Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Best Coffee Maker: Drip, Espresso, French Press, or Other?

There are a myriad of different types of coffee makers on the market today. They come in different styles, colors and brands. Choosing the right one for your perfect cup of coffee can be confusing and time consuming! Since I recently bought myself a coffee maker, I thought I'd write about what I learned in my research and shopping that helped me make my decision. I'll take you through the steps I took before I chose my own coffee maker.

Choosing How to Brew

The most common way to make coffee, at least in the United States, is the drip coffee maker. It's fast, simple and convenient. Just pour in the amount of water you want, drop in a filter, measure your coffee, close the lid and push the button. In just a few minutes you have a steaming pot of coffee waiting for you, sitting on a hotplate to keep it warm.

Sounds great, right? Sure, but have you ever poured yourself a cup of coffee from a drip coffee maker that's been sitting on the hotplate for 20 minutes or more? It's practically undrinkable. Before I knew much about coffee I used to have to add cream and sugar to those last couple of cups to make it palatable. Since then, I've learned that the hotplate scorches the coffee; if you want a drip coffee maker you should get one that drips the coffee into a glass-insulated carafe to keep it warm. The coffee doesn't scorch and you can even take the carafe to your office or sitting room.

Drip Coffee Makers

A drip coffee maker needs regular cleaning, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Occasionally your pot will be ruined when the filter collapses on itself and allows coffee grounds to fall into the pot. However, drip coffee makers come with some very convenient features, among them a timer system that can have a fresh pot of coffee waiting for you when you get up in the morning. There are even drip coffee makers with built-in coffee bean grinders.

If you decide to buy a drip coffee maker be sure to get one with a carafe instead of a glass pot and get the best quality machine that you can afford.


You might also want to think about a percolator. These come in two types-one that you heat on your stove and the electric model. This coffee maker has been around since the 19th century and works by using heat to force water up a pipe and onto a mesh basket of coffee grounds. You can use a filter if you like but there are some people who swear it makes the coffee taste different.

You have to be careful with a percolator, however. The cheaper electric models allow the water temperature to fluctuate, scorching the coffee. A stovetop percolator can easily get hot enough to boil the coffee if you don't constantly watch it. Electric percolators are good for when you have a lot of people gathered that will empty the pot.

The French Press

This little coffee maker is among the most economical and also makes a truly delicious cup of coffee. It consists of a glass jar, a mesh filter and a plunger. It's a simple operation; just put enough coffee in the jar for one cup and pour hot water over it. Stir it and then let it steep for a couple of minutes to get all the flavor from the grounds. Then replace the lid with the filter and plunger and slowly push the plunger down. It will force the grounds to the bottom, leaving a flavorful, aromatic cup of coffee that will make your day!

A French press can be priced as low as $10-15 and is a great choice for someone who wants just one cup of coffee at a time. They are easy to clean; just rinse it out and leave it to dry. If you do choose this method of brewing coffee, spend a little more and get one with good quality glass that won't break easily.

Moka Pots

These little pots are made of steel or aluminum and have two main parts, the bottom pot that holds the water and the top brewing receptacle where the coffee is made. It forces water through the coffee grounds with pressure, a bit like an espresso machine. In fact, it is often called a stovetop espresso maker.

Although a Moka Pot makes a very good cup of coffee it's fairly labor intensive when it comes to cleaning. There are several parts that need to be washed and dried. However, the quality and flavor of the coffee is unbelievable when you get the right beans and the right grind size. A little experimenting and you'll soon get the hang of it.

Espresso Machines

Espresso machines used to be out of reach for most people but technological improvements and modern manufacturing processes have greatly reduced the selling price while making the machines better. You can find espresso machines from about a hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.

Espresso machines are great for a single serving or for making great coffee drinks like a mocha latte. The main feature you want to compare is bars of pressure, as that will determine how good the espresso turns out.

Still Undecided?

I personally prefer the French press. I used to have a drip coffee maker and still do but I haven't used it since I got the press. The taste and quality of the coffee is just not comparable. I don't mind spending a couple of extra minutes using my French press when I get coffee that tastes that good!

To learn how to make real coffee, which coffee beans to buy, what kind of coffee machines you should be looking at? Take a look at the different types of coffee makers available on the market.

Visit PurelyCoffeeBeans to find out the latest tips and information on making 'great coffee every day'!

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