The Best Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine
There’s no denying that America has a love affair with caffeine. Millions of people start their day with a cup of coffee, and on those mornings when it’s especially hard to get the engine started, many opt for a cup of espresso.
Brewing a cup of coffee or a cup of espresso may seem like a simple task, but the truth is, while filling up a coffee or espresso machine with grinds and water may be easy, you need a great machine to get a great tasting cup of coffee or espresso.
Go to any store or visit any website that sells appliances and you’ll find a plethora of coffee makers and espresso machines available. Heck, you can even find onefor sale at drug stores. With so many options available, how do you weed through them to separate the ones that make less than mediocre cups of java or espresso from the ones that will brew cups that taste like heaven in a cup?
If you’ve been drinking coffee or espresso that does nothing more than give you a little pick-me-up, then you’ve come to the right place. The information in this handy guide will provide you with useful information regarding these nifty machines, and will also help you find the appliances that will brew the best-tasting cups of coffee or espresso.
The Purpose of this Guide
You’ve decided that you are tired of drinking a cup of coffee or espresso that does nothing more than give you a jolt of energy in the morning (or afternoon, or whenever you need it). You want to drink a cup of coffee or espresso that tastes as delicious as it smells when it is brewing.
With so many different models on the market, all with different features, picking the one that will best meet your needs can be a pretty daunting challenge. With the information provided in this buyer’s guide, you’ll be able to eliminate any confusion and get right down to buying the best coffee maker or espresso machine.
What is a Coffee Maker?
As the name suggests, a coffee maker is a countertop or an under-the-counter appliance that is designed to brew automatically brew coffee. Coffee grounds are placed into a filter basket and water is poured into a water reservoir. Once the machine is turned on and the brew process begins, the water is heated and poured through the filter basket, extracting the oils, flavors and other components of the ground coffee beans; in other words, the grounds are brewed into coffee. The brewed coffee passes down into a carafe, which can either be made of glass or insulated stainless steel.
What is an Espresso Machine?
An espresso machine turns ground coffee beans into coffee with hot water; however, the process between brewing coffee and espresso differs in the way that the water is passed over the coffee beans. In an espresso machine, the water is pressurized and is then forcefully pushed through a ‘puck’, where the ground coffee is stored, and a filter. The process produces a very dense form of coffee that we know as espresso.
Types of Coffee Makers
There are four basic types:
- Drip Coffee Makers – These are among the most popular on the market. They can be programmed, which allows them to brew coffee while you sleep. They also can brew coffee into a glass carafe or an insulated stainless steel carafe.
- Single Serve Coffee Maker – As the name suggests, these machines brew one cup of coffee at a time. They are great if you only drink a little coffee, or if there are several people who drink different varieties of coffee in your home.
- Percolator Coffee Maker – These have been used for centuries to make coffee. They brew in the simplest form, creating a very robust pot.
- Grind and Brew Coffee Makers – If you enjoy freshly ground coffee, you’ll love a grind and brew coffee maker. These machines grind the coffee beans right before they are brewed, creating a super fresh pot of coffee.
Types of Espresso Machines
There are three basic types of espresso machines:
- Manual Espresso Machines – These machines date back to 1947, when they first came onto the market. They feature a spring piston, or a lever action and they can pre-infuse the water to give maximum flavor.
- Automatic Espresso Machines – With the touch of a button, grinding, boiling and brewing, and even cleaning, will be done! In approximately 30 seconds, you’ll have a freshly brewed cup of espresso.
- Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines – An electric pump is used to create the pressure that is needed to brew a cup of espresso with these machines. These require a little more work than fully automatic machines, but less work than manual machines. The result is a super fantastic tasting cup of espresso.
The Best Coffee Makers on the Market
With so many coffee makers on the market, here’s a look at the best of the four different types mentioned above:
- The Best Drip Coffee Maker – Melitta 46894 10 Cup Thermal Programmable Coffee Maker – Super easy to program, a thermal carafe and a cone-shaped coffee filter for optimal flavor are the features that make this the best drip coffee maker on the market. Plus, it has a super attractive design.
