Coffee being poured through a filter into a cup while being weighed

Pros and Cons of Different Coffee Maker Types

Not everyone makes a daily trip to a coffee shop to get their fix each morning or evening. Most coffee enthusiasts, especially those who value a personal touch in their coffee, get themselves a coffee maker and make their own coffee at home. If you’re one of these individuals, you’ve probably already tasted coffee grinds from different sources and decided on a brand you like, but what about when it comes to the types of coffee makers?

Not all coffee making machines use the same preparation or brewing methodology. Which type of coffee maker suits you, or which delivers the best tasting coffee, is of course something you have to decide for yourself. What we can help you with is identifying the pros and cons of each type of popular coffee maker so that you can make an informed purchase.

Manual Coffee Makers

Coffee brewing doesn’t necessarily have to be automated. Perhaps you want a machine that is easy to clean afterwards, or can be taken with you whenever you travel. Manual coffee makers are simple devices that are popular among folk for their compactness and cleanliness. They also produce a unique taste in coffee, depending on which coffee maker you use. Manual coffee makers require a separate mechanism to heat the water however.

  • Pour Over Coffee Makers: These coffee makers are renowned for producing clean, fresh coffee. The coffee grinds are set down in a filter and then have hot water poured over them. The water absorbs the oils and fragrances of the coffee grinds and drips through the filter into a cup. However, if a person is not trained in proper pouring techniques, there is a chance the water will avoid most of the grinds and make subpar coffee.
  • French Press Coffee Makers: In French Press coffee makers, coffee grinds are allowed to steep in water. When done, a mesh filter holds back the grinds as the liquid coffee seeps into a cup. French coffee makers often have the water get over saturated compared to pour over coffee makers.
  • AeroPress Coffee Makers: AeroPress coffee makers are extremely compact, and require you to push down on the water and coffee grinds. This forces the water through the grinds and the mesh filter below into the cup. Though the coffee make with AeroPress coffee makers is rich and flavorful, the manual labor required won’t sit well with everyone.

Moka Pot Coffee Maker

Similar to many manual coffee makers, moka pot coffee makers can easily be carried around and taken with you on your travels. Moka pot coffee makers make use of steam pressure to brew the coffee. The great thing about moka pot coffee makers is that they are designed be left on top of a stove or campfire and the coffee keeps brewing. For this reason, moka pot coffee makers are a favorite among campers and hikers. These coffee makers can however only work with stoves or fires, and are not for you if you won’t have access to those things most of the time.

Electric Drip Coffee Makers

Perhaps the single most popular coffee maker type sold worldwide, the electric drip method coffee makers are a familiar site in many homes. These are very much like the manual pour over coffee makers, except that the coffee maker pumps and boils the water itself. The collection jug also keeps the coffee hot. However, if left too long in the jug, the coffee is ruined as it gets over brewed.

Electric Thermal Coffee Makers

Electric thermal coffee makers are almost exactly like electric drip coffee makers, except for the fact that the coffee is poured into and stored in an insulated thermal jug. Because of this these coffee makers are more expensive than electric drip coffee makers, but they keep your coffee hot without over brewing it.

Vacuum / Siphon Coffee Makers

Though these coffee makers lost their popularity in the last century, mostly due to the advent of the much easier to maintain electric drip coffee makers, these coffee makers are still favorites for a niche community. The coffee produced by these coffee makers usually tastes a lot better than conventional coffee made with conventional coffee makers.

The water in the lower part of the coffee maker is heated until vapor forms and travels upward into the upper part where the grounds are kept. It later comes back down as well, repeating in a cycle. This brewing process is allowed to happen until the coffee has been brewed to perfection. The finicky nature of these coffee makers, including having to detach the lower part to access the freshly brewed coffee, makes them unpopular among most people.

Espresso Machines

Not going to a Starbucks every day doesn’t mean you have to live with simple coffee. If you’ve got the cash, there are many espresso coffee makers sold for personal use. Having an espresso machine at home can be troublesome because of the maintenance they require, and they don’t come cheap either. However, if you’re willing to fork over the cash and are cool with high maintenance requirements, you’re going to have tons of customizable options for your coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee Makers

Cold brew coffee makers do exactly what their name implies; brewing cold coffee. More specifically, iced coffee. Iced coffee cannot really be made with ice cubes or something similar, because the ice melting would completely dilute the coffee’s flavor. Instead, cold brew coffee makers let water slowly drip through coffee grinds over a long period of time. This method of brewing coffee can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. However, the result is a brew that can be stored via refrigeration and tastes great all the same.

Grind and Brew Coffee Makers

These coffee makers are popular among people who want to automate everything. Instead of having to grind the coffee themselves, the coffee maker does that part of the coffee preparation process itself. However, with additional automation comes additional maintenance should any part fail. Also, the method of brewing and storage impacts the quality of the produced coffee as is common with other electric coffee makers.

Conclusion

What we’ve covered are only the surface-level advantages and disadvantages of various coffee maker types. Every person’s preferences are different, and so we highly encourage you to first try out the coffee made by each of these coffee makers to determine which flavor is worth the hassle and effort for you. A carefully thought out purchase now could keep you satisfied and caffeinated for years if not decades to come.