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Coffee Makers Buying Guide

Buying a new coffee machine can seem like far more of a challenge than it needs to be. There are many models on the market and new ones seem to continue to show up. When buying one, there are various components to consider, including your household's coffee drinking habits. The more coffee drinkers you have, the more important it is to buy a quality unit. Some cost as little as $20 while others cost ten or more times that amount.


What to Expect

Prior to shopping for coffee machines, consider your needs.

  • How many people will drink coffee on a daily or regular basis? Users with more frequent drinkers benefit from more durable, larger machines. If only one person drinks coffee one or two times a day, a single cup brewer may be a good choice.

  • How much time do you have to brew a cup? This can be a factor for those who need to grab a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and run out the door.

  • How much room do you have on the countertop for a coffee maker? Some models hang under cabinets but most modern makers take up a foot or more of space.

  • What types of coffee to you plan to drink? Do you need a machine with more variety options or just a single type?


After considering your needs, you can begin shopping for your options. Keep in mind that a variety of makers are on the market, but not all offer the same features, coffee quality, and price point.


Types of Coffee Machines

From old style models that brew coffee on the stovetop to the most elegant and modern machines creating nearly any type of coffee you desire, there is something right for you. It can become very overwhelming to try to sort through all of the options. Consider the various types as a first step in narrowing down the options.


Drip Coffee Makers

One of the most common options, drip coffee makers provide some outstanding benefits. These are known for their reliability. To work, coffee grounds are added to a filtered basket or paper filter that fits into the machine. Water is added to the back. The water is then moved up into the coffee as it is heated. It then drips into the coffee pot sitting right under a spout. This option produces an average or better cup of coffee.

 

Percolators

Another option is a more traditional approach. The percolator was the go-to option for making coffee prior to the standard drip coffee makers on the market today. They have been a popular choice since the start of the 1900's. Some modern varieties now use electricity whereas others cook on a stovetop. For those who want a traditional cup of coffee, with a more robust flavor, this may be the route to take. You will need more time and patience, but it can be a good option for those wanting quality first.


Single Cup Makers

A more modern option today is the single service cup maker. These produce just one, or sometimes two, cups of coffee at a time. Some models have a specific design requiring pods or individual serving packages to operate. Others are simply smaller machines designed to be easy to store. If you only have a few minutes and want a cup of coffee, this option works well. With single cup makers, users of pod machines can also choose from a large variety of coffees. This gives each person in the house the ability to drink the type that they enjoy the most.


Key Features to Look For

When purchasing coffee machines, there are a few key things to look for in these. Some offer a great number of features while others are very simple. Depending on the amount of work that you want to do, or if you want to make brewing a pot of coffee a no-brainer, consider the following.


Programming

Some coffee machines provide a lot of programming options. You can set up the coffee pot the night before and it will automatically come on at the set time in the morning to brew. Some will also provide more advanced programming for more than one brew. This is ideal for those who like to plan in advance.


Power On/Off

Everyone has left the coffee pot on at one point or another. However, with an automatic power on and off switch, the system will turn itself off instead of allowing you to scorch the bottom of the pot. This is a good option for those who are busy and it is standard on most models.


Filtration

Some newer coffee machines now have built-in water filtration. A nice addition to a coffee maker in areas where water is not the freshest or where the drinker wants the best possible results, look for this feature on the higher end models available. 


Cleaning Options

Though some high-end machines do offer cleaning cycles, most do not. However, self-cleaning cycles can be a good thing because they can help to remove calcification from within the machine. In areas where hard water is common, this is a good way to get rid of that buildup without having to do a lot of scrubbing. It can reduce costs by extending the life of the machine.


Frothers and Attachments

Some machines, especially higher end models with cappuccino and espresso makers come with attachments to create froth, the foam that so many enjoy on these more elaborate coffee drinks. Most models that offer this are more expensive, but for those who could not go without it, it can be a good investment.


Conclusion

Buying coffee machines does not have to be difficult. If you want just a basic machine, go for a no-frills device because these do last for years. If you want more selection and options in your cup or a finer cup, choose something that has more features or offers single brewing. Make sure to research individual makes and models for additional information on whether they are worth the purchase.