What coffee maker type are you using to fix your morning (or evening) cup of Joe?
You love drinking coffee. And if you’re like most coffee lovers, you always try to learn how to improve your brewing skills.
It turns out that you might need to look no further than your kitchen. The key is in choosing an excellent coffee maker to brew according to your taste preferences.
Coffee Makers and More…
Many coffee drinkers have more than one brewing method on hand in their kitchens.
Today, we will look at several types of coffee makers and discuss each method’s pros and cons.
These include the following:
- French press
- Keurig single-serve system
- Pour over coffee maker (non-electric model)
- Electric automatic drip coffee maker
- Espresso machine
We will also mention some other notable tools you should stock, such as a coffee grinder. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these coffeemakers.
French Press Coffee Maker
In case you never used one, a French press allows you to brew rich, pungent coffee manually.
- A French press unit contains three primary components:
- A glass or stainless steel carafe in which you brew the coffee;
- Plunger to push down the coffee after infusing the water;
- Mesh filter to contain the coffee grounds.
Using a French press
- When you brew in a French press, you must boil filtered water separately.
- As it boils, place the desired amount of ground coffee into the carafe.
- Pour the gently boiling water over the grounds, place the filter and plunger assembly at the top rim of the coffee maker.
- After infusing the water for four to seven minutes, carefully plunge the filter to the bottom of the carafe, capturing the grinds in the bottom.
- Serve immediately.
French press pros
Here are the seven top reasons people enjoy using a French press.
1 – Flexibility
You can purchase units in a wide range of sizes, from a single cup to a large pot. This product availability allows you to make as little–or as much–coffee as you want
2 – Adjust the flavors
Once you get the hang of brewing coffee this way, you can adjust the flavor strength by steeping the grinds longer or shorter. Alternatively, you can add more or less ground coffee.
3 – Temperature control
You determine the “hotness” of the water. You may steep when the water just comes to a full simmer or wait for a full, rolling boil.
4 – An easy investment
You will find investing in a French press very easy on your wallet. Plus, you don’t need to purchase an endless supply of coffee filters.
5 – Easy care, long-lasting coffee maker
You have no electrical parts that will malfunction in the future.
You’ll disassemble and wash it after every use, no muss no fuss, no gross limescale build-up!
6 – A real space saver
Stop wasting countertop space! It’s easy to hide a French press out of sight when not in use.
7 – Great texture
Rich, flavorful, “thicker” texture coffee comes from brewing this way. If you like that richness, you will love this method.
French Press cons
These are the reasons why some people pass on brewing with this coffee maker.
1 – No waking up to hot coffee
If you love smelling freshly-brewed java in the morning, this brewing method might not be the best one for you.
2 – Manual process
Brewing in a French press is not a set it and forget it method. You must follow easy (bus specific) steps to get to sipping.
3 – Get the hang of the coffee ground size
At first, you might find coffee floaters in your cup – this means you ground your coffee too finely. Adjust it to correct this issue.
4 – Too “thick” for some tastes
Personal taste is, well, personal. While many caffeine addicts love the thick mouth feel of brewing this way, others dislike it. Only you can make that call.
Keurig Single Serve Coffee Maker
Once you start shopping, you will find several single-serve coffee maker systems on the market. However, none enjoy the popularity of the Keurig.
You might also find single-serve “pod” brewers. The concept is the same. You pop a pre-measured pod into the brewer, press a button, and fix a hot cuppa in a flash.
Since Keurig is the best-seller, we will focus on this specific brand.
Using a Keurig
- Add fresh, filtered water to the machine’s reservoir.
- Place a cup under the dispenser.
- Switch the brewer to “on” and allow the water to heat (it takes about one minute, depending on the particular model).
- Insert a K-cup into the slot.
- Select your cup size and brew strength.
- Hit the “brew” button and watch the coffee fill your mug.
Here are seven compelling reasons to purchase a Keurig.
1 – Coffee on demand
The reason most people love a Keurig is that they can quickly make a cup of coffee on demand.
2 – Take it on the go
Most Keurig models allow the user to place a travel mug under the dispenser. This enables them to take coffee on their commute and skip the expensive coffee shop nearby their office.
3 – Fool-proof coffeemaking
If you work through culinary challenges, no worry! Keurig equips you with the pre-measured k-cup, so making coffee is a fool-proof process. Anyone can do this!
