Moccamaster KBGV Select review: get your caffeine hit without any fuss

A traditional filter coffee machine that brews great tasting coffee and won’t end up in landfill

coffee machine on countertops with mugs.
(Image: © Future)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

In an increasingly techie world where connectivity rules and nothing works without an App, the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine is refreshingly simple. It may look like an escapee from the Science Museum, but there are many cool color options to entice, and it won’t take up too much space on your countertops. Best of all, the coffee it produces is pro barista standard, so if you want a machine that ‘does what it says on the tin,’ the Moccamaster KBGV Select is a worthy contender.

Pros

  • +

    Makes tasty coffee

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    21 color options

  • +

    Five-year warranty

Cons

  • -

    Not cheap

  • -

    But looks a bit cheap

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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, which couldn’t have been easier.

Eco-aware consumers will appreciate the availability of spare components and Moccamaster’s repair service, designed to ensure this machine will outlive its owner. There is 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 the KBG Select, 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 price tag. But I can’t deny that the KBGV Select makes a fine cup of coffee (or 10), securing it in our best coffee makers guide.

Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: Key specs

  • Type of coffee: Grounds
  • Brew time: 4-6 mins
  • Milk frother: No
  • Programmable: 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
Linda Clayton portrait
Linda Clayton

Linda is a freelance journalist who has tested many products over the past two decades, including home tech, gym equipment, garden tools, and even mattresses. She is literally paid to sleep! She works from her Devonshire home, always within five paces of a caffeine supply. 

She usually gets her caffeine fix via Nespresso pods for ease and convenience and takes her coffee strong and black, no-frills. She put the Moccamaster KGB Select Coffee Machine to work during a busy fortnight at the beginning of the school holidays when the work/childcare juggle was in full swing. After the trial period, she returned it to the manufacturer.    

Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: price & availability

The KBGV Select coffee machine retails for $358 and is available in 21 colors directly from Moccamaster and major online stores such as Amazon and Wayfair

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: Setup

The Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine arrived in a beaten-up box, but that was probably more down to courier care. Moving swiftly on to our first impressions of the actual machine. Unfortunately, it's not so great either. The black plastic components are made from flimsy feeling plastic 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 not offensive, I found it a little old-fashioned and twee – and not in a deliberately cool, retro way. 

coffee machine

(Image credit: Future)

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 brewing, you must put the Moccamaster KGB Select together. The task is simple enough: 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) are recommended to flush the pipes 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. This reduces the potential for spills and turns the machine on. Make sure the carafe is in position!

Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine: Performance

Unlike most modern filter coffee machines, the Moccamaster KBGV Select doesn’t have a reusable mesh filter. You get three paper filters with your purchase, and 100 Moccamaster No. 4 filters are just $11.99, so they 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 ones because the metal mesh in reusable filters is prone to clogging 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 1.3 qt/1.25L jug. The measuring spoon supplied is designed to contain enough for two cups. I found one (Emma Bridgewater) mug that equals 2.5 cups as measured on the water reservoir gauge. Through a little trial and error, I needed to fill the water to the 5-cup line and use three scoops of coffee grounds to make two mugs of strong black coffee.

coffee machine viewed from above

The Moccamaster takes traditional filter papers. (Image credit: Future)

The Moccamaster KBGV Select has two buttons on the front. One is the on/off, and the other is the 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 depends on how much water you put in – it keeps going until the water runs out).

I timed the coffee machine and found that a half jug took 4.5 minutes, and a full jug took 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 program it to have the coffee ready and waiting at a set time.

coffee machine control buttons up close

On/off and half/full carafe are the only decisions you'll need to make! (Image credit: Future)

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 not intrusive when working from home, but it also meant I couldn’t tell if the coffee was made 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 the hotplate, and you can pour your first cup without waiting 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 minutes on the US version), and the light on the on/off switch will go out as a visual aid. 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 this machine's poor build quality and basic functionality 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. Our local coffee shop uses the same beans but in a ginormous chrome beast of a machine bigger than a fridge.

Moccamaster claims the secret to great-tasting filtered 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 bitter. I don’t know if it’s true, but I can confirm that the coffee produced in a Moccamaster KBGV Select is so good.

The hotplate is also set to the perfect temperature to ensure 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.

coff

(Image credit: Future)

Should you buy the Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine?

Buy it if...

Taste is your only priority

If consistently great-tasting coffee is all you’re interested in, this machine will deliver ­– it is even accredited by the European Coffee Brewing Center and the Specialty Coffee Association in recognition of the quality coffee it produces.

You want to help save the planet

As it is fully repairable forever, it should pour out delicious coffee for your entire lifetime. The five-year warranty is generous and should help with peace of mind when investing in one of the more expensive filter coffee machines on the market.

You love to color-match your appliances

21 color options are many color options; there's a shade to suit any kitchen decor scheme.

Don't buy it if...

You are a tech geek

The Moccamaster KBGV Select coffee machine is definitely not aimed at those who appreciate gadgets and gizmos. It’s a simple machine aimed at simple souls who need reliably good filter coffee in their lives.

Filter papers make you weep

Yes, they will drip en route to the bin, and no, you won't remember to reorder before you run out. 

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 were a priority, and the KitchenAid Drip Coffee Maker (also good looking) offers more scheduling and variable strength options.

At $358 / £229, the Moccamaster KBGV Select is the most expensive. This is almost certainly due to the labor costs involved – each one is handmade in the Netherlands – but I think it would benefit from sturdier components for that price tag. In particular, the glass jug could be thicker, especially as we have a stone sink. There were a couple of cringy moments when I’d put it down too hard and was 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 cleaned the pipes with hot water several 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
Linda Clayton
Contributor

Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product reviews, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Future Publishing (and its predecessors) since 2006, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.