Are All Drip Coffee Makers Basically The Same?

Are All Drip Coffee Makers Basically The SameAt Gathering Grounds we firmly believe that not all coffee makers are the same although different types of coffee makers are quite similar to others in the same category.

Drip coffee makers for instance are the most common machine used for making coffee in the home. Some are purchased for less than $20 while others sell for a couple hundred or more.

French press coffee makers are probably the next most common brewing method. See this post for a comparison of drip and french press coffee.

Although the more expensive drip machines may be able to make better coffee than the cheap machines it’s not all that different under the hood.

Let’s give a peak…

Drip coffee makers all do essentially the same job, hot water is dripped through a filter basket containing ground coffee and lo and behold, the coffee comes out the bottom. There are some huge differences between machines though, with the biggest distinction between the manual and automatic drip coffee makers, the latter also vary considerably in their features and functions. There are a few issues to consider to determine which type of coffee maker suits you best.

How Much Control Do I Have Over the Brewing Process?

If you like to be in complete control of the coffee then you’ll probably want a manual machine. They give the brewer the option to change everything about the coffee they could possibly want to change; brewing time, water temperature and the level of surface contact between the water and the beans. Manual coffee makers are a true blank canvas allowing for as much experimentation as you have the heart for, perfect for anyone who takes pride in the way they make their coffee.

Automatic drip-coffee machines allow you some control over the brewing methods, and this generally increases with the cost of the machine, but none give the control of the manual coffee makers.

Which Drip Coffee Makers Are The Most Convenient?

If you’re in a hurry in the mornings or even if you wish to have your coffee ready to drink the instant you get up then it’s the automatic coffee maker that’s right for you.

You can set a timer on them to have coffee ready when you want it. The quickness and ease of making the coffee is also an advantage, once you’ve loaded your machine, you can do something more productive while the machine works its magic, perfect for anyone in a hurry.

The manual makers require more time, patience and care, so maybe they aren’t the best option for you if you are usually running around like a crazed animal trying to get your children into their clothes in the morning. But if making coffee is a labor of love for you, then go for the manual coffee maker.

Another plus to the manual coffee maker is that they are usually very easy to clean whereas coffee machines need to be cleaned from the inside out… and you can’t easily tell if you did a good job with it either! This post will show you the best way to clean a coffee maker.

Lastly, manual coffee makers are usually easily portable, so you can take them with you to work or on vacation if you need to. Going camping? Most manual brewing techniques work where there is no electricity.

Removable Tank Coffee Makers Are The Most Convenient in the Kitchen

We’ve got an entire post on this site dedicated to the topic of removable water tank coffee makers! Check it out if you like but let me summarize that post:

Every time you go to make a pot of coffee in your automatic drip coffee maker you will have to put water in it.

If your coffee maker’s reservoir doesn’t come off then you will have to fillt he carafe and pour the water into the tank which can result in spills. Some cabinets may require you to pull the coffee maker away from the wall to fill them too. Not too terribly annoying but not the easiest thing to do either.

If on the other hand your coffee maker has a side mount water tank you can remove it to fill up at the sink then replace for easy brewing with no mess. These coffee pots don’t always make your coffee better but they do make it easier to make coffee in the first place.

How Much Do I Need To Spend On A Good Coffee Maker?

It depends what you want, if you want a manual coffee maker then you can easily spend less than $20 and get a great pour over coffee maker. With automatic machines it gets a little more expensive and a little more complicated. The prices go up to hundreds of dollars and how much you spend depends mostly on how many settings and how much control you’re looking for.

Although manual machines are cheaper, you will need to factor in the replaceable parts, such as the filters, which you’ll need a lot of. A lot of coffee machines come with built in grinders too, but to use a manual machine you’ll need to buy a grinder or buy pre-ground coffee. Buying a grinder is definitely the best option there, you’ll have far better coffee if you grind it fresh than by buying ground beans.

How Many Cups Are You Going To Make At A Time?

Capacity is a bigger issue than you might think. Manual coffee machines tend to make fewer cups and the automatic machines tend to make more, and if you’re only looking to make a few cups at a time, most automatic machines struggle to do this without compromising the quality of the coffee.

A good middle ground however is the french press which we love to point our customers towards. Here are the best french presses that we have looked at and reviewed.

If you don’t have a french press then make sure to see what we have in our store. They’re simple to use and usually very inexpensive.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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