It finally feels like fall, which means it's time to start thinking about cozy home things like tea kettles and coffee makers. There are almost as many different kinds of coffee makers out there as there are types of coffee. Here's our guide to which one's right for you.
Drip Coffee Makers
Drip coffee makers are most common in the US, and they use paper or mesh filters—the advantage of mesh filters is that they're reusable and most are dishwasher-safe, but they may let more grounds through than paper. "Gold tone" filters (coated in a thin layer of gold) are supposed to be more flavor-neutral. Pricing for drip makers usually depends on the features included in the design (programmable timers, built-in bean grinders, etc).
The advantage of pod machines is that they make single cups quickly, consistently, and there's very little cleanup. The downside is that they usually require you to buy the manufacturer's pod packets (which can be expensive and may need to be ordered through specialty stores), and most of them only make one cup at a time.
French presses are inexpensive, durable, and they produce a strong cup of coffee for people that like a nice jolt of caffeine in the morning. The drawback is that they take a little bit of effort to use and the coffee they make can be a little bit "chewy" (meaning you'll find a few grounds in the bottom of the cup).
Single-Cup Coffee Filters
If you live in a really tiny space without room for a countertop coffee maker, or you tend to make coffee only for yourself, consider going the old-fashioned route and using a single-cup filter.
The upshot to Espresso makers is that they're higher-end products, so they're usually designed with lots of features and they look good. The problem is that most of them take up a lot of counter space and are only useful when you're making espresso drinks.
The Chemex is a manual drip coffee maker that uses paper filters to remove sludge and grounds. The hourglass design is included in the collections of MOMA and the Smithsonian. In terms of function, it allows every part of the coffee-making process to be controlled to make a high-quality cup. The main drawback is that it's time intensive; you have to devote several minutes to proper heating and pouring. We have one and we love it, but it can be a pain when you're tired and in a hurry.
Aeropress Coffee Makers
This is another good, inexpensive option for coffee aficionados. Faith from the Kitchn loves hers. Based on the French press model, it uses air pressure to create a strong cup, but solves the problem of chewy grinds by incorporating a small cap with a paper filter. Although it's marketed as a combination coffee and espresso maker, it's really better suited to regular coffee than espresso.
When it comes to coffee, there are tons of options for brewing beyond the ones listed above. Less common in the US, but preferred in other countries, are vacuum brewers (popular in Japan), Ibrik pots for making Turkish coffee, and the cloth filter Chorreador from Costa Rica.
For more recommendations and information about coffee beans, grinding, and brewing, check out some of our coffee coverage from Apartment Therapy, the Kitchn, and Unplggd.
• Search for Coffee Wares on Marketplace
• Coffee Brewing Posts from the Kitchn
• What is the Best Way to Make Coffee at Home? from the Kitchn
• 10 Best Looking Coffee Makers from Unplggd
• Best Coffee and Espresso Machines 2009 from Unplggd
• Top Ten Coffee Machines from Apartment Therapy
• The Best Coffee Grinder You Don't Know About from Apartment Therapy
Photo: FortyTwenty used under Creative Commons license