Buying guide: COFFEE MAKER
Of all the kitchen appliances that grace our food preparation areas, the coffeemaker is the most ubiquitous, and gets the most use. Most folks drink coffee everyday. If you fall into this category making sure your choice of coffeemaker is one that will stand up to heavy use is crucial for getting the most for your money. Choosing a model with a metal case and hardened glass carafe are good ways to ensure years of uninterrupted use. This comprehensive guide will also discuss the various brewing method, in addition to the popular automatic drip machine.
Many models have taken the guesswork out of preparing that perfect cup. Automatic drip may be the most popular, but they are not the only option by far. If you crave a little more flavor from you energizing elixir you may consider an espresso machine.
From the use of pre-packaged coffee pods to precise water temperature control and triple osmosis filtration, these days every step is taken to ensure nothing gets between you and pure coffee bliss. Some machines that use methods other than drip are priced a bit higher, but if taste is paramount to you, they’re well worth the price.
1. Vacuum coffeemaker: More scientific than convenient. Vacuum coffeemakers consist of two glass globes. Between them with is an airtight seal, filter, and glass tube that allows water to flow to the top globe. Water is put in the bottom globe and coffee in the top globe. Heat is applied to the device and a vacuum is created forcing the water up the tube through the coffee grounds, once taking off the heat and cooled down the water seeps down through the filter back to the bottom globe, yielding a tasty brew.
2. French Press: Simple and ingenious this method give the brewer the most control over the process. The flip side is it is a bit labor intensive. French presses use a glass or metal carafes and a filter attached to a plunger-like apparatus. Water is heated to whatever temperature you choose, coffee place in the carafe, hot water is added, and the brew sits to steep for as long, or as little as you like. Then the plunger and filter is place on top of the carafe and press down trapping the coffee grounds at the bottom, leaving you the energizing brew that meets your specific taste.
3. Concentrate brewing: Cold brewing, which this method uses, provides extremely smooth coffee. It uses up to a pound of coffee and takes at least 12 hours to brew, but the results are very pleasing. The coffee and water steep in a large container, at its bottom lays a filter and a drain stopped with a cork. Once steeping is complete the cork is removed and the coffee concentrate slowly drips trough the filter into a carafe. Concentrated coffee brewing can yield a around a gallon of concentrate. This way it can be refrigerated and enjoyed at your leisure. Great for iced coffee lovers, or for a steamy cup you simply add hot water to the concentrate.
4. Espresso/cappuccino maker: It’s all about water pressure when it comes to preparing espresso. The term ‘pulling a shot’ of espresso derives from the lever operated espresso machines, the lever was pulled down to force pressurized water through the coffee. Now taken care of by a machine the pressure used is around a 130psi or 9 bars of pressure. A metal filter-basket holds 7-10 grams of coffee that is then tamed into a coffee puck and attached to the machine. Pressurized water is force through the coffee yielding a shot of espresso. Moka Pots or espresso pots can be an inexpensive alternative to a full-blown espresso. These are stovetop pots that create pressure by heating water in an airtight camber, the pressure forces the water through coffee, contained in a metal filter-basket right above the water, and into the serving pot. Quick and efficient these are very popular in European households. A milk frother should accompany the espresso machine, if one isn’t already attached, so cappuccino may also be prepared.
5. Automatic Drip: These machines require the least human interaction; they can be setup to brew in seconds and provide coffee lovers that quintessentially American cup of Joe. Most of us are filmier with the operation of drip makers; the coffee and filter are place in a basket above the coffee pot. The pot is filled with the desire amount of water that is then pour into the water reservoir at the top of the machine. You simply flip the switch and that’s it. The coffee is ready in minutes. The temperature is maintained by a heating element under the pot, or by a thermally insulated pot. Allowing you to enjoy your brew for hours to come.
What to look for in an Automatic Drip coffee maker
Considering the number of coffee makers offered from different manufacturers using different technologies, finding the right coffee maker can take some time if you don’t know what to look for. We have listed the main features you should look out for when shopping for your new Auto-drip coffeemaker.
- Button or touchpad controls: Many makers come with one button on/off. This is great for simplifying things, but it can be a bit limiting. Higher end machines give more options such as those listed below.
- Coffee quantity and quality adjustment: Do you have to fuel an army? Or are you usually fly solo when you enjoy your java? Coffee makers come in many sizes from single serve machines to multiple cups brewers. Another popular new addition are adjustments that allow preparers to dial in a strength setting, from weak to robust.
- Water filtration: This feature filters out metals, chlorine, and other unwanted components in the drinking water prior to the brewing process.
- Bean grinder: Coffeemakers having this option allow the beans to be ground just before brewing for the freshest possible coffee, and some models add a hopper to store your beans until ready for grinding.
- Thermal insulted carafe: This is an insulated carafe that forgoes a heating element under the pot, and uses less energy. The insulation maintains the heat and flavor of the brewed coffee for many hours after brewing, at the same time the carafe is much tougher than its glass counterpart. If you prefer the more traditional approach, a hardened glass carafe is ideal for increased durability.
- Automated controls: These automated systems have greatly increased the usefulness of these machines. Timers allow you to preset the start of the coffee brewing, an automatic shut-off facility eliminates a possible fire hazard, and a pause-to-serve functionality that enables you to halt the brewing process long enough to pour out a cup of coffee.
- Type of filters: Nowadays, many models forgo the disposable paper filters and replaced them with permanent screen filters, and in a world of finite resources reusable filters make much more sense.
Making the right decision
After reading through the above content, you should have a fair idea of what brewing coffee and a coffeemaker essentially involves. You can now make an informed decision when buying a coffeemaker. Check out coffeemakers on offered at Etronics.com. For a price-wise distribution of the various coffee makers and related accessories on offer, you could visit the following links: Under $50, $50 - $100, $100 - $200, $200 - $300. Buying a coffee maker from a reputed company such as Cuisinart would ensure your coffee maker will offer you years of trouble-free service.