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18 Types of Coffee Maker:
The Ultimate Coffee Lover’s Guide

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By Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

From espresso machines, to pour over, to automatic coffee pots, the number of different home coffee makers is quite incredible. And it’s kinda confusing. For something as simple and fundamental as coffee, there are a lot of ways people have managed to make it insanely complicated.

To help you cut through the noise, here we’ve listed all the different types of coffee maker you can buy. You will also find some information on how they work and what kind of coffee they’re designed to make. Ultimately, the best coffee maker for you all depends on the style of coffee you like to drink and what your budget is.

Armed with this guide, you should have all the information you need to start your journey into home coffee perfection.  

This article may contain affiliate/ compensated links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information please see our disclaimer here.

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Brief Overview of the Different Types of Coffee Maker

Espresso machine icon

Pressure Coffee Machines

  • Espresso Coffee Maker (Manual, Semi-Automatic, Automatic, and Super-Automatic)
  • AeroPress
  • Moka Pot
drip coffee maker icon

Filtration Coffee Machines

  • Automatic Drip Brewer
  • Vietnamese Coffee Maker
  • Pour Over Drip Brewer
  • Percolator
  • Cold Drip Coffee Machine
french press coffee maker icon

Brewing via Steeping

  • Cold Brew Coffee Makers
  • French Press
  • Siphon Coffee Maker (Vacuum Coffee Maker)
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Single Serve Coffee Makers

  • The K-Cup
  • Tassimo Disc Coffee Maker
  • Nespresso Coffee Maker
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“Boil” Based Coffee Makers

  • Turkish Coffee Maker (Ibrik)
  • Cowboy Coffee
Coffee Maker Icon

Combo Coffee Makers

  • Drip and K-Cup Combo
  • Espresso and Drip Combo
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Infographic: Types of Coffee Maker & Brewing Techniques

Discover the different brewing techniques and types of coffee maker, how easy they are to use, and what grind size you need in this handy infographic
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Pressure Coffee Makers

With this style of coffee maker, intense pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds quickly. The exact amount of pressure and time varies depending on the exact coffee maker used.

Espresso Coffee Maker

These are probably the most iconic coffee machines in the world. It’s what we all see when we go to get our caffeine at *insert coffee shop name here*. And they’re the object of obsession for many of us who spend way more time thinking about coffee than is probably healthy.

These days, the espresso machine comes in many forms. Originally, they were designed as a way for coffee shops to make coffee faster and thus serve more coffee. But now, espresso forms the base of most of the world’s most popular coffee drinks.

There is a lot of variation between different types of espresso machines. But, at their core, they all (should) use or allow you to generate a minimum amount of pressure (9 bars) to pull a set-sized espresso shot (1oz).

Of the four main styles of espresso maker, you have to choose how much effort you want to put in and how much control you want over the final product. There are options from 0% input to 100%, so the world is your espresso-filled oyster. The payoff is that the more effort and control you have, the better your shot could be. Particularly once you’ve nailed your technique. On the other hand, automatic coffee machines will serve up lower quality, but they’re a lot easier to use.

The 4 Different Types

Pulling an espresso using the ROK GC manual espresso maker

Manual Espresso Machines: 

You do everything – heat the water, grind and tamp the beans, and pull a lever to create pressure and time the shot. These are the preference of serious coffee home brewers.

Examples include the Rok GC (pictured) and Wacaco Nanopresso.

DeLonghi Stilosa making an espresso

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines: 

In this case, the machine will heat and pressurize the water but you need to grind and tamp the beans, then time the shot (i.e. how long you want water going through the grounds).

Examples include the DeLonghi Stilosa (pictured) and the Capresso EC100.

Front view of the Breville Barista Express Impress

Automatic Espresso Machines: 

Here you’re still grinding and tamping the beans but the machine will time the shot by controlling the water volume. Plus, it will take over control of the temperature and pressure.

Examples include the Breville Barista Express Impress (pictured) and the Mr Coffee Cafe Barista.

