If your morning is anything like mine, there is little more important than that first cup of coffee. The morning routine always includes putting on a pot or brewing a cup. Failing to do so, would be like walking out of the house without getting dressed. (Coincidentally, I might actually forget to put on my clothes if I don’t have my coffee!) So, with coffee being such an ingrained part of the morning ritual, it’s important we get the right types of coffee maker to make our mornings that little bit easier.
In sadder times, coffee was nothing more than fuel. The taste was an afterthought. Now, however, the taste is everything.
Since we all have different tastes, there are many ways to make coffee to suit. And that means that there seems to be no end to how many types of coffee maker there are out there. The trick is knowing which is best for you.
You may be wondering if different coffee makers make a difference? And, they absolutely do. The best coffee maker for you all depends on what you’re looking for and how you like your coffee.
To help you make that decision, we have demystified the world of coffee makers for you. Here we have identified 20 types of home coffee makers you can buy, how they work, and what type of coffee they’re designed to make. Armed with this information, you will have everything you need to ensure your morning cup of coffee at home is perfect, every time.
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Pressure Coffee Machines
- Espresso Coffee Maker (Manual, Semi-Automatic, Automatic, and Super-Automatic)
- Moka Pot
Filtration Coffee Machines
- Automatic Drip Brewer
- Vietnamese Coffee Maker
- Pour Over Drip Brewer
- Cold Drip Coffee Machine
Brewing via Steeping
- Cold Brew Coffee Makers
- French Press
- Siphon Coffee Maker (Vacuum Coffee Maker)
Single Serve Coffee Makers
- The K-Cup
- Tassimo Disc Coffee Maker
- Nespresso Coffee Maker
“Boil” Based Coffee Makers
- Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
- Cowboy Coffee
Combo Coffee Makers
- Drip and K-Cup Combo
Espresso Coffee Maker: Manual Espresso Machines
When it comes to espresso machines, having a Manual Espresso Machine is the preference of coffee purists. Why? It allows you to have control over every step of the brewing process.
Also known as Piston Machines, manual espresso machines rely on pumping a handle to build up pressure before forcing the water through finely-ground coffee which is packed very tight. The resulting coffee takes a couple of minutes to then pour through. This will result in a short, strong espresso.
It takes quite a lot of practice and experimentation to get exactly what you want from a manual espresso machine. But, the reward is so sweet. Once you have perfected it, you will have possibly the best espresso of your life.
Plus, as an added bonus, these machines can look really cool. This makes a manual espresso maker a nice addition to your home, particularly if you prefer a more industrial or old-fashioned aesthetic.
This type of coffee maker went out of fashion in the 1940s in commercial coffee shops. Instead, semi-automatic machines that built up the necessary espresso pressure themselves took over.
The manual espresso machine is best for someone who is an expert espresso drinker. Someone who is very particular about how they like their coffee. And someone who is willing to put in the time to nail their coffee-making technique.
Espresso Coffee Maker: Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Semi-Automatic or Partially Automated Espresso Machines take over the pressure building for you. These are the kind of espresso machines you will have seen in most trendy coffee shops.
The machines essentially build pressure for you. All you need to do is put in the grinds, and control the start and stop points of the 1oz espresso shot with a button.
With this style of coffee maker, you retain a lot of control in terms of beans and grind. However, the pressure is out of your hands.
The semi-automatic espresso machine provides a nice middle-ground. If you want to fiddle around with a few things to get your coffee just right but maybe you don’t want to spend hours messing with manual pressure, then this is for you. It is a good option for coffee drinkers who not only want espresso, but also the option to make an americano.
Espresso Coffee Maker: Automatic Espresso Machines
The Automatic Espresso Machine is a small step up from its semi-automatic counterparts.
Generally speaking, automatic machines will require you to grind and tamp the coffee yourself. Then press a button – seems pretty similar so far, right?
However, where the automatic machine differs from the semi-automatic espresso machine is that you don’t have to re-press the button to stop the flow of water. A clever timer inside the machine will automatically cut off the shot after a certain time period.
So, at the push of a button, you can have a set amount of coffee depending on which button you push. Although this is usually limited to a single or double espresso shot.
This type of coffee machine is popular at big, commercial coffee shops. They create high-quality, freshly ground coffee consistently with very little training. To use at home, you can grind and pack the coffee on autopilot if you’re still half asleep. Then just push the button and wander off knowing it will stop with the perfect cup of coffee for you. The Breville Dual Boiler is a perfect example of this cafe-level coffee making designed for at home.
Espresso Coffee Maker: Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Just want to push a button and get coffee? Then a super-automatic espresso machine is the one for you. The beans will be ground and packed inside the machine and the shot poured into your waiting cup.
These are the style of coffee machines favored by Starbucks. The staff just need to push the button for whatever size they need and the machine does the rest.
