Coffee is a morning ritual for many Americans. For others (like me), it’s a daily necessity.
If you’re an older adult who loves a good cup of coffee or needs it to get moving in the morning, you probably don’t want to fool with a complicated, hard-to-read coffee machine.
Here’s how to choose a good coffee maker for you or an elderly person you love for an easy – and safe – hot cup of joe.
Top Picks: Best Coffee Makers for Seniors & Elderly
If you just want to see my top picks, here they are. Keep scrolling to see my complete coffee maker buying guide and how I chose these.
Hamilton Beach Scoop
Simple to use brewer without needing any disposable pods or paper filters.
More like the drip brewer that most people are used to, with some safety features built-in.
Prefer to watch a video rather than read an article? This video covers the main points of this guide with demonstrations of my top picks. Enjoy!
Why Does It Matter? Important Safety Concerns
We all know why coffee is a popular drink, and people of all ages enjoy it. And the coffee maker is usually the most used kitchen small appliance.
But, there are some essential safety concerns regarding coffee makers for the elderly.
For one, a coffee maker – even if labeled as “safe” for the elderly – can be dangerous if not used properly.
One concern with coffee makers for the elderly is that they may be unable to operate them properly. Many older adults may have difficulty gripping a hot drink mug or manipulating small buttons, leading to burns or other injuries.
No Safety Measures
Additionally, some brewers do not have safety measures in place should water spill over. These water spills can lead to steam explosions, scalding, and other burn injuries.
A 2008 study in Geriatrics and Aging reports (Source) indicates that most burn injuries among older adults happen in the kitchen. The same study states that injuries from flames, heating elements, and scalds are the most common cause of significant burns among older persons.
Fire and Injury Risk
Finally, forgetful senior citizens may not remember to turn off the coffee pot once finished increasing the risk of fire.
So, where’s the good news?
There are a variety of coffee makers on the market that are safe for seniors to use! It’s essential to do your research before making a purchase. To get you started, I put together this guide if you’re considering a change in your coffee maker. Then, I’ve put together a list of the ones I recommend (and don’t recommend).
What Are The Easiest Coffee Makers?
If you are looking for the best coffee maker for elderly people who just need a simple, basic coffee maker, I recommend the “coffee pod” makers like Keurig and similar models. These just require popping in a coffee pod and adding water. There is no exposed heating element to cause burns. The coffee goes right into their mug, too, so there is no additional pouring step that could lead to a drop or spill. Plus, there are no filters!
The next best option would be a single-serve drip-style coffee maker with a disposable filter system. With this coffee maker, the user needs to add a filter, add their coffee, fill the carafe with water, pour it into the reservoir, replace it, and turn it on. This process is one that most older adults have been doing for years and will come naturally to them.
Key Decision-Making Features: How to Choose
I thought that finding a few nice, easy-to-use coffee makers to recommend would be a pretty simple task.
Boy, I was wrong.
There are so many different types of brewers to choose from – too many if you ask me. Each type, though, has its own set of features and benefits. But, the closer I looked, I found many weren’t the best choice for more elderly users.
So, here are my best tips to help you shop for a new coffee maker.
1. Stick to What They Are Used To
You first need to consider the type of coffee maker your elderly loved one prefers. Most people prefer A drip-style coffee maker over a complicated espresso machine, so if that’s what your loved one wants, it may be best to stay with the type of coffee maker they are used to using.
Now is not the time to introduce a french press, espresso machines, and a pour-over coffee maker. They probably aren’t wanting to learn how to use a new style of coffee maker at this point.
2. Look for Simple Switches and Controls
The best coffee makers have simple switches that are easy to use. These simple switches are essential, as many older people may have trouble reading small print or using complicated controls. Sometimes, the best choice is just a simple on/off switch, and that’s it. Generally, a single-serving coffeemaker or a coffee pod system will be the easiest to control.
Many older adults have trouble manipulating the knobs on some coffee makers, especially if they are small and difficult to grasp.
3. Always Choose Auto Shut-Off
Of the key features, the automatic shut-off feature is a mandatory coffee maker feature to help avoid fires and accidents and keep elderly users safe. This critical feature turns the brewer off automatically once the brew cycle has been completed. If that’s too quick for slower coffee drinkers, I have a suggestion for that below. Or show them how to heat their coffee in the microwave.
