Coffee maker with grinder

Should You Buy a Coffee Maker With a Built-In Grinder

The appeal of a coffee maker with a grinder is undeniable: with the twist of a dial and touch of a button, you can have freshly ground coffee brewed without having to measure anything. Because coffee always tastes better when it’s freshly ground, coffee makers with built-in grinders, on paper, seem to simplify the process.

Best Coffee Maker With Grinder Guide 2023

Grind and brew coffee makers are quickly catching on everywhere you look. After all, why take up more counter space with a coffee grinder if you don’t have to? I’ll show you why one of these beauties should be on its way to your house today.

Let me guess. You woke up this morning and found something missing from your coffee.

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Lots of folks have slipped into the coffee pod routine, leaving behind the wonderful aroma of freshly brewed coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans.

Back in the day, no one was asking for the best coffee maker with grinder. So when the capsule coffee machine trend started, the best grind and brew coffee maker was at the coffee shop on the way to work. Compared to $3.00 per cup, spending $1.00 per coffee pod made sense. That, folks, is how we got duped.

Here’s a headline for you: “You Now Have Options That You Didn’t Have Before!” That means the grind and brew coffee maker trend has officially started, and things can only get better from here.

How Much Will One of These Babies Set Me Back?

All of that is good news for you because, for under $200, you can get an outstanding coffee maker with grinder built-in, offering a one-stop brewing experience. Just think, bar postal service delays, you could be basking in the pleasant aroma of coffee made from freshly ground beans by week’s end.

You know that has to beat a pre-ground coffee pod that claims to have a shelf life of a year or more! What suckers were we for falling into this tasteless coffee trap?

Thankfully, this development is also great for the environment! With over 10 billion non-recyclable coffee pods going into landfills every year, we all need to do our part in reducing single-use plastic waste. OK, I’ll get off my soapbox.

Moving away from coffee capsules and back to coffee beans is also good for farmers who weren’t part of the coffee pod revolution. You know, I’m always one to promote fair trade practices. All of this to say, there are lots of positive things about the growth and development of coffee makers with grinders.

In this article, we’ll explore the top grind and brew coffee machines on the market in 2023. I’ll also explain the strengths and weaknesses of each. Plus, I’ll give recommendations about who each machine is ideally suited for. But keep in mind, there are always exceptions.

Table of Contents

  1. How Much Will One of These Babies Set Me Back?
  2. Overview
  3. Advantages and Disadvantages
  4. What to Look forPriceGrinderCarafeSpecial Features
  5. The 5 Best Coffee MachinesBreville Grind ControlDeLonghi TrueBrewGevi 4 in 1Cuisinart Grind and Brew DGB-850Capresso Team Pro Plus
  6. Decision Time
  7. FAQ

Should You Buy a Coffee Maker With a Built-In Grinder?

We tested four highly-rated models and compared them to our top coffee maker and burr grinder.

Jesse Raub writes about coffee and tea. He’s the Commerce Writer for Serious Eats.

four coffee makers with built-in grinders lined up on a kitchen counter

Straight to the Point

While we don’t think most people should buy coffee maker with a built-in grinder, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution and want to avoid pods, the Breville Grind Control has the best functionality. For around the same price, however, you could also buy the OXO Brew 8-cup coffee maker and Bartaza Encore grinder. These are the top picks from our coffee brewer and grinder testing, which together brew much better coffee than any of the coffee makers with grinders we tested. If you’re after an automated coffee maker (with a built-in grinder), we did really like the Spinn Coffee Maker.

The appeal of a coffee maker with a grinder is undeniable: with the twist of a dial and touch of a button, you can have freshly ground coffee brewed without having to measure anything. Because coffee always tastes better when it’s freshly ground, coffee makers with built-in grinders, on paper, seem to simplify the process.

However, the more automation you add, the less control you have over the outcome. During our espresso machine testing, we noted that built-in grinders were restrictive (fewer grind settings) compared to using a standalone grinder. But coffee brewing is a simpler process compared to pulling a shot of espresso, so we were still curious how coffee makers with grinders worked (and if any were worthwhile). To find out, we selected four highly-rated models and put them through a series of tests. We then compared the results to our top picks for coffee makers and burr grinders to see how they measured up. While the overall performance of the coffee makers with grinders didn’t quite meet our standards, one machine stood out.

The Winner, at a Glance

The Best Coffee Maker with a Built-In Grinder

Breville The Grind Control Coffee Maker

Amazon Breville The Grind Control Coffee Maker

This is our top recommendation, albeit with reservations (as in: if you’re really set on buying a coffee maker with a grinder, this is the one to get). While this brewer wasn’t able to brew coffee as well as a standalone coffee maker and grinder, it has a lot of great design features. For example, it has a smart water reservoir that brews only the amount you select, adjustable grind settings, and adjustable coffee dosing settings.

How Do Coffee Makers with Grinders Work?

The biggest selling point of coffee makers with grinders is that they can measure out coffee, grind, and brew your coffee with the push of a button. While every model is slightly different, the process is the same: a hopper feeds whole beans into a burr grinder, which deposits the grounds into the filter. Then, the boiler kicks on, feeding water into the sprayhead, and the brew cycle starts.

There are a lot of moving parts in these sorts of machines, and they also require more programming, since they have to know when to start grinding, when to stop, and when to start the boiler. In order to evaluate how these machines tied all of their systems together, we developed a series of tests that broke each task down individually.

