Choosing which coffee machine to buy is not a walk in the park. Moreover, there’s no simple answer to this question, as your choice will mainly depend on a multitude of factors; from the way you take your coffee and your coffee making skills all the way to how compact the machine is, how much you’re willing to spend, and much more!
CoffeeBitz is here to break down the types of coffee machines available on the market today. We will also cover all the critical aspects that you need to consider before buying a coffee machine, as well as provide a few coffee-lover recommendations. That said, consider this article as the ultimate guide to choosing a machine that will brew the perfect cup of coffee, just the way you want it!
Coffee Machine Types
There are several types of coffee machines that you can opt for. However, the two main types are espresso and filter coffee machines. Although the difference between each is self-explanatory to an extent, there are a few more facts and even subcategories of these coffee machine types that we are yet to discuss below.
Filter Coffee Machines
Not counting the French Press, filter coffee machines are the simplest coffee makers you will find. Not only are they simple in terms of build, but the coffee making process using them is exceptionally straightforward! There are several variants of these coffee machines – some which are not even machines to begin with – so you’ll often find them as drip coffee makers as well.
As the name suggests, to brew a delicious cup of coffee with a filter coffee machine, you will first need to place a paper filter in the designated basket, and fill it with your favorite coarse ground coffee. Then fill the designated container with water, and turn the machine on. That’s all there is to it! The machine will then heat up the water, causing it to drip through the filter thus filling the jug with delicious coffee.
- Straightforward preparation
- Great for preparing a bigger amount of coffee
- The machine, the filters, and the coffee are cheap
- There are even cheaper and simpler variants
- Preparation is rather slow
- It can make filter coffee only
Manual Lever Espresso Machines
According to a multitude of coffee-lovers, this machine brews the best quality espresso of them all. However, as we promised that after reading this article you should be able to choose the right coffee machine for you, we cannot go on without entirely describing the coffee making process using it.
Essentially, manual lever espresso machines are the ones that you see in coffee shops. That said, you’re probably already thinking how there’s no way that would fit in your kitchen. However, there are more compact, single serve variants which are specifically crafted to fit in anyone’s home. The coffee making process with them is entirely the same as the one of commercial espresso machines, only with the home ones, you have to make sure that the machine is filled with water. Then fill the group handle with fine ground coffee and tamp it to create a flat top. Finally, clip it into the group head, press the button, and wait for the espresso to start dripping. What’s more, you can use these home espresso machines to make any kind of coffee you want – from espresso shots to long and creamy coffee delights.
- Compact variants for at-home use
- Create any kind of coffee you want
- The best way to get a real espresso at home
- Commercial ones are bulky and pricey
- Some know-how is needed (e.g. tamping the coffee in the handle, setting up the pressure)
- Some at-home variants don’t allow making espresso and frothing milk at the same time
Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines
These coffee machines are by far the most sophisticated of them all when it comes to how they work; however, they are the simplest to operate, with literally zero fuss from pouring the beans to having your coffee in a few minutes. That said, it is expected that these are the most expensive ones on the market, costing more than the ones mentioned above together with some of the best coffee grinders. So, why are they so special?
Bean-to-cup coffee machines have a container for the beans, which are grained when needed. The machine also tamps the coffee automatically before delivering a cup of coffee after a click of a button. As the case is with manual espresso machines, these can also be used to create any kind of coffee. The ultimate bean-to-cup variants can automatically froth milk as well, and all you have to do is make sure there’s actually milk in the designated container. There are also cheaper versions where you can froth the milk on your own, but that implies the same learning curve you would face with manual espresso machines, at double the cost (at least). Finally, we should also mention that coffee-lovers swear that these machines cannot deliver anywhere near the quality of espresso that has dripped through a manual espresso machine.
- Exceptionally straightforward preparation
- No need to grind or buy ground coffee
- Cheaper variants have limited capabilities
Capsule Coffee Machines
The last coffee making machines on our list are becoming a rising trend among people who want a delicious cup of coffee without much – or any – fuss in the process. Some of the most famous ones which you have likely come across are Keurig coffee makers. Regardless of the brand you opt for, however, you can expect the same capabilities of a machine of the sort.
As their name suggests, capsule machines use coffee packed in specifically manufactured cartridges (capsules or ‘K-cups’ if you’re using a Keurig). All you have to do is place them into the machine, turn it on, and you will have a delicious cup of espresso in no time. Aside from being an exceptionally neat solution, there are some downsides to these machines. Some of them include the price of both the machine and the coffee capsules, as well as the fact that – unless you buy a more expensive one – you won’t be able to make any coffee other than espresso.
- Exceptionally tidy and fast coffee making
- No learning curve to use them
- Basic models are limited to making espresso only
- Both the machine and the capsules are expensive
We have broken down all the features that one should put into perspective before purchasing a coffee maker; from the time and skill it takes to prepare a cup of coffee with each, to the versatility of coffee you can prepare with them and pricing. Hopefully, the above description of the coffee maker types that are commonly found on the market will help you find the perfect one for you and your household. Good luck!