Feb. 1, 2019Automated coffee makers are where it’s at — push a button, get a pitcher to last you all day. The problem is, most automated coffee makers are made with plastic components that come into direct contact with the hot water.
There are tons of manual options out there — pourover systems like the Chemex, a good old-fashion French press — but being able to press brew and wait for your robot to brew your coffee? Not much tops that.
Product research nut that I am, I went out in search of the most plastic-free coffee maker I could find — here’s what I came up with.
Why Plastic and Hot Water Don’t Mix
First, a science lesson. Let’s get one thing clear, plastic and hot water do not get along. Even though most food-grade appliances are using BPA-free plastic these days, that term gets taken with a grain of salt.
An alarming study recently revealed that as much as 70% of “BPA-free” plastics still contain traces of BPA in them and still cause the same hormonal disruption that has been linked to reproductive defects and cancers.
Hot water exacerbates these qualities in plastics, causing the materials to leach chemicals into the surrounding water. The unpleasant reality? That cup of hot coffee from your brewmeister is sporting more than just caffeine.
The Problem With Most Automatic Coffee Makers
Most coffee makers that involve buttons and filter baskets have several plastic components that come into direct contact with the hot water. And hey, let’s face it — plastic is cheap to manufacture, won’t shatter like glass during shipping, and is way less expensive than stainless steel.
The cold water reservoir is typically plastic, which wouldn’t be such a big deal if plastic didn’t leach at all in cold water (but it does). From there, the water typically gets heated by an element, passed through plastic tubing, and poured through a plastic filter basket into a glass carafe.
Some commercial options, like the Bunn coffee makers, offer replacement stainless steel baskets and stainless steel water tanks, but the coffee still gets poured over a plastic lid into the carafe.
And that was a dealbreaker for me.
You guys, I can’t tell you how much this quest for a plastic-free coffee maker annoyed my husband. Not only was he perfectly happy with his kettle and French press, but he had charged himself with finding me a solution and was having NO luck.
Everywhere we looked, there were halfcocked solutions that led back to the same issue, and we wound up shrugging our shoulders and saying maybe this was one battle with plastic we just couldn’t win.
Until an unassuming coffee machine on Amazon caught our eye.
The Gourmia GCM4900 Coffee Maker is a 5-minute coffee machine, and save for a small piece of plastic tubing on the inside of the machine, is one of the few coffee makers that has almost no plastic coming into contact with hot water.
The Almost Plastic-Free Coffee Machine
I’ll be honest — the reasonable price made me skeptical of how good this thing really was. I had looked at so many high-end models, hoping to find a plastic-free coffee maker in the higher end machine category, and had absolutely no luck.
But this thing is NOT too good to be true.
Equipped with a glass water reservoir, stainless steel grounds basket (no paper filter required), and a 100% borosilicate glass carafe reminiscent of the Chemex styling, this thing is the real deal.
There’s some plastic contact, which I’m not crazy about, but all in all, it’s definitely the best solution out there.
While not programmable, this coffee maker earns major points for being such a quick brew and for having a coffee filter basket. This makes the machine zero waste if you buy your beans in bulk.
Lazy Caffeine (For People Too Tired to Pour)
It’s ridiculous, it’s lazy, it’s way, way sad that I need a robot to make my coffee for me.
But seriously, you have to ask yourself: How, of all household appliances, have our coffee machines not become plastic-free yet?
How do you brew your coffee? Show us your dream setup on social media and tag us in the post! @AvocadoGreenMagazine