Stepping away from instant coffee is something everyone should do. You’re missing out on great tasting coffee if you don’t. But go into any homeware shop or click onto an online store and you’re presented with plenty of choice if you’re looking for a new coffee maker. It can get a bit bewildering.
You would think it would be simple enough to make a cup of coffee, right? Well, it is but first you need to decide on which coffee maker you’re going to use. And that will depend on the type of coffee you want to drink.
There are so many different types of coffee maker to choose from and while most of them do a pretty decent job at brewing your favourite drink, each does have its pros and cons.
Depending on your situation, how much time you have and how much involvement in the coffee making process you want. All these factors and more will influence your decision on which type of coffee maker to buy. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll have several coffee makers.
Which one I use depends on what coffee I’m making. Or sometimes just what kind of mood I’m in.
All of which sounds a bit daunting but it isn’t really. Each and every coffee maker has its advantages and of course disadvantages.
In this guide, hopefully, I’ll help you understand the difference between your options and provide you with our thoughts on which is best for you.
Types of coffee maker
The great thing about living in the modern world is that there is always more than one choice when it comes to anything. And you’ve certainly got plenty of choice when it comes to choosing a coffee maker. But sometimes that can get a little confusing.
Let’s begin our hunt for the perfect coffee maker by getting better acquainted with each of our options.
In the grand scheme of things, the AeroPress hasn’t been around too long but it’s rapidly gained in popularity. Which isn’t surprising. It’s a very easy and quick way to make an espresso style coffee.
Its downfall is that it is a very manual process and isn’t really designed to make multiple cups of coffee at the same time. That said, it’s the coffee maker I use most often and anyone can quickly make a good cup of coffee with it.
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Pod or capsule machine
The pod machine is one of the most modern ways to make coffee and involves inserting a capsule into the maker and pushing the start button. High pressure water shoots through the capsule, brewing the coffee before landing in your cup.
The great thing about these coffee makers is how easy to use they are and the fantastic selection of capsules you can try.
But pod machines can be super affordable and give you excellent variety since you can choose from a selection of different capsules. They don’t involve a lot of cleaning and are compact enough for even the smallest kitchen. Some popular pod machines are below.
Espresso machines also use high pressured water which shoots through what is known as a puck of coffee. If you have a penchant for this rich, traditional shot of coffee then this is a great choice.
Espresso makers vary wildly in cost and can be quite pricey when you look at coffee makesr such as the Sage Espresso Touch but it isn’t too difficult to find a more affordable option.
The great thing is that they can also be used to create espresso shots to be used as a base for other coffee drinks. Some come with a steam wand so that you can also make foamed milk while others are a standalone maker.
In any case, they offer a viable way to make professional coffee without the need for a full barista machine.
And, of course, espresso is used as a base for so many different coffees that, even if you don’t drink ‘neat’ espresso, an espresso maker will still be invaluable to every coffee lover. See our milk frother recipes page for more details.
Barista Style Coffee maker
The barista style coffee machine is the most complex type of coffee maker out there. These are min versions of the commercial coffee machines you’ll find the same in your local branch of Costa or Starbucks and provide coffee lovers and would be baristas with everything they need in one appliance.
They are usually much larger and more expensive than other coffee makers and feature tampers, steam wands and some have built in grinders.
The French press, or cafeteria, is a simple manual coffee maker that takes around four minutes to brew a cup of coffee. The grounds are put into the press and hot water is added. Now the grounds must be left to steep before the plunger is pushed down to filter the coffee.
These are among the most affordable coffee makers and are compact and very easy to use.
Drip coffee maker
The drip coffee maker is a simple powered maker that offers a great way to make several cups of coffee at once. Typically, they come as 12 cup makers but there are those that are larger and smaller.
You may have heard them being called a filter coffee maker but this is just a different name for the same thing. A filter is placed into the maker and the coffee grounds are placed within the filter. Hot water then moves slowly through the grounds before going into a pot. The base is heated so your coffee will stay warm.
The main downside to this type of maker is that it takes longer than other options and most drip coffee machines have an auto off mechanism which means you constantly have to switch the thing back on.
But, the biggest downside, is that if not enjoyed straight away the coffee can quickly turn to sludge.
With the exception of a French press, filter or drip coffee makers are by far the most affordable coffee machines you can buy.
The moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that many view as a very traditional option. These makers work in reverse to many other types with water being forced up through the coffee grounds as opposed to down through them.
The moka pot is a much more affordable option to the espresso maker but creates a drink similar in style. It can’t brew true espresso as the moka pot can’t generate the high pressure required.
You must also remain present and alert when making the coffee as it isn’t difficult to leave it for too long and the coffee will scorch. This is why many people consider using a moka pot as an advanced coffee making method.
Read: AeroPress vs Moka Pot
Of all the coffee makers we’ve listed, the moka pot is the one that is hardest to master.
Which is the best coffee maker for me?
Truth be told, you could quite easily use any type of coffee maker that takes your fancy. However, you should think about your situation and how much time and effort you want, or can, put into making your coffee.
