Best Rated Coffee Makers – The Ultimate Guide
How to find the Best Rated Coffee Makers
Coffee makers come in all shapes and sizes and it can be a daunting task to figure out which one is the best for your particular needs. Before you decide which one you want to purchase, you need to decide what type of coffee you like such as just plain filter coffee or rather an espresso or cappuccino. This will determine which coffee maker will be the most suitable for you.
Coffee Maker Comparison Table
To take away some of the guess work, we’ve put together this handy comparison table of the best rated coffee makers. These are a few of the highest rated coffee makers currently on the market. It will give you a good indication of what you can expect to pay for a decent coffee machine. There are also various brands to consider.
To determine the best rated coffee makers comparison table we referenced the latest customer reviews, offering their insights and experiences of the machines. The prices give an approximate guide to the retail price at the time of the review:
$ = Under $50
$$ = Under $100
$$$ = Under $300
$$$$ = Under $500
$$$$$ = $500 and over
Types of Coffee Makers:
The French Press is the most basic manual coffee maker for filter coffee. French presses consist of a glass container with a wire filter attached to the plunger. They’re ideal if you just want to make a few cups because you can use an exact amount of filter coffee per cup. They’re also great value and look very stylish on your dining room table! Very handy to have around for a quick cuppa instead of waiting for a machine to do the work.
Drip or Filter Coffee Makers
If ease of use and convenience is a major criteria for your purchase of a coffee maker, then a filter coffee machine will be ideal for you. Water drips at a controlled speed through ground coffee beans to infuse the flavours, that’s why they are also referred to as Drip Coffee Makers. Drip or Filter Coffee Makers usually have hot plates and thermos to keep the coffee hot.
Models use either permanent or paper filters. Permanent filters save you money but they can be messy to clean and can taint after a while. Paper filters are more hygienic, you can simply throw it away after use.
Single Serve Coffee Makers
Some filter coffee makers use a ‘pod’ system. These pods resemble ‘tea bags’. The foil-encased pods produce a single cup of coffee without any mess. The pod system creates a balance between a simplistic filter machine and a complicated espresso machine.
Be aware that some pod systems use an exclusive brand of pods, where others are interchangeable.You might prefer the taste of a certain brand, which would then be fine to purchase an exclusive machine. But if you aren’t that fussy, the machines that can use interchangeable pods can be more convenient when you are buying the pods.
This is one of the most popular pod systems
The coffee is blended, roasted, ground and then hermetically sealed in capsules or pods that stay fresh for up to nine months. They’re available by mail order or online. The advantage of this system is that it’s an easy way to make “fancy” coffee that tastes similar to a cappuccino. No messy filter holders to clean, no spillage of coffee granules – and the coffee tastes great! The downside is that you are tied to the supplier’s range of coffees, but there’s quite an extensive range of coffees to choose from.
It would almost seem that percolators work upside down. Ground coffee is placed into a holder at the top, water in the bottom. Once the water reaches boiling point, it is forced up a vertical tube then over and through the filter, with the brewed coffee settling in the bottom of the jug.
There’s often a glass dome at the top so you can see how dark the coffee becomes, determining the strength that you prefer. Percolators are ideal for those who want to vary the strength of their filter coffee, though some coffee aficionados consider the quality of the coffee to not be as good as some other methods. Read our guide to the best coffee percolators here.
Espresso and Cappuccino Makers
Espresso and cappuccion machines are some of the best rated coffee makers and are steam driven that produce very strong coffee. Espresso coffee is much richer and more concentrated than filter coffee and is the base for a cappuccino or latte. There are two basic types of espresso machines with pump machines being the more expensive type.
Water is boiled in a chamber, building up pressure and steam. Eventually enough pressure is built up and it forces the boiling water through to the ground coffee. The steam can then also be used to froth the milk. A drawback of this system is that the water used can be too hot to make an authentic espresso. When the water is too hot, it will burn the coffee, giving it a very bitter taste. Make sure you check the bar pressure, if it is not powerful enough you won’t be able to make a good espresso.
More expensive than pressure machines, pump machines have a separate tank and a thermostatically-controlled boiler with a ‘Thermoblock’ system that heats up the water to between 185-197°F (85-92°C) – the ideal temperature for making coffee. The water is then forced through to the coffee holder at the correct bar pressure. Espresso coffee is made by using finely ground coffee, much finer than filter coffee. Some pump machines also use a pod system.
Moka pots or stove top espresso makers, are an alternative to espresso coffee makers. They are also referred to as a “macchinetta”, Italian for “little machine” or “caffettiera”. Their use of pressure and steam to complete the brewing process makes them similar to espresso machines prior to the 1948 Gaggia.
They produce coffee with an extraction ratio similar to conventional espresso machines. Depending on the bean variety and grind selection, Moka pots can create crema, the same foam emulsion that espresso machines produce.
Bean to Cup
For the ultimate coffee experience at home, bean-to-cup coffee machines provide you with a sophisticated espresso – and they’re also wonderfully easy to use.
Fresh beans are ground and used to make espresso on demand, giving you a truly fresh coffee. Many of these machines are completely automatic: add water to the tank, pour milk into a dedicated container and fill the coffee bean hopper. Then simply press the button for your coffee, the machine grinds the beans, dispenses your coffee and froths the milk. Voilà, a cappuccino in seconds!
Several higher-end machines also have cup warming facilities that gently warm your mug; this ensures the delicate espresso coffee does not experience a sharp change in temperature when hitting the cup.
Bean-to-cup machines are pricier than traditional coffee makers, and sometimes can be slightly noisier while grinding beans and producing the coffee. Nonetheless, the level of noise produced for a brief moment is definitely bearable to enjoy the superior espressos produced. An investment, but well worth it if you want to upgrade from a filter machine.
Most coffee machines use ground coffee. You can buy a packet of pre-grounded coffee, but the quality is lower than buying beans and grinding them as needed. A good coffee grinder is an important investment. The grinder will ensure that you use the correct coffee grind size for the type of coffee you want.
Basically like an old school pestle and mortar these grind beans more evenly.
There are two types: wheel or conical burrs
Wheel grinders simply spin very fast and can be a little noisy.
The more expensive conical burr grinders spin more slowly, they tend to clog less and are also quieter.
If you like a more hands on experience, you can also consider a manual grinder. The trick with a coffee grinder, is to know when to stop for the various coffee bean grind sizes. When you start using your grinder, it’s advised to rather grind the coffee in short spurts, frequently checking to see how fine the coffee is grounded. After a while you will become more accustomed to the sound of the grinder changing as the beans are grinded to powder form.
Which Coffee Grind should I use?
It is important to make sure that you use the right coffee grind size for the different kinds of machines. If you use a course grind for a filter machine, the system will get clogged up and soon your machine will start giving problems. The first sign of problems will be when the coffee starts tasting too weak.
Below is a guide to which coffee grind is suitable for some popular types of coffee makers:
- Coarse: for percolators or french press
- Medium: flat-bottomed filter machines
- Fine: cone filter machines
- Extra Fine: espresso and cappuccino makers