. One, the power cord is a short retractable affair that demands you install the cabinet coffeemaker close to a wall socket or use an extension cord. The other disappointment is that you don’t have the freedom to modify your coffee strength or drink type using programmed controls and you will not have a rinse cycle mode. This, however, are things you will find on bigger more flexible coffeemakers like the Starbucks Verismo V.
The Nostalgia BESET300 Retro isn’t your every day’s coffee maker. It takes the space saving concept a step further, giving you the power to put three gadgets into one. The 2-in-1 breakfast station is your coffee maker, your toaster, and your griddle.
Even though it won’t actually go under the counter, it is compact in design and the fact that it is three in one means that it will definitely save you some cabinet or countertop real estate. The griddle has non-stick surfaces that are removable for easy cleaning and so is the toaster.
The coffeemaker sits to the very left and will brew you 4 great cups of coffee. While this might be a little on the lower side, it is enough for most people who will want such a compact three in one system. It will sit comfortably in a cabinet and can be a great gift to apartment owners or students. It isn’t good in RVs and boats since you cannot secure it down when using it as an under counter coffee maker.
The Black+Decker SpaceMaker series is arguably the best when it comes to under the counter coffeemakers. The SCM2000BD doesn’t disappoint and eagerly lives in the legacy of its brothers. The 8-cup brewer with a thermal carafe omits the hot plate in its bigger sibling, the SCM1000BD in favor of insulation. This will keep the coffee considerably warm for a while but it isn’t as good s a hot plate.
Apart from the double wall stainless steel thermal carafe, you also get a reusable filter basket that takes the chlorine and impurities from your water spill-free free pour button and ‘serve’ button on the carafe makes dispensing coffee from the SDM2000BD a clean affair.
You will still get the traditional shut off feature to switch off the thing after prolonged disuse and a ‘sneak a cup’ feature which though shaky will help you grab a cup mid-brew.
A couple of passes online made me realize that Black+Decker had some issues with this under counter coffee maker model. Some of the units will either have a malfunctioning carafe that doesn’t keep the coffee warm or inefficient pieces that lead to leakages. Be sure to return your unit for replacement if you encounter such a problem within the first days.
The SDC850 is again very similar to the other two Black and Decker under the counter coffeemakers I have addressed so far. You will get an easy to remove water tank, programmable brewing and some sleek touch buttons to get your coffee maker going. A thermal carafe holding 8 cups hangs onto one side of the coffee maker while a neat cord storage at the back lets you keep everything neat when the coffee maker is not in use.
Installation might be a problem if you choose to follow the included template since many customers have complained that the template isn’t an exact replica of the actual cabinet coffee maker. You will be better off making your own measurements and sitting the coffeemaker properly. Since the thermal carafe seals off tightly, you can easily install the Black & Decker SDC850 onto your recreational vehicle, yacht or boathouse.
It is still a decent bargain but the SDC850 is nothing when compared to the SM1000BD which is our recommended under counter coffee maker.
The Black+Decker SpaceSaver series is the best-known line of actual under the counter coffee makers. The rest of the models in this list are going to be amazing small coffee makers that will fit into your cabinets but won’t really secure beneath your counter. They are great cabinet pieces but won’t pass as under the counter coffee makers.
The Hamilton Beach 46201 is an amazing high volume drip coffee brewer that saves space by going vertical. The slim and tall profile means that it will occupy less space on your counter top without necessarily compromising on coffee quality or quantity.
The glass carafe holds up to 12 cups but you will be free to brew one or four cups if 12 is too much. The most notable feature that I didn’t see in the coffeemakers I’ve discussed so far is the brew strength. The Hamilton lets you choose between a regular brew and a bold brew for a stronger flavor.
A swing out basket and swivel on the bottom lets you get out the carafe faster or fill up the water reservoir without actually moving the whole coffee maker from the cabinet.
The burner temperature control will keep your coffee hot without burning it while the clever thin design will let you save space without any other compromises. You won’t be able to sneak a cup during the brew cycle hence you will have to count on the programming to ensure that your coffee is ready when you need it.
This is a one of its kind coffee maker that attaches itself to the wall giving it a built-in look. The under cabinet coffee maker hides it’s bulk into your wall leaving a small profile that is barely 4 inches thick exposed. Brew Express BE-110 might have you punch a hole in your kitchen but it will be worth it.
