Buying a coffee maker isn’t as easy as it sounds, particularly if you’re very specific about how you take your coffee. It’s a decision that needs to be mulled over and made after quite a bit of research because there are several factors to consider before you place your money on a particular coffee machine. This ultimate guide can help you pick the right coffee maker. We’ve compiled a set of comprehensive areas to evaluate before you make your choice.
What Are the Advantages of Owning A Coffee Maker?
Owning your own coffee maker may initially seem like an expensive move. However, if you’re a coffee-lover, it’s an investment that comes with several unbeatable advantages. Some of the many benefits of having your own personal coffee machine are discussed here.
You Get to Enjoy a Fresh Brew
The most obvious advantage of owning a coffee machine is that you get to enjoy a fresh brew at your convenience without having to wait in line or deal with crowds at your favorite coffee shop. You also get to enjoy your coffee piping hot, which may not be a luxury that takeaways or deliveries offer.
Additionally, with your own coffee machine, you can wake up to a strong brew as your first drink in the morning, thus giving your day an active and energetic start. Otherwise, you may have to wait till you head out to work to pick up your coffee.
Brewed Coffee Is Healthier
Another advantage of having your own coffee machine is that you can enjoy brewed coffee, which is healthier than instant coffee, as the latter contains a greater portion of acrylamide, which can be toxic to the body in large quantities. It’s also fuller, stronger, deeper, and richer in its flavors than the instant option. And while personal tastes and preferences can vary, there’s no denying that brewed coffee is a luxury that a personal coffee machine allows you to enjoy consistently, day after day.
You Can Customize Your Brew
Coffee machines can help you make various kinds of brews, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and espressos, depending on the kind of machine. Additionally, if you like experimenting with your beverage, you can sample various flavors like coffee with a hint of cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves. You could also try using flavored coffee beans to give your brew a specific essence. These are all perks that only come with owning a coffee maker.
What Type of Coffee Maker Do You Need?
Let’s now take a look at the different kinds of coffee machines you can get, so you can decide on the type you need.
1. Single-Serve Coffee Machine
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Also known as pod coffee machines or one-cup coffee machines, single-serve coffee makers are exclusively designed to make one cup of coffee at a time. You need to use single-serve pods or K-cups to make and enjoy the coffee from this kind of machine. These pre-manufactured cups can be used to make the perfect brew in a matter of just a few minutes.
Features of a Single-Serve Coffee Mac
Single-serve coffee machines are quite simple to use. You just need to add the pods to the machine, pour some water, and let the beverage brew. This process eliminates the intermediary steps involved in the typical process of coffee-making, such as measuring out portions and adding the necessary flavors. The coffee obtained from these machines is generally ground-free, and contains no floating residues, making for a clean and straight brew.
Additionally, the pods used in a single-serve coffee machine are generally individually packed. This way, you only get to use as much coffee as needed, without having to open a pack and store it away half-used. Thus, none of the flavors are lost or diluted, because the pods remain sealed and tucked away from air or light.
Pros of a Single-Serve Coffee Mac
- Easy use and maintenance
- Option to try various flavors
- Customizable brews
- Generally priced affordably
Cons of a Single-Serve Coffee Mac
- Buying coffee pods may be expensive
- No control over the coffee grind
2. Drip Coffee Maker
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This kind of coffee machine is the most common type, and is widely used in homes and offices. It’s also the easiest to find in both online and offline markets, and is one of the simplest kinds of coffee machines to use. It’s best suited for people who are just getting used to making their own coffee, or for people who like to brew their beverage the old-fashioned way.
Features of a Drip Coffee Maker
Operating a drip coffee machine becomes very easy with just a few uses, mainly because of the logical and straightforward mechanism involved. You simply need to add the required amount of ground coffee of your choice to the appropriate container, pour in some water, and let it be heated so the coffee decoction can be prepared. Once this is done, you can make as many pots of coffee as you want, till the brew in the machine runs out.
