We haven't tested a lot of auto drip coffee makers in the past few years, but this is one we have, and the results are very impressive. This is only the second auto drip coffee maker to pass SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) certification. It is the Bonavita BV1800TH auto drip coffee maker.
Here's what to like about the brewer. First, it gets up to the proper brewing temperatures as prescribed by the SCAA - around 200F. Second, there's a good water dispersion pattern created over the bed of ground coffee (better than the other SCAA certified brewers - Technivorms). This results in better saturation of the grounds. Third, it is a thermal carafe, so no re-heating or baking of the brewed coffee.
There's plenty other things to like - it is a good looking appliance, is relatively small for your countertop, and I've always preferred the side style of these brewers over the forward designs of many modern auto drip coffee makers. Lastly, there is no digital timer stuff going on - this is a simple on/off switch brewing device, which I personally like: it means you have to use fresh ground coffee each time - no coffee going stale overnight in the brewer.
This is my top recommended auto drip machine under $200 this year. (nb there is also a glass carafe version for $144)
Column Description Whether it's up to the minute, happening this day, this week, or in the recent past, this column's goal is to present coffee and attempts to make the experience truly culinary. You'll find short reviews about past events, interesting coffees coming on the market, new and different ways to enjoy espresso and other brewing methods, and give an insight into efforts around the globe to make coffee a truly culinary thing. Column written by Mark Prince.