Making coffee can be a tedious task. One of the most frustrating parts of making coffee is filling the reservoir with water. This doesn’t seem like a difficult task, and it really isn’t, but it can be a pain you just aren’t ready for, first thing in the morning.
The easiest way to eliminate the annoyance and frustration that comes with filling your coffee maker with water is to invest in a plumbed coffee maker. These great coffee makers are tied into your plumbing and automatically deliver water in the proper amount for making coffee.
You may think that plumbed coffee makers are only for commercial or office break rooms, but they can be a great investment for the individual or family that loves coffee.
In this article, we’ll give you some hints for shopping for a plumbed coffee maker, and we’ll give you five great options that you may want to consider.
How to Choose the Best Plumbed Coffee Maker
There aren’t too many plumed coffee makers out there, it’s a relatively narrow market. This can make shopping for a plumbed coffee maker easy or it can add to the challenge.
Before we dive into our buying guide, we thought it would be helpful to clearly define what a plumbed coffee maker is. Plumbed coffee makers have traditionally been used in commercial or business applications.
Their water reservoirs are tied directly to the water line in a break room or kitchen. This allows your coffee maker to fill with water automatically and in the proper amount for a particular amount of brewed coffee.
Many of the options you’ll find on the market are intended to be for commercial use. However, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a great option for your home coffee bar as well.
Below, we offer some product features that will allow you to select the perfect plumbed coffee maker for your needs.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Plumbed Coffee Maker
As you are shopping for a plumbed coffee maker, you’ll notice that they come in two specific types; water line connection and water line connection with filter.
Water Line Connection
Your first option is a basic water line connection. For this type of plumbed coffee maker, you’ll need a dedicated water line connection. This connection type is best for spaces that have good quality tap water or are in a place where the home or building has a larger filtration or water purifying system.
Built-in Water Filtration System
Your other option is the water line connection with a water filtration system. These are a bit more complicated to install, but they provide you with much better water quality for a delicious cup of coffee. These kinds of connections will require additional maintenance as the filters will need to be replaced from time to time.
Either connection type may require you to bring a plumber in to help you install the water line. In many cases, you can use a tee from an existing water line, but if you don’t know how to do this without making a huge mess, you’re better off having a professional come and help you with the plumbing.
Type of Coffee Maker
Now that you’ve figured out the connection type you need, you’ll now need to select the proper type of coffee maker. There are three options out there: drip, espresso, and single-serve.
1. Drip Coffee Makers
This is the most common type of plumbed coffee maker. Plumbed drip coffee makers are also typically made for commercial or high-output locations.
There are some nice options for home use, but these are a bit larger than other drip machines, so you’ll want to make sure you have the space.
2. Single-Serve Machines
Think of these as super-sized Keurigs. These plumbed coffee makers allow you to make one cup at a time. The nice thing about this type of coffee maker being plumbed is that you never have to worry about the water reservoir going empty.
These are also a nice option for home brewing if you’ve got more than one coffee lover in your house and you all like different styles of coffee.
3. Espresso Machines
Plumbed espresso machines are some of the more expensive options out there. These allow you to enjoy delicious espresso without having to worry about filling a coffee reservoir.
Plumbed espresso machines typically use a pump to provide the necessary pressure instead of using steam to create pressure for brewing and frothing milk.
Like with non-plumbed coffee makers, plumbed coffee makers come in a range of capacities. To determine the capacity that is best for you, you’ll want to think about how much coffee you drink in a day.
If you just need a single cup of coffee in the morning, you’ll want a single-serve machine. Single-serve coffee makers are also great if you want a morning coffee and then an afternoon coffee.
If you drink multiple cups of coffee or are making coffee for more than one person, look for larger-capacity machines. In general, most plumbed coffee makers top out at around 12 to 14 cups of coffee.
You’ll find that most plumbed coffee makers, like regular coffee makers, come with two filter options. The most common is the paper filter. Like most other coffee makers, this type of plumbed coffee maker requires you to install a fresh paper filter each time you brew.
The other filter type that plumbed coffee makers use is reusable mesh coffee filters. These fine screen filters hold your grounds and are then emptied when your brewing cycle is done.
There’s no waste with these filters, and they can last for many months or even years. We would not recommend this type of filter for an office or commercial plumbed coffee maker.
Brew time refers to the length of time that grounds are in contact with hot water. The longer the brewing time, particularly with drip coffee makers, the more robust the flavor of your coffee.
Espresso machines generally have much shorter brewing times, but they use pressure from steam or a pump to push water through the grounds. This creates a very intense and strong-flavored coffee.
If you want a plumbed coffee maker you will need to also purchase a plumbing kit. This is the equipment that you will need to install your coffee maker and attach it to your home or office plumbing.
Kits come with a hose, adapters and either a compression fitting or a quick connect fitting. You can check out an easy guide here on how to set it up.
The 5 Best Plumbed Coffee Makers
1. Keurig K-3500 Commercial Maker Capsule Coffee Machine
Keurig K-3500 is a great option for single-serving brewing and is our favorite plumbed coffee maker. This great commercial-grade coffee maker is perfect for offices or for the home with coffee lovers who enjoy different types of coffee.
The nice thing about the Keurig K-3500 is that it is a direct connection to your water line and utilizes the same type of coffee pods that other Keurig machines use. You don’t have to buy a special type of coffee pod for this machine.
The digital display on the Keurig is easy to read and easy to program. The Keurig offers you a range of drink sizes, and brew strength, and has the option to make tea or hot chocolate using compatible pods.
You will need to purchase a plumbing kit to go with the Keurig K-3500. It does not come with one, but this is OK, as it allows you to select the option that is most compatible with the plumbing in your office or home.
