Want to buy a coffee maker? You’re going to have to make some big decisions. What exactly is the reason why some coffee makers are listed for $50 versus $100 or even $200. In some cases the $50 coffee pots look just as fancy as the $200 pots – what’s the difference and how do you tell what’s worth spending your money on?
To be very brief all say that on the low end there usually aren’t many features on top of the basic clock and timer programming but once you start pushing up the pricing ladder machines start getting stylish and packed with features that are in some cases running in the background.
The difference between seemingly identical coffee makers separated by a noticeable price jump usually is a bit of a quality upgrade but mostly a feature upgrade aimed at people who like to make good coffee rather than those who just need caffeine in the morning.
The Most Optional Obvious Features That Add To The Price
Any coffee pot that is supposed to brew coffee extremely fast usually has a higher price tag. Coffee machines that eliminate clutter from your kitchen tend to be more expensive. These machines typically include built-in coffee grinders, hot water reservoirs, and multifunction brewing, and in some cases thermal carafes or travel mugs.
The obvious features noted above are great for some people and completely irrelevant for others. I for one don’t care for some of them and the others I do care for… but not necessarily built into my coffee machine.
For me (and a lot of coffee lovers) we care about getting a good cup of coffee above all else and in my case I always tend to like simplicity over all else.
The features I look for in a coffee pot have to due with the quality of the brew the machine makes.
Less Obvious Features To Look For In A Good Coffee Machine
Good coffee makers should:
- heat your water up to near boiling before ever pumping the water through your grind.
- use high quality materials and plastics that do not leach unwanted flavors into your coffee
- drop the water through your filter in a slow shower-head pattern so that all of the grind is saturated evenly resulting in a better flavor
- I also tend to think quality coffee makers should be easy to clean and maintain. If they are hard then they are likely to fail sooner and produce less than perfect coffee
For me I don’t think a quick brewing time is all that important. When it takes a while to brew that often means that the machines is fully heating the water which results in better tasting coffee.
I also don’t value water filtration because I use my own filtered water in the home. For some others though an internal filter could be a good addition that adds to the quality of the finished coffee.
Similarly I use my own thermal carafe to hold my coffee before I get to drinking it. I could use a coffee maker that used it’s own carafe but the stand alone carafe’s tend to be better in my opinion.
What are the Best Coffee Maker Features
Thanks to coffee makers, we can now skip the lines and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee in the comforts of our kitchen. Moreover, you can make coffee whenever you like it. Make one for yourself or brew a whole pot for your friends.
Maybe you already have your own coffee maker. But, do you really enjoy using it? Or do you wish you have a new one?
Honestly, buying a coffee maker can be overwhelming. There’s just too many options out there.
So before you get too excited, it would be best to start analyzing your preferences and daily needs.
How do you want your coffee?
No matter how fancy that coffee maker you see on the shelf of a store or the photo you saw online, it will always boil down to your preferences. How do you really want your coffee to be when you drink it?
- Think in terms of cups. How many cups do you and your family often need to start the day? Is one enough for you? Or you need at least three cups? Maybe you also plan to share coffee with friends who often come over your place. A bigger drip machine may be more suitable for you.
- Think in terms of frequency. How many times do you drink your coffee? Do you also want your coffee in the middle of the morning? During the late afternoon? If your coffee fix often takes 2 to 3 times a day, consider a coffee maker with an insulated carafe. This way, you can store coffee in a mug for up to 6 hours and still have the same freshly brewed coffee you had in the morning.
- Think in terms of convenience. Do you want your coffee brewing just before you wake up? You can get a fully automatic drip machine, which you can set the time at night and it will brew your coffee on the dot. You can even get one that automatically switches off, so you don’t have to worry if you forget to turn it off as you rush out of the house.
- Think about portability. Does your coffee maker eat too much space? You can choose a coffee maker that is easy to store, something that can easily fit in your cupboard or fit nicely in your countertop.
After you consider your preferences, you can now check out the different features of each type of coffee maker available in the market today.
Different features of coffee makers
Drip coffee makers
This is the most common type of coffee makers found in homes today. Most families get the 8 to 12 cups per carafe to maximize the use of the coffee maker.
- Multi-function – Some models of drip coffee makers make coffee and dispense hot water for people who loves tea.
- Carafe size – Drip machines come in 4, 6, 8 to 12-cup sizes. Some can even have two hot plates for two carafes.
- Programmability – Some models are fully automatic. You can set it the night before and have it brewing your coffee on a specified time in the morning.
- Flavor and temperature selections – You can also program the desired temperature and steeping time to create a more flavorful cup.
- Carafe type – Most drip coffee machines have a glass carafe. But some model features insulated mugs for effective heat management.
- Coffee grinder – Newer models feature a built-in coffee grinder.
- Filter basket or paper filters – You can choose between getting a filter basket so you don’t have to buy paper filters. But be ready to clean it all the time.
Coffee aficionados know good espresso when they taste one. Thus, a good espresso machine will ensure you get enough pressure to create a perfect shot or cup of espresso. But, this means shelling out a bit more money that regular drip coffee makers.
- Espresso machines come in different types – pod-based for single serve espresso, semi-automatic, automatic and manual.
- Durability – Metal constructed espresso machines are built to last. But there are also plastic models for alternative.
- Usability – Espresso machines have light indicators and touch-screen features so you can easily push button and program your coffee brewing preference.
- Built-in frother and grinder – Some espresso machines can brew and mix your favorite latte, cappuccino and macchiato.
This is one of the most efficient coffee brewers. It’s very affordable and easy to use.
- Carafe size – French press comes in single serve carafe, the regular 4 to 6-cup and the large carafe size of up to 12 cups of coffee.
- Carafe type- French press is known for its glass carafe with plastic or metal body support. However, newer models feature insulated mugs, with double wall vacuum technology for effective heat management.
- Usability – There’s no fuss with a French press. It just pour, plunge and serve.
- Portability – You can bring the French press wherever, whenever. No need for electricity or any heat source. Just make sure you know where to get hot water.
Moka pots are the most traditional coffee makers. If you are new to brewing coffee, this is a good machine to start with.
- Container type – Choose between aluminum or steel body.
- Number of cups – Moka pots can brew single serve or up to 16 cups of coffee, depending on the size.
- Usability – As long as you have a heat source, like a gas stove, electric or induction, you can use a moka pot.
- Portability – Moka pots are also portable and durable. All you need is a heat source and you can brew coffee even if you are in the middle of the forest.