There are so many different types of coffee makers out there that it can be hard for the aspiring coffee snob to figure out where to start. The fact is, different coffee makers each come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
In the end, there’s no single coffee maker that can do it all. So choosing the best coffee maker is a matter of deciding what your priorities are. In this guide, you will learn about some of the key differences between different coffee makers, how to use a coffee maker, and what you need to know to make the right choice for you.
Drip coffee machines have become the most standard brewing method. This is largely because of the convenience, and because most people don’t realize just how much flavor and pleasure is lost in the process.
This is not to say that your machine is awful and you should chuck it out the window. There are some really fantastic models out there. You can get a programmable coffee maker that automatically brews for you. You can also get a coffee maker with grinder already built in, saving on counter clutter and effort.
And drip coffee makers don’t all brew terrible coffee. Some can brew a pretty decent pot that will leave you with no complaints. And for those with busy schedules, the morning ritual involved in, say, pour over coffee or a French press can just be too time-consuming.
It requires no technique or talent. You simply insert ingredients and push the button (or series of buttons if there’s programming involved). Cleaning is relatively simple and just involves tossing out the old filter with the grounds and cleaning out the carafe.
So with that said, here is a breakdown of the biggest pros and cons to a drip coffee maker:
A French press is an elegantly simple way to brew coffee. You can get smaller ones that are more portable or larger ones that can make a full pot. The basic technique involves grinding coffee, heating water, and adding them both to the chamber of the French Press.
Then, you press down the plunger to push the grounds to the bottom, allowing the brewed coffee to filter through the plunger. The force of pressure from pushing down on the plunger helps to more effectively extract the oils from the coffee.
The 1-2 minutes of time spent free floating through the hot water also allows for the oils in the ground beans to be pulled out and diffuse into the water much like tea diffuses when standing in hot water. This is what sets it apart.
While a drip machine sends water through the grounds and then drips out of the bottom, a French press allows the grounds to immerse in the water. This guarantees even soaking which prevents the uneven results of a drip machine where some grounds are over-diffused while others are left dry and untouched.
When using a French press, you need to keep a few things in mind to ensure a good end result:
There are a lot of advantages to this but there are also some disadvantages worth considering before you buy:
This is a method that has been around for centuries but has recently become popular in the United States. It involves manually pouring hot water through coffee grounds which are in a filter either inside a dripper or placed inside a pour over coffee carafe.
This is the most deconstructed method there is. It is elegant, minimalist, and creates a beautiful, aromatic, and supremely rewarding cup of coffee in the end. It also gives you complete control over each step of the coffee.
Of all the methods described here, it definitely requires the most technique and care. But once you learn how to do it right, you’ll easily be able to do it right every time and it becomes a wonderful and enjoyable morning ritual.
Cold brew is a method that uses cold water to make coffee. The process involved is similar to that of sun tea. You put coffee grounds in cold water and then let it set for a day or so until it has diffused.
This method beats iced coffee because there is no ice to water down your coffee and it doesn’t use stale, old coffee (most iced coffees you order at a café do). You get fresh, flavorful coffee that is cool enough to be enjoyed on a hot day.
A cold brew coffee maker is essentially a device that makes it easier to strain the brewed coffee from the grounds once it is done diffusing. You can get away with skipping the specialized device and just making cold brew coffee in, say, a French press.
But a specialized machine does make it easier and keeps your French press free for fresh, hot cups of coffee while you wait for your cold brew.
There are a variety of ways to brew a single cup of coffee. You can get a drip coffee maker that does single cups. This is an easy way to do it, but such machines are usually expensive and also require the repeated purchase of pricey coffee capsules.
Another alternative is to get a pour over dripper that you can simply rest on top of your cup. This is much cheaper and gives you the high quality of a pour over cup of coffee. Plus, these small coffee makers are easy to carry with you so they make great travel companions.
With this break down, you now have a solid understanding of what all these different coffee makers have to offer. In the end, you may not want to just get one kind. Different types are suited for different situations.
For example, having a drip machine on standby is great when you are pressed for time and just need to get your fix. The pour over device is the perfect every day maker to give you an enjoyable morning routine. It’s also great for iced coffee. The cold brew coffee maker is ideal for summer (and less ideal in winter when you crave that steamy, warm cup).
As you become more and more involved in the world of coffee, you will likely find yourself developing a nice collection of different coffee makers to suit each of the occasions which call for coffee.
Josh is the founding owner of Coletti. He and his wife, Katie, stepped-out in faith in 2015 with the intent of translating their love for coffee into monetary support for organizations bringing justice to the world’s poor. Josh is a Christian minister, an army chaplain, a veteran of two wars, and father of seven (six girls and a boy).