Zojirushi Fresh Brew 10-cup Coffee Maker
Zojirushi Fresh Brew 10-cup Coffee Maker

How to Buy a Coffee Maker

By Tanja KernSHOP.COM For the Home Editor

Do you stop and buy a cup of coffee everyday on your way to work? Whether you choose a fancy triple-espresso, vanilla-flavored latte or prefer your coffee hot and black from the golden arches, all those cups of coffee add up. Imagine the money you could save if you opted instead for a coffee maker that brews steaming java right in the comfort of your kitchen. SHOP.COM has all the latest models. Get ready to push that brew button!

The Basics

Step 1 Automatic Drip Coffee Maker: These basic automatic coffeemakers are usually the least expensive and the most common. You place coffee grounds in a filter basket inside a machine and fill the internal reservoir with water. The appliance heats the water and the hot water drips through the grounds into a carafe. Voila! Hot coffee.
Step 2French Press: Coffee aficionados often choose a French press. You place coffee grounds and hot water into the press and allow them to steep for the desired amount of time, depending on intensity of the coffee you want to make. Once the coffee is done steeping, you press a plunger down into the pot, which strains the grounds from the liquid.
Step 3Percolator: You probably still drink coffee from a percolator when you visit your grandmas house. To brew coffee in a percolator, place a basket of grounds into a kettle and heat the water. The coffee brews as the water boils up through the grounds. You can tell the coffee is ready once the liquid reaches the desired color in the glass bubble at the top of the percolator.
Step 4Size: How much coffee do you need to brew at once? If its just you, a simple single-serving coffee maker allows you to brew on demand. Couples can usually get by with a two- to four-cup coffee maker. If you drink a lot of coffee at once, or have a crowd to satisfy, select a machine that makes eight or more cups.
Step 5Type of Carafe: Glass carafes, if heated for prolonged periods of time, will increase the risk of burning coffee and creating a bitter taste if the coffee isnt consumed immediately. Thermal carafes will keep your coffee hot for at least an hour without degrading the coffee flavor.

The Lingo

Bean Grinder: Some coffee maker models come with a coffee bean grinder integrated into the maker. Its always best to grind coffee beans at home for the freshest tasting coffee, but you can use a separate grinder for the task.
Filtration: Some drip coffee makers come with a water filtration system built in, which is helpful if your water tastes bad or is heavily chlorinated. Its just as easy to filter the water before you use it, however, using a separate water filtration system.
Filters: Drip coffee makers use a variety of filters and what you choose will affect the taste of your coffee. Disposable paper filters come bleached and unbleached; some coffee purists think the bleach changes the coffee flavor. An eco-friendly alternative is to purchase a permanent plastic or wire mesh screen filter that can be used repeatedly. The downside to these filters is that super-fine coffee grounds can slip through the filter and into the carafe.
Digital controls: Technology has advanced the way we brew coffee. Todays drip coffee makers have LCD displays, clocks, and programmable brewing times.
Pods: Some of todays newest coffee makers are pod-compatible. These pods, or pre-packed discs of coffee grounds, make coffee brewing faster and mess-free.

The Experts

Good Housekeeping said the attractive 14-cup DeLonghi Esclusivo DC514T is the best of the test, quickly brewing a delicious cup of hot coffee and keeping it steaming for two hours.
Reviews at Consumersearch.com praise the 12-cup Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 coffee maker for its features, including a programmable timer, pause-and-serve function, auto shutoff and an adjustable-temperature hot plate. Its small-batchsetting is handy for making small quantities that taste almost as good as a full pot.

The Brands

Bodum is known for helping to develop todays French press. The company operates in 17 different countries with over 600 employees worldwide.
Bialetti products are renknowned for combining the best of Italian-quality, style and design. The name is synonymous with Italian coffee making.
Delonghi DeLonghi has been renowned worldwide for innovative, stylish Italian design. Headquartered in Treviso, Italy, DeLonghi has a long history of bringing outstanding home appliances to market.
Krups Bold design, precision, ingenuity and unwavering craftsmanship uniquely define the philosophy of the company Robert Kreps began in 1846.

The Price

$: Entry-level coffee makers are usually automatic drip models that use paper filters. Percolators also fall into this price range. Try the Mr. Coffee TF4 Coffee Maker for a great, basic coffeemaker that does the job right.
$$: Mid-range coffee makers are usually automated drip models with some programmable features. French presses also fall into this category. Check out the Hamilton Beach 52 coffee maker
$$$: High-end coffee makers come with lots of added features, like grinding, water filtration and brew-on-demand, single-cup options. They also have reusable filters. Try the De Longhi BCO120T Coffee Maker if you're willing to splurge a bit...

Customer Comments    
SimonaS
 - Thanks Tanja for this great coffee maker buying guide!

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