You don’t have to be a design aficionado to appreciate the KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker’s soft curves and chrome detailing. This is one seriously stylish small appliance you will not want to hide away in the cupboard.
With an impressive 12-cup capacity, two pre-set timers and superior flavor extracting prowess, there’s a lot more to love about this smart machine that just looks, which is why it is one of the very best coffee makers we’ve tested to date. Fans of the well-known American brand, best known for its iconic stand mixers, may also be impressed with the price-tag, which is pitched at a very reasonable $109.99.
In the UK, the equivalent model is known as 5KCM1209, and it comes in Onyx Black or Empire Red. In the USA the options are Onyx Black or Matte Charcoal Gray. If I was buying (and I am sorely tempted), I’d choose the Empire Red to complement my stand mixer, which sits on a pull-out shelf below the drinks station in our kitchen. Matchy-matchy!
KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker: Product specifications
Type of coffee: Grounds
Brew time: 5-18 mins
Milk frother: No
Programmable: 2 x auto-timers
Brew size options: 12 cup
Water tank capacity: 1.4L
Carafe size: 1.7L
Power cord length: 1 meter
Warming plate: Yes
Coffee grinder: No
Average Noise level: 44dB
Color: Onyx Black, Empire Red
Material: Metal, plastic, glass
Dimensions: 14.3 x 7.1 x 13.4 inches / 36.4 x 18.2 x 34cm (HxWxD)
Weight: 7.3lb / 3.3kg
KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker: price and availability
The KitchenAid brand has a high-end reputation, making the KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker’s $109.99 / £169 surprisingly good value. It is available to buy direct from KitchenAid, as well as most reputable stores, like Best Buy and Amazon.
KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker: First impressions
The KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker arrived beautifully packaged and secure – no parts broken or missing. There was a large amount of polystyrene involved, which isn’t considered the most eco-friendly choice and possibly needs addressing. It comes with a reusable filter with built-in dosing gauge and the instruction manual – no construction was required.
Based on looks alone, the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker would get first place in a beauty pageant – it looks and feels strong, durable and sturdy and I love its retro/vintage vibes. You don’t have to own any other KitchenAid appliances to buy one, but if you do, they all have a shared aesthetic that’s perfect for those who appreciate smooth design cohesion across their countertops.
While the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker isn’t a huge coffee machine by coffee machine standards, it’s quite big for a drip filter, especially height wise. It slid under the shelf in our kitchen but if you want to put it beneath low slung wall cabinets, you might need to get the tape measure out before you buy.
I did have to pull the machine forward to access the water tank but it’s a lightweight unit and the task never felt difficult or annoying. In fact, this is the only filter machine I’ve tested with a removable tank – complete with handle to carry to the sink – and it was much easier to fill than trying to angle a jug into tiny reservoir inlets, usually at the rear of the machine.
The digital display and control panel is a little daunting at first glance and more complex than other filter machines we’ve tested. There are nine push buttons under the display, which include the on/off button, timer controls, intensity settings and hotplate temperature. There is also a clean icon that will flash after 100 cycles to indicate it is time to descale.
KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker: User experience
The basic workings of the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker are as easy as any other. Just lift the lid and pop in the coffee grounds, fill the water tank with the volume required, and press on.
There are two handy features to mention here. First, the stepped gauge in the reusable filter indicates the fill line for coffee grounds, according to the number of cups. No specific measuring scoop required, use any spoon close to hand. Secondly, I appreciated the extra ‘on/off’ switch at the front of the machine, which was easier to reach than the side one once I had pushed the coffee machine back under the shelf unit.
There are no half/full jug options, the instructions just say to use the scale on the side of the water tank (capacity, 57 fl oz / 1.7L) and fill according to the number of cups required. The machine will stop when it has run out of water. One standard mug was akin to two cups on the water tank, so the full tank made six generous mugs.
If I had anything to gripe about with this machine, it would have to be speed, or rather its lack of speed. The official stat is 10 minutes to make a 12-cup carafe, but that is for the regular brew strength. I preferred to use the Bold brew strength option and my stopwatch found it took nearly five minutes to make one mug, and a tedious 18.35 minutes to fill the full carafe. Three beeps lets you know the coffee is done. My Sound Meter rated it at a very mild 44 decibels, which is similar to a quiet office environment or library and about the norm for filter machines.