4. Consider How It Will Be Loaded
Look closely at the filter basket, water reservoirs, etc., including how they are accessed. Think about the steps necessary to brew the coffee each morning.
Does the coffee maker use disposable or reusable filters? Do you need to add water daily, or does the reservoir hold enough water for several days?
Compare this with the person’s routine and abilities.
5. Choose a Stainless Steel Carafe
Take a look at the carafe that comes with the coffee maker too. Options such as the material, handle style, and weight is more important than you might realize. A stainless steel carafe is less likely to break than a glass one if it is dropped.
The handle style can also reduce the chance of the carafe being dropped. For people with arthritis or poor hand dexterity, thicker, more rounded handles are easier to hold onto than skinny, stick-like handles.
Of course, a lightweight carafe is always a better choice.
6. Automation With A Programmable Coffee Maker or Timer
While I generally recommend easy coffee makers with fewer features and options, there are some situations where a programmable coffee maker may be the best idea. These are really helpful when you have caregivers or family members to help with the coffee-making.
For example, the caregiver could have it loaded up and ready to go for the next morning before they leave for the day. Then, they could set it to automatically come on at a time when the senior usually wants their morning coffee. Then, it’s hot and ready to go.
Combine this with automatic shut-off, and there is no need for the elderly person to use the controls at all!
7. Easy to Read Buttons and Numbers
If you opt for a more advanced coffee maker, there will be buttons and labels to read. Look for large buttons that are easy to press for weakened, arthritic fingers. Any text labels or instructions should be easily read in a clear, bold, and contrasting font that stands out from the background.
8. A Bright Display
It’s hard to find a coffee maker that doesn’t have an electronic display, even if it’s just to display the time. So, likewise, make sure the display is bright, clear, and easy to read with a bold font. Blues and greens are the best colors compared to reds and oranges for older eyes.
9. Loud Beeps and Alarms
If your chosen coffee maker has audible alerts, make sure they are loud and easy to hear – even from a distance. Also, if the devices make different tones for different functions or warnings, review the differences with the elderly person and make sure they understand.
10. Easy to Clean and Reassemble
Cleanability is especially important for those who are living independently. Choose a coffee maker with an easy-to-clean carafe without tiny grooves where coffee grinds can get caught.
Coffee makers with removable reservoirs are best because they are more hygienic and can be washed separately in warm soapy water. Just be sure it is easy to reassemble afterward.
11. Don’t Forget Style and Size Might Matter
Not everyone is concerned with the design, but many people want their kitchen to be “just so.” Consider their style and design demands if you have a demanding elderly loved one for whom you are shopping. They may not want a huge coffee maker whose footprint takes up a large section of their countertop.
What to Avoid When Buying Coffee Makers for Older Adults
- Lots of buttons, switches, and complicated menus with small text.
- Heavy glass carafes with narrow handles.
- A coffee maker without an automatic shut-off.
- Complicated multi-step brewing devices.
I recommend these top models for elderly people who need a safe and easy-to-use coffee maker.
Keurig K-Express Coffee Maker
- Automatic Shut-Off (immediate)
- 8, 10, and 12 oz cup sizes
- Strong Brew Button
- Large Removable Reservoir
Coffee making doesn’t get much easier than this! The Keurig K-Express is on the top of my best coffee makers list because it is nearly perfect for those looking for a quick, safe, and easy way to brew coffee.
To brew a delicious cup of coffee, just lift the lid, pop in a pod of your favorite coffee flavor, make sure there is water in the reservoir and press the button for your cup size. The controls are right on the side of the base and feature bold white print against a black background, making them easy to read.
Pod-styled coffee makers are an excellent idea for older adults, especially couples. There are hundreds of varieties and flavors of coffee to choose from so everyone can get their perfect cup, flavor, and strength.
Plus, they are easy to clean, and there is less chance of accidents or spills when using coffee pod systems.
- Simple coffee-making process
- Buttons are straight-forward and easy to use
- Flavor and strength choices
- Large reservoir holds enough water for several days
- The reservoir is removable for easy cleaning
- Need to know cup size to prevent overflow
Hamilton Beach Scoop Single Serve Brew Coffee Maker
- Automatic Shut-Off (Immediate)
- Fast Brewing Time
- Multiple Cup Sizes
- One Button Operation
My next recommendation is also easy to use and offers additional flexibility over the Keurig K-Express. It uses a similar process to make coffee, except that you can use any loose ground coffee you want.
