Who doesn't love a fresh cup of coffee in the morning? A lot of people simply cannot function without coffee. Even if you are not one of them, we can bet that you enjoy the burst of energy that a cup of delicious coffee can bring.
Coffee can be made in many ways, but one of the most genuine, tasty ways is making it in a coffee maker with grinder. Ground fresh coffee has a taste that cannot be replicated - not even if you go to a coffee shop will you find a brew as good as the one in your own home.
The art of making amazing coffee all relies on the fact that it has to be fresh. Even if you make coffee from beans that were already ground, using your own coffee maker beats going to a coffee shop every time.
Why? This, among other things, is something we will cover in this guide. The purpose of it is to tell you what a coffee maker really is, what are the benefits of owning one, and how to choose the very best one.
To begin with, let's talk about what a coffee maker is and what it even does.
What are coffee makers?
Some people claim that a kettle is a coffee maker, but while you can make instant coffee using a kettle, it will never be a coffee maker.
A proper coffee machine with grinder (or without) does much more than just turn water into coffee. While the basic concept is the same from machine to machine and it all comes down to ground coffee and water, different brewers come with different features.
The most common type of coffee maker, the drip brewer, relies on a filter to prepare your coffee.
The water extracts flavor and nutrients from the beans, which are held in a filter. This ensures that your coffee is grit-free. The water drains through the beans, and the resulting coffee is delivered to a cup, carafe or mug.
It is a simple process that was perfected over the years.
How did coffee makers come to be?
The process, at its most basic, has always been fairly simple. Hundreds of years ago coffee was made by simply placing roasted and ground coffee beans in a pan or a pot. Afterwards, hot water was added, followed by a lid. This commenced the brewing process.
Even back when this was still a fairly new process, pots were designed specifically to brew coffee in. The point was to trap the coffee grounds before coffee was poured.
In the 1700s, the infusion brewing process was created. It involved submerging the ground coffee, often enclosed in a linen bag, in hot water. It was then left to infuse until the brew was as strong as desired.
Many claim that this was the introduction to the coffee-making as we know it today - where we use a filter to brew the kind of coffee we want to have.
What affects the flavor of your coffee?
Long story short - quite a lot. This is why choosing the best coffee grinder and brewer is so crucial. Many of us consider our morning coffee one of the best moments of the day. Starting the morning on the right note puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day.
Some of the things that affect your coffee are
When choosing the right coffee maker, it's important to take the above into consideration. Some people like their coffee extra strong, especially first thing in the morning. Some people prefer weaker brews. A good coffee machine will deliver both with ease.
Using a coffee maker vs going to a coffee shop
Admittedly, many people love the experience of picking up their coffee at a coffee shop on their way to work. You may even be able to sit down and drink your coffee over the latest newspaper. But is it really worth it?
Starting your day with freshly ground coffee can be an amazing experience, and millions of people swear by it. When you're in your own home, you don't even need to get dressed. Starting your day on a good note often has a positive effect on the rest of it.
Scientists and doctors alike warn us against the dangers of rushing too much in the morning. Other than needing a good night of sleep, you also need a moment to shift from sleep mode to work mode. A cup of coffee is the perfect way to start that shift easily.
When you make your own coffee, you are also responsible for the way that it tastes. Not even the most skilled barista will know exactly what you like.
Using the right type of coffee maker, you are able to control the temperature, the strength and the flavor. You can then add everything you like best in the right proportions - be it milk, sugar, or other additions.
Last but not least, going to coffee shops can actually make a noticeable dent in your wallet. It may not seem like much on a day to day basis, but if you'd add up the costs of drinking coffee outside of your own home over the course of a year, you'd be shocked.
There is nothing wrong with the occasional trip to the coffee shop, but the thing is… once you find your perfect coffee machine, you just won't want to anymore.
What coffee maker types are there?
As said before, coffee-making is an art that's been perfected over the years. Due to that, there are several types of coffee makers that you will find when looking for the perfect one.
We will briefly go over every type to ensure that you are familiar with them, as they all offer different features, and - obviously - different end-results.
