Buying Guide - Coffee Makers

Types

Kenwood Kmix coffee makerThere are a fantastic range of coffees available to you when you head into a local café or coffee house.  A number of different coffees can be made quite easily at home, and the range of coffee maker models available in the shops reflects this diversity, from a simple drip coffee maker to the more elaborate multi-function coffee maker.  Even espresso coffee makers are available for purchase.

Drip-Coffee Maker - The drip coffee maker, or filter coffee maker, is the most popular version, and it works by simply dripping water through the ground coffee.  Most varieties of drip coffee maker will heat the water and include a thermal pot to keep the coffee hot.

Pod/Capsule Coffee Maker - Pod coffee makers, such as Nespresso, are becoming more popular as they are fuss-free and guarantee a perfect cup of coffee each and every time. With the different types of pods available, everyone can have their own particular favourite cup without having to brew more than you need.

Percolator Coffee Maker - The percolator is a coffee maker that boils water before passing it through the ground coffee, and this has led to some people viewing it as an inferior type of coffee maker, as it breaks the principle of not boiling the coffee.

Multi-Function Coffee Maker - A multi-function coffee machine, which includes an espresso maker, is also available for domestic use, and can look an impressive gadget in the kitchen.  This sort of coffee machine can also produce a range of different drinks, such as the espresso and cappuccino from the espresso maker.

 

Features

Exercise bikeA basic drip coffee maker is a simple kitchen appliance that does not necessarily require many features.  One of the advantages of this sort of coffee maker is its simplicity of use, and as long as it incorporates its own heating mechanism to heat the water and keep the coffee hot, then not much else is required from it.

On the other hand, even a simple drip coffee maker can benefit from one or two additional features, and a timer and self-clean function might be top of the list.  This allows you to set the coffee to brew at your preferred time in the morning, and helps clear the deposits that can build up from the continual passage of water.

Another desirable feature in a coffee maker is the so-called 'pause and serve' function, which stops the flow of coffee through the filter when you take away the coffee pot, so that the coffee does not continue dripping directly onto the hot plate and ultimately messing your worktop.

Similarly, you might like to have a coffee maker that includes an automatic timer to turn itself off; perhaps you have a habit of leaving appliances turned on.  This type of coffee maker feature can save electricity as well as prevent accidents, and a coffee maker that features a digital control panel is likely to include this, at least as an option.  Such a coffee maker may also have controls to alter the coffee temperature or the strength of the brewed coffee.

More advanced features on certain coffee maker models include a water filter to remove unwanted flavours from your tap water, and towards the luxury end of the scale you can also obtain a coffee maker that includes its own grinder, so that the ground coffee is always fresh.

A larger coffee machine and espresso maker will have a larger range of features, mostly involving the preparation of different drinks, such as the steam pipe that is essential with any espresso maker.

 

Tips on Making Coffee

CoffeeOne of the top tips for using a traditional drip coffee maker is not to brew too little coffee.  The same problem does not arise with the more modern multi-function machine, which tends to be used to make and serve one cup of coffee at a time.  However, the type of appliance where the coffee drips into a coffee pot, having too little water does not allow sufficient time for the water to heat up, and the result may be weak and even cool coffee.

Whilst it may not sound like much of a savings, making at least four cups of coffee in a coffee maker of this sort can actually lead to a better cup of coffee. The difference in the time it takes to brew is usually quite small in a properly cleaned and functioning machine.

The amount of water that you put into the coffee maker is usually measured in terms of cups, and this is often shown on the water tank into which you pour the cold water at the start of the process.  If you cannot see or find this scale, then there is often a similar scale on the side of the coffee pot, which you can use to measure the cold water and pour it into the water tank.

The amount of ground coffee that you use will vary depending on how strong you like your coffee - start by trying out one dessert spoon, or one scoop of ground coffee for each cup of water; you can then adjust this measure accordingly for later rounds of coffee.

 

Accessories

The accessories that you might consider purchasing for your coffee maker depend on the type of machine that you own.  It is, however, always useful to have some spares of the different parts of the coffee maker that you use most frequently, such as the coffee pot in case it breaks.

If you think that you can taste the paper of the coffee filter, then it is usually possible to use a permanent coffee filter, rather than relying on the disposable paper filters.

If you already have a coffee maker or coffee machine with a built-in coffee grinder, then you probably do not need anything further in terms of grinding the beans.  However, a nice addition to your coffee maker is a stand-alone coffee grinder, so that you can be sure that you are getting the best and freshest flavour from your coffee beans.

If your coffee machine does not include a water filter, consider purchasing one for your model to ensure that you use only purified water in the coffee making process.  There are also various cleaning solutions and cleaning aids available for most sorts of coffee maker and coffee machine, allowing you to maintain the efficiency of the coffee maker whilst ensuring your coffee tastes great every time.