What is a smart coffee maker?

coffee cup
(Image credit: Pexels)

Smart coffee makers have become much more popular as of late. Thanks to the growing Alexa ecosystem, developments in Wi-Fi connected technology, and the fact that the components required to make some of the best coffee makers on the market are getting cheaper every year, we’re finally in the future. 

But what exactly is a smart coffee maker? The most simple Cuisinart coffee makers or the most feature-rich espresso machines all, essentially, do the same job —brewing beans to create the perfect cup of coffee every morning. So, what can the Internet of Things bring to the table? 

The most obvious answer comes in the form of the Alexa-enabled coffee maker. Some brewers are simply designed to be configurable through your virtual assistant, whether that’s by voice on your Echo Dot, or on your smartphone. These coffee makers generally come with a higher price tag, though nothing compared to prices five years ago. Certain Hamilton Beach brewers, for example, can allow you to set morning routines automatically and switch your coffee maker on or off using your Alexa voice assistant for just under $100 at Amazon

Hamilton Beach coffee maker

(Image credit: Hamilton Beach)

Even cheaper still is the garden variety Wi-Fi-enabled coffee maker. Rather than having a separate voice assistant built into the process, these devices come with their own smartphone apps that can be used to adjust the brew settings remotely from your phone, including temperature and strength.

These machines are built to offer a far more convenient experience around your morning brew; whether that’s through quickly asking Alexa to turn off the coffee maker once you’ve left the house or scheduling a morning cuppa ready for when you're out of bed.

If you really want to get technical, you can even pair many of these devices with a motion detector so that they start your brewing process when you leave your bedroom or enter the kitchen during certain times.

It’s also worth noting that the term ‘smart coffee maker’ could also apply to a machine that automatically alters its brewing presets depending on the drink it is brewing. The Nespresso Vertuo Plus, for example, scans a barcode on top of each capsule inserted to adjust brew temperatures and timings accordingly.

If smart brewers continue to drop their prices over the next year, we could see their Wi-Fi-enabled antics joining even the most affordable cheap coffee makers, like Keurig machines. However, it might be a while before they take over the realm of the professional barista… for now.

There are some tasks machines can't quite do for us yet, so we're showing you how to clean a coffee maker quickly and easily. Or, for convenience that doesn’t require a smartphone app, take a look at the best Nespresso machines on the market right now.

Tabitha Baker

Tabs is a deals editor on our sister site TechRadar. She spends most of her time searching for the best prices on top consumer tech, but has also written about everything from flower delivery to mattresses. Happiest with a DualSense controller in her hand, she's also contributed to GamesRadar and T3 and specializes in gaming hardware and computing.