Testing coffee makers is fun.
But I am writing this with my shaky hands and with one of my eyes pulsing.
I guess there is such thing as “too much coffee”. Who would’ve thought!
You see, I am ready for sacrifices when it comes to picking only the best products for you.
Buying Your Coffee Maker
Here’s the deal:
To buy a new coffee machine, all you have to do is figure out your coffee drinking habits. And then you just need to match them with a suitable maker. Easy, isn’t it?
Start by determining the following aspects:
What coffee do you like? Is it espresso, cappuccino, latte, or something more uncommon? Whatever type you prefer, make sure that the machine you’re considering is able to make it.
How much do you need? If one cup isn’t enough for you to start your day, you should go with a larger model that can brew around 10 or 12 cups at a time.
If you want a freshly brewed coffee to wait for you right after you wake up, get yourself a machine with a programmable timer. It will turn on automatically and prepare a hot beverage while you get out of bed. Just remember to add some water and freshly ground coffee the night before.
How much space do you have? You might want a large luxurious coffee maker, but if your kitchen is really small, chances are you won’t be able to fit it in there. Even if you will, it’s likely to look too bulky and feel out of place.
How often do you drink coffee? If you need it regularly throughout the day, it is better to get a machine with a carafe or an insulated mug. This way, you won’t have to brew coffee every time you want a hot beverage.
Who is going to use it? Now, this is when you might want to check the water reservoir of your desired coffee maker. For a family of coffee drinkers, you probably need something large, starting from around 50 or 60 oz. This way, you won’t have to refill the water tank too often. You can also check some of the best coffee makers with a water line. Those connect directly to the water supply and eliminate the need to use a reservoir at all. Instead, they just pump the needed amount of water for each brewing cycle. Keep in mind that using a water filter would be a great idea in this case.
Types of Coffee Makers
Investing in a coffee maker is actually a good way to save some money, especially if you drink coffee regularly and frequently. Don’t worry, the barista from your favorite coffee shop will not feel offended if you stop coming.
So, if you’re ready to make a purchase, you may be wondering about the types of coffee makers and your possible options. Well, the most common and popular are:
Drip coffee makers. These machines involve pouring hot water over the ground coffee, which is placed in a filter. You might also come across automatic pour-over coffee makers that have a slightly different design. Those machines have special water valves that work to disperse the water evenly over the grounds. Such an approach results in a more even saturation and an improved extraction. Basically, this makes the coffee taste better.
Espresso makers. In this case, a machine forces hot (boiling, to be exact) water through the ground coffee (which has to be very finely ground) and directly into a cup. These makers can be automatic and semi-automatic. Some of them have integrated bean grinders and belong to the list of good grind and brew coffee makers. Such models allow users to enjoy the freshest espressos without the need to spend time grinding (and potentially spilling the grounds everywhere).
Smart coffee makers. These involve using an app that controls the coffee maker’s operation. Many of them automatically froth milk or grind the beans (depending on the model) and operate as all-in-one coffee makers, doing all the work for the users.
Thermal carafe coffee machines. These machines feature an insulated carafe, in which the coffee is “stored” and kept hot and fresh (instead of being poured directly into a cup).
French press. Also known as Coffee Press or Press Pot, this type offers the simplest way to make a good cup of coffee. What you need to do is place some ground coffee in it and pour hot water over it. Then stir it and leave to brew for a few minutes. Press the filter down to keep the ground coffee at the bottom and pour yourself a cup of this hot beverage.
Moka (stovetop) pot. Its construction is rather simple. There’s a water chamber at the bottom. The coffee goes into the middle section. When the water starts boiling, it travels through the chamber and goes over the coffee. And voila, your espresso is done!
Cold brew coffee makers. The cold brew method requires more time than your regular coffee, but the results are worth the wait. The coffee turns out sweeter, less acidic, fruitier, and smoother. Many good Japanese coffee makers are suitable for the cold brew method, however, some automatic drip models have such a function as well.
Cleaning Your Coffee Maker
No matter how smart your coffee maker is, it cannot clean itself. Thankfully, this process isn’t that complex, so you’ll probably manage to deal with it in almost no time.
Here’s what you need to do to keep your coffee machine sparkling clean:
Fill the water chamber with a mixture of clean water and white vinegar (1:1). Put a paper filter into the basket and brew half of the water. Then leave the rest of the mixture to soak. After an hour or so, brew the rest of the water. This will clean the insides of the machine.
Change the paper filter and put another cycle on, but this time use only the clean water. This will rinse the vinegar out of the system.
Wipe inside the chamber using a damp cloth. If you notice any larger debris or loose grounds, gently scrub them with a sponge.
You can clean the carafe (if your machine has one) using some warm water and dish soap.
If the carafe has some dirt or spots on the outside, use a damp cloth. Try to avoid using anything abrasive since it can damage the exterior.
If the water reservoir has calcium deposits, you need to use a special coffee maker cleaning product. It might cost a bit more, but it will keep your machine operating properly.
Coffee Making Tips that Will Change Your Life
You might consider yourself a coffee expert. Or, you may be a coffee enthusiast who just wants to bring his or her coffee making skills to a whole new level. Whatever the case is, I bet these simple tips and tricks can change your life for the better.
Seriously, listen to the following advice, and each of your coffee cups will be perfect. Here’s what you should do:
Buy only fresh coffee (whole bean, of course). Pre-ground coffee is definitely a simpler (lazier, I should say) solution. However, it just doesn’t taste that good, no matter how cool your coffee machine is. Fresh coffee beans are of higher quality. Yes, you will have to grind them yourself, but your coffee will taste so much better. You just need to learn how to pick freshly roasted beans, and each of your beverages will taste amazing.
A quick tip: you can always find some freshly roasted beans at local coffee shops. Some of them even roast the beans right there on the spot, which means you will get the freshest roast possible.
Store your coffee properly. A vacuum-sealed container is a perfect option, but if you need a simpler solution, a good old Mason jar will do the trick. Some people store their coffee in the fridge, but I personally believe that it’s better to buy smaller batches and store them sealed in a jar in a dark and dry place. Whatever you decide, just don’t leave your coffee beans in a bag or in an open jar.
Know when to grind your coffee beans. To get the most flavorful, fresh taste, grind the beans right before brewing. Experts note that coffee tends to lose its flavor within half an hour after being ground.
Check the temperature. Many coffee makers fail to reach the proper water temperature for brewing. So, it’s better to set the temperature yourself if your machine allows for it (it should be 195-205 F).
Use clean water. Many users forget about this aspect (or believe that boiling the water makes it good). But the thing is, hard or unfiltered water compromises the taste of your coffee. At the same time, heavily filtered water can be just as destructive. What you need is distilled or lightly filtered water, which you can buy at pretty much any supermarket.
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.