Brewing coffee in a cezve is correct, but in a hurry it is not always possible to follow the process, and often the drink ends up on the stove. The preparation process is much easier if there is an automatic coffee maker. There are several types of coffee makers that use different methods of preparing the drink. As a result, you can choose a model that suits your taste and habits. In addition to taste, it is worth paying attention to the complexity and duration of the cooking process. There are models in which you only need to press the start button, there are those in which you need to measure the coffee powder, stack and press it, there is something in between, where the finished portion is fed into the machine. Let’s consider how to choose a coffee maker for the home, taking into account the entire set of technical parameters.
Geyser coffee machine
This type of coffee maker has been known for a long time, and Italians prepare coffee in geyser coffee makers. They consist of three parts. There is a water tank below, a strainer is inserted into it, into which ground coffee is placed and pressed, and a container with a handle and a spout is wound on top, into which the finished drink flows. A filter is built into the bottom of the coffee pot, which prevents coffee particles from entering the finished drink. Both the strainer and the upper part – the coffee pot – have an empty tube inside for the movement of water vapor. This is the trick of this system.
The geyser coffee maker can be electric, with heating elements built into the lower part, or it can be ordinary, then it must be placed on the burner. It produces excellent espresso-type coffee – thick, with a pronounced taste and aroma, which are determined by the type of coffee and its grinding. But it is worth considering that the geyser coffee maker is designed for 2-8 cups of coffee of 50 ml each. So it will not be possible to drink coffee from your favorite half-liter cup. But for connoisseurs of strong coffee who drink it in small quantities, this is an excellent choice.
The principle of operation and disadvantages
The geyser coffee maker system works simply: the water in the lower part begins to boil, which is formed in the process of steam, which passes through the filter with coffee, absorbs the taste and smell of ground beans. Getting into the upper chamber, the steam condenses, turning into thick and aromatic coffee. As you can see, the process is simple, but you need to catch the moment and turn off or remove the coffee maker from the heat before the coffee starts to boil. The signal that the drink is ready is a characteristic noise. As soon as they heard it, the coffee was ready. If you overdo it a little, the drink becomes too bitter.
Coffee is poured into cups (carefully, tilting the coffee pot little by little), after which the used powder is thrown away, all parts are rinsed with clean running water. Italians say that you can’t wash the coffee machine with detergents, because their smell remains and spoils the coffee. Therefore, it is better to wash it immediately and only under running water.
There are three disadvantages of a geyser coffee maker: the need to refill it every time, a small capacity, and the need for regular maintenance (it must be washed immediately after use).
One more point: it is not possible to adjust the strength of the coffee without losing the quality of the drink. The strainer should be filled with ground coffee completely, tamping well with a spoon. At the same time, the steam passes through the compacted coffee powder slowly, the drink turns out to be very aromatic and rich. If you pour less coffee, you will not achieve this quality of taste. For those who do not like strong coffee, the solution is to brew strong coffee and dilute it with hot water or use a finer powder.
The design of the geyser coffee maker is simple, there is no reason to break it. The filter, strainer, or tubes for steam flow may be clogged. All this is simply eliminated. The filter on the coffee maker can be cleaned with a swab soaked in alcohol, and scale and other salts that can clog the pipes are removed by boiling the parts of the coffee maker in a solution of vinegar. Only after the procedure will you have to “boil water” many times: pour purified water into an empty coffee maker, wait until it “bubbles”, rinse. This operation is repeated again and again until the smell disappears.
The geyser coffee maker produces very good coffee and takes very little time for brewing/service. It’s not a machine, but it takes up a minimum of space, and it’s very affordable for the price.
Drip (filter) coffee maker
A home drip coffee maker is an option for those who consume coffee in large quantities and drink it throughout the day. Such coffee makers are designed for 8-12 cups of 80 ml each. So, at one time, you can brew from half a liter to a liter of drink, which can already be enough for several people. If the drink is prepared with a reserve to drink it within several hours, it is convenient for the container with the ready coffee to be heated. Just keep in mind that you will not get a strong, thick and very aromatic drink. Not the same principle of operation.