Jura Z10 - Front View

Super-Automatic Espresso Machines: 

These are the machines that do everything – grind, tamp, extract, and sometimes even steam the milk too. They’re a more premium coffee maker as they get to work at just the touch of a button.

Examples include the Jura Z10 (pictured) and the Breville Oracle Touch.

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

Or explore by brand:

Jura | Breville | DeLonghi


The AeroPress has taken the coffee world by storm.

This simple manual device forces hot water through coffee grounds at pressure to produce coffee. While it’s not “true espresso” as the pressure isn’t high enough, it creates a rich and syrupy coffee that really shows off the unique flavor of the beans. This is through a combination of pressure and steeping.

You’ll need to mess around a bit to get your coffee exactly right and it’s not great for multiple-cup coffee drinkers. But where it excels is giving you the control of a manual espresso machine at a fraction of the price. Plus, it’s a lot easier to use.

To help you nail your technique, there are endless YouTube videos on how to do virtually everything possible with the AeroPress. So there’s no shortage of help if something isn’t working quite how you want it to.

As it’s portable, you can take this little coffee maker to work or away with you when you go on vacation if you want to be “that guy.” I’m that guy. Or you can go even smaller with its little ‘brother’, the AeroPress Go. The only downside is that it’s not a lot of fun to clean, though it’s not exactly difficult either.

See how the AeroPress stacks up against the competition here:

Moka Pot

Way back in 1933, the Moka pot was invented by Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti and named after the Yemeni city of Mocha. Unchanged over time, it’s still an iconic staple of Italian coffee culture and can be used on any stovetop plus there are some electric options.

Water in the base is heated, creating steam that is then forced through the coffee grounds into the top section. It makes a distinctive sputtering sound as the last of the water is forced through the coffee.

Getting it right can take a bit of practice and almost all Moka recipes recommend wrapping the coffee maker in a cold towel straight after brewing. This stops the coffee from burning on the hot metal.

This simply designed coffee maker combines pressure (around 1.5 bar) and boiling to brew a rich, syrupy, and bitter style of coffee. Compared to an espresso machine, this isn’t very much pressure. So despite Moka coffee often being referred to as “Italian espresso”, it’s not really espresso at all

If you prefer to add milk to an espresso base, this is fine. But if you’re an espresso drinker you won’t find quite the same quality with this as with an espresso machine.

Overall, the Moka pot is a relatively inexpensive and portable type of coffee maker

Bialetti Moka Express Review
The classic Bialetti Moka pot
Check prices in a range of sizes
Or read our full review
DeLonghi Alicia EMK6 Electric moka pot on table
The electric Moka pot is a newer invention
Buy the DeLonghi Alicia
Or read our full review
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Filtration Coffee Machines

Filtration refers to hot water being slowly dripped through ground coffee. By using a filter, no chewy grounds are able to make their way into your cup. This process can be done manually like when making pour over coffee or you can use automatic coffee makers instead.

Automatic Drip Coffee Maker

Globally, Auto Drip coffee makers are the most popular type of coffee machine.

They are incredibly easy to use – you just need to put in a filter, ground coffee, and turn on the power. Then the machine will heat the hot water and drip it through the grounds. A coffee pot sits on a hotplate where the freshly brewed coffee drips into.

Most automatic drip coffee makers produce a decent volume, around the 12-cup capacity. Although you can get much smaller versions, including 4 cup coffee makers or ones that are battery powered. One thing to keep in mind is that the capacity is measured in 5oz coffee cup sizes whilst the average mug is usually 8-12oz.

There are ideal coffee makers for people who drink A LOT of coffee or need to serve many cups at once. For those needing just a small amount, we’ve reviewed the best 5 cup coffee makers.

You can find incredibly complex home coffee brewers with various functions. But the simple ones are usually the best. However a timer function so your coffee is brewed when you wake up is nice.

