Updated: Apr 19, 2020
In the following I review three different Moccamaster machines (pictured below), which are all designed for both domestic and commercial use. I not only discuss the main features and functionality, but my personal experience of using and brewing with them. My recipes are by no means the perfect way to do it, but feel free to use them as a guide in your own Moccamaster brewing!
Filter coffee is changing the way how we experience coffee.
It isn't just a recent trend. As we learn more about coffee, what it is, where it comes from and how it developed its taste, we are also learning more techniques that help us to transform this knowledge into a delicious tasting cup. Now, it seems as if there are a million new brewing techniques and even more ways how to brew a decent cup of coffee.
So as a non-professional I think this mass of information can be very confusing. What if I just want to drink a good cup of coffee without being a brew mastermind or a 'fancy' barista? And what if I don't have the time in the morning to prepare this?
I can absolutely relate to these questions as I am in the same position ... I am lucky if I find two matching socks in the morning. And finding an easy and delicious way to brew is exactly why I started looking into, especially with filter coffee machines.
I asked around with some friends and people in the coffee industry and the main answer I always got was: "Moccamaster!" I didn't know much about the brand or their machines and decided to buy one as they are very affordable and I really liked the design.
So, two years ago I bought my first Moccamaster machine: the Moccamaster Classic. If you follow me on my Instagram account @nbattefeld you would be familiar with Silke, my machine in Germany and Cheryl, my machine in Australia (pictured below).
What was important for me was the ability to brew a bigger amount of coffee at a time. As this model can be filled with 1 litre, I was curious to try out if it takes a long time or if it tastes very different to what I usually brew by hand.
So, I tried by making two different hand filters. The first had 15 g in, with 250 ml of 93 degree water, the second with one with 30g on 500 mL water (same temperature). I liked the smaller brew better, and was extremely unhappy with the bigger one. It was running too slow and just tasted unbalanced.
I used the same ratios for two different brews in the Moccamaster Classic and I couldn't say which brew was which - both tasted nearly identical! Sure, my small batch v 60 might have been a tiny bit better, but seeing the bigger picture I realised quickly that this was the perfect way for me to brew bigger amounts in a short time. My longest batch time using 1 litre of water was 4 minutes and the taste was bright, clean and balanced.
I was absolutely amazed. I've tried out many many different coffees and different recipes and even if one was not perfect, remaking it didn't really cost me any time. After some tweaking and testing, I found a recipe which suited my taste perfectly:
35 grams of coffee (coarse - or 29 clicks on a Comandante)
625 ml of water
I had a new morning routine, where I could take my time and for the first time ever sit down and relax for a couple of minutes before leaving the house. On my days off, I sat at the window and my Moccamaster brewed my coffee for me. As it has a heating plate that keeps the server warm I could really take my time and the coffee still tasted perfect after one hour and was still hot.
I am a big fan of the easy handling. Just two buttons, one for off or on and one for the setting of the warm hold plate. This can be set to full heating or 3/4 if you don't want your coffee to be too hot.
Having a digital display on a filter coffee machine can be problematic. As the water produces steam a lot of the displays break after a while because there is simply too much moisture. Also the way this machine is designed it doesn't take up too much space and is an absolute eye catcher.
The only thing you really have to consider, and I say this not just for this machine but for any brewing method, please use filtered water. Coming from Berlin I know how fast limescale can ruin your machines and at the same time it just really doesn't taste very good. I personally use a BWT filter jug with a magnesium filter. I find that this filter gives you a water that pushes sweetness and mouthfeel in your coffee.
I was living the best life, drinking stupid amounts of amazing coffee and I hoped it would never change. But then I moved to Canberra, Australia for career, love and a lifestyle change and had to say goodbye to my beloved Moccamaster, Silke and didn't know if I would ever see her again. But luckily, as soon as I arrived in Australia I got in contact with Moccamaster Australia and I got the unique opportunity to test three of their machines! I was the luckiest coffee addict in the world!
So the first machine they sent me was my beloved classic, but this time it came with an adjustable filter. tThat means this filter has three different settings: Open, half open or closed. But why does it have it and what can I do with it? I started experimenting with different bloom times and realised that if I keep the filter closed for the first 30 seconds, I can extract way more body out of my coffee.
The first of the three machines is a variation of the 'Classic', like my machine: the Classic KB741AO, pictured centre in the below photo. Instead of a warming plate like mine, it has a large thermos to maintain brew temperature.