Principle of operation
The device of a drip coffee maker is more complicated than a geyser, but there are no special “bells and whistles”. Outwardly, all units of this type look approximately the same: a case with a beggar, into which a container for ready coffee is inserted.
This system works like this:
- The body of the drip coffee maker has a hatch into which water is poured. Before starting work, add 1.2-1.4 liters of water here.
- Through another cover, we get access to the filter into which the ground coffee is placed.
- When the unit is turned on, water is fed through a thin tube into a container with a heater, which is usually located in the lower part of the housing. The heater has enough power to bring water to a boil in a matter of seconds.
- The steam formed during boiling rises up the second tube. The tube runs along the cold water tank. Steam passing through it loses its initial temperature.
- The steam condenses in the upper part of the unit in the form of liquid drops with a temperature of 95-92°C.
- Drops fall into the filter with coffee. Water, passing through the powder, dissolves the components of ground coffee.
- At the output of the filter, we get a ready-made drink, which falls into the container.
This is how coffee is prepared in a drip coffee maker. But it must be remembered that from the moment of start to filling the container with the finished drink, more than half an hour passes. If you are used to drinking coffee only with your eyes open, buy a unit with a timer that will start the process earlier and by the time you wake up you will already have a whole pot of invigorating drink. Yes, by the way, the option to drink 100 ml of freshly “drip” coffee is not the best. All because at first the unit has not yet warmed up and the coffee drips very weakly.
If you like coffee-based drinks with added milk or cream, when choosing a drip coffee maker, look for a model with a cappuccino maker.
Cappuccinator – a device for emulsifying milk (whipping foam) for preparing espresso-based drinks: cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato.
Models with a cappuccino maker are much more expensive and require more careful maintenance, but the drink is richer.
Disadvantages and advantages
The main advantage of a drip coffee maker is that it can make a whole liter of coffee. Even two liters, if it is a double model for two jugs (there are such). Another plus is the low price. The cheapest coffee makers of this type can be purchased for $20-70 (for 800 ml of ready-made drink). These are the simplest models that do not have any adjustments. The most expensive cost about $700, but these are models with the ability to connect to a water supply and a water preparation system. A good drip coffee maker for home costs about $120-180. There is already regulation of the amount of water, control of coffee strength.
The disadvantages of drip coffee makers are as follows:
- The need to change the filter in which the coffee is placed. It can be disposable paper, or reusable. The first ones are convenient because it is easier to clean the machine after use – just throw away the filter together with the used coffee. But you need a supply of filters, and they are not very cheap. Reusable filters last a week or more, but must be emptied and washed after each use.
Not all models allow you to adjust the strength of the drink being prepared. Only some inexpensive models have this option.
- The quality of the coffee depends not only on the grind and the coffee beans, but also on how well you tamped the coffee in the filter. This wisdom also needs to be learned.
- To improve the quality of the drink, the water poured into the tank passes through a filter before being fed into the heating tank. This filter needs to be changed after 80 boiling cycles, which again costs money.
- Coffee containers are often thick glass and can break, and if the model is discontinued, it is problematic to find a new container. By the way, there are models not with glass containers, but with metal ones, and with double walls, which allows you to store a hot drink for a long time.
In general, not the worst disadvantages, but you should know about them. If we talk about the best coffee makers, then you should look for them among popular brands: Braun, Rowenta, Moulinex, Philips, Siemens, Krups, Tefal, Ufesa, Clatronics, Unit, Kenwood, etc. But the main thing, remember, if you want to choose a coffee machine to brew espresso at home, this type is not suitable for you. These devices are not for gourmets.