The recessed coffee maker lets you connect your coffee maker straight to the kitchen plumbing hence you will never have to worry about refilling the tank. An adjustable cup selector and programmable brewing will guarantee you a warm cup of coffee when you come back home or wake up in the morning.
Since the BE-110 goes into your wall, Brew Express made it be very tough. It is built to last for years and will easily breeze through thousands of brew cycles without breaking down or giving you low-quality coffee.
You will, however, need a carpenter, a mason, and a plumber to fix it into your kitchen. It is a perfect in the cabinet coffee maker to buy when doing a complete kitchen renovation project since you will most probably be fixing the plumbing and installing other fixtures into your kitchen.
Guide to Buying the Best Under Cabinet Coffee Maker
If you are still wondering which cabinet coffee maker to buy for your kitchen or recreational vehicle, the following should help you understand your coffee needs and your installation options. The two factors will combine with your budget to come up with a reliable under the counter coffee brewer that will serve you well for ages.
How much coffee do you need to brew at a go? This is the biggest question you have to answer when sizing up your coffee make. A three cup or 5 cup coffee maker will be more than enough for one to three people while bigger homes or even offices might need something bigger. Brewing your coffee once instead of doing it repeatedly saves on electricity and coffee hence the need to match volume to your needs.
The perfect cabinet coffee maker should be easy to install with regular tools. If you don’t want to go the long way that involves drilling holes into your counter top before screwing in the coffee maker, you might want to look for something with snap-in clamps for easy installation. Another factor to consider is the power cord length. If it is detachable, the better since you can purchase a longer cord that gets to the wall switch. If it isn’t you might have to install your cabinet coffee maker closer to a wall socket or buy an extension cord to power it up.
Actual Coffee Maker Size
Brewing volume might be determined by the size of the jug or pot in the coffee maker but doesn’t necessarily say how big or small the cabinet coffee maker will be. Personally, I prefer compact gadgets when saving space. If you are wondering what type of coffee maker to buy, the answer is simple. Get a couple of reputable brands and choose the smallest form coffee maker you can afford. Of cause, you can go for bigger if the space left by smaller models will be too small for other purposes.
Quality of the Brew
Any coffee lover would be interested in what cabinet coffee maker makes the best tasting coffee. Not all brewers are made the same. And the only way to knowing the best is by tasting the brew. This is where we come in. Our best cabinet coffee maker list will have a brief comment on how good the coffee will be and also include snapshots of what other online buyers on Amazon, Ebay or Walmart think is the best.
Smart coffee makers have infiltrated our kitchens, offices and recreational vehicles making the idea of buying a manual coffee maker almost depressing. If you want something more than space saving, you might want to go for something programmable, something that brews your coffee before you wake and keeps it warm for you. Wireless control over Wi-Fi might also be a great idea. Coffee runs should be limited to picking the coffee, not punching buttons and waiting for a couple of minutes for your brew to come through.
Brewing System Requirements
Some coffee makers will make do with ground coffee from the store while others like the Starbucks Verismo use special coffee pods. Choosing a coffee maker that uses coffee you can easily lay hands on will make your life easier. If you like your coffee strong and fresh, you can opt for a cabinet coffee make with a grinder. If you want extra flavors, you might have to go for something that accepts a wide variety of coffee blends you can get on the market.
Another thing to look for in the brewing system is the freedom to make cappuccinos. Espresso, Cafe latte, double espresso and more. It is rare to find a built in frother with cabinet coffee makers but this would be a great perk if you can find a model that can do this.
What About Single Serve Cabinet Coffee Makers?
Single serve coffee makers are great if you are on a budget and don’t really want to have more than a cup of coffee in a couple of hours. Single serve coffee makers tend to brew stronger and highly flavored coffee since all your ingredients go into one cup.
Moreover, the coffee maker can be smaller since it doesn’t need a big water container or a huge brewing compartment to make one cup of coffee. This makes it great for people who want cheap but decent coffee makers that are small enough to fit into even the smallest of the kitchen cabinets.
Under Counter Coffee Maker Installation
Installing or removing your undermount coffee maker will always depend on the model you are using. A great deal of them will have a hidden latch that secures them onto a mount you have to screw into the bottom side of your counter top of the cabinet shelf.
You can never go wrong if you closely follow the mounting instructions that come bundled with your coffee maker. If you are good with tools, you won’t have any trouble drilling screw holes or the right attachment point on concrete surfaces before screwing the bracket into place.