- Has the option to select 5 different cup sizes. The space below the spout is tall enough to accommodate a 12-ounce cup
- Machine has a hot water-only function for bagged tea or hot chocolate
- Keurig offers an installation option that provides an installation technician who will come to your office or home and install the machine
- It can be difficult to get the machine to wake from sleep mode
- When the machine has been in sleep mode it takes a few minutes for the water to heat before it can brew
- This isn’t the easiest machine to clean. For best results, you should add a water filter to the fill line
2. BUNN My Cafe MCO Single Serve Cartridge Commercial Automatic Brewer
The Bunn My Cafe single-serve cartridge coffee machine is a lot like the Keurig, but with some different features. Bunn is a well-known name in commercial coffee makers. They are one of the most reliable makers of commercial-grade, plumbed drip coffee machines out there today.
The Bunn My Cafe uses single-serve coffee pods to make a wide range of coffee options. We like this machine’s adjustable cup tray that allows you to fit a wide range of cups. The machine has the ability to brew between 4 ounces and 16 ounces.
The Bunn has a really intuitive touchscreen. The control panel allows you to easily select cup volume, brew strength, and even a brewing option for hot chocolate. This coffee maker also has a hot water-only function for tea or hot chocolate pouches.
This coffee maker is a direct water line install and comes with most of the items you’ll need to get this machine up and running. You will need to purchase a separate water line connection kit, and if you want to filter the water, you’ll need to also purchase a separate filtration system.
- Brews up to 16 ounces of coffee
- Touchscreen is easy to use and very intuitive
- Direct water line keeps water reservoir filled even when not in use
- Uses standard coffee pods
- Even though the controls are intuitive, there is a bit of a learning curve with this machine. Keep the instructions handy
- Works with K-cups, but some generic or off-brand coffee pods don’t fit well
- This is one of the more expensive coffee makers you’ll find
3. Brew Express – BEC-110 Countertop Automatic Filling Coffee System
While our first few machines have been great commercial-grade options, the Brew Express is our favorite plumbed coffee maker that is designed for home use.
This compact plumbed coffee maker allows you to brew a delicious cup of coffee whenever you want, without the added effort of filling the water reservoir.
The sleek stainless steel design of this machine looks wonderful on your countertop. It comes with an insulated coffee carafe that holds up to 10 cups of coffee.
If you just need a single cup this coffee maker is also able to brew just a single cup at a time. The grounds basket is designed to convert from a standard coffee filter to a single-cup brewing basket.
This machine, though made to be a plumbed coffee maker, can also work as a normal drip coffee maker, with a fillable reservoir. We like that it is convertible.
Another great convenience feature of this coffee maker is the locking carafe. This makes the Brew Express a nice option for RVs or campers.
- Easy-to-use brewing controls
- Brew pause feature allows you to remove the carafe before brewing is complete
- Can be plumbed or not
- Sleek, stainless steel design
- Does not come with a water filter for the plumbing line.
- The controls are not as intuitive with this machine as with others
4. La Pavoni Bar-Star 2V-R 2-Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine
The La Pavoni Bar-Star volumetric commercial espresso machine is a beautiful machine for commercial coffee bar application. Perfect for restaurants or coffee houses, the La Pavoni is an automatic and programmable espresso machine.
This machine comes in a striking red housing that perfectly fits with the exceptional performance of this machine. The controls allow you to select the proper brew strength and the number of shots of espresso. The front gauges allow you to monitor water fill and boiler pressure for perfectly brewed espresso.
This machine is made to be plumbed directly into a water line. It does not come with the plumbing kit necessary for installation, but these can be purchased separately or provided by your professional plumber.
This machine is one of the most expensive that we considered. While it is priced and designed for commercial use, this espresso machine can also be used at home by the coffee lover that is committed to enjoying a perfect cup of espresso.
- Automatic and programmable coffee dosing controls
- Electronic water level control to prevent overflow
- Attractive, yet bold styling
- Manual control override
- Price tag makes this machine best for restaurants or coffee houses.
- Not everyone loves the red exterior
- Machine is pretty big
5. Waring Commercial WCM70PAP Café Deco Automatic Airpot Coffee Brewer
The Waring WCM70PAP Cafe Deco Airpot coffee brewer is a great commercial drip machine that provides plenty of coffee for meetings, restaurant service, or for places like churches or recreation centers.
The Cafe Deco brewer is easy to use. The grounds basket is easy to remove and fill and can accommodate standard commercial-size filters or pre-filled commercial coffee packets. The machine is able to brew up to four gallons of coffee per hour, making it ideal for high-volume brewing.
The machine has a hot water dispenser that allows you to provide instant hot water for tea, instant soup, or hot chocolate. The machine comes with an airpot that keeps coffee hot and allows for easy, push-button serving.
This machine requires a direct water line connection. It can be plumbed with a water filter for better-tasting coffee and to reduce calcification inside the machine and water reservoir.
- Great option for high-volume brewing needs. Brews up to 4 gallons per hour.
- Airpot keeps brewed coffee hot for a long time
- Durable and attractive stainless steel construction
- Has a hot water faucet
- This is a popular coffee maker so availability can be challenging
- Requires bulk grounds or commercial-size packets of coffee
- Brew quality isn’t as great as with other machines.
Plumbed coffee makers used to be just for commercial or office applications. However, many people today want to enjoy the convenience of a plumbed coffee maker at home.
The options available today range from simple single-serve machines for home and office to the traditional large-capacity commercial machines found in restaurants and other places where a lot of coffee is served.
Our favorite plumbed coffee maker, the Keurig K-3500 is a versatile option that allows for customizable coffee brewing at the touch of a button.
It makes a single cup at a time and is compatible with a wide variety of coffee pods. This machine is perfect for both home and commercial use. This versatility and easy operation make this our pick for the best plumbed coffee maker.