In the age of aesthetically pleasing morning routines, a cheap electric coffee maker can feel a bit old-fashioned, something to grudgingly use in the office rather than a device that brightens up your kitchen. And while I love the luxury coffee appliances that require a multi-step manual ritual, there is one thing that makes me resort to a standard Mr. Coffee machine every morning: its simple “brew now” button that instantly starts the process of introducing caffeine into my body.
One-button operation means I don’t have to navigate the complexities of brew temperatures or ratios while still half asleep. I just press it, it turns on, and the machine gurgles to life, heating the water and pushing it down a tube into the ground coffee I’ve added to it. The only decision I have to make is how much coffee I will need to get me through the day.
While its controls are as simple as a Keurig‘s, Mr. Coffee needs you to do more than open a pod and press that button. At a minimum, you’ll need to pull out a paper filter, scoop out some coffee, and fill the tank before you press brew at some point. (Although this can be done the night before). The simplicity of Mr. Coffee allows you to complicate the process with hand-ground coffee, reusable filters, and more if you want, but it doesn’t. demand the ritual that comes with more Instagram-friendly Moka pots, Aeropresses and Chemexs.
While there are plenty of other brewers with more sophisticated features that also turn on at the push of a button, it’s hard to imagine a better version of this button than the one on my Mr. Coffee. It’s big enough that you don’t have to be precise early in the morning. It also sounds amazing, though that’s mostly due to the loud “click” the machine makes when it starts to heat up. But because it turns on as soon as you press the button, my brain interprets the click of the electronics as the click of the button (sort of like the new AirPods plays a sound each time you squeeze the stem).
Given how good the button is, it may come as a surprise that this is not an expensive coffee maker we are talking about. My Mr. Coffee, the five-cup model, is one of the brand’s least expensive offerings. (Note: A “cup” of Mr. Coffee is not the same as the American volumetric measurement standard: it means five ounces, which means my machine can brew approximately two cups of coffee.) My Best Buy order history tells me I bought it for around $25 last year, shortly after it started on the edge and realized that my mornings were getting too hectic for my Chemex ritual. Somehow this coffee maker has got $4 cheaper since then.
While there are other coffee machines out there that have buttons that appear to be identical, a funny thing starts to happen when you switch to more expensive models: you risk the buttons getting worse. I have I have seen coffee machines where the setup button is small and part of a crowded panel. Some, horribly, even have Sensitive to touch buttons.
I won’t judge anyone for choosing a fancier model to adorn their countertop, but it’s not for me. I like being able to operate the machine responsible for getting caffeine while I’m at 2 percent of my brain power. May the “brew now” button be up to several more years of sleepy pricks, just like the snooze button that I may or may not knock a few times before making my way to Mr. Coffee.