Whether making coffee is simple or not depends entirely on who you’re going to ask. Avid coffee enthusiasts will inevitably start comparing the various different coffee brewing methods out there and will tell you all about the unique differences between them. And they’d be right – there’s a good reason for the huge variety of designs for coffee brewing machines out there. If you’re curious which one you should pick for yourself and what the exact differences between popular ones are, read below.
Keep in mind that just because a coffee maker is more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get better results with it. Some people prefer the flavor of the French press, and that’s one of the cheapest coffee makers out there. It’s all about finding the right flavor profile for yourself, and that can only happen through some experimentation.
You’ve probably seen a Moka pot, though you might not know that this is its official name. It’s made out of metal and has a rough shape with edges and sharp angles in the classic version. You pour water in the bottom compartment and place your coffee in the middle one. Placing the pot on the stove causes the water in the bottom compartment to start boiling to the point of evaporation, which forces it through the compartment with the coffee grounds and into the top compartment where the finished coffee is.
This is an easy and cheap way of brewing a great cup of espresso. Some people never buy a coffee brewing machine after discovering the simplicity and elegance of the Moka pot. It’s also a relatively economic way of brewing coffee compared to starting a large electric coffee brewing machine or something similar.
Capsule Coffee Maker
A capsule coffee maker is a type of single-use coffee brewing machine. The idea is that you buy sealed, single-use capsules containing your coffee mixture, and you then place them in the machine and turn it on. Among the various different coffee machines you can buy, this is perhaps the simplest one to use. You just insert the capsule and you’re good to go.
However, it does have various limitations. First, you’re limited to the capsules produced by the original manufacturer. You typically can’t use capsules meant for other machines unless you go through some extra trouble to modify your device. This means that if you don’t like the flavor of the manufacturer’s original coffee, you’re out of luck. They might have other options produced by alternative companies, but you’ll still be quite limited in the end.
On the other hand, this is one of the easiest ways to brew a consistent cup of coffee. You get the exact same result every time, so it’s a very reliable method. Some people prefer familiarity and reliability over any complex flavors, so this can work well for them.
The French press is another cheap and simple design which many coffee enthusiasts love and use on a daily basis. It’s a large pot, typically made of glass, with a plunger with a mesh that runs through it. You place the ground coffee beans in the pot, pour hot water over them, stir well, wait a few minutes, then just push the plunger down and you’re done. This is one of the most popular types of coffee makers around, and it’s enjoyed by both beginners and avid enthusiasts alike.
One of the peculiar aspects of the French press is that it produces coffee with much higher oil contents than other methods. This is a personal preference – some people enjoy their coffee this way, while others are turned off by it. Definitely give it a try, because if it turns out to be up your alley, it can easily become your favorite way of brewing a cup of coffee day after day.
The AeroPress is a relatively recent design, and it has managed to quickly gain a lot of support among coffee lovers. The design is quite similar in functionality to the French press, though it produces a unique flavor profile. It consists of two plastic tubes, one inserted into the other, acting like a giant syringe. Coffee grounds are placed in the tube, along with hot water, and the “syringe” is then squeezed to push the water through the coffee grounds. This results in a quick, tasty brew, with a flavor similar to that of the French press, but not quite the same. If you’re looking for really cool coffee makers, the AeroPress has a certain futuristic feel to it, and it can definitely be a talking point at your next house party. It’s also cheap and easy to obtain. And since it’s made entirely of plastic, you don’t have to worry about damaging any expensive parts.
Drip Coffee Maker
Drip coffee makers are among the most popular types of coffee machines. They’re popular all over the world in homes and offices alike, and can produce generally good results if you don’t have any strict preferences. Coffee is placed in a soft, single-use filter, and hot water is then dripped through it and into a pot below. This takes a while, which is why most drip coffee brewing machines come with a pot instead of a cup holder.
The flavor produced by these machines can be a bit weak for some tastes, and it definitely leaves something to be desired for true coffee lovers. But drip coffee makers are cheap, work a long time, and can be easy to use for the whole family. They’re also popular in office environments for more or less the same reasons.
The qualities of high-end espresso machines are disputed in the community, and it’s a bit of a “love it or hate it” situation. Some coffee enthusiasts swear by the great taste produced by these machines, while others would never use them at all. If you’ve never used an espresso maker, you should definitely give it a try before deciding it’s not for you though. It produces thicker, more richly flavored coffee in most cases, and usually also comes with some extra bells and whistles, like a milk steamer.
The major downsides to espresso machines are their price and maintenance. They cost a lot of money upfront, and then you might find yourself replacing some expensive components down the road. Keeping the machine clean is not an easy task as well, especially if you have a more complex design that requires you to disassemble a mess of silicone hoses.
Percolators are a common alternative to drip coffee makers, and commonly used in some parts of the world. A percolator looks like a typical electric water kettle, and it functions in a somewhat similar way, with the exception of brewing coffee at the top of the pot. Coffee cups produced by percolators tend to have a deeper, richer flavor than those coming from drip machines. In addition, percolators are easy to clean and maintain. They do cost a bit of money though, and are typically more expensive than regular water kettles.
And if you’re looking for really cool coffee makers, we can’t go without mentioning the siphon. It has some similarities with the Moka pot in how it works, but it’s not quite the same. Water is again heated from a bottom compartment and pushed into the top one, where coffee is held. However, with a siphon, the resulting mixture is then sucked back into the bottom compartment through the use of vacuum. This creates a different flavor profile, and some coffee enthusiasts prefer the characteristic taste produced by siphon coffee makers above anything else. They can be a bit expensive though, and also require a lot of care, as the huge glass setup is easy to break. Cleaning can be a bit difficult as well.
Which One Is Best for You?
Choosing the ideal coffee brewing machine for your needs comes down to several factors. Your taste preferences are obviously the most important one, but it goes beyond that. You have to consider how difficult it is to clean the machine after each use, how much maintenance it requires in the long run, whether it requires anything special (e.g., an espresso machine must be connected to power at all times, whereas a French press can be used on the go), and of course how much it costs in your area. Take your time, compare as many different models as you can, and you’ll eventually find the one that produces the best results for you.
This is one of the most exciting pats of joining the coffee community for some people. Exploring all the unique ways of brewing a fresh cup of coffee can be a whole adventure in itself, and it’s something that can keep you occupied for a while. And in the end, you’ll likely discover something that will completely change the way you see your morning coffee routine, and you’ll never want to go back to your old ways.