So, it’s a good choice for people who only want their Folgers or may buy a special blend they prefer. It’s also an excellent choice for older adults concerned about the environmental impacts of all those disposable coffee pods.
The advantage of this single serve coffee maker is the integrated scoop and filter. Scoop the amount of coffee you want and place the entire scoop on the top under the lid. Use the included mesh scoop filter, which doubles as a filter basket, to add coffee.
Then just close the lid, check the water, and choose regular or bold. I love that this one has a single-button operation too. It makes your favorite coffee fast and easy!
- Fast, easy, and safe coffee making
- Start brewing at the touch of a button
- No disposable cups or filters to buy
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Can overflow if coffee is overfilled or too finely ground
- The reservoir cannot be removed for cleaning
Cuisinart 4 Cup Drip Coffee Maker (DCC-450BK)
- Automatic Shut-Off (30 min)
- 4 Cup Capacity
- Simple On/Off Switch Operation
- Brew-Pause Feature
If you or the senior you love prefers a more traditional drip coffee maker, this Cuisinart brewer should be one of your top choices because it is easy and safe to use and has all my recommended features. This 4 cup coffee maker is an excellent choice for people who want to brew more than a cup at a time but prefer the size of a compact coffee maker.
This one features the same simple process that most older adults have followed thousands of times. Simply lift the lid and add your filter, the desired amount of coffee grounds, and water. Close the lid and flip the power switch on the left side of the unit. This single switch coffee maker also has an orange light to let them know it is on and working.
If they get eager and want that first cup right away, it has a brew-pause feature that will stop brewing if the carafe is removed. Putting the carafe back in the base will restart the brewing process. This feature can save a mess and potential accident if the user pulls the carafe out before brewing has finished.
For larger capacity, here’s the 10-cup version.
- Simple and familiar coffee brewing process
- Single power switch is large and easy to use
- Brew-pause feature prevents spills and accidents if the carafe is removed before brewing is finished
- Stainless steel carafe is sturdy and durable, and unbreakable
- Brew multiple cups of coffee at one time
- Requires disposable filters and measuring of coffee
BLACK+DECKER Single Serve Coffee Maker (CM618)
Do you (or the senior you love) sip on your coffee all morning long? Or maybe you prefer the feel of a big thermal travel mug in your hand?
This easy-to-operate single serve coffee maker comes with a large thermal travel mug that you can fill right from the coffee maker. You simply fill the included scoop filter basket with your favorite coffee and add water to the reservoir to use this one. Then, just close the lid, and press the large start button on the right side of the base.
The benefit of the travel mug is that you can brew one large cup of coffee at once, and it will stay hotter longer. Another advantage is that some older adults and elderly people with arthritis find this style of mug much easier to hold onto than a standard coffee mug with a handle.
If interested, you can learn more about coffee cups for arthritic hands here.
- Includes a large thermal mug to keep coffee warmer longer
- Easy brewing process and one-touch operation
- The combination scoop filter is dishwasher-safe
- Brewer automatically shuts off once the brewing is complete
- Not compatible with other mugs or carafes
Here are some more makers I considered for this guide, along with an explanation of why they didn’t make my top recommendations.
Mr. Coffee 5-Cup Mini Brew Personal Coffee Maker (2129512)
Traditional coffee brewers will appreciate the style and operation of this old, familiar Mr. Coffee coffee maker. This 5 cup coffee maker is a smaller version of the larger coffee pot that many older adults are familiar with. But, while it’s simple to operate, it may not be the best choice.
This personal coffee maker has a simple flip switch operation with an orange light to let you know it’s working. It also has the brew-pause feature to reduce messes and accidents if the user gets over-eager and pulls the carafe out too soon.
BUT, while simple in its operation, it isn’t the best choice for elderly folks. The carafe is glass and could shatter if dropped. Although the ergonomic handle is pretty robust, it should be easy to hold onto. There is also no automatic shut-off feature. Instead, it relies on you noticing the orange light as a cue to turn it off.
Bodum Cold Brew Coffee Brewer
Did you know that you can brew coffee without any heat at all? That’s what a cold brew coffee maker is all about.
Popularized by hipsters, cold brewing is basically brewing coffee in your refrigerator. You just add coffee and water to a pitcher and place it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
The drawback? It may not be as satisfying for people who prefer the warmth of a hot cup of coffee.