• 1.25 litre capacity
• Aluminium housing
• Illuminated on/off switch
• Copper boiling element with double safety guardAutomatically switches off power to the boiling element when water reservoir is empty
• Automatically switches off hotplate after 40 minutes
• Mixing lid for a homogenous brew9 hole spray head for efficient wetting of the coffee grounds
• Two temperature settings for warming plate
• Dimensions W-D-H (mm): 325 x 170 x 355
I think this very easy tool shows how incredibly easy it is to change your brew and how many options as a barista you have to really experiment. This is why I took it to a cafe and used it with my co workers. We could dial in coffees to get incredible results and at the same time we could brew a one litre batch in less than 4 minutes.
This got me super excited and I thought 'This is a great machine to use in a small coffee shop!" Batch brew is perfect for take away customers and you can really offer a fantastic quality for an affordable price as you don't have to put as much work in every cup as you do with a hand brew. I usually only order batch brews when I go out or am in a rush, to see how the 'standard' coffee actually is. It is probably my favourite drink to order.
The next machine I got to test was a bigger model, the Technivorm Moccamaster CDT Grand (pictured below).
Technivorm Moccamaster CDT Grand
• 1.8 litre capacity
• Brews directly into a thermal carafe
• Polished silver finish
•Brew time <8 minutes
• Aluminium housing
• Illuminated on/off switch
• Copper boiling element with double safety guard
• Automatic switch off
The biggest difference I noticed was the filter basket. Instead of being in a trapeze shape it has a flat bottom. What does that change?
In a conical filter shape, we can extract as much flavour as possible by forcing the water to travel through all of the coffee. This gives us a full bodied great cup, but there is a limit to this. If we use a higher dose and too much water we are most likely to over extract the coffee. Flat bottom filters are the perfect solution for this bigger batch problem. Distributing the water evenly on a wider spread bed of ground coffee actually ends up in an extremely consistent result, which is now unlikely to over-extract.
Also this machine came with a thermal server, which keeps your coffee above 60 degrees for over 3 hours! The heating plate is a great feature for home users, but in a cafe environment you will notice that the coffee might get stale after being held warm on a heating plate. This problem doesn't occur with the thermal server, which is amazing.
The next feature that I really liked was that the machine has a contact at the bottom witch makes it only brew coffee once the server is correctly inserted. This way you avoid to misplace the server during a stressful shift and maybe making a mess.
I would 10 out of 10 recommend this machine for any normal coffee shop or office that doesn't brew more than 1 litre in 2 hours. It can make much, much more but many people just don't need more than this.
And then I got this big mama to play with: The Moccamaster Thermoking (3L)
The Moccamaster Thermoking (1.8L)
• Brews straight into a 1.8L airpot
• Manual or auto-fill versions available
• Keeps coffee at consistent temperature (92-96 degrees Celsius)
• illuminated on/off switch
• black aluminium housing
• illuminated scale indication
• copper boiling element with double safety guard
• brew time 7,5 minutes
• illuminated on/off switch
• capacity approx. 160 cups per hour
• 15A power point required – 3000W
1.5 litres brewed in 5 minutes - what more shall I say? We have compared many different brews and machines blind and this machine absolutely blew my mind as it produced the biggest volume in such a short time with an incredibly clean taste profile.
It again has a flat bottom filter which avoids over extraction and the server is just the best thing I've ever worked with in a cafe. The pump server keeps your coffee hot up to five hours and one push on the pump of the thermos lid is usually one serve (obviously depending on your cup size). It is as easy to use as the others and became my absolute favourite. The only problem I encountered a couple of times was to do with cleaning - if you don't clean the filter basket properly, coffee can get stuck in the hole and then your brew overflows so make sure you clean it properly. Obviously you just have to pay attention and ensure that it is cleaned between uses.
I would definitely recommend this model, especially if you have self-service in your business (for example, in hotels, offices, or coffee shops with a batch brew flat rate). The speed and volume of this machine makes it perfect for large-volume environments, and the result is the same if not better than most hand brews.
In general I am super happy that I was able to play with all of these incredible machines. I found that I was actually able to learn a lot about my coffees during this testing process, as I didn't get distracted by technical settings of the machine. I could focus on the basics and that truly made me a better barista.
Until then, we can brew it!