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For us coffee lovers, brewing a cup of coffee is a significant part of our morning routines. But if you live at a high altitude, the brewing process gets more complicated.
Whether you’re staying at a mountaintop resort or have embraced a life in the clouds, owning the best high altitude coffee maker can make a world of difference in your coffee quality.
To help you select a coffee maker that meets your exact needs, we’ve created a list of the top models, with pros and cons for each.
3 BUNN High Altitude Coffee Makers at a Glance
|Top||BUNN CSB3TD Speed Brew||See Deal|
|BUNN BX-D Velocity Brew||See Deal|
|BUNN CSB2GD Speed Brew||See Deal|
Why Do You Need a High Altitude Coffee Machine?
The secret to making an excellent cup of coffee is in the brew temperature. While other variables are important—such as the types of beans you use, or the size of the grind—the brewing temperature trumps everything. You can have the best beans in the world, but if you brew them at the wrong heat level, they’ll taste more bitter and less delicious.
Elevation affects the temperature at which water boils. The standard boiling point for water at sea level is 212°F. For every 500 feet you go up in elevation, the boiling point decreases by approximately 1°F.
For instance, if you’re at 10,000 feet, your water will boil at 192°F.
So even if you have boiling water, the brewing temperature could be way off from what it’d typically be.
With a high altitude coffee machine, you can easily compensate for this change, and you won’t have to conduct a science experiment in your kitchen to get the best flavor from coffee. These machines make brewing delicious coffee at high altitudes extremely simple:
4 Best High Altitude Coffee Maker Models
When you brew a cup of coffee, you typically need to pour water into the machine and wait for it to heat up. Although simple, this process can take a while to complete. That’s not an issue with the BUNN CSB3TD Speed Brew Coffee Maker. BUNN is one of the few brands that makes high altitude coffee machines, and this one is the best-reviewed model.
The secret to the speediness is that the water stays hot in the stainless steel tank. This feature can be beneficial or a downside, depending on how you look at it.
On the one hand, you get a full cup of exceptional coffee in just a few minutes, and the machine isn’t affected by elevation like standard coffee makers are.
On the other hand, you have to keep the coffee machine on at all times to get that kind of speed for your brewing time. If you need only one or two cups of coffee in the morning, it might not be worth it to leave your device on all night. If you don’t keep it on, the machine isn’t much faster than a standard coffee maker.
Overall, this model is designed for larger groups of coffee lovers, hence the 10-cup carafe that keeps the coffee warm for over two hours without breaking a sweat.
- Large 50-ounce carafe
- 900-watt heating element
- Commercial-grade materials
- Double-wall vacuum insulated carafe holds temp for over 2 hours
- Faster than standard coffee makers
- The power cord is only 3 feet long
- In some cases, the machine can produce a harsh burnt plastic smell
As mentioned, BUNN coffee makers work well at high elevations thanks to their insulated stainless steel chambers. A significant issue with this setup is the amount of electricity needed to keep the water at the right temperature. If you want more control over your brew, you can opt for the Behmor Brazen Plus 3.0.
This coffee brewer has a much more dynamic system that allows you to program the correct temperature at any altitude. We really appreciate the versatility of this machine. You can basically use it anywhere. While BUNN coffee makers are designed for high altitudes, the Brazen Plus 3.0 is a high-quality device in general that also works well at high elevations. Best of all, it has a sleep mode, so you won’t use as much electricity when you’re not brewing coffee.
Another highlight of this machine is the pre-soak setting. An excellent way to awaken the aromas and flavors of your coffee is to soak the beans before brewing. You’ll notice an immediate difference in the quality of your cup when you use the Brazen Plus 3.0.
The only significant downside to this machine is that the carafe isn’t insulated, so the coffee will get pretty cold relatively fast.
- Programmable interface
- Accurate to within 1°F
- Brews up to 8 cups at a time
- Pre-soak setting helps extract more coffee flavor
- Sleep mode helps save power
- Memory save setting
- Two-year limited warranty
- More expensive than other models
- Carafe doesn’t maintain its internal temperature as well as other machines
If you want to buy a BUNN coffee brewer but need to save money, the BUNN BX-D Velocity Brew is a great pick. This model’s features are similar to those of the model above, but this machine isn’t quite as robust or resilient. Some users have reported that the heating element can wear down after about a year.
As with other BUNN high altitude coffee makers, this device works by heating your water in an insulated stainless steel chamber. Because the water is secured, it won’t boil as quickly as it would in other machines at high elevations. Still, you can bring this coffee brewer to the top of the mountain and not have to worry about using an incorrect brew temperature.
- Durable stainless steel components
- Makes a cup of coffee in 3 minutes or less
- Insulated water tank stays at 200 degrees, regardless of elevation
- Brews up to 10 cups at a time
- Unique spray head helps deliver better coffee flavors
- In rare cases, the pot may overflow
- The spray head may shoot coffee grounds accidentally
Our final high altitude coffee maker is yet another model from BUNN. The setup and coffee-brewing process are the same, but the BUNN CSB2GD Speed Brew works well for individual servings, not just large batches. For example, you can brew just 20 ounces for yourself if you’re in a hurry.
Another unique feature of this coffee brewer is the drip-free carafe, which reduces the amount of cleanup you have to do after a brew. And there are fewer reports of this device overfilling the coffee pot and leaking. Overall, this BUNN is a good one- or two-person model.
- Sleek charcoal gray design
- Holds your water at temp. for faster brewing
- Spray head helps deliver a better coffee experience
- Drip-free carafe for fewer messes
- Brews between 20 and 50 ounces at a time
- In rare cases, the coffee may brew at cooler temperatures
- Some models may emit a chemical smell while brewing
As you can tell, BUNN has a near monopoly on high altitude coffee makers. We appreciate the speed and efficiency of the BUNN machines, but we also like the versatility of the Behmor model.
The BUNN CSB3TD is an excellent coffee maker option for people who want better-tasting coffee while living at high elevations. If you travel back and forth between high and low altitudes, however, the Behmor Brazen Plus 3.0 is likely a better purchase.