7 Questions to Ask When Buying a Coffee Machine for Home
Coffee makers have evolved tremendously from the Ibrik (the original Turkish coffee brewer) to the smart Wi-Fi coffee machines that we enjoy today. The availability of so many variations of coffee machines can make it quite intimidating to choose a model that best fits your needs. That shouldn’t be the case, though!
Whether you are a first-time buyer or you are looking to add another unit to your coffee game, here are the 7 questions that you need to answer before arriving at your perfect brewer!
1. What type of coffee machine do you want?
Coffee makers come in different variations, including drip, espresso, and combination. Each of these categories has its followers and a couple of reasons why you might want to choose them.
Drip coffee machines
These machines are perhaps the most popular at the moment. Just as the name suggests, they make coffee by letting near-boiling water drip over grounds held in a filter. If you prefer high caffeine with each brew, consider a drip coffee maker.
Another hallmark of drip coffee machines is that they are well suited to bring out the specific tastes, flavors, and aromas of different types of coffee beans. Actually, most single-origin beans are classified as drip coffee for this reason.
If you are a fan of milk-based coffee drinks, an espresso machine is one of the tools that you need at home as a coffee lover. These appliances are engineered to brew a high concentrate of black coffee, which is then used as a base for creating specialty drinks, such as cappuccino, Americano, macchiato, mocha, and café latte.
Combo (drip and espresso) machines
Combination machines are purposely meant for those of us who are caught in between black and milk-based coffee drinks. Besides offering the best of both worlds, these units eliminate the need for purchasing 2 separate units, thereby saving on cost and space.
2. Grounds, pods, or both?
Coffee machines can also be categorized into those that primarily use coffee grounds and others that are pod-based.
Pod coffee machines are preferred due to their convenience and consistency. When you are late for work and can’t afford to start measuring grounds, throw in a coffee pod, and your cup will be ready in a minute or two. On the downside, pods are pricier in the long run besides being unfriendly to the environment.
Ground coffee machines, on the other hand, are better if you prefer freshly ground coffee. The only caveat is that your coffee is heavily dependent on your brewing skills, grinding skills (in the case of bean-to-cup), and the quality of the roast.
If you are intrigued by the convenience of pod coffee machines but would like to develop your brewing skills down the road, a coffee maker that combines these 2 styles might be preferable.
3. What is its capacity?
Most coffee machines hold water in an onboard reservoir from which they draw the necessary amount required for each brew size. Depending on the model, the water tank may vary in size ranging from 40 ounces to 72 ounces and even more.
If the machine will be serving a couple of coffee enthusiasts, a machine that does not require regular refills may be necessary. On the other hand, if you are the only one who will be using it, and you only need 1-2 cups of coffee per sitting, a model with a small tank will suffice.
4. What type of carafe does it use, glass or thermal?
If you are eyeing a drip coffee machine, the type of carafe is something else that you’ll want to consider. Coffee machines with glass pots are relatively cheaper than their thermal carafe alternatives. These units have a hotplate that holds your coffee warm for some minutes or hours. Their major drawback is that constantly heating the coffee makes it go stale fast.
Thermal carafes, on the other hand, don’t rely on a heating plate since the design of the pot itself is enough to keep its contents warm. On the downside, these machines are pricier, and the carafe can’t go in the dishwasher.
5. Can you customize your brew?
If you are a real coffee connoisseur, being able to control how strong or hot your brew comes out is priceless. While some coffee machines are fully automatic and don’t offer any degree of customization, others will allow you to set your preferred temperature as well as the strength of the brew. If you are going after an espresso machine with a frother, you might also want to check out whether the frothing system allows you to customize the amount of foam and temperature of froth.
6. What extra features does it come with?
Coffee makers also differ a lot when it comes to extra features. While most of these are not a must-have, they go a long way in making your coffee-brewing process easy and enjoyable. Here are some of the features that you may want in your coffee machine;
Brew pause- this is a time-saving feature that lets you grab a cup of coffee when you can’t wait for the full carafe to brew.
Programmable clock- if you prefer waking up or coming home to a sizzling hot carafe of coffee, this is a feature that your ideal coffee machine shouldn’t miss.
Auto shutoff- during those rushed mornings when you forget to switch off the coffee maker, this feature will do that for you, thereby eliminating the risk of fire. Super helpful!
7. Is it easy to clean?
Coffee machines are different. Some have a self-cleaning function that takes this hassle off your shoulders. However, others will require you to disassemble a plethora of small parts and follow a cleaning routine after each use. A machine that is easy to clean means that you have more time enjoying your coffee and less time cleaning it- and that’s the joy of pretty much all coffee lovers.
A coffee maker is quintessential if you want to cut down on the amount of money that you spend at your local coffee shop. The best part is that there is a perfect coffee machine out there waiting for you regardless of your budget. So, use the points in this list to narrow down to your ideal machine, set a budget, and go for the coffee maker that best fits your criteria.