The main drawback is that they only make one style of coffee: hearty, often bitter, bold coffee missing the nuanced flavor of other coffee makers. The coffee can suffer if extraction isn’t quite right or if it’s left on the hotplate too long. Overall, drip coffee brewers are more about convenience than quality.

Capresso Mini Drip - Front View
Capresso Mini Drip (5 Cup) – Check Prices
Braun BrewSense 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker
Braun BrewSense Drip Coffee Maker (12 Cup) – Check Prices

Vietnamese Coffee Maker

Also known as a “Phin”, the Vietnamese Drip Filter is essentially just a single-cup drip filter placed directly onto your coffee cup. It’s incredibly easy to use with your favorite beans/ground coffee. Plus you control the water temperature (either via a temperature-controlled kettle or thermometer in water on the stove).

This 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 but it’s not overly time-consuming either.

The portability of the Phin is also a huge plus if you want to take it to the office. No more drinking the strange brown liquid of dubious quality and origin that sits on the office hot plate all day. Or you can take it on vacation without looking quite as odd as rocking up with an AeroPress.

To really give you a taste of Vietnamese coffee, you should opt for Robusta coffee beans (Nguyen is a great Vietnamese coffee brand) and put condensed milk in the cup first for the coffee to drip into. Before I tried it, I was dubious, but the result is a rich, almost chocolatey coffee that it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with.

Pour Over Drip Brewer (Manual Drip)

If you’re looking for more control over water temperature and volume, then a simple Manual Drip Brewer (including Chemex or Hario V60) could be 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 hot water over the coffee/filter until you have the desired amount. It’s not particularly difficult but it is time-consuming and there’s a technique to it. To help, there are specially designed ‘gooseneck’ kettles.

Most third wave coffee shops call this a “pour over” coffee and they tend to be more expensive than espresso drinks. But, as they require more coffee and time to make, this is understandable.

To make at home, it’s an uncomplicated brewing method. It’s also inexpensive and gives you a decent amount of control. That’s what makes them the best drip coffee makers, no matter how many cups you need to make.

Brewing coffee this way has a very different flavor profile to other methods. It’s lighter, fruitier, and more aromatic. So, it’s ideal for trying out different types of coffee. It also works extremely well with lighter roasts that are harder to get good espresso from.

Whether this method is for you all depends on what you value – control and incredible flavor or what else you could have done in that time!

Brewing coffee with a Hario V60
The Hario V60 is the most iconic drip coffee maker. All coffee lovers need one at home.
Chemex coffee maker filled with freshly brewed coffee
The Chemex is a timeless classic that also looks great. Buy Now.

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 kinda like jumbo versions of the Moka pot but without the pressure.

The water sits at the bottom boiling and is then pushed up a tube, pouring out over the filter basket containing the coffee grounds. The entire process is repeated multiple times so it can result in over-extracted coffee. But, when done right, you get a rich, aromatic, and almost creamy style of coffee.

You can get REALLY big percolators that make 100 cups of coffee. But unless your blood is 90% caffeine or you’re 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 because the water goes through the coffee at boiling point (100°C/212°F) but many coffee experts (myself included) will say that’s too hot and will yield a bitter cup of joe.

If you like the results of a Moka pot and need something that will produce a decent amount of coffee, then a percolator could be the best type of coffee maker for you. Just as long as you like hot coffee.

Hamilton Beach Coffee Percolator (40616) 12 Cup, Electric
Our Favorite Percolator – the Hamilton Beach 12 Cup (40616)
Faberware FCP240 on kitchen counter
Best Option for 1 Person – Faberware 2-4 Cup (FCP240)

Cold Drip Coffee Machines

Cold coffee on a hot day is one of the great joys of life. But there’s an important distinction between cold drip and “iced coffee”. The latter is made by adding ice to hot coffee, whereas cold drip is a specific process of slowly brewing coffee with cold water. As a result, you get a sweeter, more mellow flavor. 

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 refreshing brew. So 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 setup.

