A coffee maker, coffee machine, or coffeemaker is a cooking appliance designed and manufactured for brewing coffee. Coffee makers either use gravity or pressure to force the water through the coffee grounds.
A large number of coffee machines use gravity as the driving force and are used to brew different types of coffee drinks. Espresso machines use pressure to force water through finely-ground coffee to pull espresso shots that form the basis of espresso-based drinks.
Automatic Drip Coffee Makers
You will find an automatic drip coffee maker in most homes as a convenient and quick means to produce a daily cup of coffee without a lot of coffee brewing expertise. These machines are available in all shapes, sizes, and ranges – from very affordable to Specialty Coffee Association-certified multifunction units.
They function by heating up the water in the water tank, whereby the hot water is raised to the spray head and drips through the coffee grounds, and filters onto the mug or carafe.
You can choose one of the automatic coffee makers to meet your needs which may vary from a single cup to batch brewing in office environments and from speed and convenience to a really good cup of coffee.
Things to consider in Automatic Drip Brewer
- The cup capacity: The drip brewers are available in single-cup to 14-cup capacities.
- Customizable Choices: These include brew strength, brew temperature, brew or bloom time, etc. Advance brewers may even include the amount of water, prewet percentage, prewet delay, and a host of other settings.
- Type of Carafe: A glass carafe is light and easy to use, while a thermal carafe may be bulkier, have a smaller capacity, and be expensive. But it keeps your brewed coffee warm without a hot plate.
- In-built grinders – Having a built-in grinder allows you to have a fresh cup of coffee each time but increases the weight and cost of the machine.
Pour-Over Coffee Makers
It is considered by many as one of the easiest and cheapest brewing methods to get a very good cup of coffee. It can be used to make either a single cup or multiple cups in a carafe.
You will often find a pour-over coffee maker as a cone-shaped device with a paper filter inside. It is set on top of a coffee mug or a carafe that collects the brewed coffee. While the principle of working is the same as the drip coffee maker, the manual pouring of hot water over the ground coffee gives you complete control over the entire process.
Pour-over brewing is seeing a resurgence of sorts starting with Japan leading it. It provides an inexpensive, easy-to-brew, and clean system, which requires time and a minimal level of skill to brew a decent cup of coffee. You can consider the Chemex brewing system to be a premium form of a pour-over system.
French Press Coffee Maker
French press coffee, sometimes known as plunger coffee, is an immersion brew prepared in narrow cylindrical beakers with a tight-fitting lid and a plunger. The plunger carries the filtering provisions to separate the brew from the coffee grounds.
To brew, the coarse grounds (850 microns median size) are placed in the French press, and after the initial blooming period with part water, the complete water for the brew is added and allowed to steep for about 4 minutes for uniform extraction. The plunger is then pushed to the carrying the coffee ground with it to the bottom.
It is a completely self-contained manual method that does not require any auxiliary or electrical system and is easier to carry. The larger mesh opening than most filters allows more insolubles to pass with oils and fats, resulting in more mouthfeel, body, and texture.
Things to consider For French Press Coffee Maker:
- Body Material: You have options for glass, plastics, stainless steel, and ceramics. The first two are inexpensive and allow you to observe the levels, but the other two retain the heat better during brewing.
- The nested three-layer metal filter must fit tightly around the walls of the container so that coffee does not pass from the sides.
- Size: Usually available from 12 to 34 ounces.
Siphon or Vacuum Coffee Maker
The Siphon coffee makers, also known as vacuum coffee makers, use vapor pressure and gravity to produce clear and hot coffee. The device consists of two chambers, with a brewing chamber at the top housing the ground coffee and a water chamber or a carafe at the bottom. A siphon tube housing a filter connects the two chambers.
The water in the bottom chamber is heated using a consistent heat source like a butane or a halogen burner, producing water vapors. As the top chamber is exposed to the atmospheric pressure, the water vapor in the bottom chamber, mixed with heated air, rises up through the siphon tube when its pressure exceeds the atmospheric pressure. The coffee grounds get mixed with the hot vapors, and the extraction begins.
After the extraction has been completed, you need to remove the heat source from the bottom chamber, reducing the vapor pressure and allowing gravity to take over. The brewed coffee flows down to the bottom chamber of the siphon coffee maker through the filter, while the grounds are retained in the top chamber.
The coffee is brewed at consistent temperatures with very short brew times (usually under 75 seconds), resulting in a clean coffee that has a delicate balance without the burnt aftertaste.
Things to Consider for Siphon Coffee Makers
- Material for the body: Borosilicate glass or metal.
- Filter type: Glass rod or paper, nylon, metal, or cloth screen.
- Standalone heat source Vs Stovetop. Standalone burners provide a more consistent heat source but require supplies and maintenance. Stovetop is a simple and readily usable option.
- Brew Size: Options between 3 to 8 cups per brew.
- Visual Appearance Vs price.
AeroPress Coffee Maker
You can consider an aero press to be a giant syringe, as it looks like one and, to a large extent, functions like one. It is one of the manual machines that have,
- A cylindrical chamber where fine ground coffee is placed and hot water is added,
- a plunger with an airtight silicone seal like in syringes,
- a filter cap to hold the filter in place.