4 – Coffee tastes fresh always
When you brew a single cup of coffee at a time, you always have a hot, fresh cup of java. No leftover, cold, or bitter coffee, ever again!
5 – Ready to roll
Most Keuring models have a timer so that they will pre-heat the water. You will wake up to a ready coffeemaker.
6 – Save time
Brewing with a Keurig takes less time than other brewing methods. From heating water to dispensing coffee, you’ll wait only about two minutes.
7 – Wide variety of K-cup options
When you shop for K-cups, you’ll find an enormous variety of pods available. Better yet, you are not limited only to coffee!
You can also add tea, hot chocolate, iced coffee, and latte into your daily lineup.
These factors might deter you from investing in a Keurig.
1 – Initial investment for your coffee maker
If you follow a strict budget, you might not find the Keurig to your liking. You will find a few less expensive models, but you will also see that those units are pared down in features. Read carefully before you click “buy.”
2 – K-cups cost more than ground or whole bean coffee
Purchasing K-cups can add to your weekly grocery budget relatively quickly. You can minimize costs by purchasing at club stores or in bulk. Even so, the cost trends higher.
3 – Not as rich in flavor
Some people love STRONG coffee. For those who like a stronger, almost bitter flavor, the Keurig might not suffice.
Yes, most models have a brew strength button. But the fast brewing process does not extract the coffee oils as deeply as other methods.
4 – K-cup waste
Some people pass up on a Keurig over environmental concerns about the wasted plastic with each K-cup.
5 – Challenging to serve company
If you entertain frequently, you might find the Keurig not to be the best match for you. Dispensing one cup of coffee after another means more time making coffee than entertaining.
Furthermore, you will use many expensive K-cups throughout your gathering.
6 – Requires regular descaling
Daily use will cause a build-up of minerals and limescale. Check your directions, as you will need to perform a regular descaling of your Keurig.
Pour Over Coffee Maker
Java lovers the world over love pour overs for their convenience–and of course, the tasty cup of coffee!
While this type of brewer is simple at first sight, you will benefit from learning the technique to produce the best coffee.
A pour over system has three components:
- A pot or mug to capture the coffee as you brew;
- Cone-shaped filter;
- A cone-shaped brewing basket.
Shopping around? You will see that this system is surprisingly affordable!
Using a pour over coffeemaker
- Set a kettle of fresh, filtered water on to boil.
- Set out a pot to brew into.
- Place the cone basket snugly atop the pot.
- Add the filter and desired amount of coffee grounds.
- Pour the boiling water over the coffee in a circular, swirling motion. Slowly but evenly release the water to prevent pooling in the grounds.
- Wait for the coffee to drip into the pot.
Pour over pros
Here are seven reasons why you might prefer a pour over.
1 – Exceptional flavor
With a pour over, you control the rate of the water flow. You can pour slower to release more of the oils from the coffee or quicker to evoke a more mild flavor.
The control you exercise means that you dictate the intensity of the flavor. And it is fantastic!
2 – No mechanical failure
A pour over unit contains only the three non-mechanical parts outlined above. This means that you don’t need to worry about faulty switches or timers.
I purchased my Melitta pour over coffee maker right out of college in the 1990s–I am still using the same one!
3 – Size options
Pour over systems range in size from a single-serve cone that fits directly over a coffee mug to a large 55 ounce size for when you want to serve a generous pot.
(Hint: I also have the coffee-mug, individual-sized pour over cone!)
4 – Easy to clean
The parts are easy to wash and keep clean. No bitter-tasting residue build-up to ruin the pure flavors of your favorite hot beverage!
5 – No descaling is necessary
Because you perform a daily cleaning, you will not see a building of minerals of limescale. No monthly descaling process!
Check your instructions to determine if your unit is dishwasher-safe. Some are, but some are not.
6 – Wow your guests
While many coffee enthusiasts won’t hear of doing without a pour over coffee maker, using one is somewhat of a dying art.
Pull this bad boy out at your next get-together. You’ll look like a barista and serve coffee that will knock their socks off!
7 – Doesn’t take up countertop space
Finally, if you have little countertop space, you might not be willing to sacrifice it for electrical appliances. When you aren’t brewing java, you can stow this in any cabinet.
Pour over cons
These five reasons may turn some people off to the idea of a pour over coffee maker.
1 – Manual process
If you want to flick a switch and let the machine do all the work, this process might not work for you.
You don’t have a timer set to awaken to fresh coffee. You ARE the system.