These machines are generally endowed with features such as a coffee grinder, pre-programmed settings, and water temperature controls. Most variants also come with an auto-shutoff function and include filter changes as well. Furthermore, drip coffee machines allow you to adjust the strength of your coffee according to your individual preferences.
Pros of a Drip Coffee Maker
- Uncomplicated, no-frills operation
- Several models to choose from
- Makes large quantities of coffee
- Typically priced reasonably
Cons of a Drip Coffee Maker
- Not many flavors to choose from
- Cannot make a single cup or two
3. French Press
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Generally used outside the United States, in countries like Italy, France, and Great Britain, the French press coffee machine is not as popular in the US as the drip coffee maker. Its origins can be traced back to 1929 when it was first patented. Since then, it has undergone several changes and evolved according to the needs of the users.
Features of a French Press
A French press coffee maker is mechanically operated and doesn’t run on electricity. This can help you save a ton of costs in the long run. Operating a French press is quite similar to using a drip coffee machine, in that you only need to add the coffee grounds, pour in the hot water, and secure the lid tightly. Pressing it down allows the French press machine to extract the essence of coffee from the grounds added in.
Getting the brew right may take a few attempts. So, until you get the hang of it, you may have to go through a few brews and adopt a trial and error method to obtain the perfect taste. Most French press machines come with a lightweight glass body and are equipped with a built-in plunger to press the essence down through the coffee grounds.
Pros of a French Press
- No additional costs in the long run
- Doesn’t need electricity to function
- Generally portable
- Retains coffee’s natural flavors and oils
Cons of a French Press
- Coffee generally includes unfiltered grounds
- Tricky to get the hang of
4. Espresso Machine
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Easily one of the most popular kinds of coffee machines, an espresso maker is loved and favored by most seasoned coffee enthusiasts. This kind of coffee machine was first patented in 1884 by Italian Angelo Moriondo. Today, espresso makers can be used to make a thick and concentrated black brew that’s rich in flavors and taste.
Features of an Espresso Machine
Espresso makers are generally heavy-duty machines that can brew strong and rich cups of coffee. You can also use this coffee machine to make various kinds of brews, such as lattes, macchiatos, and mochas. Typically, you can brew just one or two shots of espresso at a time. However, depending on the capacity, the machine can pump out several shots one after another.
There are many brands and models of espresso makers. Some of the features that are most common across the many variants include the presence of a water boiler, a pressure pump, and a portafilter. Espresso machines are also generally compatible with coffee pods, so you can try your hand at various flavors of coffee if that interests you. Also, these machines mostly come with automatic settings, making them convenient for everyday use.
- Makes high-quality brews
- Ideal for coffee aficionados
- Allows you to brew a variety of coffees
- Retains coffee’s flavors
- Quite expensive generally
- Beginners may find it difficult to operate
What to Consider When Buying a Coffee Maker?
Before you go ahead and get yourself a coffee maker, there are several factors that you should account for. Some of those are briefly explained below.
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What’s the Quantity of Coffee You Need?
One of the most important factors that you should consider is the quantity of coffee that you might need per day. Start off by charting out the average number of cups that you and other members of your household consume every day. This will provide you with a rough idea of the kind of coffee maker that you should opt for.
For instance, if the people in your household consume anywhere between 5 to 10 cups every day, getting a single-serve coffee machine will just not cut it. Instead, look to get a machine like a coffee brewer that allows you to make a large pot of coffee.
What Kind of Coffee Do You Prefer?
Another important factor that you will need to take into consideration is the type of coffee that you prefer to drink every day. Try not to penny-pinch by opting for the most affordable coffee maker right off the bat if you don’t actually enjoy the coffee that it makes.
There’s absolutely no point in getting yourself a coffee brewer if you prefer to chug on cappuccinos or lattes. A good way to decide would be to identify the coffee that you usually order when you go to a coffee shop.