The Tests

a coffee brewer sits on a counter with temperature probes running to the filter basket

  • Coffee Measuring Test: We ground coffee at a number of brew and grind settings, paused the brew cycle, and weighed the results to evaluate how consistently the brewers were able to measure out the amount coffee time after time.
  • Water Temperature Test: We placed dual thermocouple probes in the brew basket and recorded the results of brew temperature over time to evaluate each brewer’s capacity to meet ideal brew temperature standards. We performed the same test with the Ratio Six, one of our favorite coffee makers.
  • Grind Consistency Test: We sifted through the grinds to examine how accurate and consistent the grind settings on each brewer were.
  • Usability and Cleanup Test: We evaluated each machine’s features and settings for brewing coffee as well as how easy each machine was to brew a batch of coffee. We also cleaned each brewer thoroughly, paying specific attention to the chute where the coffee grounds were delivered into the filter.

What We Learned

Timed Coffee Measurement Was Inaccurate and Inconsistent

a coffee filter full of coffee sits on a scale reading 47.5 grams

Measuring the right amount of coffee is key to brewing a great tasting cup. That’s why we recommend using a scale to weigh your beans before grinding. Coffee makers with grinders, however, rely on a built-in timer to determine how much coffee is metered out per batch. None of the brewers delivered the correct dose of coffee on their standard brew setting.

The Gevi ground 14 grams more than it should have for a 20-ounce brew volume, nearly 40% more coffee than the ideal 36-gram dose. The Capresso and Cuisinart models both dosed on average around eight grams too little coffee. Only the Breville Grind Control, set to its highest brew strength level, was able to deliver the target 36-gram dose.

The Breville Grind Control was also the only machine we could calibrate. In this mode, you use a scale to weigh the grinder’s output, then enter that number into the machine and it will adjust its dosing timer accordingly. But because grinding finer takes longer, and grinding coarser is faster, you’d have to recalibrate the machine every time you want to make a grind adjustment.

Another major issue with these models was their inability to measure out coffee consistently from batch to batch. The Capresso had a 6-gram variable range, while the Cuisinart had an 8-gram range. The best performing grinder, the Breville Grind Control, still had an 11% variance level in the amount of coffee ground from batch-to-batch. That might not seem like much, but back-to-back brews tasted sour, then bitter, and never tasted the same twice in a row.

Boiler Design Was Key to Quality Extraction

a thermoprobe shows a temperature of 185ºF next to an app on a phone graphing temperature rising

The ideal coffee brewing temperature is between 195ºF-205ºF (brew temperature was a key testing metric when we reviewed drip coffee makers). None of the coffee makers with grinders were able to reach that range. The main flavor components in roasted coffee are fruit acids, fruit sugars, caramelized sugars, and bitter plant compounds. Sugars tend to only dissolve in the ideal brew range, while acids can dissolve at cooler temperatures and bitter compounds extract easily in high temperatures. Without stable brew temperatures, coffee will taste predominantly sour or bitter.

Most of the coffee makers with grinders we tested topped out at around 185ºF and took at least three to five minutes to get there. Near the end of the cycle, most of the brewers temperatures started to spike, essentially steaming the coffee. This extracted fruit acids and bitter plant compounds while leaving the sweeter flavors stuck in the filter.

In comparison, our top pick for automatic coffee makers, the Ratio Six, reached the ideal brew temperature range within 30 seconds and held that range for 95% of its brew time. To learn more about why these brewers performed so differently, I reached out to Ratio founder Mark Hellweg.

He explained that high-end brewers use a coil-shaped heating element, which wraps around the entire flash heating chamber. “The cheaper models use a horseshoe shaped heating element, which is much more inefficient,” Hellweg said. He also explained that a machine’s power rating was key: “The important thing is high-wattage, which is a fast and efficient transfer of energy from the outlet into the water.”

All our top picks for automatic coffee makers, including our top coffee maker under $150, have a 1400-watt rating. The highest wattage of the coffee makers with a built-in grinder we tested topped out at 1100, which meant that none of these machines had the sheer power to brew a balanced cup of coffee.

Grind Consistency Was Spotty, But Ultimately Didn’t Matter

an open filter basket on a coffee maker shows ground coffee in a filter

While the Breville and Capresso’s built-in grinders did a decent job, the grind quality from the Cuisinart was abysmal. There was no adjustment dial, and when we looked at the ground coffee in the filter, it looked like someone had taken a hammer to a zipper-lock bag of coffee; there were huge chunks of coffee beans amongst powder-fine coffee dust. But, in the end, grind quality didn’t really matter since all of the machines failed the water temperature tests.

Do You Save Money Buying a Coffee Maker with a Grinder?

A Price Breakdown: A Coffee Maker with Grinder vs. Our Review Picks
Category Coffee Maker with Grinder Budget Picks Splurge Picks
Coffee Maker: Breville Grind Control: $330 OXO Brew 8-Cup: $160 Ratio Six: $295
Grinder: n/a Baratza Encore: $135 Baratza Virtuoso+: $250
Scale: n/a OXO Brew Coffee Scale: $55 Acaia Pearl: $150
Total: $340 $350 $665

If you’re set on buying a coffee maker with a built-in grinder, the Breville Grind Control was the best one we tried. However, we strongly recommend investing in a standalone coffee maker and grinder. While it may take more effort and countertop space, the jump in coffee quality is stark and allows more freedom for other brewing methods. Above, we laid out the price differences between the Breville Grind Control and our recommendations for coffee makers, coffee grinders, and coffee scales.

If you went with our budget-friendly picks, you’d spend a little more ($10), but brew way better coffee. And while our splurge picks are certainly expensive, you can, of course, mix and match our budget and splurge recommendations.