What kind of coffee you can brew depends directly on what type of coffee maker you use. With different coffee makers, you can brew delicate, strong, or even cold coffee.
What types of coffee makers are there?
Some models prepare a cup of coffee quickly and with minimal participation on your part. Others require your supervision at every stage of brewing.
There are coffee makers that will brew coffee for you at work or on the go. These don't even need electricity. Other models require a power outlet, hot plate, or—in the case of a cezve—hot sand around a fire.
We have prepared a list of the 12 most popular types of makers for you. We looked at coffee makers from the perspective of the brewing method, easy to use, maintenance, as well as the volume of brewed coffee.
Let's get started!
Types of Coffee Makers
Coffee makers are becoming more technologically advanced, but their principle of operation remains pretty much the same. Below, we have compiled a list of the different types of coffee makers.
Drip Coffee Makers
You've probably seen this type of coffee maker before. After all, 41% of coffee lovers in the US used a drip coffee maker in 2020. This percentage was higher in previous years, but drip coffee makers are still popular with consumers.
Drip coffee makers are easy to use. You just pour cold water into the tank and ground coffee into the filter. The water heats up and flows through the ground coffee beans. Then the finished coffee pours into a glass carafe.
Some models can maintain the temperature of the finished drink by heating the plate underneath the carafe. You can set the temperature and heating time yourself.
Drip coffee makers allow you to brew four to 14 cups of coffee at a time, so they're a good option for preparing a drink for several people. These coffee makers great for home and office use.
This type of coffee maker is specially designed for brewing espresso. In an espresso machine, hot water passes through the ground coffee under high pressure for a specified extraction time. There are three main types of espresso machines: manual (or lever), semi-automatic, and automatic. They differ from each other in the degree of barista control over each parameter that affects the taste of espresso.
A manual espresso machine may be electric or work without any need for electricity or batteries. Manual espresso makers look very stylish but are not as popular as other types.
You control grinding, dosage, tamping, pressure, amount of water, and extraction time. The taste of your espresso depends heavily on you.
You can prepare one or two espresso shots at a time.
Manual espresso machines will suit you if you have a lot of experience in espresso preparation or if you want to learn how to control the whole process from start to finish.
Models that work without electricity allow you to brew a delicious cup of coffee on the go. They are compact and weigh only one to two pounds.
Semi-automatic espresso machines provide the optimal combination of human and machine control.
The coffee machine controls the pressure and temperature of the water while the barista controls the grind, dose, tamping, and brewing time.
These coffee makers can brew one or two shots of espresso and are equipped with a steam wand so you can create cappuccinos, lattes, and other espresso-and-milk drinks.
Depending on the price, they are suitable for home use or coffee shops.
Automatic espresso machines control not only water pressure and temperature, but also extraction time. Your espresso will always have the same volume.
They allow you to prepare different types of drinks, just like semi-automatic machines.
Such models are used in coffee shops. For home use, automatic espresso machines can be found at lower prices.
Automatic espresso machines are often equipped with an integrated coffee grinder with a doser. Such models are convenient to use at home. They have many features and a high degree of control from the machine. Even with modest barista skills, you cannot spoil the taste of the drink.
One type of automatic espresso machine is a super-automatic machine. You just fill the containers for water, coffee beans, and milk and choose the type of drink—the machine does the rest. The drink will always be of the same quality. Super-automatic espresso machines are good to use at home or in offices. They are not used in coffee shops because they don't let the barista influence the taste of the coffee.
Any espresso machine needs to be cleaned after every use. In order for the machine to last for a long time and always brew delicious coffee, you need to regularly descale the internal elements. There are special tools and solutions for this.
Pour-Over Coffee Makers
The pour-over method became very popular during the 2000s. Some people even use it as their primary brewing method. But if you buy pour-over coffee at a coffee shop, the cost of one cup will be higher than for other drinks because the barista needs several minutes to prepare it.
To brew pour-over coffee, grounds are poured into a special conical filter made of paper or metal. Hot water is slowly poured over the grounds in a spiral motion, and the coffee drains into a cup or special vessel.
This brewing method reveals berry, fruit, and floral notes well. To make the taste of the drink more harmonious, pre-wetting—also known as blooming—is used. To bloom your coffee, add a small amount of water before the main infusion and wait until it is absorbed into the grounds. This takes about 30-40 seconds.
Pour-over coffee makers usually brew one to eight cups at a time. If you are interested in the ability to brew coffee in even larger volumes, there are coffee makers that hold ten cups.
