Coffee Maker Buying Tips

A coffee maker is a kitchen appliance used for brewing coffee without having to boil water in a separate container. There are many different types of coffee makers using a number of different brewing principles. The most common being placing coffee grounds in a paper or metal filter inside a funnel, and then set it over a glass or ceramic coffee pot. Next, cold water is poured into a separate chamber, which is then heated up to the boiling point, and directed into the funnel. This is also called automatic drip-brew.

In the United States, market research conducted by the NPD Group has shown that nearly 50% of money spent on coffee machines are for single-serving ones. Keurig, a major player in the single-serving coffee business in the US, indicated that 13% of all US offices have one of their brewers!

For coffee lovers, single-serving coffeemakers are like a miracle gadget. All you have to do is open a hatch, slip in a little coffee capsule and then press a button. In less than one minute, voila! – you have a perfect cup of espresso with a nice layer of crema on top.

Factors to consider when shopping for a coffeemaker

1. What’s the size of the carafe? How many cups can it brew? And most importantly, how does the coffee taste?

Different people have different needs and tastes; some will want to drink one or two cups during the day, while some others will want to drink a cup every hour or so. Therefore, the size of the carafe matters. If it’s a single serve (or one cup) coffeemaker, it won’t fulfill the needs of heavy drinkers. If it’s too big, it may be too much for casual drinkers.

Some newer and bigger models have a small batch setting that allows users to brew one to four cups without ending up with weak coffee, so it can be a good choice even for those who don’t drink more than a few cups a day.

But the most important thing for any user will be the taste of the coffee. Even if the other features are below-par, a coffeemaker that makes delicious coffee will always be an attractive buy for most people.

2. Are the controls simple or are there many programmable settings? Is there a “coffee-ready indicator”?

There are lots of different models on the market; some only have a simple on/off switch, while others come with all the bells and whistles. The simplicity/complexity of the controls will be a matter of personal choice.

In addition, some models have a “coffee ready” indicator or alarm that beeps when the coffee is brewed. This is a nice feature to have.

3. Is there a brew pause option?

This is a useful feature that helps people when they’re in a rush. It basically allows the user to pause the machine and get one cup even if the brewing is not complete. However, this may cause that first cup to be too strong (since there will be less water than required on the carafe).

4. Is there a thermal carafe/mug?

Now, this is an important feature for heavy coffee drinkers. A thermal carafe ensures that the coffee is kept warm and fresh for hours. Since the coffee will not have to be reheated, it also prevents the burnt taste that normally occurs after a while.

5. Is there a timer?

Advanced (and naturally higher priced) models have timers that allow users to have their coffee ready when they wake up or get back from work. This is a very handy feature to have and you can emphasize the convenience it offers.

6. Is there an auto-shut off option?

This is mainly a safety feature. If the user forgets to turn the coffeemaker off before leaving the house, this feature will shut the machine off after a set period of time. Some models have predefined time settings, while others let the user set the timer.

7. Is there a brew strength control?

Not everyone likes their coffee with the same strength. Some people prefer weak brews, while some others want strong coffee. The brew strength control is a feature that diverts the water flow to provide the user with a fine level of control.

8. What’s the size of the coffeemaker? Are the controls on the front or side?

The size of the coffeemaker is important; if it takes too much space on the counter, people will find it less useful.

Controls are placed on the side in some models, allowing the users to turn the machine sideways. This minimizes the counter space the machine takes and can be a very attractive feature for those with small counters or kitchens.

9. Is there a spare carafe?

Some coffeemakers come with free-of-charge spare carafes. While this is not a deal maker/breaker, it is always good to have a spare. If the original carafe gets cracked, broken, etc., users will not have to pay for a replacement.

10. Is the water filter any good? Is the filter easy to change and inexpensive?

Most coffeemakers come with a water filter that is designed to filter out chlorine and other substances that may spoil the taste. The more effective the filter is, the better will be the taste.

Filters will need to be cleaned and changed from time to time. Users will want to know if the filter is easy to remove, clean and change. The filter change frequency is also important since it will determine the total cost of ownership. The price of the replacement filters is also an important factor. If it’s too high (and if they need to change it rather frequently), the users may have to spend a lot of money during the lifespan of the coffeemaker.

Coffee Makers – Featured Reviews:

1. Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System

2. Keurig B40 Elite Brewing System

3. DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Creativa Plus Coffeemaker

4. Senseo 7810 Single-Serve Gourmet Coffee Machine