How to choose the best coffeemaker

Jammie McClure

How you make your choice should depend on your lifestyle and the type coffeemaker you prefer and how many cups of coffee you drink in the morning. If you drink a lot of coffee, or have a number of people in your family who drink coffee, you would likely be more suited to a large 10 to 12 cup drip coffee maker. Then you can brew up an entire pot at once, and everyone can get their own coffee. It can take several minutes to brew an entire pot of coffee, but its usually the most efficient way to brew for a group. For a few cups at a time, a single-serve machine might suit you better. They are designed to brew one cup at a time, so you just brew each cup as you want it. Using pressure, they are faster than the drip machines so they are ideal for anyone who is perpetually in a hurry. But you do pay for this convenience. Single-serve machines don't take the usual ground coffee like the drip machines do. They only operate with their own style of coffee pods, and that will cost you more and limit your options when buying coffee.

Machines like the My Cafe and the Senseo take very simple pods that are not too costly, but machines like the Keurig have much more sophisticated pods with a higher price tag. Some of these pod machines can also make tea or even hot chocolate, which is another plus if you like a variety of drinks. For the true coffee-lovers, there are machines that will turn your kitchen into your own private Starbucks. You can get commercial grade coffee makers that have integrated bean grinders, and that even have espresso capabilities. They can be very complex, but yet completely automated for easy brewing. Some will even dump out the used coffee grounds so you don't have to get your fingers dirty. If you prefer to go a simpler route, you can bypass the machines altogether and brew your coffee in a French press (also called a plunger pot). It's just a cannister with a mesh plunger inside. You mix hot water and your coffee grounds, then push the plunger. The mesh strains out the grounds, and you pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee. No features, no gimmicks, and no handy gadgets. Many say they do make the best cup of coffee though.

When you're choosing the best coffee maker for your needs, you will want to think about cost, features and overall brewing style. Not all machines are going to fit in every family, so don't just buy the first brewer you find.

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