The Moccamaster KBG/ KBGV Select is everything a filter machine should be: quick to make a round of crowd-pleasing coffee, low-maintenance and mess-free. It’s an eco-friendly buy as well. The only sticking point is the price – it’s substantially more costly than a basic drip design.
Filter coffee machines have long had a bad rap: years of turning out flavour-free brown liquid and burnt hotplates have put them on some people’s no-go list. But done properly, filter coffee can be a joy: something you’re sure to discover in Moccamaster’s KBG or KBGV Select filter machine – the model name is slightly different depending on where you are in the world.
It’s equipped with a unique copper heating element that ensures the brewing temperature is between 92°C and 96°C, making for a consistent brew every time, without bitterness from being too hot or sourness from being too cold. Add to that a hotplate that’s easy to clean and keeps your coffee at a pleasant 80-85°C, and you could just find yourself on the road to filter coffee conversion.
Design and build
1.25 litre tank
21 colour options
Something that the Moccamaster KBG Select has over many filter coffee machines is that it’s far more design-led. Rather than being simply a basket over a jug with a water tank parked at the back, here the set-up is on its own plinth, with water heated and pumped from one side before being gently showered over ground coffee on the other side.
The tank can accommodate water for up to 10 cups (1.25 litres). And for those who love a splash of colour in their kitchen or home office, the exterior is available in a dizzying choice of 21 colours, ranging from the attention-grabbing Yellow Pepper, to a more demure Forest Green.
It’s fairly light to move around the kitchen (2.8kg) and not too bulky at H36 x W32 x D17cm.
One appealing element is that the machine itself feels reassuringly robust – it has the unusual aspect of being handmade in the Netherlands, rather than further afield – and it’s repairable, so a sound sustainable choice.
The controls are simple: there’s an on-off button to start your brew, an auto off, so you won’t get the typical sizzling and spurting once all the water has run through, and an option to switch between a full jug and half jug. The half-jug option pumps water through more slowly for a longer coffee extraction and more intense flavour, and can also be used with a full jug of coffee.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
Performance and features
Two brewing options
Keeps coffee warm for 40 mins
Easy to clean hotplate
If you haven’t mastered pour-over coffee, the Moccamaster Select effectively does the hard part for you, showering hot water over coffee grounds to extract the flavours. This is especially noticeable when removing the lid of the basket after brewing. While we had piled the coffee grounds up in a mountain in the centre of the filter paper, after brewing, they evenly adhered to the sides of the paper.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
The instructions are pretty comprehensive – although some initial explanation of how to put the machine together would be helpful as there’s only a photo, which doesn’t show how to fit parts such as the outlet arm.
Otherwise, it’s an incredibly easy machine to use as there are only two options to choose from for brewing. The included scoop measures out enough coffee grounds for two cups and the water tank has good clear measurements in both litres and cups so you can pour in the amount of water to match.
Rachel Ogden / Foundry
Both the water and amount of coffee you put in can be adjusted to your taste. Perhaps the only extra that would be helpful is a small jug for measuring out the water – as the instructions advise against using the glass coffee pot.
We tried both the full jug and half jug settings and found that overall, we preferred the half jug. The slower extraction process definitely produced a richer tasting cup of coffee with more aroma and a slightly sweeter flavour. It was also more suitable for getting the best out of decaf coffee, where flavours can be lacking.
However, if you’re in a rush for lots of coffee, the full jug could be more suitable as it’s faster – we found that it took just over five minutes to make, which matches the manufacturer’s estimate of less than six minutes.
Another feature we liked was the hotplate the jug sits on: it’s covered in plastic rather than being like the burnt old hotplates of yore, making it easy to clean and also not prone to scorching and smells.
Once the jug was removed, the anti-drip mechanism worked fairly well, although there could still sometimes be the odd drip. It kept the coffee warm for its stated 40 minutes, although it would be great if there were an option to extend this as the glass jug doesn’t keep warm very long after this has elapsed.
For hot coffee for longer, you’ll need to swap to the KBGT model with a thermal carafe (available in the US and Europe). While for one cup at a time, Moccamaster’s Cup-One would be a better fit (US, Europe and UK).
Price and availability
There’s no getting around the fact that the Moccamaster KGB /KBGV Select is expensive. That’s particularly the case as drip coffee makers are among the most budget-friendly ways to make coffee at home. If you’re in the UK and would like to check out some cheaper options, have a look at our reviews of the Russell Hobbs Buckingham and the Chester Grind and Brew, which has an inbuilt bean grinder.
But if aesthetics are important, you have environmental concerns, or you want to buy for life, the Moccamaster Select could be worth its price.
It’s available in the US, where it’s called the Moccamaster KBGV Select, for $359 and upwards. You can buy it from Amazon, Walmart or direct from the Moccamaster website; at the time of writing, there’s no price advantage at any retailer.
You can also buy it in the UK and Europe from Moccamaster for around €230, but at the time of writing, the best UK price is £199.99 from Amazon.
For those who enjoy drinking long cups of coffee throughout a day, a hard-working, reliable filter coffee machine is a must and the Moccamaster KBG/ KGBV Select fits that bill perfectly.
It’s easy to use and maintain, and does everything possible to get the best brew from your grounds. It’s also an excellent eco choice for anyone who dislikes the amount of waste generated by pod machines and their carbon footprint: the paper filters are compostable along with the grounds, so the only real waste is the bag your coffee came in.
The fact that the machine is endlessly repairable is also a huge plus, giving it a long lifespan compared to most. And while you’ll need to remember to buy filter papers along with your beans or ground coffee, the price will still probably be less than capsules.
Perhaps the only limitation is that while it’s a similar price as a good pod machine, you’re restricted to only making filter coffee – so no uplifting morning espresso – and you’ll have to invest in a separate milk frother if you like café-style drinks. However, as a good all-rounder, great for entertaining and lazy Sundays alike, it’s as good as filter coffee machines come.
To browse our coffee machine recommendations and see the pros and cons of popular models, have a look at our round-up of the best coffee machines we’ve tested.