The Technivorm Moccamaster KB 741 is just one of many models in this Dutch company’s line of coffee makers, but if you want to familiarize yourself with the brand, it’s a great machine to start with. The KB 741, or KB as it’s sometimes known, brings together most of Moccamaster’s signature features in one machine.
The folks at Moccamaster were kind enough to send us a KB 741 so we could put it through its paces. From the moment we pulled it out of the box until we tasted our first cup, all the elements were there: a stylish design, a sturdy build, and smart engineering that ensures the machine extract coffee evenly, at ideal temperatures.
Gerard-Clement Smit founded Technivorm in the Netherlands in 1964, and he said “a Moccamaster should be the last brewer you’ll ever buy.” They’ve sold more than 10 million of them since then, and every Moccamaster is still handmade in the Netherlands out of sturdy aluminum and BPA-free plastic. The brewers are SCAA-certified, meaning they’ve been tested, approved, and “recognized as an exemplary home brewer ” by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. There are only 28 such coffee makers, and 12 of them are Moccamasters.
Our Technivorm Moccamaster KB 741 review continues below.
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Technivorm Moccamaster KB 741
As good as the Moccamaster looks on the outside and we’ll get to that in a moment I think it’s important to talk about what they’ve done on the inside because that’s what makes good coffee.
It all starts with the copper heating element inside the tower. In other coffee makers, this element may be aluminum, brass, or stainless steel, but copper conducts and holds heat better than all of them.
The Moccamaster raises the water temperature to between 196 F and 205 F ideal for brewing coffee very quickly and keeps it there. We heard water start bubbling toward the coffee grounds within just 20 seconds of flicking the switch.
Then there’s the “showerhead,” which is designed to distribute water evenly over the coffee grounds in the brew basket, so you don’t get over-extraction in one area and under-extraction in another. In the Moccamaster, this piece is made of really sturdy stainless steel and has nine holes arranged in a pattern for the water to exit.
It’s not perfect. You may notice after brewing that there’s a depression in your bed of coffee grounds, suggesting that water fell more heavily on some grounds than others.
However, this depression is far less pronounced than it is in most coffee makers, and we certainly didn’t notice any effect on taste. The KB 741 also has some special features that can help even out the extraction. We’ll get to that in a moment.
The KB 741 brews quite quickly. It’s not a 30-second Nespresso brew, but you won’t have to wait for much more than four minutes for two large mugs of coffee.
It’s also very quiet. There’s a bit of gurgling, and the occasional steamy hiss, but almost no mechanical noise.
Aesthetically, we think the KB 781 looks as good as any automatic brewer out there. Ours has an exterior of brushed stainless steel, but you can get them in all kinds of colors from copper to lime green, and everything in between.
I like the way the Moccamaster’s base appears to hover above your counter like Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. As you can see, the machines have had this look since their very earliest model back in the 1960s:
It looks better today, but the heritage is clearly still there.
The KB has a glass carafe, unlike its cousins the KBT and KBGT which have a thermal steel carafe. Its capacity is 10 cups, but keep in mind those are European coffee cups which are only four ounces. So that’s 40 ounces.
To give you some perspective, the tall, grande, and venti sizes from Starbucks hold 12, 16, and 20 ounces, respectively. Basically, you can get four average-size cups of coffee from one full brew with the Moccamaster.
The carafe should not go in the dishwasher. Best to wash it by hand with detergent and a non-abrasive cloth. It is fragile, but should anything happen to it you can easily order a replacement from the Moccamaster website.
The manual drip stop is a key feature of the KB. It allows you to control the flow of coffee out of the brew basket. You can leave it open completely, shut it completely, or switch it to halfway open if you just want to slow things down.
This is particularly helpful when you want to brew smaller amounts. Suppose you only want 12 ounces. You can imagine how quickly such a small volume of water would pass through the coffee grounds under normal circumstances.
The coffee would be in contact with the water for a very short time and would likely remain under-extracted. Now if you partially close the drip stop, the water will back up slightly in the brew basket and take longer to pass through, giving you the full extraction you need.
The manual drip stop also helps guard against uneven extraction, as we mentioned earlier. You can start your brew with the drip stop closed, let the brew basket fill, then give the grounds a good stir. Open the drip stop and the grounds should settle into a nice even bed as you brew, resulting in even extraction.
We even tried grinding coarsely and then letting our grounds steep for 2-3 minutes, like a French press, before reopening the drip-stop halfway. By the time all the coffee had drained out, we were at a brewing time of four minutes and 30 seconds, which is exactly how long we steep our French press. It tasted great.
The manual drip stop gives you this power to experiment. Just remember two things:
- If you’re closing the drip stop completely, your brew basket can overflow. Be careful about how much water you use. Sixteen ounces is the maximum it will hold before you have to open the bottom.