This is possibly one of the best types of coffee brewers on the market, because the grinder is already included. In such a product, all you have to do is toss fresh beans into the grinder.
What happens next is that ground beans are transferred to the filter, and then, the brewing process can begin.
Using a coffee pot with grinder allows for the highest quality of coffee because you can rest assured that the beans are as fresh as can be. Another benefit is that they are ground well and effortlessly.
As we all know, espresso varies from your regular coffee both in taste and strength. It's the type of coffee where you definitely don't want a whole cup.
Espresso makers can be fully automated or partially automated. In the fully automated version, all you need to do is throw the grinds in, and it takes over from there. In the partially automated version requires you to put in the grinds and attach it to the machine.
Drip brewers, also known as filtration coffee makers, are some of the most popular types of coffee makers sold in the world. They are extremely easy to use and do most of the necessary things without you having to put in any work.
The most popular ones are electric drip coffee makers, but for the fans of having a completely natural coffee experience, there are non-electric versions too.
A lot of such brewers are large, with the majority of them having a 12 cup capacity. However, as not everyone needs a gigantic pot of coffee, smaller makers have also been made.
The process is what we already described above as the most common version of a coffee maker. Hot water runs through a filter and the coffee grinds and then produces coffee. The automated version of a drip brewer heats the water and uses a pump to make coffee.
The pot sits on a hot plate that also serves to keep your brew steaming.
In this day and age, drip brewers come with a variety of functions and have far evolved past the coffee makers we knew years ago. The upside of owning this type of brewer is that you are in full control of the entire coffee-making process. You can adjust the strength and flavor of your brew with ease.
This is the type of coffee maker that will require quite a bit of work from you as opposed to the previous ones on our list. AeroPress is not an automated type of coffee machine - it relies on, as you may have guessed, you doing the pressing.
How does it work? It's very simple. It forced hot water through extremely fine coffee grounds. There's a lot of pressure involved, and it produces espresso. It's essentially a large hand pump.
It's a bit of a hassle to clean, but it has one advantage - unwanted chemicals from the beans don't get into the coffee due to the speed of pressing.
A moka pot is not an electric device. It can be placed directly on top of a stove, or even a campfire. If you like to go camping, it's a nice thing to carry in your backpack. Be careful though, because they're quite heavy.
These coffee makers are made of metal and use strong steam pressure to create espresso.
Single-serve Coffee Makers
Probably the most popular coffee makers right now, along with Drip Brewers. They're a solid alternative for the households that don't require a large pot of coffee with every brew. However, what they offer is not exactly the same type of fresh coffee that a coffee maker with grinder can create.
Single-serves usually rely on the use of pods as opposed to ground coffee beans. While many people love the taste, it's not the same thing, so some coffee purists are against the use of these coffee makers.
The process is extremely simple - whether you use a pod or a disc, all you have to do is place it in the right spot and press a button. The coffee machine then pierces the pod, runs some hot water through it, and you have a cup of coffee.
The upside of using pods, other than ease of use, is the fact that pod coffee comes in hundreds of flavors. Instead of adding your own flavors, you can choose a pre-made one.
Percolators and drip brewers are very alike in the way that they function. The water is stored at the bottom of the pot in a percolator. Above it, on a suspended layer, are the coffee grinds.
The water is then heated and released into the grinds. This produces coffee.
Percolators aren't often used at family homes - they are better known for events and offices, because they are often very, very large. Unless you are capable of drinking up to a hundred cups of coffee in a single day - which we completely do not recommend as it's a major life hazard - you won't be buying a percolator to use by yourself.
However, if you run a large business or host parties, a percolator works just fine. The quality of coffee may not be as fantastic as that from a coffee maker with built in grinder, but it's still quite acceptable.
The one advantage - other than the impressive size - that percolators have is the water temperature. The water only hits coffee grinds when it's boiling. If this is something that interests you, consider looking for a very small percolator. They aren't that easy to find, though.
A cold drip is something entirely different from all the other brewers on our list so far. As you can probably guess from the name, cold drips are used to make iced coffee. Perfect for the summer, they are gaining popularity over the past few years.