You can try this yourself; the best part is you don’t have to have any special equipment. A glass pitcher will do – you just need a way to filter out the grounds before pouring and drinking.
If you want a special brewer for this process, I like this one from Bodum because it has a robust, ergonomic handle that is easier to hold onto. The plunger is easy to press, plus you can see how strong your brew is through the glass.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine
Several of my peers have recommended this coffee system.
While it could be a good choice for a senior or elderly person who is a bit of a “coffee snob,” your general older adult isn’t going to want to take the extra steps needed to brew more fancy coffee drinks.
Although, I will say that given the variety of options this one has, it is simple to operate at the press of a single button. So, if you are looking for the best espresso machine for seniors, this may be it.
Another drawback is that you have to use the Nespresso brand coffee cartridges, so you are locking yourself into one brand and style of coffee.
Cafetiere French Press Coffee Maker
Some would say that french presses are easier to use, but again, I disagree. I personally use a french press coffee maker at home, and it does brew a much better-tasting cup of coffee.
Yes, they are easy to use because you just add coffee and water, brew, then press the handle and pour.
But, there is another extra step too: you have to get the water hot in the first place.
This usually involves using a stove and water kettle or an electric water kettle at least. Heating and transferring this water presents an opportunity for scalding and spills and is best avoided if safe coffee making is your concern.
Presto 6-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator (02822)
Percolators are an interesting way to make coffee for this population. Many of them are familiar with the process and probably grew up using percolators.
And percolators are generally safe and easy to use.
The drawback is when they need cleaning. Disassembling a percolator requires several steps that some people aren’t going to want to deal with. And if percolators aren’t cleaned properly, residual coffee will burn and create a bitter taste.
All that being said, though, of the options, I like this stainless steel coffee percolator best. It’s got a simple one-button operation, is relatively easy to clean and has an automatic keep-warm mode.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is coffee ok for seniors to drink?
According to the National Institute of Health, elderly people can consume “moderate amounts of coffee which will not cause any health impairments.” But, of course, there are some caveats to this – especially with caffeine. The metabolism of caffeine is dependent on enzymatic liver function.
Excessive amounts of coffee have been known to cause “unpleasant life-threatening side effects.” so some elderly people with degraded liver function probably shouldn’t drink caffeinated coffee. If you are concerned about this, check with the elderly person’s doctor, who knows their personal health history.
Learn more about whether elderly people should drink coffee here.
How much caffeine is safe for seniors?
Most elderly people can tolerate moderate amounts of caffeinated coffee, with the recommendation from the NIH being 50-100mg of caffeine a day. However, seniors with decreased liver function should avoid any caffeine whatsoever. (source)
Are the elderly more sensitive to caffeine?
Caffeine has been shown to increase urinary calcium levels and has “a greater impact on calcium metabolism and bone in older people.” However, caffeine’s effect on neurological systems and overall metabolism seems nearly equal. (source)
Does coffee cause forgetfulness?
So, the consensus is that, at a minimum, coffee has no effect on memory or may improve memory in other studies.
Is coffee good for dementia?
The Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging, and Dementia (CAIDE) study identified that middle-aged persons who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee each day showed a 65% decreased risk of dementia. However, a study at Harvard, indicated there is a limit to this and that you shouldn’t consume more than 5 or 6 cups per day,
When shopping for a coffee maker for the elderly, it is crucial to consider its features and options that affect its ease of use and safety. I recommend you choose a coffee maker with minimal options, easy-to-read, and press switches, a lightweight carafe, and that has an automatic shut-off for safety.
Additionally, consider the elderly person’s individual needs and preferences too. If they don’t like what you’ve chosen, they may not use it. Get their buy-in upfront.
While on the subject of coffee, take a look at the coffee cups your senior loved one is using. I have a separate guide to lightweight coffee mugs for elderly people you may want to read and a specialty guide to coffee cups for arthritic hands that you might also find helpful.
The jury is still out on whether coffee is good or bad for our health. Some studies suggest it may have benefits, while others indicate it’s not so great for us. However, most experts agree that moderate consumption of coffee is generally safe and can be enjoyed by seniors and anyone who wants to stay healthy.
Do you see anything I missed? Are there any questions still lingering on your mind? Let me know in the comments below.