Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

There’s no shortage of quality coffee makers (and espresso makers) on the market today. The trick is deciding which coffee maker type is right for your brewing style.

Some things are obvious. If you want great coffee, look for a dedicated coffee maker. Looking for a fabulous esspresso? The same applies.

Combination machines are ideal for those who want the ability to make both coffee and espresso. However, they don’t always deliver as well in taste or quality of one or the other.  If you’re an average coffee drinker, this is generally okay. If you’re a bit of a coffee “snob”, you may be dissapointed.

Beyond determining whether you want a dedicated or combo unit. there’s plenty of other factors to consider. We’re taking a look today at some of the popular styles available. Along with the advantages and dissadvantages of each.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Steam or Pump Driven Coffee and Espresso Makers

Coffee and espresso machines come in two varieties: stream driven or pump. They look very similar in appearance but differ in method. Steam was the driving force behind the earliest espresso makers. The super-hot steam, though, often burnt the coffee beans and spoiled the flavor.

The University of Sydney’s Espresso Time Line shows the first pump-driven espresso machine was manufactured in 1938. This machine pushed hot water through the beans at a temperature that was just shy of boiling. The method did not burn the beans.

Today most of the coffee and espresso makers use a pump with 15 bars of pressure. This pressure helps gather as much flavor as possible from the coffee beans. While more expensive than the steam driven coffee/espresso makers, the quality of the coffee is higher with the pump-driven variety.

As we just mentioned, steam driven coffee/espresso makers are less expensive than the pump variety. They are also easier to use, clean, and generally brew larger capacities. However, they are generally not as reliable for long term use. And they don’t allow for as much custimization in fine tuning (tweaking) to develop the perfect coffee or espresso taste. Most coffee experts agree that steam makers don’t actually deliver a “proper” traditional espresso, but they can often come close in taste.

Pump driven coffee/espresso makes allow for finer tuning (tweaking). There’s a greater ability to adjust the brew time, water temperature, pressure, and grind size. The result is a more authentic brew. Pump driven makers also offer the capicity for frothing milk.

On the flip side, they are more complex with more components to clean and of course, have a much higher cost than steam makers. If your coffee maker is top-notch, though, a pump driven coffee/espresso maker will be a pure joy to own.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Pour Over Makers

The most prominant coffee house style right now is pour over coffee. There’s a lot to be said for a brew that takes it’s time. Pour over method is similar to a drip coffee maker style, but the user has more control to create a personalized brew. It’s all about the flavor!

The slower the pour, the more flavor extracts from the coffee grounds. Most pour over makers really are not makers in the traditional sense as the process is not fully automated. Pour over requires a seperate kettle vessel that is heated, the the water is hand-poured over the coffee grounds held in a special filter. The coffee then drains into a small pot or cup.

Recently the Tribest Shine Kitchen Co.® Autopour Automatic Pour Over Coffee Machine automated part of this process. Designed to make pour over easy for beginners, the Shine Autopour takes the guesswork out by automating the pouring step. The system slowly spirals hot water over your ground coffee.

The advantage to this style machine allows for a more hands-free approach to creating the perfect bloom and brew. Like most other pour over makers, it has a two-cup capacity.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

One of the most mainstream style of coffee makers is the automatic drip coffee maker. You’ll find them in plenty of restaurants, hotels, offices, and homes throughout the world.

Drip makers use a reservior of water to steadily stream hot water over filtered coffee grounds into a pouring pot. Their use is popular due to the ease of use. You need no brewing experience to operate.

Another advantage is their ability to produce larger batches of coffee quickly in one brewing cycle.  Built-in warming bases help keep the coffee hot for an extended period, too.

They are quite low in price, easy to find, and don’t require much counter space either. The disadvantage is that they most often produce a mediocre cup of coffee. Using a better quality of coffee bean can aid in upping the taste profile when using an automatic drip coffee maker.

If your style is completely hands off and you just want a hot cup of coffee at the ready when you wake up or need a break at work, this is the choice for you. Most have built-in timers allow them to be pre-programmed to make coffee exactly when you need it.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Grind and Brew Coffee Makers

For those that truly enjoy all-in-one machine there are grind and brew coffee makers. This type of coffee and espresso maker has a built-in coffee bean grinder that eliminates the need for an extra grinder (or the transfer of the beans once they are ground). Of course, this adds to the overall cost of the machine. When choosing a grind and brew coffee maker look for one with a burr grinder as opposed to a blade grinder.

A blade grinder spins like the blades of a lawn mower, cutting up the coffee beans into small pieces. Unfortunately, the grind is not always equal. Plus the resulting heat from a blade to create a fine grind, can often cause a burn flavor in the beans. Instead opt for a coffee and espresso maker that has a conical burr grinder. This style slowly and evenly crushes the beans into a uniform grind.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Pod Coffee Makers

Pod coffee makers are for those who like both ease and variety in their coffee concoctions. This type of coffee espresso machine uses pre-measured flavor pods to brew a wide variety of hot beverages. From flavored coffees, espresso, lattes or even hot chocolate and tea. This maker eliminates the need for grinding the beans or adjusting your machine to the right settings. Many of the pods come equipped with a drink-specific bar code that tells the machine exactly what is needed to brew that particular drink.

While this makes brewing a very easy undertaking, it can end up being more expensive than grinding and brewing your own beans. It’s also difficult to customize your coffee or espresso to your individual taste. Most pod coffee makers are comparable in price to automatic drip makers, but they only produce one cup of coffee at a time.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Additional Coffee Makers

Other popular styles of coffee makers include a French Press, Espresso Moka Pot and Cold Brew Maker.

French Presses steep coffee ground directly in boilded water. After the grounds steep for a select amount of time, the grounds are pushed to the bottom and the coffee is then poured. These makers are inexpensive and the result is a full-bodied strong brew.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Espresso Moka pots use steam and pressure to create a bold brew. Water is added to the lower compartment, coffee grounds to the middle filter. The pot is then heated and the pressure created causes the water to flow through the coffee grounds into the upper chamber to produce the cup of coffee. Moka pots are generally inexpensive and are often used for travel and camping due to their ease of portability.

Which Coffee Maker Suits your Brew Style Best?

Cold Brew makers produce iced coffee. Generally coffee steeps in cold water for a set time. Traditionally, iced coffee is generally made by pouring regular brewed coffee that has cooled over ice. The cold brew machines skip the ice (which often weakens the coffee) to produce a more full-bodied brew.

If you truly want to get into specialty coffees, you can also look into Siphon coffee makers, Turkish coffee makers, Vietnamese coffee makers and more. Whatever your style, you’ll find a great machine designed for your love of a good brew!

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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