Most everyone needs their Starbucks (or other snazzy coffee house) fix once in awhile but if you’re shelling out money each day for favorite cup of joe it goes without saying you’re spending more money than you need to. Savings vary depending on the coffee you prefer, but in general you’ll save at least $2 to $3 everyday by making your coffee at home, which ends up saving you $1,000 or more each year.
Beyond the monetary factor, making your coffee at home provides offers other perks. You’ll save time, as you don’t need to stop and wait in line for coffee each day, and you’ll save miles driving back and forth to coffee houses. You’ll also enjoy the aroma of your favorite coffee every morning, which could make for a brighter day overall.
Types of Coffee Makers
To begin your search think about how much coffee you realistically drink so you can narrow down the type of machine you need based on your desired brew capacity. Also take note that some coffee makers take coffee grinds, while others take pre-packaged pods.
Single-Serve Coffee Makers – As the name suggests, these machines make a single serving of coffee at a time. They operate by forcing water through a small packet, either a hard shelled capsule or something resembling a softer tea bag capsule that holds the coffee grinds. They usually brew quickly and are small so they require minimal countertop space.
1- to 2-Mug Drip Coffee Makers – These are another smaller serving (often single serve) coffee option. Unlike single-serve machines, 1-to-2- Mug Drip models operate using either drip, meaning water goes through coffee grounds, or pod modes. They are seen as more desirable than single-serve because they don’t produce as much waste as single-serve models do with their capsules.
Drip Coffee Makers – The most popular type of coffee maker, drip machines require you fill a chamber with water, load coffee (usually grounds) into a filter basket, and hit a switch to heat the water and run it through the grounds and into the pot. They can make up to 12 cups of coffee at once and the industry leading lines will heat up to 195° to 205° F and require brewing for five to six minutes.
Dual-Design Coffee Makers – These machines offer you the flexibility to choose how much coffee you want to brew at once so you can rotate between a single cup and a full pot.
Some people swear the method you use to put your coffee beans into your machine makes a world of difference, while others just opt towards one holder type due to convenience. Your choices here are capsules, grounds, or pods. Note that some machines will let you switch back and forth between different types of coffee holders.
To help cater to all needs certain coffee machines allow you to make more upscale drinks you would find in a typical coffee shop. Machines with different beverage options typically cost more but they do give you the flexibility to make coffee that most closely resembles your coffee house go-to. Typical added beverage options include iced coffee, hot cocoa, tea, cappuccino, latte, and others.
Coffee Maker Features
Depending on the brand and model, coffee makers offer specific features that make brewing more convenience. Features can get very distinctive, but the most common features to look for are as follows:
- Pause and Serve Function – This feature allows you to pause to brewing process, usually to serve up a cup or two, and then return the pot to the machine so it can finish brewing. It’s more of a convenience option, but it can come in handy if you’re in a rush.
- Self-Serve Feature – Models with this feature hold brewed coffee inside the actual machine to keep it warmer. When you’re ready to fill your cup you simply press it into the machine, much like a cup to a soda fountain, and warm coffee is dispensed.
- Self-Clean Cycle – Coffee makes need to be cleaned in one way or another and a self-clean cycle offers an automatic, hassle-free way to do just that. Cleaning most machines won’t take that long anyways, but a self-clean cycle, which often automatically alerts you when it’s time to use it ensure the job is done right and your coffee never tastes tarnished.
- Built-in Grinders – If you coffee maker takes grinds, you’ll need to convert beans to grinds or simply purchase pre-grinded beans. While pre-grinded sounds ideal, the catch is that the closer to brew time you grind your beans, the better your coffee will take. You can choose to buy a separate ginder and get similar freshness as a built-in one, but coffee makers that have them already installed make grinding as easy as the press of a button and ensure you only grind as much as you need each time.
- Brew Controls – Various controls allow you to brew your ideal cup of coffee. Standard controls allow you to adjust both the strength and the temperature.