The first decision is whether or not to purchase an electric coffee maker. This might seem an odd decision to have to make, particularly to younger people who don't know there are coffee makers that use stovetops or simply boiling water. Most people are going to choose an electric coffee maker. Those who don't are most likely already familiar with the French press and stove top percolators. A French press uses boiling water mixed with coarse coffee grounds to make one or two cups of coffee. These specialized cups or makers use a plunger to hold the coffee grounds underneath while the coffee is poured out after it has steeped for as long as necessary to make the coffee. Percolators are old fashioned coffee pots that are used on stove tops. In later years they were also electric versions. The coffee is placed in a metal basket that sits on top of a tube. The pot is filled with cold water and then placed over heat. As the water heats it is forced up the tube and over the coffee grounds. The coffee drips through the metal filter basket and into a chamber below. These aren't used as much today as in years past; however, campers often keep one for use over the campfire. Electric coffee makers are the most popular types of coffee makers today and the main decisions that have to be made involve the features and whether or not a full coffee pot is needed or a single serve brewer is the best choice.
Single people or families who only drink one or two cups occasionally might be better served with a single cup brewer while large families or heavy coffee drinkers might prefer a full size coffee maker. Automatic timers are another optional feature on coffee makers that allow the coffee maker to be preset to brew. These coffee makers allow individuals to wake up to a fresh pot of coffee without having to wait for it to brew. These types of coffee makers typically also have automatic turnoff features to power the coffee maker off after a certain amount of time. Coffeemakers can also be purchased that have built-in coffee grinders. These are especially useful for people who prefer to grind their own coffee beans. The machine has a coffee bean hopper that dispenses a predetermined amount of coffee beans into the grinder and then into the coffee filter basket. These coffeemakers are ideal for making exceptionally fresh coffee due to using fresh coffee beans. There are also coffee makers that are designed for use in the microwave. These are typically one or two cup coffee makers that have a filter basket inside a microwave safe container. Once the water boils and is allowed to steep for a few minutes the coffee is ready to drink. These are ideal for dorms or for keeping in office desks.