There’s more than one way to skin a cat brew a delicious cup of coffee.
(Don’t like coffee? Learn how to!)
These 8 types of coffee makers run the gamut from newfangled tech to old world engineering.
Single-serve coffee makers fall under this umbrella. These machines are the simplest to use:
Unless the machine has advanced settings you lose a lot of control over the brew — such as temperature and extraction rate — but the convenience is undeniable. Preset everything the night before and enjoy a hassle-free cup of Joe in the morning.
Related: Best BUNN Coffee Makers
Automatic drip coffee makers are also great for brewing large quantities, and many single serve brewers now have the ability to brew full pots with a single (larger) pod.
Check out our guide to the Best Drip Coffee Makers for more info.
More commonly used outside the United States, the french press is a cylindrical container with a plunger. Coffee grounds are placed in the coffee maker and submerged in water for some period of time, and then you push on the plunger to press the coffee grounds down to the bottom of the container. The coffee is poured out the spout on top.
The french press affords the home barista complete control over their final cup:
Because of the filtered plunger the french press works best with coarse grinds that won’t slip through. This requires a longer extraction time, though. There are also the added benefits of portability; they’re small in size and don’t require a stovetop (if you have another means of getting hot water) or an electrical outlet.
Chances are you’ve at least heard of drip and french press coffee makers, but have you every heard of a pour-over coffee maker?
There aren’t any secrets here: Pour-over coffee makers use conical filters, though some have a flat bottom instead of coming to a point.
Why the cone shape? It affords a couple benefits that flat-bottomed filters don’t:
I’ll also lump the Chemex Brewer into this class, though it’s a more premium coffee maker.
Our guide to the Best Pour-Over Coffee Makers has you covered.
The same principle as a french press with some tweaks, the AeroPress is my coffee maker of choice. It’s small, lightweight, durable and gives me complete control over my coffee in record time.
Remember the french press plunger which strained the coffee grounds downward so you could pour the coffee out through the spout?
The AeroPress is the inverted version of that.
The principle is the same — mix coffee grounds and water in whatever ratios and for however long you prefer — but when extraction is done you push down on the plunger which pushes the coffee downward and into your cup, leaving the grounds behind.
Still with me? The AeroPress is actually a two-way coffee maker as there’s also an inverted method of AeroPress brewing.
(Does that make this method the inverted inverted version of french press brewing?).
I won’t go into too much detail here, but this video shows you what I’m talking about.
The AeroPress is great for several reasons:
There are some downsides to the AeroPress. Most notably, you can only brew one cup at a time and the unit is more complex with a few extra moving parts. Ultimately, it boils down to what you want out of your coffee maker.
These units are great for the nerd in all of us. They typically come with 3 components:
Ready for a lesson in thermodynamics? Here’s how it works:
These coffee makers are renowned for producing clean, crisp coffee…if you’re willing to put up with the more complex process.
But wait, it gets even more complex.
A version of stovetop coffee makers, vacuum coffee makers are one of the most interesting applications of physics I’ve seen in the kitchen.
Sharing the same principles as stovetop coffee makers above, these units generally come with two stackable chambers. The bottom chamber is basically a stovetop carafe for boiling water. The top chamber is a glass container with a stem and is for coffee grounds. There’s a filter where the stem connects to the bowl-portion of the glass container.
The brew process is extremely similar to that of stovetop coffee makers:
There’s a whole sequence of helpful images on Wikipedia that depict what I just described, but that’s the gist. This style of coffee maker has the same benefits of the stovetop coffee maker above and is a big seller in Japan.
This method is as old world as they come. It involves a cezve (sometimes mistakenly called an ibrik), which is a metal pot with a long handle, and the direct immersion of extremely fine coffee grounds (almost powder-like) in water without the use of a filter.
Here’s how it’s done:
There’s no filtering at all so the end result will be a thicker, slightly sludgy (but definitely richer) cup of coffee. Actually, it’s probably more like an espresso in terms of richness and volume. You could even be authentic and add some spices to it, such as ground cardamom.
Cold brew coffee sales have exploded over the last few years, growing 115% from 2014-2015 and 339% from 2010-2015. It’s become so popular that big corporations like Starbucks are serving cold brew (while it lasts) and grocery store iced coffee sections are now stocked with cold brewed iced coffee.
If you’re a fan on this slow brew variety — and I, for one, am — you’re probably familiar with many of the ways it sets itself apart:
Brew cold brew coffee at home with one of the best cold brew coffee makers, which are sure to make your cold brew experience both easy and mess-free.
Cold brew coffee makers brew a coffee concentrate over a period of 12-24 hours. They’re basically big holding tanks with spouts to make it easy to decant the coffee off the grounds. You can store the concentrate for up to two weeks and add hot or cold water to taste.