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The Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine brews decent coffee and sports a reassuring old-school design that gives us all the nostalgic feels. Think quaint roadside diner, circa 1968. It comes in an impressive array of colors spanning 21 hues. I was sent the Brushed Brass version to test, and it couldn’t have been easier to use.
Eco-aware consumers will appreciate the availability of spare components and Moccamaster’s repair service, which is designed to ensure this machine will outlive its owner. No built-in obsolescence here. The Moccamaster KBGV Select is also sold with an impressive five-year warranty, providing peace of mind against defects and faulty components.
In the UK, the KBGV Select is known as the KBG Select, which is essentially the same machine but with UK compatible voltage and plug. Sadly, the build quality of this filter machine isn’t as sturdy as I expected for its $358 / £229 price-tag. But I can’t deny the KBGV Select does make a fine cup of coffee (or 10), securing it a place in our best coffee makers guide.
Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: Product specifications
Type of coffee: Grounds
Brew time: 4-6 mins
Milk frother: No
Brew size options: Half / Full carafe
Water tank capacity: 1.25L / 40 oz
Carafe size: 1.25L / 40 oz
Power cord length: 1 meter
Warming plate: Yes
Coffee grinder: No
Average Noise level: 39dB
Color: 21 (we tested Brushed Gold)
Material: Plastic, metal, glass
Dimensions: 114 x 12.75 x 6.50 inches/ 36 x 32 x 17 cm (HxWxD)
Weight: 2.8kg / 6lb
Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: price and availability
Look out for Wayfair’s bundle deals, whereby you can get 20% off if you buy three small appliances in the offer.
Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: First impressions
The Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine arrived in a beaten-up box but that was probably more down to courier care, or lack thereof. Moving swiftly on to our first impressions of the actual machine. Unfortunately, not so great either. The black plastic components are made from flimsy feeling plastic of the sort you might find on cheap kids’ toys. Let’s just say it is more Breville than Breitling on the build quality front. Design taste is a personal thing and while the design is by no means offensive, I did find it a little old fashioned and twee – and not in a deliberately cool, retro way.
On the plus side, there are plenty of colors to appeal, so I could have ordered a nice red edition to match our food mixer, or black to match our toaster. The brushed brass finish I was sent is very much on-trend and would work well in a kitchen with taps, cabinet knobs or light pendants in similar warm metallics. I also liked the glass carafe, which sits comfortably in the hand and pours well without side spout spills (although the glass could have been thicker).
Before you can start brewing you have to put the Moccamaster KGB Select together. The task is simple enough, you just attach the chrome water outlet arm onto a rubber bung on the top of the water reservoir and slide the filter holder and lids into position.
As with any coffee machine, a couple of clean runs (without coffee) is recommended to flush the pipes clean before use. This is done by filling up the water reservoir, which takes 1.25L / 40 oz and is easy to access with a wide aperture to pour into, reducing the potential for spills, and turning the machine on. Do make sure the carafe is in position!
Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: User experience
Unlike most modern filter coffee machines, the Moccamaster KBGV Select doesn’t come with a reusable mesh filter. You do get three paper filters with your purchase, and 100 Moccamaster No. 4 filters are just $11.99, so will hardly break the bank. I must admit filter papers (which can go straight into your compost bin with the spent coffee grounds inside) are more convenient and (if you use a plate to catch the drips) a lot less messy than reusable filters. Moccamaster also believes paper filters are superior to reusable because the metal mesh in reusable filters is prone to getting clogged with coffee oils, which can result in bitter tasting coffee.
The amount of coffee grounds you put into the filter is a matter of taste, but Moccamaster suggests around 2.6oz/75g for a full 1.3qt/1.25L jug. The measuring spoon supplied is designed to contain enough for two cups. I found one (Emma Bridgewater) mug equates to 2.5 cups as measured on the water reservoir gauge. Through a little trial and error, I found I needed to fill the water up to the 5-cup line and use three scoops of coffee grounds to make two mugs of strong black coffee.
The Moccamaster KBGV Select has two buttons on the front. One is the on/off and the other is half/full jug. On the half jug setting the water comes out slower, which gives the coffee longer to percolate and intensify before dripping into the jug. You can also use the half setting on the full jug for a more intense brew (the actual amount of coffee made is wholly dependent on how much water you put in – it keeps going until the water runs out).