They’re fantastic for consistency and ease of use. Plus, you can still put your favorite coffee beans into the machine so there is some flexibility there.
The super-automatic espresso machine is the perfect choice for those who want minimal fuss. Especially if you do still want to have the freedom of choice when it comes to your coffee beans.
Discover our recommendations for the best espresso machines for all occasions:
Best Espresso Machines Under $100 | Best Portable Espresso Machine | Best Espresso Machines Under $200
Complete Guide to the Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine | What is the Best Jura Coffee Machine?
The AeroPress has taken the coffee world by storm. This very simple device works in a similar way to the French press. It forces hot water through the espresso grounds at very high pressure, which you control, to produce espresso.
By pushing the water through the grounds quickly, you don’t get any of the unwanted chemicals from the beans. This is the biggest plus point for the AeroPress vs. traditional espresso machines.
This travel-friendly coffee brewer has a huge following. It is much loved due to its ease of use and cleaning. Although it does take a little bit of messing around with it to get your coffee exactly right. All in, it affords you much of the control of a manual espresso machine but at a fraction of the price.
There are also endless YouTube videos on how to do virtually everything that is possible with the Aeropress. So, there is no shortage of help if something isn’t working quite how you want it to.
Being portable, you can take it to work or on vacation if you want to be “that guy”. It does only make one cup at a time, but super handy if you want the flexibility and are happy with this.
The Moka pot was invented by Italian Engineer Alfonso Bialetti and named after Yemeni city of Mocha. They are a staple of Italian coffee culture and can be used on any stovetop or camp stove.
Water in the base of the pot is heated, creating steam. The steam is then forced through the coffee grounds into the top of the pot. It makes a distinctive sputtering sound as the last of the water is forced through the coffee into the top chamber.
It can take a bit of practice to get the technique right. Almost all brewing guides recommend wrapping the Moka pot in a cold towel straight after brewing. This ensures that the coffee doesn’t burn on the hot metal of the pot.
Moka pots don’t create that much pressure compared to an espresso machine. This means that while the coffee is espresso-like it isn’t really espresso. So, if you are planning to mix your espresso shot with water or milk, this will be fine for you. However, if you are an espresso drinker, you won’t find quite the same quality using a Moka pot as you would with an espresso machine.
The benefits of a Moka pot are that they are relatively inexpensive and portable.
Automatic Drip Brewer
The most popular coffee machine sold worldwide is the Automatic Drip Brewer. So, they certainly offer an easy, familiar way to make coffee.
These types of coffee maker work by dripping hot water from a reservoir through the coffee grounds. This produces coffee into the waiting pot underneath. The machine heats the water and pumps it above the grounds, whilst the pot sits on a hotplate to keep the coffee warm.
Most drip coffee makers are quite big, with a 12 cup capacity. Although you can get much smaller versions, around 4 cup coffee maker size.
An automatic drip brewer is the ideal coffee maker for those who drink A LOT of coffee. Or, for offices or households which will need to serve many cups at once. For those needing just a couple of mugs of coffee, we’ve reviewed the best 5 cup coffee makers.
You can find incredibly complex machines that have various functions, but the simple ones are usually the best. However, a key feature to look for is a timer – having your coffee ready for you in the morning is an excellent bonus.
The main drawback is that you can’t make espresso-style drinks. But, if you don’t drink them then it really doesn’t matter.
Vietnamese Coffee Maker
Also known as a “Phin”, the Vietnamese Drip Filter is essentially just a single cup drip filter. The small metal filter is placed on top of your cup, filled with ground coffee beans, and water is then poured through.
To make a truly Vietnamese coffee, there should be condensed milk in the cup for the coffee to drip into.
This is an incredibly easy to use coffee maker. Here, you have the ability to use your choice of beans/ground coffee. Plus you can control the water temperature – either through a temperature controlled kettle or thermometer in water on the stove.
The Vietnamese coffee maker is ideal for single coffee drinkers who want a cheap and easy way to brew their coffee with no wasted effort. It’s a bit of a pain to clean and you won’t get any espresso-style coffee from it. But the portability is a huge plus if you want to take it to the office or on vacation. Plus, you won’t look quite as insane as rocking up to the office with an AeroPress.
Pour Over Drip Brewer
If you’re looking for more control over water temperature and volume, then the Manual Drip Brewer (including Chemex or Hario V60) is the one for you.
It works on the same principle as the automatic drip brewer. The difference is that you are the water reservoir and pump. So, you have to manually pour the water over the filter and ground coffee beans. There are specially designed kettles to help with this, we’ve picked the best gooseneck kettles for your pour over journey.
Therefore, it does involve standing over your brewer, pouring hot water onto the coffee until you have the desired amount. Whilst this isn’t a particularly difficult task, it is time-consuming. It all depends on what you value more – the control, or what else you could have done in that time!