- The Best Single Serve Coffee Maker – Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System – This single serve coffee maker is so easy to use; just fill up the water reservoir, select the type of coffee, tea, cappuccino or cocoa you want to make and put it in the brewing chamber, put your cup under the spout, press brew and in a few minutes, you’ll have a piping hot cup to sip on.
- Best Percolator Coffee Maker – Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker – You can brew 2 cups or 12 cups of coffee in this percolator coffee maker. Made of stainless steel, this is a durable machine that will last a long, long time.
- Best Grind and Brew – Cuisinart DGB-625BC Grind and Brew – The sleek design will call your attention, but the outstanding cup of coffee that can be brewed with great ease is what will really make you excited.
You might also want to check out these reviews:
The Best Espresso Machines
Here’s a look at the best espresso machines from the three types mentioned above:
- Best Manual Espresso Machine – Aerobie AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker – So easy to use, you can make a cup of coffee or espresso in no time with this handy machine. And, it has a super sleek design, too.
- Best Automatic Espresso Machine – Jura-Capresso 13187 Impressa – This machine receives high scores for ease of use and functionality.
- Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine – Capresso EC50 Pump Driven Espresso and Cappuccino Machine – Whether you want a cup of espresso or cappuccino, this machine can give you what you crave. Easy to use and a removable drip tray and cup warmer, cleaning this machine is as easy as brewing a cup of espresso or cappuccino is!
Here are our top picks for the best coffee makers based on customer reviews and ratings.
4.8 out of 5 stars (160 reviews)
With this French press, you are guaranteed to have 32 ounces of hot, flavorful coffee. Whether you are lingering over a cup with a friend or saving those refills for yourself throughout the morning, the double-walled stainless steel carafe will keep your coffee at the perfect temperature. Even the lid is insulated to prevent heat loss.
- Plunger top is comfortable to push down
- Handle is easy to grasp and hold
- Mesh filter strains even fine grounds so you get a smooth cup of coffee
- Clean-up is a snap – you can quickly rinse the filter clean or easily disassemble it to go in the dishwasher
- All stainless steel, no hidden plastic parts
- Modern and classy – a simple statement on your counter
- Comes with easy instructions for use and care
- Satisfaction guaranteed
4.6 out of 5 stars (173 reviews)
This French press is accepted worldwide as simply the best method for brewing coffee, the question is, “how do you know if you are purchasing the best French press?”
- Triple filter system: The second screen pushes the first screen to touch the glass tightly all around to catch any tiny grounds which might pass through the first screen and the third screen ensures nothing passes ensuring you will not be picking grounds out of your teeth.
- Smart design: The carafe is made of durable heat resistant borosilicate glass and the white plastic under the lid is BPA free to protect you from burning your hands when pouring coffee.
- 100% Guarantee: If you don’t love your French press for any reasons, the manufacturer will refund you, no questions asked.
- Included bonuses: For a limited time, your French press comes with an extra set of triple filter screens system for a total of SIX (6) filters and a coffee scooper.
4.5 out of 5 stars (65 reviews)
The BRU French Press is the simplest – most Eco-Friendly – of all brewing systems, where coarsely ground beans meet hot water right off the boil. The right water temperature brings the optimal extraction of the essential oils in the beans to develop their full flavor in just four minutes. Pressing on the plunger locks the grinds at the bottom of the glass carafe and stops the brewing process – producing the perfect cup of coffee. The unique double filter brewing system eliminates sediment and ensures that your coffee is just as smooth as you like it.
- Makes 8 4oz cups. Two-year Limited Warranty.
