Are expensive coffee makers really the best? If you’re like me, you probably assume that the higher the price, the better the machine – and the better the coffee. But that may not necessarily be true. Sure, there’s a reason high-end machines have high price tags, but you can still get a top quality cup of coffee with lower-mid tiered models. Here’s how:

Buy the Right Brand

The brand and model you choose will have a major impact on the quality of the coffee. Some machines are better than others at heating – or not overheating. And if could care less about the extra bells and whistles (like auto-programming and heated mugs), you can snag a fantastic coffee maker for less than you’d think.

Of course, finding the right brand isn’t always easy. Some brands are well-known to coffee aficionados, but not the average person. That’s why I recommend that you take the time to read through my coffee reviews. I talk about some lesser-known (but respected) brands with great models that are more than affordable. Again, choosing the right brand and model is crucial if you’re looking for a top quality coffee maker that doesn’t cost a fortune.

Know What You Want

More isn’t necessarily better. And in a lot of cases, expensive coffee makers come with extra features that you may or may not need.

Take the Jura Giga 5, for example. This machine is known as the “Rolex of coffee machines”. Why? Because it costs over $5,000. And it can brew just about every type of coffee under the sun from espresso to cappuccino, macchiato and latte. It comes with dual coffee grinders, and every bell and whistle you could imagine. I’m sure it makes a great cup of coffee, but do you really need all those extras? Those “extras” are what push the price tag up so high.

Compare that machine to the Bonavita BV1800 (my favorite coffee maker by the way), which heats water to the perfect temperature for optimal extraction. It makes a darn good cup of coffee, and it costs less than $200.

The bottom line: If you can look past the “bells and whistles,” you can get your hands on a fantastic coffee maker for a very reasonable price.

Choose the Right Coffee

A lot of the time, the quality of your coffee has more to do with the type of coffee you buy than the machine itself. Put low quality coffee beans in the Giga 5, and you’re probably going to get a very mediocre (maybe even bitter) cup of coffee. But the right beans in even a cheap coffee machine can result in a delicious cup of joe.

Coffee aficionados recommend buying whole beans and grinding them just before you brew. Burr grinders will give you the most even grind and tend to be preferred over their electric counterparts.

Bean type is also important. Arabica beans are milder, less bitter and more aromatic than Robusta beans.

While expensive coffee makers will definitely brew up a great cup of coffee (providing you use good quality coffee), lower-mid tiered models can also give you top-quality coffee if you buy the right brand and model.