The Best Coffee Maker

Finding the Perfect Way to Brew Your Coffee

With literally hundreds of different kinds of coffee makers on the market today, those who love a good cup of java have many options to choose from. But, with so many choices, it's often difficult to know which will be the best for your household. To select the best coffee maker for you you will need to consider your lifestyle, the type of coffee you like most, how much you drink per day, and of course, your budget.

Here is an outline of the many types of coffee makers explaining how each works so you can make the best choice for your specific needs.

Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

Drip Coffee Maker

Most people brew their cup of java using automatic drip coffee maker. The operating principle for these machines is very simple: ground coffee is placed onto a filter and hot water is then allowed to drip through the filter into a carafe. Many of these cofee makers have a programmable timer - a very handy feature if you want freshly brewed coffee waiting for you when you get up in the morning.

There are so many different models of drip coffee makers around that it may be difficult to choose the best one. For people who love really fresh coffee there are grind and brew coffee makers with a built-in grinder that grinds beans just before brewing the coffee. For those who need to keep coffee hot for a long time, there are coffee makers with thermal carafe.


Manual Drip Coffee Makers

Chemex coffee maker

The manual drip coffee maker is an old standby that many still prefer using today despite the numerous innovations in the world of coffee makers. Similar to the automatic drip version, this type brews the beverage the same way except you will need to heat the water separately before pouring it in with the coffee grounds.

This coffee maker is ideal for those who love the outdoors and appreciate a good cup of coffee made simply. One very popular manual drip coffee maker is the Chemex. It is made entirely from glass, something that many people find very desirable.


French Press Coffee Makers

Bodum French Press

A favorite way to make coffee by connoisseurs is the French press, which is basically a glass jar and plunger equipped with a mesh filter. The grounds are added to the jar, then the hot water before securing the lid and pushing down on the plunger after a few minutes.

This particular method of making coffee produces a very rich tasting coffee.


Moka Pots

Stovetop Espresso Maker

The Moka pot consists of three different parts all connected together. The bottom chamber for cold water, the middle funnel-shaped chamber for the coffee, and the top or uppermost chamber is where the brewed coffee will go thanks to the steam generated by heating the water.

This type of "coffee maker" uses fine grounds and produces espresso-style coffee. It is often referred to as a stovetop espresso maker.


Coffee Percolators

electric coffee percolator

Percolators are the least favored way of making the beverage for the discerning coffee lover, especially those who use carefully chosen beans for their brew. Percolators, or tall pots that sit atop the stove filled with water with the grounds in a filter-like basket, tend to boil all of the flavor and taste from the coffee beans. Ideally, the water temperature for brewing the best tasting coffee should be just below the boiling point, something percolators do not do.

Having said this, there are many people who have acquired taste for this sort of burnt coffee. There is nothing wrong with that, everyone has different preferences. For those who love the taste of perked coffee, a percolator is the best coffee maker.


Single Serve Coffee Makers

Keurig B70

If you are looking for ease of use and convenience above all else then single serve coffee makers may be your best choice. As the name suggests, this type of coffee maker prepares just one cup of coffee at a time - usually using small pre-measured packs of coffee. These are called pods, capsules, cups, filters or discs depending on the particular coffee maker. They are extremely convenient to use - making coffee is as simple as inserting a capsule and pressing a button. The drawback of this is that you spend a bit more money per cup of coffee and you are also limited to coffee flavors that are on offer.

Many single cup brewers have various settings for different sizes of cups, giving the option of having a smaller cup at home and brewing a larger one for filling a travel mug. A big advantage of the single serve coffee makers is that they can make many different types of coffee and other beverages like hot chocolate or even hot tea - so everyone can easily choose just the drink they want to have.


Vacuum Coffee Makers

Bodum Santos coffee maker

These elegant and modern looking coffee makers appear to be a new technology upon first sight, but what many people don't know is that they were used as long ago as the 1800s. Said to create a rather smooth tasting yet strong cup, the vacuum coffee maker is usually made of glass and consists of two chambers, an upper and lower pot, attached together via a stopper.

This type of coffee maker requires coarse, ground coffee that's added to the upper pot while the water is heated in the lower unit. The heat causes water and steam to rise through, when the heat is removed, the pressure drops and the water is sucked through a filter into the lower pot and ready for drinking. If you aren't interested in all of the bells and whistles that some coffee makers come with, you may enjoy the vacuum coffee maker's beautiful and interesting design.


Cold Brew Coffee Makers

cold brew coffee maker

Finally, there are also coffee makers that make coffee using cold water. They are excellent for those of us who love iced coffee. The coffee brewed in this type of coffee maker has a very different taste profile if you compare it with hot brewed coffee. It is less bitter and less acidic which is not necessarily a bad thing since it allows some interesting subtle tones to be appreciated.

Cold brewed coffee is not to everyone's taste. Some people find it too weak and flavorless while others rave about the unique taste. A lot of people who cannot tolerate regular coffee can drink cold brewed java without problems. But possibly the best thing about the cold brew coffee makers is that you can make coffee without access to any heat source.


What is the best coffee maker for you and why? Please share your views and comments below.

Further Reading

Choosing the Best Coffee Maker
Travel Coffee Maker
Small Coffee Maker

Comments

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Eleanor
26 April 2011
I vote for coffee press. The automatic drip coffee is the worst in my experience. Coffee press coffee is so much better. It's so easy to use and to carry around - mine is made from steel, so I carry it almost everywhere with me. I have also tried Chemex, vac pot and Moka pot, but I love coffee press most out of the lot.
Nancy
23 April 2011
I personally prefer a standard electric coffee maker. First I like the taste of filtered coffee and second I think that it is the most convenient way to make coffee for the whole family. We do drink quite a lot of coffee, so this is an important point for me. I have tried some of the fancy single cup makers that some of my friend have, but I was not that impressed. Yes, they are convenient, but I think that they are very ixpensive to run.
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