I timed the coffee machine and found a half jug took 4.5 minutes and a full jug was done in a little more than six minutes, which is pretty swift compared to other filter machines I have tested. Sadly, there is no timer facility so you can’t programme it to have the coffee ready and waiting at a set time.
There is also no audible alert (beeps) to let you know when the coffee is ready, which isn’t a big deal but would have been useful, especially since our Sound Meter rated the Moccamaster KBGV Select at a super quiet 39 decibels. This is akin to a loud whisper and is in no way intrusive when working from home but also meant I couldn’t tell if the coffee was done without getting up from our desk and walking over to the machine!
A feature that the impatient and neat-freaks alike will love, is the anti-drip mechanism, which shuts off the filter basket whenever you grab the carafe off of the hotplate. This means you don’t get that sizzling burn/bubbling effect when the coffee drips hit hotplate, and also that you can pour your first cup without having to wait for a full brew. It works flawlessly.
Like all filter machines with hotplates built in compliance with EU regulations, the hotplate will switch off automatically after 40 minutes (100 mins on the US version) and the light on the on/off switch will go out as a visual aide. For this reason, I preferred to brew the amount we needed each time, rather than brew a full jug and reheat all but the first pour.
Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: Taste test
Here comes the good news. Any misgivings about the poor build quality and basic functionality of this machine were blown out of the water when it came to taste. I may not love the look or feel of the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine, but I cannot deny it does the job, and does it as well as any boutique coffee shop I’ve frequented.
The coffee I used is our favorite blend from No. 1 Coffee (specifically, The Devonian hand-roasted Arabica beans) and the Moccamaster KBGV Select made it taste better than I’ve ever experienced. Including from our local coffee shop, which uses the same beans but in a ginormous chrome beast of a machine that’s bigger than a fridge.
Moccamaster claims the secret to great tasting filter coffee boils down to temperature control. They say a consistent brewing temperature between 196°F – 205°F / 92°C – 96°C is essential for perfect flavor extraction. Too cold and the coffee will taste sour, too hot and it will taste bitter. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can confirm the coffee produced in a Moccamaster KBGV Select is so, so good.
The hotplate is also set to the perfect temperature for ensuring the coffee stays warm but not so warm that it becomes stewed, bitter and undrinkable. With only 40 minutes of warming time, I’d brew two mugs of coffee at a time (for one person, four if my husband was also working from home), and the second cup was always as delicious as the first.
Should I buy the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
How does the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine compare?
Compared to the other two filter coffee machines I have tested recently, the Moccamaster KBGV Select comes up short on style and features, but scores as well, perhaps even a little better, on taste.
I’d probably choose the Smeg Drip Coffee Machine over the Moccamaster KBGV Select if design style was a priority, and the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker (also good looking) offers more in the way of scheduling and variable strength options.
At $358 / £229, the Moccamaster KBGV Select is the most expensive of the three. This is almost certainly due to the labor costs involved – each one is handmade in the Netherlands – but I do think it would benefit from sturdier components for that price-tag. In particular, the glass jug could do with being thicker; especially as we have a stone sink. There were a couple of cringy moments when I’d put it down too hard and were poised for it to smash.
Anyone seeking a filter coffee machine with the flexibility of pod use should also check out the Ninja Dual Brew Pro, which has a very fancy digital display and blows the Moccamaster out of the water on the tech front!
How I tested the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine
For two weeks it was our main source of caffeine at home
Adjusting the grounds-to-water ratios
Experimenting with quantities
Cleaning and maintenance
I tested the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine for two weeks in early summer and it got plenty of use every day, including coffee mornings with the school mums and weekend entertaining. I did clean the pipes through with hot water a few times but didn’t need to descale as we live in a soft water area. Moccamaster recommends descaling every 100 cycles (which essentially equates to a box of filters) and it is a simple case of running cycles with descaling products in the water tank, and no coffee grounds of course! When I’d finished testing, it was returned to Moccamaster HQ.
Read more about how we test
First reviewed: July 2023