Fancy coffee houses will call this a pour over coffee and will charge you a fortune for the privilege. However, it is an easy way to make coffee at home. It is uncomplicated, inexpensive, gives you a decent amount of control, and allows you to make however many cups you need. The only downfall is that it’s a bit time-consuming. The Hario V60 is the most iconic of these coffee makers, something every coffee lover should own.
Brewing coffee this way allows you to draw out the more nuanced flavor from your coffee beans and really taste the difference between areas, roasts, and processing methods. So, it’s a good way to experiment with different coffee beans for Chemex, V60, or Kalita Wave.
To really get to grips with making pour over coffee, check out our complete Brewing Guides (including a coffee to water ratio calculator):
Percolators are essentially just jumbo versions of the Moka pot. The water sits at the bottom, boiling, and the steam rises through the coffee grounds.
You can get REALLY big percolators that make 100 cups of coffee. But unless you are actually the walking dead, or are throwing a party then you aren’t going to need one that big.
Some people prefer percolators due to the strong aroma and flavor of the coffee cup produced. This is due to the water passing through at very high temperatures (boiling point). Although, many (myself included) would say that’s too hot, resulting in a bitter coffee.
If you like the results of a Moka pot and need something that will produce a decent quantity, then a percolator could be the best type of coffee maker for you. Just as long as you like hot coffee.
Cold Drip Coffee Machine
Iced coffee on a hot day is one of life’s great joys. If you want to make it at home, you’ll want a special machine to do. Otherwise, you are just diluting your coffee with melted ice cubes whilst trying to cool it down.
Cold drip coffee machines tend to consist of 3 glass vessels arranged in a tower formation. The cold water drips from the vessel at the top into the ground coffee. It then makes its way through the coffee grounds picking up all the oils, flavors, and caffeine needed for your delicious coffee. This then drips into the vessel at the bottom.
The whole process takes a long time, between 4 and 12 hours. It is basically working on the principle of time rather than heat to make your iced brew. This will also usually only yield 1 or 2 espresso shots of coffee to use in an iced coffee. But if you’re happy to set it going before you go to bed, then a cold drip coffee machine is a nice addition to your home coffee station.
The yield from a cold drip machine is a much fuller, richer style of coffee than the cold brew method which uses steeping instead. Think of it like this: cold drip produces cold espresso and cold brew produces cold americano style coffee.
The French Press is one of the most popular types of coffee maker in hotels. They look pretty and produce a lot of coffee, quickly. All in, the French Press is a pretty simple bit of kit.
All you need to do is put in ground coffee and hot water, wait 4 minutes, push down the plunger, and enjoy.
Now, there is the risk that the coffee produced can be a bit grainy depending on the quality of your French Press. Worse yet, if you get a gap whilst plunging then you will end up with an incredibly gritty coffee. Push too hard and the whole thing can explode on you – I speak from more experiences of this than I care to recount. Plus, they’re a pain to clean as coffee grounds tend to stick in the plunging part.
Negatives aside; they’re cheap, they’re easy, you have control of the coffee type, grind, and water temperature. Plus, they look pretty nice too. Most are made from glass, although there are some stainless steel options out there too.
To dive deeper into French press brewing, check out these guides:
Ultimate Guide to French Press Coffee | French Press Ratio Made Easy | French Press vs Moka Pot | French Press vs Espresso | Best Traveling French Press Mugs
Cold Brew Coffee Makers
The Cold Brew Coffee Maker works by steeping the ground coffee in cold water over a long period of time. This creates a sweet, smooth brew.
To do so requires a lot of coffee grounds and, generally, a lot of patience. Due to the low temperatures used, the extraction of flavor from the grounds is a much slower process. It can take up to 24 hours to get your cold brew coffee.
The amount of “coffee concentrate” produced will vary between machines, but some make a lot. It is recommended to mix one part “coffee concentrate” with 7/8 parts water, milk, or a combo of those 2 depending on your preferences. This “concentrate” will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks though so you can make a big batch and have a week of delicious cold brew ready to go straight from the fridge. To go one step further, you can put your cold brew through a whipped cream dispenser to make rich, creamy nitro cold brew.
You don’t really need a specific machine to do this either. You can do this in a standard French Press – although it’ll take practice to perfect the quantity and time needed to get the extraction right. If you leave it too long it will “over-extract” the coffee causing a bitter flavor.
Siphon Coffee Maker (Vacuum Coffee Maker)
Popular in Japan, Siphon Coffee Makers look really cool – like something out of a mad scientist’s lab.
They work by having 2 chambers. Water goes into the lower chamber and coffee grounds in the upper chamber. The water is then heated, increasing the pressure in the lower vessel. This forces the water vapor up a siphon and into the upper chamber where the coffee grounds are.
