How to Select Your Perfect Coffee Maker

Few things in life are as immediately satisfying as the first cup of fresh coffee in the morning.  There are a dizzying number of options when it comes to buying a new coffee maker: automatic drip, pod, espresso maker, or French press.  Each brews the coffee differently, affecting the taste and strength.  Here is some information on the different types of coffee maker on the market, as well as some tips on what to look for when you buy.

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

This is the coffee maker most people are familiar with, either from home or the office. In order to make a pot of coffee, you measure grounds into the filter chamber and pour enough water for the desired amount of cups into the carafe. Turn it on, and the machine releases the warmed water through the grounds to drip back into the carafe. A hot plate below the carafe keeps the coffee warm.

Pod or Capsule Coffee Machines

This coffee maker allows you to make single cup servings, using a pre-packaged capsule which you put into the machine. When you press a button the machine pierces the pod and hot water is sent through it and into your mug. These are easy to clean, but you are limited to the type of capsule or pod sold by your machine manufacturer.

French Press

A French press coffee maker is a glass or stainless steel carafe in which you measure freshly coarse ground beans and hot water. Once you add the water, you gently stir the grounds and the water, and then place the lid on top with the plunger all the way up. After four to six minutes, the brewing process is finished, and you push the plunger all the way down to separate the grounds from the water. The quality of the French press brew depends in large part on the skill of the brewer.

Espresso Machine

An espresso machine makes a highly caffeinated and concentrated rich flavored brew.

Most machines designed for home use only allow you to make only a couple of shots at once.  Like an automatic drip machine, you measure the grounds into a filter receptacle, pour the desired amount of water into the machine, and the coffee maker forces the hot water through the grounds. An espresso machine will have a steamer attachment for heating or frothing milk for a latte.

Other Considerations and Features to Look For

Assess your needs, especially the capacity you need. How much coffee do you want to brew at a time?  Some models offer the option to program your machine so that you can have coffee fresh and ready when you want. Safety is important too—look for a coffee maker that offers an automatic shutoff function.

Other options offered by some models include: a pause button, so you can get a cup without waiting for the whole pot to brew; an integrated, automatic coffee grinder, for freshest tasting coffee; a built-in water filter to remove chlorine from your tap water.

Take some time to read the online coffee maker reviews to see which brands customers think are most reliable and produce the best-tasting coffee.  Look for customer generated reviews that specifically discuss what is most important to you in a coffee maker.

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