If you’re like most folks, you don’t really get your day started until you’ve had your first cup of Joe. For the coffee lover, choosing a coffee maker is an important decision, since it will be used day after day. Coffee makers today have a lot more to offer than just a standard brewed cup.
What questions should you be asking when looking for your next coffee maker?
How many cups do you need to brew regularly?
The number of cups you need to brew at once is a big factor in determining which machine is best for you. If it’s just you, a single-cup brewer is often a good choice, since there’s no waste and you can brew on demand.
However, if you and your partner both drink coffee and you don’t want a queue at the coffee maker each morning, then a four-cup or larger brewer may make more sense.
If you’re brewing coffee for the whole office, a large-volume brewer is an essential to keeping everyone caffeinated and happy.
Cuisinart’s single serve brewer or Hamilton Beach’s Brew Station are worthy of a second look, since both are good for low-volume brewing. Hamilton Beach’s five-cup brewer is another good option that gets great reviews.
How much counter space do you have available?
Getting the perfect cup of coffee no longer means taking up a large swathe of counter space in the kitchen. If counter space is at a premium in your kitchen, finding a small brewer is a must. Single-cup brewers are great for small counters, but smaller options that brew more than one cup are also available.
Some good ones to try that offer a small footprint come from Keurig, which offers several brewers that fill the need for cup-at-a-time dispensing or for making coffee for just the two of you while maintaining a small presence on the counter. With the Keurig K 2.0, you get a small coffee maker with a carafe that serves multiple coffee lovers. Keurig brewers make individual cups on demand, so there’s no waste, and everyone can have their own specific K-cup flavors brewed up quickly. As a bonus, Keurig brewers also brew tea, hot chocolate, and even soup.
Is easy programmability important to you?
Coffee makers that allow you to preprogram them to come on at a specific time make it easier to get your morning going. Set your coffee maker before bedtime, and you’ll wake to the smell of freshly brewing coffee. Just add mug.
DeLonghi’s 10-, 12- and 14-cup brewers offers a 24-hour programmable timer on the high end of the spectrum, while makers such as Mr. Coffee, Hamilton Beach and Cuisinart offer lower-cost options across their brands.
Do you need to adjust the brewing strength of coffee for different tastes?
Being able to brew coffee to your preferred brew strength is a Godsend when you tumble out of bed at 5 a.m. looking for your morning inspiration and need to fill multiple coffee needs for your household. You might need something super strong in the morning but prefer a milder brew later on in the day. The Ninja Coffee Bar is an easy-to-use option that lets you dial up your own desired brew strength, and it makes not only rich and classic brewed coffee, but also iced coffee and coffeehouse hot and cold drinks – without a trip to the local Starbucks.
Need to keep coffee hot for a long time?
Standard coffee makers offer a basic glass carafe, which is fine if you drink your coffee the minute it’s brewed or take it with you in your own thermal cup. However, if you’re the kind of person who brews a pot and sips on it all morning, then a newer-generation thermal carafe makes more sense. They’ll keep the contents of your pot at piping hot temperatures for hours. Although models with these types of carafes are a bit pricier, the convenience factor alone is worth the upgrade.
Mr. Coffee offers a number of brewers with thermal carafes, including its Optimal Brew makers in several cup varieties and its FTTX Series. Cuisinart’s Extreme Brew and Grind & Brew are other good options – with the latter boasting an on-board coffee grinder for a fresher than fresh cuppa.
Do you drink other types of coffee beverages?
Coffee lovers and their families are often connoisseurs of other coffee beverages, including espresso, cappuccino, and lattes. If this describes you, a machine that does it all is a good idea, since it lets you make multiple types of drinks without owning multiple machines (and using up valuable counter space).
A good option to look at for brewing multiple types of drink with one type of brewer is Nespresso – a brand offering multiple coffee/coffee drink machines at various price points.The VertuoLine from Nespresso includes the Evoluo Deluxe, which is a coffee and espresso machine that offers Centrifusion technology to produce drinks fast.
Another is the Nespresso Latissima Pro, which has an on-board milk frother to brew up lattes and cappuccinos in an instant with just one touch of a button. If those don’t impress you, give DeLonghi’s espresso and drip coffee combo, the Combi, a whirl. This premium machine makes espresso, cappuccino and drip coffee and offers a storage tray to keep cups warm for the best tasting cup every time.
Looking for a commercial coffee maker?
If you’re looking for a commercial coffee maker for your business or office, have a look at Franke. Franke offers both simple coffee brewers and more advanced brewing systems that cater to volume needs for busy settings. One such option is the Franke Foammaster, a machine that brews coffee, cappuccino, latte, and espresso. Features such as a touchscreen interface make this easy-to-use machine a good investment in your business.
For value, another worth a look is the Breville Oracle Espresso. This model automatically grinds, doses & tamps the required amount of coffee. It’s easy to clean, barista quality, programmable shot temperature, customizable settings and one of the features I really like is the over pressure valve. This means that it limits the maximum pressure throughout extraction which helps prevent bitter flavors in the shot.
Drawer that sits neatly under your coffee maker for capsule storage and coffee capsules.