Is making coffee slowing you down in the morning? Even in today’s drip-machine world, is pouring dust into a cup still just too darn hard during your 6AM haze? Here are several ways you can automate your coffee maker, so it’s ready for you in the morning with minimal interaction.

Keep in mind that you can’t have the coffee-making experience be 100% automated, since there are still some things that have to remain manual—even if it’s just making sure you place a coffee cup underneath the dispenser. However, there are a few different things you can add to the experience that will at least partially automate the process.

Use a Programmable Coffee Maker

You might already have one of these in the first place, but the most basic form of coffee-making automation is the good ol’ programmable coffee maker.

It’s the least “smart” way to automate the coffee making process, but it’s by far the cheapest solution, since you can get a programmable coffee maker for as little as $20.

These coffee makers allow you to set a time that the coffee maker will automatically turn on and begin brewing coffee. So if you normally have your coffee around 7am, maybe program it to turn on at 6:50am or so.

Granted, you can’t control it remotely and it’s probably not the best solution for those who don’t have their coffee at the same time every morning. However, most people have a consistent morning routine, so a programmable coffee maker would be the best option there.

Plus, if your current coffee maker isn’t programmable and you don’t want to give it up, you could get a basic plug-in timer that will give you mostly the same features of a programmable model.

Use a Smart Outlet

If you want more control over when your coffee maker turns on and starts brewing your coffee, you might want more than just a basic programmable coffee maker. If you usually don’t have your coffee at the same time every day, then it might be better to have something that you can trigger whenever you want. This is where smart outlets come into play.

RELATED: How to Set Up the Belkin WeMo Switch

Smart outlets (like the Belkin WeMo Switch) require the coffee maker to have an on/off mechanical switch (rather than a push button), but it will let you turn your coffee maker on and off from anywhere using the app at any time. You can even tell Alexa to “turn the coffee maker on” whenever you’re ready for your morning fix.

Plus, smart outlets are pretty cheap at around $30, and you can usually find them on sale throughout the year for as low as $20 if you’re patient enough. It’s a good middle-of-the-road automation solution for coffee making. Of course, you still to need to put in a filter, fill it with coffee grounds, and dump some water in, but you could do that the night before so that you can take it easy the next morning.

Get a Coffee Maker with Smarts Built In

If you want to streamline your automated coffee maker setup, you can get bypass the smart outlet and get a coffee maker that has smarts already built in. This Mr. Coffee machine has Belkin’s WeMo technology built right into the coffee maker itself, so you can control it remotely from your phone without needing to plug in a bulky smart outlet.

The only downside is that even though WeMo works natively with Alexa, the coffee maker does not, so you’ll have to go through IFTTT in order to control it using your Amazon Echo.

Of course, buying a smart coffee maker with the tech built in severely limits which coffee makers you can get. So if you’re particular about your coffee makers or you already have one that you’re in love with, it might be best to stick with a smart outlet if possible.

Find a System That Works for You

In the end, coffee making is never fully automated and probably never will be, since there are so many factors that go into it. Granted, you can buy expensive coffee makers that grind the beans for you and automatically begins brewing the coffee, but you still need to make sure there’s a cup or mug underneath the dispenser, which is something that you just can’t automate.

Whatever coffee maker you have and whichever automation method you decide to use, you’ll need to come up with a system that works well for you and that’s as close to “automatic” that you can get. If it means preparing the water and coffee grounds the night before so that all you have to do is tell Alexa to start up the coffee maker, then so be it.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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