It's worth noting that the coffee takes anywhere from 5 to 24 hours to turn into coffee when using a cold drip. The reason for that is that they don't produce any heat, and instead they use time and sheer persistence to produce coffee.
The water drips, extremely slowly, drop by drop, through the grinds. The end- result is a cold cup of coffee that has every bit of aroma and taste you could possibly want.
However, the wait is extremely long. Unless you like to plan ahead, you'll probably want to stay away from cold drip coffee makers.
French Press, also known as Bodum, is a bit of an old method; indeed, it has been around for many, many years. However, coffee purists tend to pretend the good old methods as opposed to taking advantage of technology, so French presses are still quite popular.
The use of a French press is extremely simple. You mix hot water and coffee grinds, then leave it to steep for a few minutes. Then you push the screen down - this separates the grinds from your coffee.
The resulting coffee has a strong taste and is loved by many, but the texture of it is far from smooth. You can expect grainy coffee from a French press. Another downside is that cleaning these is a bit of a pain - but it's worth it if you like this type of brew.
Combo Coffee Makers
A combo coffee maker is exactly what it says on the tin - a machine capable of handling two different types of coffee. In this coffee brewer, you will have the traditional drip brewer, but you also have the option to use coffee pods.
The fun upside of a combo coffee maker is that they often have a designated place for a single-serve cup. Many models have one so tall that it accommodates a travel mug, making it easy to just pour yourself a cup before you leave for work.
It looks like something out of a secret lab from the 1950s, but it is actually a coffee maker. However, it's in no way automated.
The machine has two separate chambers. The first one is filled with water, and the second one with coffee grinds. The water is heated up, and as it gets hot, the pressure pushes it upwards into the chamber with the coffee grinds.
The resulting coffee then drips back to the lower chamber (through a filter). The end-result is a pot of coffee in the bottom chamber.
Brewing coffee through a siphon is an interesting process, but it's definitely not the easiest or the fastest one. Taste is a personal decision, but unless you absolutely love this type of coffee, an electronic drip brew is far, far easier to use.
What's better - drip coffee or pod coffee?
As those are likely the most popular variations of coffee makers on the market right now, this is a good question.
We briefly touched on this above, but let's have a comparison on what might be better for you. They each have their own advantages, and whether you tried both or neither, it's good to know everything before you make your final choice.
Drip brew coffee
Pod (Keurig) style coffee
Is the coffee from a drip brew better than pod coffee?
This all falls to individual tastes. Some people love pod coffee, while some others hate it.
The one thing we can say for sure is that a coffee machine with the best coffee bean grinder will always offer a more natural coffee taste, as you are working directly with coffee beans. By grinding them yourself - or rather, having your coffee maker with built in grinder do it for you - you ensure their freshness.
Using a drip brew even allows you to pick the right type of beans that you might want. They vary from one another, both in strength and taste, so this can have a large impact on your coffee.
Pod coffee, however, is quick. And if you enjoy things such as caramel coffee, chocolate-flavored coffee, and so on - you will likely sway towards pods just for the flavor alone.
It's worth noting that depending on the type of pods you're using, you may find that a coffee grinder and brewer is cheaper to use than a pod-style brewer. This, again, is entirely up to you.
What should I pick?
We will cover this more extensively in our Buying Guide, but the short answer is - ask yourself, what do you like best?
There is no guide on the internet that can ever tell you how you like your coffee. The purpose of ours, however, is to help you choose the right coffee maker to suit what you already know you like.
One of the beauties of being an avid coffee drinker is the adventure of trying out different kinds. If you have the means to do so, it's worth it to try out coffee from different types of machines before you settle on just one.
Many people have more than just one type of coffee maker. You may very well go with a single cup coffee maker with grinder for the days when you just need a quick cup before leaving, but that doesn't mean you won't want a larger brewer for family mornings.
If you find yourself feeling unsure, please consult our extensive Buying Guide, in which we tell you what to look out for when buying your new coffee maker with grinder.