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What’s Your Budget?
Whichever way you see it, cost undoubtedly plays a huge role in almost all of your purchase decisions. So, establish your budget before you go shopping for a coffee maker, as this can prevent you from overspending.
Try to work within your budget to get the right machine. If you’re eyeing a model that you cannot afford, try to make compromises by opting for a more affordable machine with fewer exotic features.
How Much Counter Space Can You Shell Out?
Although this might seem like a relatively minor factor, it is quite relevant. There’s always a limit to the amount of counter space that you can afford to dedicate to an appliance. Not all coffee makers are designed in the same way or come with the same dimensions. Some tend to take up much more space than others.
And over time, you’ll find that if you cannot dedicate a fixed space for your coffee machine, and are instead required to stow it away after each use, you’ll tend to use it sparsely, thus defeating the purpose of the purchase.
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Will You Need Auto Shutoff?
Not all coffee makers come with an auto-shutoff mechanism, especially the ones that are priced lower down the range. If you’re a person who is forgetful or are always in a rush in the morning, investing in a machine with a built-in auto-shutoff makes more sense.
A coffee machine that runs all day long can potentially turn out to be hazardous, or, at the very least, distract you from your work by making you wonder if you switched it off before you left home.
Do You Need a Coffee Grinder?
While this might not feel like a very important factor to consider, it has the potential to change the way you experience your daily dose of caffeine. Fresh coffee grounds almost always produce a richer and more flavorful cup of coffee. And with a grinder built into your machine, you always get to use fresh coffee grounds every single time.
However, if you’re in it just for the dose of caffeine and couldn’t care less about the intricacies of your coffee, you’re better off getting a model without a grinder.
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What Are Some Additional Features to Look for in a Coffee Machine?
Coffee makers these days come with several innovative and intuitive features that help enhance your experience. Some of the features that you might want to keep an eye out for when choosing the right coffee machine are explained below.
A Water Filter
There’s a reason why the coffee that you brew at home tastes starkly different from the ones that you get in coffee shops. It is primarily due to the water that you use. While it may be safe to drink, tap water can interfere with the taste and smell of coffee. On the other hand, a water filter purifies and filters regular tap water to get rid of harsh odors and flavors. Getting a coffee machine with a built-in water filter ensures that you get the right flavor and taste of coffee.
A Steamer or a Frother
Getting a coffee maker with a steamer or a frother will enable you to craft exotic cappuccinos and lattes, just like the ones that you get in a coffee shop. However, if you’re not a huge fan of adding milk to your coffee, this may be something that you might want to avoid.
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Many coffee makers these days feature settings that can be programmed according to your preferences. This allows you to brew a cup of coffee just the way you want it to be. Coffee machines with adjustable settings not only permit you to set the amount of coffee to be brewed, but also let you set the brewing time and a host of other variables.
If you’re a person who likes to drink multiple cups of coffee per day, then getting a coffee maker with a thermal carafe can go a long way. Thermal carafes are specialized coffee pots that help keep the coffee hot long after brewing.
They are generally made either from stainless steel or glass, with each option having its own advantages and disadvantages. A stainless steel carafe is usually well-vacuumed and insulated and has a maximum holding time of around 60 minutes. On the other hand, a glass carafe has a maximum holding time of just 20 minutes. However, it is transparent and allows you to gauge the amount of coffee left in the pot with just a glance.
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If you’re in an office or a commercial setting, getting a coffee machine that can brew and keep multiple pots warm simultaneously is a nice little convenient feature to have.
What’s the Best Coffee Maker for You?
With so much useful information at hand, it may now be easier for you to make an informed decision about the kind of coffee machine to purchase. However, if you’re still in doubt, it’s best to start off with a machine that’s easy to use and to pick a unit from one of the many trusted brands of coffee machine makers, such as Krups, Bunn, Keurig, or DeLonghi.