Buying an Automatic-Drip Coffeemaker
- Choose a type of carafe.Coffeemakers with a glass carafe sit on a hot plate to keep the coffee warm, while those with a thermal carafe don't require such a device, which can end up scorching the coffee. Not all thermal carafes are created equal, so read reviews to find one that will keep coffee hot for the time period you need.
- Decide how much coffee you need to brew at once.Most carafes hold 12 cups, or 60 ounces, of coffee, but smaller-sized carafes and larger 14-cup models are also available.
- Consider the brew temperature and time of the coffeemaker.Coffee experts say that a brewing temperature of 195 � 205 degrees F (90 - 96 degrees C) and a brewing time of about 5 minutes are necessary for a flavorful cup of joe.
- Compare coffeemaker features to decide which are worth the added expense.
- A programmable timer allows you to start brewing before you get up in the morning.
- A pause-and-serve features stops the brewing process when you pull the carafe out and pour a cup mid-brew.
- Some coffeemakers let you adjust the brew strength.
- A built-in grinder can simplify the coffee making process. A burr grinder that crushes the coffee beans is more expensive, but may yield a better tasting cup of coffee.
- A small-batch setting adjusts the brew process to maintain the flavor when you only need to make a half pot or less.
- You won't have to worry about turning off the coffeemaker with an automatic shutoff.
- Look for a coffeemaker that's easy to use and clean.
- The filter basket should be removable.
- Some coffeemakers include a reusable filter, so you don't have to buy paper filters.
- The water level gauge should be easy to read.
- A cleaning indicator light lets you know when it's time to remove mineral deposits that can slow down the brew cycle.
Buying an Automated Espresso Machine
- Look for an espresso maker with a burr grinder that can finely grind the beans.Experts say a blade grinder cannot grind the beans finely enough for espresso.
- Invest in a pump-driven machine, rather than a steam-driven model, to achieve the precise water temperature and pressure.For perfect espresso, the machine should heat the water to precisely 195 degrees F (90 degrees C) and deliver a shot of espresso in about 20 seconds, with the hallmark �-inch crema (foam) on top.
- Compare features on an espresso maker.
- A detachable water reservoir makes it easier to use.
- A removable drip tray makes it easier to clean.
- A cup warmer is a nice convenience.
- Expect an espresso machine with metal components to last longer than plastic parts.
- Consider a pod coffeemaker, rather than an automatic-drip coffeemaker, if you only need to brew one cup at a time, or occupants of your household don't like the same type of coffee. Most of these devices require purchasing individual "pods" of coffee, which drives the per-cup cost up, especially if you need to use 2 to get the brew strength you like.
- A few coffeemakers hold the brewed coffee inside of a reservoir, rather than a carafe, and dispense one hot cup at a time.