- Simple to Use / Easy to clean
- Eco-Friendly – BPA Free
- Dishwasher Safe
- Shock Resistant – Borosilicate Glass Beaker
- Stainless Steel Plunger
- Double Screen Filter
- Heat-Resistant Handle – Easy to Pour Spout
- Complimentary Coffee Scooper
- Perfect for Traveling/Camping
- Great Gift Idea – Beautiful Retail Box
4.3 out of 5 stars (1586 reviews)
The Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital has an easy-access design for fast and easy filling so you can enjoy the perfect cup of coffee in the morning. It features adjustable brewing with bold, regular and number of cup options. The adjustable keep-warm function ensures that you will never get a cold cup of coffee. It has a removable water reservoir that has an automatic pause and serve feature so you can grab your first cup of coffee while the rest of the pot brews. With drip-free pouring, a programmable clock with two-hour automatic shutoff, swing-out brew basket with release button and a non-stick warmer plate, this digital coffeemaker has everything you need. Wake up to your favorite blend or brew with this reliable Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Digital Coffeemaker.
- Easy-access design for fast, easy filling
- Adjustable brewing with bold, regular and 1-4 cup options
- Programmable clock with 2-hour automatic shutoff
- Swing-out brew basket with release button
- Wheeled base for fast, easy access to the water reservoir
4.3 out of 5 stars (537 reviews)
Perfect for apartment living or office use, this nifty machine features Mr. Coffee’s Pause’n Serve so you can fill a cup whenever.
- On/off indicator light lets you know when your coffeemaker is on or off
- Removable filter basket lifts out for fast and easy filling and cleaning
- Brewing pause ‘n serve lets you pour a cup of coffee while the coffeemaker is still brewing
- Dual water window shows the amount of water in the reservoir for accurate filling
- Gold Tone Filter
4.5 out of 5 stars (2525 reviews)
First cup, fourth cup – with Keurig, it’s always a fresh cup. An elegant piece of equipment, The EBS is capable of creating a magnificent cup of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee with the simple touch of a button. It has a choice of three cup sizes and has a removable drip tray to fit travel mugs as well. To add icing to the cake, it has a 12 count sampler included as a bonus by Keurig.
4.4 out of 5 stars (711 reviews)
Cuisinart brews coffee that keeps up with mornings that fly by. Our Extreme Brew technology delivers coffee 25% faster for a more efficient, more relaxed morning routine. Take control of your blend’s strength, choosing from regular or bold, and set your brew up to 24 hours in advance for on-demand cafe service.
- 12-cup carafe with ergonomic handle, dripless spout, and knuckle guard
- Fully automatic with 24-hour programmability, self-clean, 1-4 cup setting and adjustable auto-shutoff (0-4 hours)
- Adjustable carafe temperature control with high, medium and low settings
- Brew Pause feature lets you enjoy a cup of coffee before brewing is completed
- Gold tone commercial style permanent filter, Charcoal water filter (removes impurities)
4.5 out of 5 stars (2454 reviews)
One of the most comforting sounds in the world is the bubbling of a coffee percolator at work. And then comes the toasty aroma–it makes for a perfect morning. Percolators have come back to home kitchens, and the Presto 12-cup stainless steel coffee maker is a prime example. Its elegant, hotel-style design brings a touch of luxury to what is, for many, a daily pleasure.
- Brews great-tasting coffee — rich, hot, and flavorful
- Makes 2 to 12 cups of coffee as fast as a cup a minute, then keeps it piping hot automatically
- Easy-pour spout and traditional design provide elegant coffee service anytime
- Luxurious stainless steel construction for easy cleaning and lasting beauty
- Made of durable stainless steel including the filter basket and perk tube; Signal light indicates when coffee is ready to serve
4.6 out of 5 stars (261 reviews)
This French Press brews the tastiest coffee and tea and gives a bold look and presence to your table top. That’s the OXFORD French Press Coffee and Tea Maker by GROSCHE. A uniquely designed and crafted French press with fine Stainless Steel construction makes for a wonderful table-top coffee and tea-making experience.
- A true premium quality french press coffee and tea maker, with borosilicate glass beaker
- Easy to clean all-glass body and stainless steel filter. All parts are dishwasher safe.
- Secondary filter is in the lid, turn the lid to close the spout and retain heat, turn back to pour
- Always use coarse ground coffee in a french press, (1 to 3 tablespoons per mug 300ml) A true premium quality french press coffee and tea maker, with borosilicate glass beaker and fine-crafted chrome housing