Once the coffee is brewed, the heat is removed from the lower chamber. This causes the pressure to drop, allowing the coffee to drip through from the upper chamber under gravity and the vacuum concept. Hence the other name for the machine: vacuum coffee maker.
Percolators and Moka Pot coffee makers work on exactly the same principle. The only difference here is that there is a 3rd chamber in the Siphon machine.
Now, this seems like a lot of messing around for something that is essentially the same as more straightforward coffee makers. However, many experts claim that this will get you the best quality brewed coffee if great attention is paid to temperature control.
For most people, this is a bit too much care and precision – especially first thing in the morning. However, there are more modern siphon coffee machines that take a lot of the “skill” out of using them. They give you amazing quality brewed coffee, made in an insanely cool looking machine, whilst still giving you a lot of control and ability to play about with variables to get it just right.
Single-serve coffee makers are all the rage at the moment and it’s easy to see why. They’re very simple to use and clean: you just pop your pod or capsule in the machine, press the button, and off it goes.
This type of coffee maker produces an incredibly consistent cup of coffee. Plus, you aren’t left with coffee grounds everywhere or fiddly bits of machines that need cleaning. There is also a huge range of “pods” to choose from, so you can always find your favorite style.
The downside is, of course, the control is completely gone. The machine decides everything and although the range of pods is extensive it still doesn’t come close to the available options when buying your own beans.
There is also the question of sustainability. Many of the pods or capsules are not recyclable, or access to recycling programs is difficult.
Keurig were one of the first to make capsule machines. Now, there are 3 main brands/ types of Single Serve coffee makers available.
K-Cup coffee makers are the most popular single-serve coffee machines in the world.
The name K-Cup refers to the pods themselves and is the brand created by Keurig. In 2014, almost 10 billion K-cup pods were sold worldwide.
Whilst Keurig remains the most popular capsule machine maker, they are not the only option for using K-Cup capsules.
The K-Cup does have the simplest capsule. It is a plastic tub which the machine pierces at the top and bottom and then forces the water through.
Tassimo Disc Coffee Maker
The Tassimo disc machine is a bit more sophisticated than the K-cup. It tries to work in more of the variables enjoyed by those who prefer the more complex machines.
Each capsule – T-disc – has a bar code on it. This tells the coffee maker how hot the water should be and how much water to push through the disc. The result is a higher quality coffee than the K-cup and a bit more variation for the drinker. It takes less than a minute to have a high-quality, ready to-go coffee.
Nespresso Coffee Maker
The George Clooney endorsed Nespresso machines always create a wonderful crema on the top of their coffees. They use aluminum pods with a dizzying array of options to choose from.
You can also recycle the pods. Although you usually have to take them into a Nespresso store. This isn’t the easiest if you’re an online shopper. However, if you already buy your pods in store, this is a great scheme.
The coffee isn’t always as strong or as rich as you get from the other single-serve coffee makers. However, it’s still high-quality and has the wonderful consistency expected from this type of coffee maker.
Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
Making Turkish coffee sounds complicated which often puts people off. But once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll find it’s very easy and produces STRONG coffee.
The Ibriks themselves are not particularly expensive and are rather pretty, adding a touch of mystery to your kitchen. This turns coffee making into a kind of ancient ritual rather than a “push button for caffeine” experience that we have with most modern machines.
It’s also important to note while these are grouped as “boil” based coffee makers, it’s critical to ensure the water doesn’t actually boil. If the water gets too hot it will cause over-extraction and bitter coffee.
To make Turkish coffee in your Ibrik there are 5 steps:
- Measure out your water – room temperature is fine
- Add 1 tablespoon coffee per 3 ounces of water (you must use extremely finely ground coffee) and sugar to your desired sweetness
- Place the pot on the stove and, once it has heated a little, stir
- Watch for foam to rise to the surface. Then remove from the heat, spoon the foam (or crema) into the cup(s)
- Place the pot back on the heat and once it almost comes to the boil for a second time, serve
Keurig K-Duo Coffee Maker
This is the perfect middle ground for those who want it all. The K-Duo combines a K-Cup capsule machine with a drip brewer.
This combination makes it perfect for those who want the ease of the K-Cup capsules, but the option to brew a batch of coffee for friends or family. Or, maybe you live with someone who has different tastes to you. Either way, the K-Cup would be an ideal addition to your home.
Having the ability to do both means you can have your morning coffee in an instant without wasting the extra. But, you won’t be stuck endlessly popping pods into the machine on Thanksgiving when you need 6 cups at the same time. Combo machines are the best types of coffee maker for all occasions.
So now you know all the different types of coffee maker, and what each one is best for. You will no longer need to buy an expensive cup of coffee from your local coffee house. Instead, you can have top-quality coffee from home every day.
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