Table of contents
1. Types of coffee makers and espresso machines
2. Features to look for in coffee makers
3. What to consider before buying a coffee maker
4. Coffee accessories
Benefits of having a coffee maker at home
You know what it’s like to walk into a coffee shop and take a deep breath, inhaling that fragrant coffee aroma? You can experience that every morning in your kitchen and all you need is a drip or single-serve brewer on your kitchen counter, or even a French press or percolator.
Having a coffee maker in your kitchen saves time and money. You don’t have to leave home to go to a coffee drive-thru or stand in line at a shop. If you like variety in your coffee cup, you’ll love that you can enjoy any number of coffee flavours, pods, and variations depending on what type of bean or grind you’ve brought home.
Types of coffee makers
The days of anxiously watching your brewer chug its way to a full pot are long gone. Now you can put your morning cup of coffee in your hand right when you want it, and there are a lot of options for serving up the freshest, most flavourful cup of brew.
1. Manual espresso machines
Manual espresso machines give you complete control over your shot of espresso. This type of machine has a lever you pull when you’re ready to make espresso, and that gives you control over how long the water pushes through your coffee grinds and how large of an espresso shot you create.
2. Semi-automatic espresso machines
A semi-automatic espresso machine is a popular option for anyone who wants to create custom coffee beverages at home. It’s easier to use than a manual espresso machine as it has an electric pump that creates the shot, but you can still control everything from the water flow to the pressure your coffee grinds are extracted.
3. Fully automatic espresso machine
A fully automatic espresso maker automates the process of creating an espresso shot. It takes care of everything involved in creating a shot of espresso including water pressure and tamping. Many types of fully automatic espresso machines have a milk frother to make milk foam or steamed milk.
4. Super-automatic espresso machine
A super-automatic espresso maker will grind, tamp, and brew your espresso shot with just a tap. They have built-in burr grinders, milk frothers, and programmable settings so you can choose which coffee drink you’d like and your machine will make it for you.
You can learn more about espresso machines in the espresso machine buying guide.
Drip coffee maker
Drip coffee makers come with glass or insulated carafes that hold anywhere from one to 12 cups of coffee, and they usually take less than 10 minutes to brew a full pot. One of the biggest benefits of a drip brewer is that you can brew multiple cups worth of coffee and go back to the pot, enjoying it without the further delay of brewing again.
Drip coffee makers are great if you and one or more people will be enjoying coffee every day. If you only plan on making enough coffee for one, you may want to choose a single-serve coffee maker.
Single-serve coffee maker
To use a single-serve appliance, add water to the reservoir, add a pod to the coffee maker, and hit a button to serve. Depending on the speed of the model you choose, you can have a 4 to 12-ounce cup of coffee in your hands in under a minute.
Single-serve coffee makers are extremely popular, and one of the reasons why is because there is no guesswork on the proper measurement for adding coffee grinds or water. Because the machine is automated, you let it do all the work, and you’re guaranteed the perfect cup of coffee in no time at all.
A single-serve coffee maker is a great option for one or two people who always want a hot cup of fresh coffee. Just keep in mind that making coffee with pods can be slightly more expensive than purchasing bulk coffee beans. Coffee pods can also produce more disposable waste than coffee grinds made with a paper or reusable filter.
Multi-use coffee maker
A multi-use coffee maker gives you the best of all worlds. If you only need one cup of coffee, you won’t need to waste an entire pot. Depending on which multi-use brewer you choose, you may also have the option of having a built-in bean grinder.
Multi-use brewers are the perfect choice for a couple of families who want a bit of coffee variety or the option to switch between a coffee maker that makes up to 12 cups or a single serve brewer. This style may be slightly more expensive than a drip coffee maker and a single serve brewer, but you’ll have two appliances in one. It also may take up a bit more space on your countertop.
French press and coffee percolator
A coffee percolator lets you make coffee on a larger scale than some models of drip brewers, and it’s a very portable option because brewing and pouring are done from a single device. Coffee percolators hold coffee grinds at the top of the device. There is a hollow tube that filters down from the grind holder to the bottom of the appliance. Hot water begins boiling and it will be forced up into the tube and onto the coffee grinds, soaking them and letting them drip back into the pot to make coffee.
Having a French press means you’ll always have the freshest cup of coffee, but it does take slightly longer to brew than a drip or single-serve brewer. You’ll need to boil water in a kettle or pot on the stove before you can make your coffee, and you’ll need to leave it to brew for a few minutes.
Pour over coffee maker
A pour over coffee maker is a manual coffee maker that’s similar in style to a French press. You’ll use a glass carafe with a type of funnel placed over the opening. To make coffee in a pour over coffee maker you’ll add a filter to the funnel, add coffee grounds, and pour boiling water over the grinds. Your coffee will filter through to the carafe and you can pour it into your cup.