This coffee machine was invented by Alan Adler with the aim to reduce the acidity and bitterness in the coffee. It combines the principles of an immersion brew and the filter brew or espresso brewing, where the water is pushed through the grounds and the filter.
The use of Aeropress allows you to control many variables, like the
- finer grind size, and the higher pushing speed of the plunger allows you to extract more.
- A higher steep time will also have a higher extraction.
It can be used in traditional Aeropress and the inverted Aeropress methods. The traditional brewing method involves the placement of the measured amount of coffee grounds in a larger cylinder. Add water at 85 °C for dark roast and 79 °C for light roast coffee. Stir the mixture for about 10 seconds and place the filter in the filter cap and tighten it. After a steeping time of 30 to 45 seconds, press the plunger first to release the air and create a vacuum. Wait for a little and then press the plunger all the way down.
Aeropress allows you to prepare only a single cup of coffee at a time. It is easy to use, portable, a great companion if you frequently travel, easy to clean, and allows you to experiment with many brew variables.
Espresso Coffee Maker
The espresso machines are designed and manufactured to pull espresso shots using pressure to force water through the grounds and can be classified into the following types:
- Manual Espresso machines or piston machines: These machines are for experts and avid espresso drinkers who prefer to control every variable, like pressure, water flow, etc., to deliver a shot exactly to their liking. You have the option of having a boiler or adding hot water separately. There is a mechanical lever to pressurize hot water, force it through the grounds, and pull the shot. The term pulling a shot originated because of this. The piston can be manual or spring driven.
- Semi-automatic machines: These machines use a pump to create pressure in hot water instead of a lever or steam. The additional pressure at the filter basket is released through the three-way valve. You need to initiate the start and stop commands.
- Automatic machines: An automatic espresso machine controls the brew time and the brew volume. An inline flow meter is placed in the group head where the portafilter connects with the machine. The pump is stopped after a predetermined quantity of water has passed through the grounds. Tamping and grinding are carried out manually.
- Super-automatic espresso machines: The entire brewing process is automated. You just need to add the coffee beans, fill the reservoir (if not connected to a water line), and empty the used grounds. Some models even include automated milk frothing and dispensing functions in them.
Things to Consider for an Espresso Maker
- Type, Size, and Options: We have discussed the type and options of espresso makers above. Commercial establishments require more group heads to brew shots in parallel, which is bigger in size and semi-automatic.
- Coffee grinders and milk frothers: While coffee grinders provide convenience, their failures often lead to the replacement of the entire machine.
- Pressure: While brewing pressures are available in a much larger range; usually 7 to 11 bars will be adequate for most home machines.
Stovetop or Moka Pot Coffee Makers
Moka pot coffee makers are commonly found in Italy, Spain, and Portugal and are sometimes referred to as macchinetta or caffettiera. They are even called stovetop espresso makers, as they brew coffee under pressure and use steam. The extraction ratio of a stovetop coffee maker is also comparable with the modern espresso machine. You can even get some crema if you select a suitable variety of beans and grind them to the right size.
However, this pressure is substantially lower, 1.5 to 2 bars against the 9 bar pressure generated by the espresso machine. The hot water used is a mixture of steam and boiling water above 212 °F.
The Moka pots are three-chambered octagonal-shaped pots made of stainless steel or Aluminum.
- The bottom chamber carries the hot water and has a safety valve.
- The middle chamber has a filter basket and sits within the bottom chamber. You need to add ground coffee to it.
- The top chamber has a metal filter and is screwed onto the bottom one.
When the bottom pot is heated, it generates steam, which is forced up to the filter basket, grounds, and the metal filter into the top chamber as a brewed coffee. When you hear the gurgling sound in the bottom chamber, you can remove it from the heat source, and your brew is ready to serve. This coffee brewer produces a deep and dark cup of joe, has very fast extraction times, is inexpensive and easy to carry, and is favored by campers.
Things to Consider for Moka Pots
- How many cups do you want to brew? You can have them as single-cup coffee makers to 12-cup sizes.
- Check if the model you are considering will work with your stovetop. Go in for an electric or induction-friendly option.
- Stainless steel or Aluminum body.
Single-Serve Coffee Makers
In today’s fast world, single-serve capsule coffee makers have found a place in most homes due to the
- reduced brewing time,
- simplified brewing process as you do not need to individually measure out the portion or add flavors and other additives.
- the packaging keeps the unused capsules or pods fresh for more than a year if stored in a dry and cool environment without direct exposure to sunlight.
- the filters are contained in the pod itself, so the machine just needs to run the predetermined amount of water.
Nespresso and Keurig lead this market segment with a vast number of models of coffee machines, as far as size, price, and options for brewing different beverages are concerned. You can even brew hot chocolate, tea, and apple cider vinegar with these coffee makers. These machines work by puncturing the capsules to allow the hot water to flow through the grounds and extract the coffee.