- If you get impatient and want to pull the carafe away early, you’ll need to close the drip stop first. It’s a good idea to do this at the end of every brew just to keep drips off the hotplate.
Dual hotplate settings
A switch controls the temperature at which the hotplate keeps the coffee. You have two choices: 175 F and 185 F. Neither will burn the coffee. The lower setting is just for people who like it a bit cooler and don’t want to wait for it to cool down.
Some KB 741 machines come with the letters “AO” at the end of the name, which indicates the auto-shutoff feature. The hotplate will shut itself off automatically after 100 minutes if you don’t do it manually. If you need this feature, look for the KB 741 AO.
All Moccamasters come with a five-year warranty, which is about three years longer than those of its competitors.
What it’s missing
You cannot program a Moccamaster. If your morning routine is timed like a military operation and you want your coffee maker to start brewing at exactly the same time your alarm goes off, then a Moccamaster may not be for you.
You have to be present to start the coffee. There are still some things you can do the night before (grind the beans, prepare the filter basket, even fill the reservoir), but you can’t set a timer to start your coffee machine. It won’t brew without you.
According to Technivorm, this is a conscious choice. They believe the best coffee requires freshwater and freshly ground beans (they’re not wrong), so they wouldn’t want you prepping your machine the night before. Whether the lack of programmability is a deal-breaker really depends on your priorities.
Ease of Use
Brewing with a Moccamaster
A Moccamaster is as easy to use as any drip coffee maker. You put a filter and some coffee in the brew basket, position it over the carafe, fill the reservoir with water, and brew. That’s really all there is to it. In fact, the Moccamaster’s lack of programmability makes it easier to use than most. In our video demonstration below, we go through the whole process:
You can make things more complicated by experimenting with the manual drip stop, but if simplicity is your aim, just leave it wide open and brew as you would with any other machine.
The filter basket on the KB 741 takes a standard conical No. 4 filter.
How to grind for Moccamaster
For a basic brew with the drip stop open, you’ll want a medium grind. Too coarse and the coffee might be a bit weak, too fine and you might taste some bitter notes.
Seven grams of coffee per four-ounce cup is a good guide. Seven grams is about a tablespoon and a half of ground coffee.
For a full carafe, you’ll want about 70 grams of ground coffee. If you use a typical two-tablespoon coffee scoop, that’s a little shy of seven scoops. For half a carafe, use 35 grams of coffee or about 3.5 scoops.
How to clean a Moccamaster
Coffee and grounds rinse off the Moccamaster’s carafe and parts really easily. There are very few places for grounds to get stuck. You can wash all the parts by hand with hot water and detergent. Use only soft cloths or sponges so the carafe doesn’t get scratched.
Every three months or so, you should descale the machine to clear any mineral deposits that have been left there by your water. Descaling just means running a brew cycle using a special cleaning solution instead of water. Decal and Full Circle, both by Urnex, are two products Technivorm recommends. Once you’ve run the descaling solution through, run two brew cycles of only water to rinse the machine.
Once we got the grind size figured out, we found the coffee from the KB 741 as tasty as any we’ve had from an automatic drip machine. I would give most of the credit for this to the precise temperature at which the machine brews. It produces a full-flavored cup that is free of any sediment, thanks to the filter.
We used Kick-Ass, a dark roasted blend of Indonesian and South American beans from Kicking Horse Coffee. It came out sweet and smoky a really good fit for this machine. We look forward to seeing how the KB handles lightly roasted beans with more subtle, nuanced flavors, but in the murky world of dark roasts, it certainly holds its own against a careful pour-over brew.
It’s rare to find a brand these days that doesn’t outsource its manufacturing to the highest-capacity factories with the cheapest possible labor. Technivorm’s commitment to manufacturing the Moccamaster at home undoubtedly contributes to the machine’s relatively high price, but when you feel its heft and the smooth aluminum casing, you feel like you’ve got a machine that will last.
Its plastic parts are, well, plastic. They don’t feel any sturdier than the plastic parts on most other coffee makers. The good news is that there are relatively few of them, and they are all BPA-free.
We can’t speak to our machine’s durability because it is so new, but for now, we’ll trust that Mr. Clement-Smit meant what he said about it being the last machine we’ll ever need.
- Looks good
- Solidly built
- Brews at the ideal temperature
- Simple operation and cleaning
- Easy to replace parts
- Relatively expensive
- No programming
Our expectations were high for the Technivorm Moccamaster KB 741, and it met them. You do pay a relatively high price for a Moccamaster, but we’ve always been firm believers that if you pay for quality, then you only pay once. The Moccamaster’s solid build and consistently great coffee speak to its quality. It has very few peers on the market, and in our opinion, none that brings such style to your kitchen counter.