If you’re a coffee aficionado, you know that not all coffee makers are equal. Different models are suited to varying types of coffee and different types of coffee drinkers, so a model that works perfectly for one person and their caffeinating preferences might be disastrous for someone else. Here are six of the major kinds of coffee makers and the kinds of coffee they make best!
Automatic Coffee Makers
As their name suggests, automatic coffee makers do all of the brewing work for you at the push of a button. Many automatic coffee makers use a glass carafe to store all of the coffee they brew, which can be anywhere between one and twenty cups. They generally make regular drip coffee using coffee grounds and a filter or use prepackaged coffee pods. Some models come with an included bean grinder, so you can enjoy freshly ground coffee each morning without having to buy a separate grinding machine. Other models are specifically designed to dole out a single serving of coffee at a time, making them perfect for people who live alone or for households full of different coffee preferences.
Smart Coffee Makers
Smart coffee makers are very similar to automatic coffee makers, but they have the advantage of programmable technology that allows you to customize your coffee to a much higher degree. Some models can connect to your smartphone through an app, allowing you to customize the temperature and strength of your coffee and set timers for your machine to brew automatically. Other models go a step further and connect to your Amazon Alexa device or Google Home, so you can verbally communicate with your smart coffee maker. The taste and quality of coffee from a smart coffee maker is not noticeably different from the taste and quality of coffee from a regular automatic coffee maker. The difference lies in the programmability and technological capabilities of the machines.
Manual Coffee Makers
Manual coffee makers are operated entirely by hand. That means that you get full control over the number of coffee grounds, water temperature, and steeping time, instead of letting an automatic machine’s settings decide for you. The most popular type of manual coffee maker is a French press, which filters coffee grounds from the finished product using the built-in plunger, hence the “press” part of the French press name. Pour-over coffee brewers are another popular kind of manual coffee maker. You place your grounds in a filter over the top of the brewer and then pour hot water over the filter, creating a perfect cup of drip coffee!
Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Cold brew is one of the hottest coffee trends of the moment. If you prefer iced coffee over hot coffee, a cold brew coffee maker is perfect for you. Cold brewing is an overnight process. Once you fill your cold brew coffee maker with water and place your coffee grounds in the filter, you let the whole thing sit overnight in your refrigerator. The next morning, pour a glass of your freshly-made cold brew over ice and enjoy! Unlike regular iced coffee, which is generally just hot coffee poured over ice, cold brew is known to be smoother, stronger, richer, and more flavorful.
Although they’re both technically coffee, espresso and drip coffee are two very different drinks. Espresso, which is very dark and strong, is generally consumed in small shots or mixed with frothed milk to create drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. Espresso machines are designed specifically for the espresso-making process, which involves extremely finely ground beans, and a pressure-controlled system for precisely combining hot water and grounds. Some espresso machines only make single and double shots of straight espresso, while others can be programmed to foam milk and make other kinds of drinks.
Manual Espresso Machines
Many coffee fanatics swear by manual espresso machines for making the most fine-tuned, flavorful shots of espresso possible. There are two types of manual espresso machine: spring piston and direct lever. Spring pistons use a spring to do much of the physical work of controlling the lever of the espresso machine, making it easier for you to use. Direct levers leave all of the work to you and are generally known as a high-risk, high-reward type of coffee maker. If you’re dissatisfied with the taste and quality of coffee from an automatic espresso machine and are looking to take matters into your own hands, a manual espresso machine is perfect for you!