Capsule and cone coffee makers
There are two different types of electric coffee makers — capsule and cone, but the principle of making coffee is the same. The water is heated to boiling and in this form is fed into the brewing device. Boiling water is served through narrow tubes, which allows it to be served at low pressure (up to 5-8 Atm), which improves the quality of the finished drink. This is really tasty and aromatic coffee. If you love coffee, enjoy its aroma and taste, you should choose a coffee maker from this category.
The difference between capsule and cone coffee makers is how coffee is loaded into the machine.
- In capsule machines, a capsule with ground coffee sealed inside is inserted into a special slot. After starting, the device pierces the capsule, feeding boiling water into it.
- Horn coffee makers have a special removable device – a horn, into which coffee is placed and tamped. It must be done manually. Therein lies the difficulty, as it requires certain skills. In some models, you can insert capsules into this horn, in others – pour only ground coffee.
Further, the process of preparing the drink is the same: hot water is passed through the coffee in a thin stream. First, the water is poured into the cold water tank, then it is fed into the container for heating, after which it already passes through the coffee. This type of home coffee maker is a reliable assistant for connoisseurs of good drinks.
Which home coffee maker is better: capsule or cone? See for yourself. Ground coffee should be loaded into the cone and rammed. It takes time. In addition, a certain skill is required when filling, and the quality of the resulting drink depends on how correctly you filled the horn. The coffee must be of a certain grind (the strength of the drink depends on it), it must be measured in a certain amount, and well compacted. Experience comes with time, and at first the quality of the drink may not be very good. After preparing the drink, the same horn must be emptied and rinsed. Again it takes time. Everything is easier if you can load coffee tablets into the horn, but this option is not available in all models.
A household capsule coffee maker works only on capsules. You open the compartment, place the coffee capsule in a certain way. After making the drink, take out the used capsule and send it to the trash. This is the end of your participation. Plus: the quality of the brewed coffee is always stable, the taste is determined by the coffee that is “filled” in the capsule, time consumption is minimal, no special skills are required.
Cons are also present. The first is that you are tied to a set of capsules produced by the machine manufacturer. They specially make them in a unique shape, so it is unlikely to work out using capsules from another company. The second disadvantage is that capsules cost twice as much as ground coffee.
So decide for yourself which coffee maker is better for you – a carafe or a capsule. Everyone will have their own answer. But when choosing a horn coffee maker, try to find a model with a horn made of metal, not plastic. In units with a metal horn, the coffee is stronger with a rich aroma, as the powder warms up better. The same powder placed in a plastic cone often produces a liquid sour drink.
Useful additional functions
In addition to choosing the type of electric coffee maker, it is also worth looking at what additional functions they may have. There are useful and not so useful settings that are equipped with different types of units. You can find the following additional functions:
- Delayed start. This is an opportunity to delay the activation for several hours. The minimum term is 1 hour, the maximum is 24 hours. The function is useful because you can set a delay so that you have hot coffee before you even get out of bed. This option is popular with many manufacturers, and is found even in cheap electric geyser coffee makers.
- The ability to adjust the amount of water in one portion of coffee helps to control the strength of the resulting drink.
- Built-in coffee grinder. Some coffee machines can be filled not only with ground coffee, but also with grain. They have a built-in coffee grinder. If you already take such a model, then make sure that it has the ability to adjust the grind.
- Adding whipped milk. Coffee machines in which coffee is prepared under pressure (corn, capsule) can be equipped with a device for killing milk. It is added to coffee-based drinks – cappuccino, macchiato, etc.
- Anti-drip system – protection against leakage. To prevent coffee from dripping and contaminating the coffee machine in the absence of a cup on the stand, there is a special system that shuts off the supply of liquid.
- Removable drip tray. If something is spilled, it will be easy to clean up. Removing and rinsing the tray is much easier than washing the entire unit.
In general, the list of additional features is constantly expanding. One of the novelties is a smart coffee maker that can be controlled from a smartphone. Whether you need this option or not is up to you, but so far the choice of models is not the largest.