How To Pick a Coffee Maker? 

 July 2, 2016

By  Enda McLarnon

How to Pick a Coffee Maker In the UK for Your Needs - Useful Buyer's Guide

In this article I am going to offer you some advice on how to pick a coffee maker. This is something that very many people get completely wrong and they end up buying the wrong one for their needs.

I would recommend reading all of this article as I believe it will really help you out a lot. The first two questions you should always ask yourself are these. How much coffee do your drink and how fussy are you about how it tastes?

Some people like the odd cup of coffee and some people like to drink lots of it. There are also a variety of ways to make coffee, some are fast and convenient and others take a longer time.

So in many ways it will come down to your lifestyle, the time you have available and the quality of coffee that you prefer to drink.

Another key consideration is how many people will you be making coffee for. It could be just for yourself, for a couple, a family or you may like to entertain so for a larger group.

Finally the other thing you should consider is what type of brewed coffee you prefer. Some people like filter coffee and others prefer coffee that you get in coffee shops.

With filter brewing the grains are larger and water is passed over these larger grains. In coffee shops the grain is much finer and water is compressed and forced through the smaller grains.

Before buying any type of coffee maker, the one thing I would urge you to understand is the two main types of brewing method that coffee machines offer.

There are many ways to make coffee and these are normally known as the brewing method. I am going to include those below so as at least you know what types of coffee makers are on the market, and which brewing method they use.

There are two main brewing methods which are:

  1. Filter or Immersion method - this is where medium to coarse grains are flooded or immersed in hot water
  2. Espresso type brewing - this is where hot water is pressurised and then forced through a very fine grind

Different types of coffee makers will use those two different brewing methods.

Making Instant Coffee

Hampshire Coffee Co - House Blend No 1- Great Taste Award Winner

This is still by far the most popular method of making coffee in the UK. You buy a jar of coffee, put a teaspoon of it into a cup or mug, add hot water and bingo you have a cup of coffee.

You can then add milk, sugar or anything else you like and enjoy it.

Other than a kettle you need no brewing equipment. There are many brands who do this like Maxwell House, Nescafe, Douwe Egberts, Kenco, etc. They also do a variety of roasts and also offer decaf versions of coffee.

The beauty of this method is the simplicity. There is little work involved, you can experiment with different types and it is also not that expensive.

French Press or Cafeterie

VonShef 8 Glass French Press Cafetiere Coffee Maker

Another method is to use a French Press to make the coffee. This one still remains popular but back in the 70's and 80's it was a very popular choice.

This brewing method makes very strong coffee and buying a French Press is not an expensive option.

Typically these cost about £25 and you can buy them in different sizes. The disadvantages of these is that they need a little work, they also need to have a really good grind to avoid dust (dregs) at the bottom of the cup.

They also do not keep the coffee warm for that long. They are good however for those who like strong coffee and also good for entertaining groups of people. This is a filter type of brew.

You can read about the Best French Presses by clicking here.

Stove Top Espresso

stovetop espresso

This is a good basic method of making a high quality espresso. The French Press method above is classed as a filter method.

By using a stove top espresso you are now starting to move in to the area where you make really good quality espresso coffee.

This appliance is also easy to use as you simply add water and ground coffee and then place on the cooker until it has brewed.

These are not an expensive option and a good quality one will cost around £20. Again these are available in different sizes so ideal for personal use or for larger families.

Vacuum or Syphon Coffee Makers

Hario 1-Piece Glass 5-Cup Syphon Coffee Maker

These have started to grow in popularity and they do vary quite a bit in price. You can get them for around £25 for something like the Aeropress.

At the higher end a syphon coffee maker can set you back around £70. This price variation is down to the quality of glass and the brand you pick.

As you can see from the image this looks like a complex way to make coffee but it is not as difficult as it may first seem.

If you would like to find out how to use one of these then please click here for more information. The basic method means that you place water in the bottom, and when heat is applied, then the water is drawn up, through the coffee grains, and coffee is produced.

It is an interesting method to use and actually quite a fun process. However you should be aware that it can be quite time consuming. That would not be an ideal choice for some people.

There are many people who do prefer this method, but personally I find it just too laborious. This is also a filter type of brew.

You can read more about vacuum coffee makers by clicking here

Single Cup Coffee Makers

Best Single Cup Coffee Systems

These are another very popular coffee making option. They are ideal for someone living alone.

They also work well where there is really only one coffee drinker in a family home. Finally these can also be useful, for having in an office.

As the name would suggest these can make one cup of high quality coffee.

They are also relatively cheap to buy. For me these are worth considering, if you want something that is fast and simple.

Many buyers use these to make a quick cup of coffee in the morning, and they can take that cup with them for their journey. If you want to find out more about single cup coffee systems, then please click here. There you will find a more detailed article on the best types available in the UK market.

Full Range of Coffee Maker Machines

Many people make the decision to buy an actual coffee maker machine. These are now the preferred methods for making good high quality coffee at home.

Coffeemakers can range from a simple “plug it in, press the on button and it brews a cup of coffee” - to ones that set the water temperature from low to high and practically deliver a cup of it to you in another room (although not quite so advanced).

The type of coffeemaker that you pick will depend on what features you’re looking for. My advice is to get the best that you can afford. People never regret having options, but they always regret not having them.

So when you’re looking for a coffee maker, think of it as an investment that will pay you back in taste and enjoyment. Look for a coffeemaker that suits the amount of consumption you know you’ll use.

There’s no use in wasting even a cup of coffee if you know you only like one cup before you leave the house. As I mentioned earlier, you can get single cup coffee makers that can brew some pretty tasty coffee.

Look for coffeemakers that have the best features but won’t sacrifice convenience. Even the most elaborate features need to be easily operated. If you have to spend 8 hours figuring out the instruction booklet, it’s not going to feel like a value.

In the images below, you will find the most popular choices. Click on any of those links to find out more information, about each type.

The pod/capsule machines are extremely popular, as they make great coffee, without all the hassle. For those who want espresso and high quality coffee, then the "bean to cup" is the best choice.

Various Types of Coffee Machines & Makers

There are a few different types of coffee makers available on the UK market. We have shown the most popular ones just below.

There are coffee makers that will let you decide which strength of coffee taste you want based on the temperature is what you want to shop for. Fully programmable coffeemakers will let you set the time for it to start and many of them will store your preferred selections.

You want a coffeemaker that lets you set the temperature because this directly affects the taste of the coffee.

Hot water extracts more flavor from the coffee beans, but too much and it turns a bit bitter.Colder water creates a more mild coffee flavor, so if you like a more tame or bland flavor, then you’ll want your machine to have the ability to cool it off a little during the brewing process.

We have done a full coffee machine buying guide, which you can read here.

Summary of the Best Coffee Makers

At the end of the day it all comes down to your own individual choice. Some people will pick the coffee maker based on price, some on the actual brewing method, and some on the convenience and speed.

In many cases, it is simply a lifestyle choice. Personally I own a variety of these as I like to try different brewing methods. If in any doubt, I would recommend a pod style, as they make great tasting coffee, and they are quick and convenient. They are also very affordable.

Enda McLarnon

Enda McLarnon has a Business Management Honour's Degree and applies his professional insight, to analyse and write helpful product reviews with tips and useful advice. I am also a coffee lover and enjoy tasting all of the coffee types the world has to offer.

Enda McLarnon

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  1. Great post. My daughter is a coffee lover and she starts her day with a cup of coffee. This is her birthday month, so I am planning to give her something special. Thanks for your guide, it helps me to find a perfect coffee maker for her. Hope she likes it.

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