One of the best parts of the pour over style is that you can control every part of the coffee-making process. You can use extremely hot water if you like your coffee very hot, and you can control the time it brews or how much coffee you make at one time. Just keep in mind that making coffee using a pour over carafe takes a bit more time than a drip brewer. Just like a French press, you’ll need to boil water first.
Features on the best coffee makers
The latest coffee brewers are designed to give you a lot of choices when it comes to your cup of coffee.
Choose your brew strength and temperature
You can find drip and single-serve brewers that will let you choose your coffee strength and temperature. Being able to choose a strong brew when you need a wake-up is a great option for mornings, and you can dial down the strength as your day progresses. If you like your coffee very hot or you want to make coffee to pour over ice, you’ll love being able to adjust your coffee temperature.
Built-in coffee grinders
Coffee fans know that the freshest cup of coffee starts with the freshest ground coffee beans. When you have a coffee grinder built into your coffee maker, your beans will go from whole to ground to coffee, all in one fluid motion.
Pot warmers and carafes
It might take you a few hours to drink an entire pot of coffee, and you don’t want it to grow cold in the meantime. You can choose a brewer with a pot warmer or one that includes an insulated carafe so your coffee is hot and ready to drink long after you’ve brewed it.
Large water reservoirs
A single-serve brewer is available in models that hold a single cup of water or several cups. If you have a reservoir that holds several cups of water you can brew cup after cup without refilling the tank.
Pause while brewing
If you’ve ever put a coffee mug under your coffee pot to catch any drips while you’re quickly pouring yourself a cup, you’ll love the pause while brewing feature. It lets you pull your coffee pot out to pour a cup and will hold the brew inside the machine until you put it back.
Because they use water, coffee makers occasionally need to be descaled and have any buildup removed. The latest models will prompt you to use a descaling solution, or you can touch a self-cleaning button and your appliance will clean itself.
What to consider before buying a coffee maker
What type of coffee maker you choose depends on a few important considerations.
1. Are you a multi-cup coffee drinker?
How often you drink coffee can be the key factor in what type of brewer you choose. If you know you’ll drink half a pot or more every day, you may want to opt for a drip coffee maker with a 12-cup capacity. If you only have one or two cups in the morning, you might want a single-serve brewer you can just reload when you’re ready.
2. How much counter space do you have?
You’ll want to consider your kitchen’s counter space before you choose your new brewer. Some types won’t take up a lot of space and fit neatly in a corner or can be stored inside your cabinet, while others require more room. If you’re short on space you may want to consider a French press, small single-serve brewer, or small drip style. If you have a lot of room on your counter, a drip brewer, multi-use brewer, or espresso machine will easily fit in.
3. How many times per day do you drink coffee?
Drip models are available with insulated carafes and warming plates to keep your coffee hot for hours. If you’d like to drink coffee in the afternoon but don’t want to make a fresh pot, a single-serve brewer will serve up a fresh cup when you want one.
4. Do you want your coffee ready before you get out of bed?
Programmable drip coffee makers are available with built-in timers so you can set your appliance at night, turn it on in the morning before you get out of bed, and have it turn off after a certain amount of time.
5. Do you like the idea of pre-measured pods of coffee?
When you have a drip model, you might find you need to tweak your brew to find the perfect combination of water and coffee grinds. With a single-serve brewer, the water and coffee grinds are already predetermined by the brewer and a coffee pod, so you get the perfect cup every time.
Coffee maker and espresso machine accessories
You can enhance your coffee experience and make the most out of your brewer by adding coffee maker accessories.
1. Coffee filters
If your drip or single-serve coffee maker requires a filter, you can find different types for different coffee makers. Single-serve coffee makers require you to replace the water filter from time to time and drip coffee makers either use reusable paper filters or have permanent coffee baskets you can replace if you need to.
2. Water filters
Some brewers have a water filter that will need to be replaced every few months. Water filters are essential as they remove substances in your water that can affect the taste of your coffee.
3. Cup warmer
Cup warmers come in two different types. They can keep your mugs warm until you’re ready to brew your coffee, or they act as a warming plate to keep your coffee warm after it has been brewed.
4. Coffee maker cleaner
Both drip and single-serve coffee makers need to be cleaned occasionally. You can buy descaling fluid or coffee maker cleaner to rid your coffee maker of any buildup in the lines.
5. Reusable coffee pod
If you have a single-serve brewer the sky is the limit for what type of coffee pod you can choose, but did you know you can choose a reusable coffee pod that uses your own coffee grinds?
The benefit of having a reusable coffee pod is that you can grind your own fresh beans for your coffee, and a reusable pod can be rinsed out for use again and again.
6. Coffee pod storage
Coffee pod storage lets you place your favourite coffee pods front and centre. You can choose drawers, coffee pod carousels, or set up a condiment bar for coffee right on your kitchen counter.
Take the next step
Wake up every day with a smile by setting up a coffee maker on your kitchen counter. You can find the perfect coffee maker for you by shopping at Best Buy.