For the coffee aficionado
For those who really love coffee and have spent many years getting to know the different blends and methods of making this popular drink, the situation may call for a slightly more involved maker. This is why the barista style coffee maker is a great choice here.
This type of maker allows you to intricately go through each step of the coffee making process with full involvement. You’ll have just as much of an experience making the drink as you will drinking it.
If you don’t have the space for a huge barista style maker then you might opt for a slightly smaller espresso maker as well as buying additional accessories like a milk frother.
These items will still allow you to make a fully-involved cup of coffee without taking up too much room and are much more affordable.
However, many coffee lovers might also enjoy the more traditional method of the moka pot. This can be a point of contention as there are some coffee aficionados that find the espresso made in these appliances is far too strong and not as well balanced.
But then, there is an art to getting it right which appeals to people who want to treat coffee making as such.
For the coffee novice
If you’re new to making coffee then the last thing you want is a maker that is going to leave you scratching your head and that doesn’t make it easy to create a wonderful cup of coffee at home.
This means that you should start with something simple like the drip coffee maker or the French press. These makers will produce a very favourable cup of coffee without the hassle involved with using an espresso maker or a barista coffee machine.
They will give you the opportunity to get to know the types of beans you like to use, how strong you like the coffee and other things before moving onto more complex equipment.
However, if you want to start out as you mean to go on and want to make ‘proper’ coffee you should choose AeroPress. It’s an easy way to make great tasting authentic coffee in your own home. You can see how easy the AeroPress is to use in our illustrated step-by-step guide.
For the busy person at home
For men and women all over the country, being a houseperson is one of the most demanding and time-consuming jobs out there. This means that there isn’t much scope for a long coffee break and the time that you do get shouldn’t be spent faffing around with complicated makers.
For this reason, we would suggest opting for a pod coffee maker. These are excellent for people on the go and produce a beautiful cup of coffee in seconds. All you need to do is pop a pod into the maker and press start.
If you have a little extra time then you might also purchase a milk frother which will allow you to take your coffee to the next level without adding any time onto the preparation of the drink.
You see, you can be frothing your milk while the pod maker brews the coffee. Then, all that is left to do is add the two together and sit back and relax.
But if you do want the joy of manually making your coffee you should go for an AeroPress. It’s easy to use and crucially very quick to clean up afterwards. For more insight read our Step-by-Step Guide to using AeroPress.
For the workplace
If you’re looking for a coffee maker for the workplace, you need something that is easily able to serve several people at once and that doesn’t take forever to make one drink. There are two viable options here and each has its pros and cons.
A drip coffee maker is common in a lot of workplaces. While they do take a little longer to brew, you can turn them on prior to break time and by the time everyone is ready for a drink, the large pot will be filled with hot, delicious coffee that will easily serve as many as 12 people. The only problem is that everyone has to drink the same thing.
Alternatively, you might opt for a pod maker. As we have already mentioned, these are super quick and easy to use but there are also far many more options when it comes to the type of coffee you make. If you have an office full of different tastes, this might be the way to go.
The downside is that the pod maker is only able to make one cup at a time so you’ll have to form an orderly queue. That said, they produce the drinks so quickly that you won’t have to wait for long.
For the student away from home
One of the resounding things with students is that they love convenience. If you’re spending time away from home, the chances are that you lead a busy lifestyle and are limited on space.
Once again, the pod maker swoops in to save the day. Many models are compact enough to keep on a bedside table, should you be in shared accommodation.
What’s more, you can mix up the type of coffee you have each day, giving you a bit of variety at a time of life when you might be pushed financially and don’t have options in every area of your life.
If a pod machine doesn’t sound up your street, then you might consider opting for something like a French press. One of the best things about these appliances is that they are so affordable!
You certainly won’t break the bank and the cost of maintaining and running them is little to none, aside from your coffee grounds, of course.
For the occasional coffee drinker
If you don’t drink coffee very often, there is very little point in investing in a large barista maker or an expensive espresso maker.
You need something that you can easily store in a cupboard when it isn’t in use and that won’t break the bank but that will make a delightful cup of coffee when the moment calls for it.
A French press is a great idea as it is both affordable and compact. When you’re not using it, the appliance will slide into even the most compact cupboards without taking up much room. Even if you store it on the worktop, you won’t miss the space.
But, for a more authentic coffee making experience, go for the AeroPress. If you’re only having an occasional coffee, you may as well make it a good one.
Which coffee maker should I buy?
We all love a good cup of coffee but when it comes to making the drink, we all have different ways of approaching the task. If you’ve got a lot of time to dedicate to making coffee and have a real passion for how it’s made then a barista maker might be the right way to go.
However, if you’re in a pinch for time and need something quick, convenient and easy to use then devices like pod coffee makers are invaluable. But, my overall pick for most occasions is the AeroPress. Anyone can use it to make a really tasty cup of coffee in just a few minutes.
Whatever type of maker you use, be sure to choose the right coffee for a delicious cup every time.
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