With all the hundreds of different drip coffee makers (or filter coffee machines) on the market, how do you choose the best one that suits your needs? Here are a few tips:
You need to look at the space you have available in your kitchen or office, and then check the dimensions of the coffee machine to make sure that it will fit. Look at the water reservoir, and make sure that you can fill the machine without having to maneuver the whole thing out from under a shelf in order to add water.
Type of pot
Thermal pot or glass pot on a warming plate? A thermal pot keeps the coffee warm and saves you from having to decant into another pot. If you drink your coffee soon after you brew, a warming plate is fine, but it can tend to “cook” the brewed coffee, which causes the taste to deteriorate quickly.
How many cups will you want to brew at a time? Is it for the office, for family (especially if you entertain at home a lot), or for personal use? Do you want a single cup brewer (if you live on your own, or just want a quick brew), a twin cup (ideal for the couple on the move), or a multi-cup machine? Filter Coffee makers come in so many varieties that you will easily find one that suits your needs best.
Speed of brew
Some machines have a higher wattage, which means that the water gets heated and pumped through quicker. However, a faster brew may affect the taste.
Ease of cleaning
Can you detach the permanent filter and wash it thoroughly? What about the filter housing? This is an important factor because if you cannot clean the filter assembly, coffee oils will build up and your brews will deteriorate as the taste of rancid oil washes through. A good coffee maker will allow you to detach the filter and filter housing to give a good clean and will give you access to the water spouts, which can get dirty from splashing.
Gold filters are best because they are the easiest to clean. Nylon filters can absorb taste after a period, so need to be replaced. If there is no permanent filter, you will need to get good-quality filter paper that has no residual chemicals to flavor the coffee.
Do you want a simple plug-in and brew? Do you really need to have a timer set? How much automation do you need or want?
Filter Coffee Maker Extras
Some machines have built-in grinders; some have steam nozzles for frothing milk. Some are straightforward brewing machines. It really all depends on how you want your coffee!