The yield from a cold drip machine is a much fuller, richer style of coffee than the cold brew method which uses steeping instead. Cold drip coffee loses a lot of the complexity when diluted so is usually served over ice as an espresso-style shot. Cold brew is more flexible in its uses so it’s often used as a concentrate to be diluted with water or milk to make other cold coffee drinks.

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Brewing via Steeping

Steeping is an immersive brewing technique. So coffee makers that use this process leave the coffee grounds sitting in hot water for a period of time, allowing all the flavor to infuse into the water. This is then filtered before you drink it.

French Press

The French Press is one of the most popular types of coffee maker in hotels. They’re simple to use, look nice and produce a lot of coffee quickly.

All you need to do is put in ground coffee and hot water, wait 4 minutes, push down the plunger, and enjoy. The coffee produced will be rich, flavorful, and smooth.

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 to use, and they give you control over 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.

Bodum Chambord - classic French press coffee maker on kitchen counter
The Bodum Chambord is the iconic French press – Buy yours today
BruTrek OVRLNDR traveling french press on camping picnic bench
A travel press like the BruTrek OVRLNDR let’s you enjoy French press coffee on the go

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 particularly if you use coffee beans roasted with cold brewing in mind.

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.

Some cold brew coffee makers produce “coffee concentrate” rather than something you can drink straight away. The exact strength will vary depending on your recipe and brewer. But, as a general rule, you have to dilute one part concentrate to 7 or 8 parts water, milk, or a combo of those two.

This “concentrate” will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks though so you can make a big batch and have a weeks-worth of delicious cold brew ready to go. To go one step further, you can put your cold brew through a whipped cream dispenser to make rich, creamy nitro cold brew.

Whilst some fancy coffee machines (like the Jura Z10) can make cold brew at the touch of a button, you don’t really need a specific machine at all. You can make it in a standard French Press or even a mason jar 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.

Mason jar filled with cold brew concentrate
Cold brew coffee in a mason jar
Hario Mizudashi Cold Brew Coffee Pot
The Hario Mizudashi is a dedicated cold brew coffee pot that easily slots into your fridge

Vacuum/ Siphon Coffee Maker

Popular in Japan, siphon coffee makers look really cool – like something out of a mad scientist’s lab.

They have 2 chambers – water goes into the lower chamber and coffee grounds in the upper one. The water is heated, increasing the pressure and forcing the water vapor up a siphon and into the upper chamber.

Once the coffee is brewed, the heat is removed. This causes the pressure to drop and the coffee drips from the upper chamber via gravity and the vacuum concept. Hence the other name for these machines: vacuum coffee maker.

Percolators and Moka Pot coffee makers work on the same principle but differ by having a third chamber.

Now, this might seem like a lot of messing when there are more straightforward coffee makers available. However, many coffee obsessives claim 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 for an everyday coffee.

However, there are modern vacuum coffee brewers that take a lot of the skill out of using them. They still deliver amazing quality brewed coffee from an insanely cool looking machine, whilst still giving you a lot of control and ability to play about with variables.

Hario Technica Siphon coffee maker on bench next to open bag of coffee beans
A scientist’s experiment or the Hario Technica hard at work?

If a siphon coffee maker sounds like the one for you, check out our top picks:

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Single Serve Coffee Makers

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 a coffee pod or capsule into 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 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 that the control is completely gone. These machines decide everything for you. And although the range of pods is extensive it still doesn’t come close to the available options when buying your own beans and often leaves you locked into one brand.

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:

Keurig K-Cup

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. This means you can also use a resusable My K-Cup and fill it with any ground coffee of your choice, opening up the options available to you.

Keurig K-Classic sitting with the lid open to see where the K-Cup goes
Keurig K-Classic – the icon of the range
Read our full K-Classic Review
Keurig My K-Cup on wooden table beside the branded box
My K-Cup opens up the range of coffee available to you

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 – the 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.