This slowness is almost certainly deliberate; filter coffee aficionados will tell you the drip process cannot be rushed, or the coffee will end up tasting like dishwater. And KitchenAid has built in a rather nifty ‘pause and pour’ feature, which allows you to grab a quick mug of coffee before the full cycle has completed. It is achieved via a special valve that temporarily stops the coffee pouring into the jug (but not the coffee making process). You have 25 seconds to get the jug back under the brew basket before it overflows but it only takes about four seconds to pour a mug of coffee so there’s no stress involved.
If you are seriously impatient for your caffeine fix, it’s worth setting up one or both of the auto-start timers, which can be used twice in one day or twice a week. For example, you could set one for when you get up on week days, and a later one on the weekends, or you might prefer to use Auto Set 1 for your morning coffee, and Auto Set 2 for a post-dinner brew (remembering to restock with fresh grounds and water).
The instructions for the Auto Set timers are easy to follow and, as long as the main clock is set correctly, the brewing starts right on cue. I set mine to begin 10 minutes before I was due home from the school run, so I would arrive just in time to pour a fresh mug and fire up my computer. The house smelt fabulous.
Another cool, or rather hot, feature is the hotplate temperature adjustment and timer. The hotplate is set to ‘high’ by default but it’s easy to switch to low heat with one button press. You might like to do this if you drink your coffee black so don’t need it to be stored too hot. You can also set the timer on the hotplate, in 10-minute increments up to 40 minutes, to save energy.
KitchenAid 5KCM1209 Drip Coffee Maker: Taste test
As mentioned, the slow brewing of the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker is no bad thing. Pour over coffee experts recommend a ‘bloom time’ is included in the process, which essentially means pouring a little hot water onto the grounds and leaving for 30-40 seconds before slowly continuing the pour over (or drip) process. Coffee nerds believe this allows the carbon dioxide to escape, or bloom, from the grounds, ensuring full flavor extraction. The eye-wateringly-slow start up and drip through of the KitchenAid coffee maker supports this process and the end results cannot be denied. The coffee produced is rich, aromatic and not in the least bit dishwatery – proving the best things come to those who wait!
Obviously it helped that I used my favorite beans, from No. 1 Coffee, which are supplied freshly ground (there’s a date on the side so you know they’re not stale) to the perfect medium coarseness for filter machines.
The other cool feature that helps on the flavor-front is KitchenAid’s much-lauded 29-hole spiral showerhead, which is designed to ensure the “drip” evenly saturates all the grounds, rather than just pouring through the middle. The idea is that the showerhead mimics an artisan hand-poured brew as closely as possible, without you having to stand there and do it manually. All I can say is it works – there’s no need to lift the lid and give the grounds a stir, as I’ve had to in other filter machines, in order to ensure full coverage – and when I empty the filter, I can see all the grounds are well saturated, even with a full 12-cup payload.
If you don’t like your coffee strong enough to stand a spoon in, you can opt for the Regular brewing strength, activated using the button with a coffee bean icon above it. I only used it for my mum as she genuinely prefers instant coffee, yuck, but I did notice the coffee processed a little faster so it could be handy if you’re in a hurry.
Should I buy the KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
How does the KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker compare?
The KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker is without doubt the best filter coffee machine I have trialled so far. It doesn’t do anything wildly fancy – there’s no grinder, tamper or milk frother going on – but it ticks all the boxes you could ever ask for from a filter machine, and more.
The Smeg Drip Coffee Machine comes a close second, but the KitchenAid pips it on features and the coffee tasted a little richer and more intense. I used the same blend of coffee grounds in both for fair comparison, by the way.
If you prefer the harsher caffeine hit of an espresso, check out KitchenAid’s Artisan Espresso Machine and if you like the convenience and speed of pods, try the Ninja Dual Brew, which takes both pods and grounds in the same machine.
How I tested the KitchenAid KCM1208 Drip Coffee Maker
For two weeks it was the only source of caffeine in our home
Spent time trying out the various timers and temperature controls
Tweaked quantities to get the best results
Cleaned, buffed and shined (and put washable parts in the dishwasher)
I tested the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker in my Devon home in the UK, where my husband and I work full time, for two weeks. We drink a lot of coffee, as do our friends and family who, by complete coincidence, appeared to be dropping by a lot more than usual during the testing period! I did a cleaning cycle, following the instructions, which, to my delight, suggested a mix water/vinegar mix rather than harsh chemicals for descaling.
Read more about how we test
First reviewed: July 2023