Mmm, coffee—the elixir of life, the brew of the gods, the world’s favorite eye-opener. From manual drip coffee cones to luxury coffee systems that do everything but drink it for you, there are so many different ways to make your coffee that it can be hard to pick the one that’s right for your home. These questions can help you narrow your choices to the perfect coffee maker for your daily needs.
Are You a Coffee Fanatic?
Let’s be real here. There are people who need their coffee and people who love their coffee. If you’re a fanatic on coffee quality—you know what temperature the water should be, you have the golden ratio tattooed on your wrist, and you just can’t bear to drink substandard coffee—you’re going to want a far different type of machine than your typical daily coffee drinker.
If that’s the case, you want a coffee machine that meets all the standards set out by Specialty Coffee Association, which certifies coffee makers that meet their rigorous standards. The best-known of these coffee makers are made by Technivorm, but that quality comes at a high price. The Bonavita One Touch coffee maker will get you the same standards for less than a third of the price.
That said, there are plenty of coffee brewers that make excellent coffee without the pricey tag or big name. The Ninja 12-cup coffee maker gives you several choices, including pre-infusion, classic or rich brew, and number of cups.
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- Best-known: Technivorm
- Budget-friendly: Bonavita One Touch coffee maker
- Simple but effective: Ninja 12-cup coffee maker
How Fast Do You Want Your Coffee?
Some folks want their coffee waiting for them when they wake up. Others enjoy the ritual process of brewing their morning cup of joe. A lot of things go into the speed with which your coffee machine dispenses that first cup: how much coffee you’re making, whether you’re heating just enough for a cup or a whole reservoir tank, and whether you can program the coffee to start brewing before your alarm goes off.
I Want My Coffee Waiting for Me
Your best option is a programmable coffee machine. Just fill the filter basket and reservoir the night before, push the button, and wake up in the morning to freshly brewed coffee, ready to pour and drink.
I Want a Mug Ready to Go When I Head Out the Door
If you drink your first coffee on the way in to work, your best option is a coffee machine that will brew directly into a travel mug. You can choose from a wide range of coffee brewers that are designed to dispense hot coffee right into your travel mug. Some, like the Mr. Coffee Pour Brew Go, include a travel mug. Others, like the Hamilton Beach Single Scoop, are designed to fit your own favorite travel cup. The Melitta Take 2 even brews two travel mugs at once, so you and your partner can both get out the door on time.
I Want Coffee All Day Long
If you’re one of the lucky ones who works from home and drinks coffee all day long, a single-serve brewer that dispenses one cup at a time is a good choice. Keurig is the best-known single-serve coffee brewer, but there are many others on the market.
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- If you want your coffee waiting for you…
- If you want a mug ready to go when you head out the door…
- If you want coffee all day long…
How Many People Do You Serve at Once?
Another important consideration when choosing a coffee maker is how many cups of coffee you want to make at once. If you live alone, a 12-cup coffee maker may not make a lot of sense, unless you often entertain people. You might prefer a single-serve coffee brewer, or a four-cup coffee maker to prevent wasted (or burnt) coffee. If, on the other hand, coffee is a family thing, consider an eight- to 12-cup coffee maker so everyone can get served at the same time. Finally, if you frequently throw big gatherings where everyone needs to a cup a coffee urn may be a worthwhile investment.
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Do You Enjoy Variety?
Some folks like only one brand of coffee and would never dream of drinking something else. Others enjoy different flavors for different times of day or seasons. If you’re one of the latter, you probably want a Keurig or other K-cup compatible coffee brewer. Keurig is still the most popular single-serve brewer, and most coffee brands are available for use in K-cups.
Even better, especially if you’re concerned about the environmental effects of discarded K-cups, you can get reusable K-cups to fill with your own coffee or opt for a brand packaged in compostable K-cups. Either way, single-serve coffee brewers allow you to serve different types of coffee to guests who have different preferences, or just switch it up between your morning brew and your favorite after-dinner indulgence, one cup at a time.
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Whatever your coffee preference and budget, there’s a coffee maker on the market that caters to it. Take a few minutes to figure out your needs before you plunk down your hard-earned cash and you can be sure of buying a coffee brewer that suits your taste and your lifestyle perfectly.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer living and working in Massachusetts. She writes frequently about health, wellness, and lifestyle topics.