Bosch Tassimo T20 single serve coffee maker
Tassimo T20 – the T-discs fit in the top section

Nespresso Coffee Maker

The George Clooney endorsed Nespresso machines have gone from strength to strength. Today, you find them in homes across the globe, cafes, Airbnb rooms, and hotels – both in the rooms and the restaurants. So what makes them so popular?

Aside from the strength of their brand, they consistently make high-quality cups of coffee with a wonderful crema on top.

Don’t get caught out though – they have 2 different types of pods/capsules depending on which range the coffee machine is from. There are the Original Line aluminum pods (that look like a thimble) with a dizzying array of options to choose from. Then there’s the more expensive Vertuo Line (which look like flying saucers) – they use fancier tech to deliver better coffee but there’s less variety to choose from.

As a bonus, the pods are also recyclable. Although you usually have to take them into a Nespresso store which 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.

Nespresso Pixie sitting on kitchen counter
Nespresso Pixie uses the Original Line pods
Check Price or Read our Full Review
Front view of the Nespresso Vertuo Plus single serve coffee machine
The Nespresso VertuoPlus uses the Vertuo Line capsules
Check Price or Read our Full Review
kettle icon

“Boil” Based Coffee Makers

This style of coffee maker does exactly what they say on the tin: they “boil” the coffee grounds and hot water together. Usually, the results are an acquired taste as the coffee can taste burnt but, when done right, can be a real treat.

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 (coffee makers) 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 an Ibrik, you need to use very finely ground coffee. And, if you buy it in a traditional Turkish coffee house, it will usually be served with copious amounts of sugar too.

Ibrik (Turkish coffee maker) sitting on a board beside a cup of coffee and Turkish delight
Our hammered copper Ibrik with a cup of strong, rich Turkish coffee (and some Turkish delight, obviously!)

Cowboy Coffee

Cowboy coffee is less about a special type of coffee maker, and more about a brewing method

In fact, it’s probably the easiest method out there as it requires almost no skill. But it also produces some of the lowest-quality coffee. But life’s all about balance, isn’t it?

This method is favored by campers who need to serve up a big quantity of coffee at once. All you need to do is pop a big pot or kettle filled with water onto the campfire. Once the heat gets up, coarsely ground coffee can be added.

It’s not easy to get right and often results in a strong, bold-tasting (and burnt) coffee. But it can be a simple crowd-pleaser, particularly when combined with a large dose of sugar and/or milk.

Cowboy coffee - a kettle sitting directly on a camp fire
Cowboy coffee can be made using any pot or kettle
combo coffee icon

Combo Coffee Makers

Single Serve + Drip Coffee Maker

This is the perfect middle ground for those who want it all. Keurig have crafted the K-Duo which 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 bigger batch when needed. 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 once. Combo machines are the best types of coffee maker for all occasions.

Espresso & Drip Combo Coffee Maker

Combining drip coffee with another style of coffee maker isn’t exclusive to the single serve market. You can also get a ‘proper’ espresso machine in there too.

My friend who works from home swears by his. It means he can take the time to craft his perfect espresso first thing in the morning but has a pot of drip on hand throughout the rest of the day. Win-win.

DeLonghi All-in-One Combined Espresso and Coffee Maker
DeLonghi All-in-One combines quality espresso with easy drip. Buy now or read our full review
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Summing Up

Phew, we made it!

So there you have it, a while stop tour of all the different types of coffee maker. As we’ve broken down here, each has its own positives and negatives, and will brew up a different tasting cup of joe.

All that’s left to do is ditch the expensive coffee shop habit and work out which one will suit you best. Don’t let confusing names and endless options put you off, a homemade cup of top-quality coffee is in your future!


Matt Woodburn-Simmonds

Matt's coffee obsession started in 2006 when working as a Barista. A tendency to turn up to work hungover kickstarted his coffee journey which quickly turned into a love affair. As he moved on to work as a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier, the obsession continued to grow. Now, his passion is helping others to enjoy better coffee at home.

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