2 – Requires paper filters
Environmentally conscious coffee drinkers might object to disposing of the many filters you will use making your daily java.
(Note: Choose unbleached filters, they are compostable for the garden)
3 – Trial and error when you start
Getting the ground size right, the correct amount of coffee, and the technique takes a little bit of trial and error. You might waste your first pot of coffee or two.
4 – Two parts to store
People who are super-tight on space might not like having two parts to store away unless you have a cabinet with the height to stack them for storage.
5 – The process takes time
This brewing method takes a few moments of your time. From boiling water to swirling into the cone and waiting for it to drip through might take around 15 minutes.
Electric Automatic Drip Electric Coffee Maker
This classic coffeemaker proves timeless. Many households have these ubiquitous units sitting on their countertops and brew countless pots of java.
Their large range of sizes and price points ensure you can find one that’s good for you.
Using an electric automatic drip machine
- Fill the reservoir with filtered, fresh water.
- Add a filter and coffee grounds to the basket.
- Press the “on” switch. You will enjoy coffee in just a few minutes.
It really does not get much easier than this.
Automatic drip coffee maker pros
These six reasons explain why so many people enjoy automatic drip coffee.
1 – Easy to use
Straight out of the box, you can wash up your unit, follow the set-up guide, and enjoy a hot cup of Joe in a few minutes.
Automatic drip units deliver consistent results, even for beginners.
2 – Use the timer
Many units (but not all, especially at entry-level budgets) have a clock and timer feature. This function allows you to set up the night ahead. You will awaken to the smell of freshly dispensed java.
3 – Works where you cannot boil water
This unit is an office and workplace favorite, especially useful in locations without any other way to boil water. Just plug it in, and you are good to go.
4 – Warming plate
The coffee carafe sits on a warming plate, designed to keep your java hot until you are ready to sip.
5 – Machines come in a wide variety of price points
As mentioned earlier, an automatic drip machine comes with a lower price tag than the Keurig. The price varies based on size and ranges wildly from very affordable to high-end, high-budget price tags.
6 – You can wash most carafes in the dishwasher
Check your guide before purchasing, but “most” models offer dishwasher-safe carafes for easy cleaning.
Automatic drip cons
These things might make you choose another method to brew your java.
1 – No control over water temperature
With most automatic machines, you cannot control the “hotness” of the water. Most are set to a “medium” heat setting, disappointing people who love a super-hot cup.
2 – Limescale and mineral buildup
With repeated use, limescale and minerals build-up in the workings of this machine. That distracts from your coffee’s good flavor if you don’t deal with it about once a month.
3 – Requires regular descaling
To make your machine last, you must perform a routing descaling. Otherwise, it will deteriorate your coffeemaker, leaving you spending money on another one–sooner than you wish.
4 – Coffee gets bitter when left warming
Leaving that brewed java sitting on the warming plate causes a decline in the flavor. It turns cooler and bitter.
5 – You give up countertop space
This model will sit atop your countertop. If you have limited space, you might want to pass.
6 – Disposing of coffee filters
As mentioned before, you will need a coffee filter for this machine regarding the pour over brewer. Choose an unbleached filter so you can compost this waste and reduce your carbon footprint.
Other accessories to consider
Here are a few other accessories you might need to pair with your coffee maker.
Grinding your own coffee beans gives you the best flavor experience. The size of grounds you need varies with each of these brewer types, as follows:
- French press: Coarse grind
- Pour over: Medium-fine to medium grind
- Automatic drip: Fine to medium grind
Once you establish what works best for your coffeemaker and personal tastes, stick with it!
You will usually yourself needing paper filters to go with your model. However, you can also find removable, reusable fine metal mesh baskets to substitute and cut down on paper waste.
K-cup refillable basket
If you love the idea of a Keurig but hate the idea of plastic, spend a few bucks on the K-cup refillable basket. This replaces the need for disposable K-cups.
Plus, once you invest, you will save money on the more costly K-cups by using ground coffee.
The Bottom Line: You can find the best coffee maker for your lifestyle
The adage tells us how there is someone for everyone. Well, we say there is a wonderful way to brew coffee for every java lover.
Before you decide on one method over another, do your research. Determine what features you need and how coffee works in your life.
For example, I mentioned that I have two pour over units. I also have one small French press. However, I do not have an electric machine of any kind any longer. I did, but I prefer the process of making coffee manually.
You might not. And that is okay. It is up to you–and only you–to discern the best coffee maker for your lifestyle.