The Nespresso machines can be classified into two lines
- Original to brew espresso-strength coffee.
- Vertuo produces both espresso and coffee drinks that traditional types of coffee makers brew.
Keurig products are skewed towards more traditional drinks than espresso. There is always an environmental concern in using these capsules as they are made from aluminum, plastic, and organic materials, which are difficult to recycle.
Percolator Coffee Maker
Before the automatic drip coffee makers upstaged them, the percolators enjoyed great popularity. They are still popular with campers and outdoor enthusiasts due to their ability to brew coffee without electricity. In the percolators, the coffee at or near the boiling point temperature of the water is repeatedly recycled through the ground coffee unless the desired brew strength is attained.
The grounds may be exposed to higher temperatures than other coffee brewing methods and may lead to over-extraction unless carefully controlled.
The bottom chamber of the percolator carries the water. A removable tube is placed going up to the top of the percolator. A perforated basket with coarse coffee grounds is placed just below the top of the tube. The bottom portion of the percolator is filled with water such that the level is below the basket.
You can heat the pot by placing it on a stove. Water boils and rises through the tube, coming out at the top above the inner lid of the basket, which has perforations to distribute it over the grounds. Coffee drips back into the warm water below and recycles back through the tube. A continuous gurgle sound will tell you that the coffee is ready to drink.
Thinks to consider for Percolators
- Electric or stovetop: As is evident, an electric percolator works on electrical power to boil the water for brewing and keeps your coffee hot even later. In contrast, a stovetop gives you control over the brewing method.
- The volume of coffee: Percolators are available in a vast range of sizes – from two-cup versions to large percolators, called urns, for use in events, offices, gatherings, and cafeterias.
- Material: Aluminium, stainless steel, enamel, and very strong glass,
Turkish Coffee Pots
Turkish coffee is prepared in a special pot known as Cezve in Turkey and Ibrik in other places. My fascination with coffee started when I joined a job in the Middle East where a Turkish company was our Consortium partner, and we shared a common office. Every day on entering the office on the way to my room, I encountered the strong coffee flavor and aroma of Turkish Coffee, which eventually changed my taste from Green tea to different types of coffee.
This type of coffee uses a very finely ground coffee of any type. The grounds and water is added to Cezve and heated till the mixture begins to froth. the pot is removed from the heat source before the boil and reheated a couple of times to increase the amount of froth. The coffee is served in small cups made from porcelain, known as ‘kahve fincanı’. You may add sugar, cardamom, or cinnamon to the drink if you like.
The brew is served unfiltered and carries powdered coffee grounds. Part of these settles down, while the other part remains suspended and consumed.
Things to Consider in Ibrik
- Material: Copper with tin coated inside, Brass, or Stainless steel. The first two options are more traditional, but stainless steel is rugged and can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
- Handle Material: Brass or Wood. For smaller pots, wood is recommended to avoid burning the hand. Brass handles with brass pots look more traditional.
- The capacity of Pots.
- Electric Turkish Coffee machines or pots.
- Do you require a Turkish Coffee Set?
Cold Brew Types Of Coffee Makers
Cold brew coffee or iced coffee is said to have its origins in Japan, where this was a traditional method for centuries. also known as cold extraction, or cold pressing, it is prepared by steeping the coarse ground beans for 12 to 24 hours in room temperature water. You can use chilled water if you like.
The filtering of the grounds is carried out with a paper filter, a French press, a metal sieve, or felt. The resulting coffee concentrate is diluted with milk, cold water, ice, or chocolate. Nitrogen infusion to the cold brew results in Nitro Cold brew coffee. When brewed in equal volume, the cold brew has a higher caffeine content.
Things to Consider in Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Type of Coffee Maker: Electric or Non-Electric. The non-electric version can brew the coffee as an immersion brew or slow drip-brew. In slow drip brew, the stopper is released to let the brew drip onto a separate container through a filter. Electrica brewers use agitation to brew the drink in about 45 minutes but do not generate the robust flavors expected from cold brews.
- Type of Filter: Paper or Mesh type stainless steel filters.
- Material: Plastic, glass, or their combination. The plastics may absorb odor and is not very resistant to strain.
- The volume of the brew.
Vietnamese Coffee Maker (Phin)
Vietnamese iced coffee uses Vietnamese coffee with a roast between medium and dark. The coffee maker uses a metal drip filter known as the phin filter. The brew chamber is used to house the grounds, followed by a gravity press. You need to pour hot water over the grounds and let the coffee drip over onto a cup that already has condensed milk in it.
You can pour ice to make Vietnamese iced coffee. The variations include the use of sweetened condensed milk, egg coffee, avocado coffee, salted cream coffee, coconut coffee, pandan coffee, white coffee, and black coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is made from Robusta beans. Vietnam exports 40% of the world’s Robusta beans requirement and 20% of the total coffee requirement. The use of condensed milk reduces the bitterness of the Robusta beans.
Things to Consider in A Vietnamese Coffee Maker
- Phin Filter, paper filter, and Size.
- Gravity insert or screw insert.
- Material and durability.