Sometimes, you might have to hire someone to get the job done especially if you don’t have the right tools lying around the house.
- Always ensure that the cabinet coffee maker fits before making a purchase. Look into the dimensions and compare them to the space you want to install it into.
- Be sure that your power cord can easily get to a wall socket. If it can’t find an extension cord to get the job done
- Leave the coffee and water refill slots in easy to access areas to improve on how easy it would be to run the coffee maker
- Leave some space at the back of the coffee maker. Most appliances that generate any form of heat need some installation clearance at the back and sometimes the sides to vent off extra heat
Under the Counter Coffee Maker Pros and Cons
If you’ve already made up your mind it is a cabinet coffee maker for you, you might not really be concerned about the pros and cons. But if you aren’t yet sure and are open to discussion, here are some of the biggest pros and cons of the space saving cabinet coffee makers
- Compact size that is great for saving space and letting you use your kitchen counter or RV surfaces for something else
- Convenient and easy to keep out of sight meaning that the coffee maker won’t break your well-thought kitchen decor plan
- The cables and components stay out of the way and you won’t have to pull it out and put it away as it is the case with other small coffee makers that aren’t designed to work from your cabinet
- Cabinet coffee makers are generally smaller makeshift versions of their bigger brothers. This means that most models will either be a single serve affair or brew around five cups of coffee at a go.
- You might not have the freedom of brewing the different types of coffee based drinks from your under the cabinet coffee maker since the designers might ditch such capabilities in order to accomplish a small form design
- Comparatively slower brewing speeds thanks to a smaller heating coil and brewing chamber all in the name of saving space. You won’t notice this if your coffee maker is programmable.
How to Brew Better Coffee
It’s one thing to own a great under the counter coffee maker. It is another to brew great coffee. Here are a couple of simple tips that will help you get perfect tasting coffee from your simple cabinet coffee maker hence saving you the pain of saying your compact machine brews pathetic coffee.
Invest in High-Quality Coffee a Beans and a Grinder
Good coffee beans give you a better flavor than off the counter ground products. Coffee tends to lose its natural flavor once ground and exposed to the elements. That is why freshly ground coffee will always taste better. If your cabinet coffeemaker doesn’t have a grinder, you might want to invest in a separate grinder. Alternatively, you can throw your coffee beans in a blender or food processor only that you will get a rough grind and end up wasting some of the coffee.
Alternatively, you can buy high-quality ground coffee that is stored in the right containers. Air tight containers that shield the coffee from light tend to preserve the natural flavor for longer.
Keep Your Ground Coffee Fresh
The simplest way to accomplishing this is grinding as much as you need. Store the ground coffee in a sealed and opaque ceramic jar to keep it fresh for longer. Grinding enough coffee for three to four days should keep you covered.
The Brewing Procedure
Different brewing procedures will create different tasting coffee. An automatic drip coffee maker will give you an even and mild flavored drink while French Press coffee makers are great for people who prefer their coffee stronger and darker.
Throw in Some Spices
Spicing up your coffee gives it a unique and interesting flavor. You might purchase coffee pods that are already flavored or buy syrups if you want a quick ready-made flavor. However, if you want easy homemade flavors, you can top your coffee with whipped cream, nutmeg or ground cinnamon and ginger. Stirring pieces of chocolate into the coffee will also give it a creamy and interesting taste. You should also invest in a good milk frother (we recomend the Starbucks Verismo milk frother) to give your coffee that creamy professional finish.
Clean Your Coffeemaker More Often
Running the clean cycle on your coffeemaker will rinse out the system getting rid of any stale coffee dregs and water from the system. We’ve already established that old coffee tastes bad. It will make no sense to grind a fresh batch every now and then only to have it mix with the stale bits of the previous brew that are stilling hanging around in the coffee maker.
How Long Should You Brew Your Coffee?
Your coffee maker will automatically time the brew time. Brew time is the minutes the water spends in contact with the ground coffee. The longer the contact the stronger the brew when dealing with traditional drip systems. A drip system will take around five minutes while French Press coffee makers are faster and can keep a two minute brew time. Brew time will also vary depending on the type of coffee drink you are making. Espresso will, for instance, keep contact with the ground coffee for less than a minute.
A good cabinet coffee maker will have the right settings inbuilt and you won’t have to worry about adjusting the brew time. If you have to, you will find simple settings that are either part of the type of drink you want or how strong you want the coffee to be.