You can find a wide variety of devices for this method: Melitta funnels made of plastic or porcelain, Chemex funnels made of glass, or Japanese Hario V60 funnels made of porcelain, glass, metal, plastic, or copper with an olive-wood base.
Pour-over is not the easiest brewing method. It involves a painstaking preparation process and the correct method of pouring hot water over ground coffee. For this, you'd better buy a special gooseneck kettle with a long, thin, curved spout. These average $30.
Pour-over coffee makers are easy to maintain. The cleaning process will not bother you—just disassemble and rinse the parts under running water.
Pour-over coffee makers are good for home use or as a way to serve a drink in a coffee shop. They're suitable for those who like to experiment and for those who are ready to completely immerse themselves in the brewing process from beginning to end.
French Press Coffee Makers
The French press originated in France in the twentieth century.
The mechanism of operation is very simple. The coffee maker consists of a glass cylinder, a metal piston with a mesh filter, and a tight lid. All you have to do is pour ground coffee into the cylinder, add hot water, and let the coffee infuse. Then press down on the piston and filter to ensure no coffee grounds end up in your finished drink.
Due to the prolonged extraction time, coffee brewed in a French press is strong and dense.
On average, you can brew two to eight cups of coffee this way. A French press allows you to brew not only coffee but also tea.
Plus, a French press is easy to disassemble and wash after use. Some are even dishwasher safe.
They're suitable for brewing coffee at home or at work.
AeroPress Coffee Makers
The AeroPress was created in 2005 by American inventor Alan Adler. Most coffee makers brew multiple cups at a time—Adler wanted to be able to brew a single cup at a time.
He was also dissatisfied with the long extraction times of other methods, which gave coffee a bitter taste. To reduce brewing time, Adler decided to use pressure.
The AeroPress's construction is simple. You install a filter, add ground beans, and fill with hot water. Then you insert the piston and push.
The coffee maker is made of plastic, is lightweight, and works without electricity.
Coffee brewed in an AeroPress is rich and smooth. The extraction process itself takes an average of 60 seconds.
The complexity of working with an AeroPress lies in the details. Coffee will taste good only after you experiment with each setting to find the best parameters. It will take you a while to figure out the best grind, the optimal dose of beans, and perfect brewing time.
The AeroPress boasts a number of benefits: it's inexpensive, brews delicious coffee in just a couple of minutes, will work for many years, is easy to disassemble and clean, and is dishwasher safe.
This portable coffee maker is not only suitable for home use but also for use at work or outdoors. You can brew one or two cups of coffee at a time.
If at the beginning few people believed in this method, it is now used in coffee shops to brew specialty coffee. The World AeroPress Championship hosts competitors from 61 countries.
Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Cold brew coffee is prepared using cold water. The brewing process takes eight to 24 hours. This method was invented in the 16th century. In the last ten years, it has become popular in coffee shops and some companies, such as Starbucks, have begun mass production.
During this brewing method, a cold concentrate is obtained. It has a rich, mild taste without acidity and contains a lot of caffeine. The concentrate is often used as a base for refreshing drinks in spring and summer. It is diluted with water, milk or cream, and liqueurs and syrups can be added.
Cold brew can be made in a slow-drip coffee maker or in an infusion coffee maker.
Slow-drip coffee makers consist of three containers stacked one above the other. Cold water is poured into the upper container and slowly drips through the ground coffee into the middle container. The finished drink flows into the lower container.
Slow-drip coffee makers brew eight to ten cups of cold brew. Their unusual design can generate customer interest in cold brew when they're used at a coffee shop. However, they're expensive—they range in price from $100 to $600, and even up to and over $2000.
Infusion coffee makers are much less expensive. You'll find many options in the $15 to $100 price range.
The most famous infusion cold brew coffee maker is the Toddy, which consists of a plastic infusion container and a glass flask for the finished drink. A plug keeps the grounds and water in the upper plastic container until infusion is complete.
A paper filter is placed on the bottom of the plastic container. Then ground coffee and water are poured into the container. After infusion, you place the container over the glass flask and remove the plug so the finished concentrate will flow into the flask.
An infusion coffee maker is suitable for both home and commercial use. The 8 to 38 ounce models allow you to brew your drink at home, and 2.5 to 10 gallon models are a great purchase for a coffee shop.
Moka Pots (Stovetop Coffee Makers)
The economic crisis of the 1930s made it impossible for people to drink espresso in coffee shops. Italian engineer Alfonso Bialetti created the Moka pot in 1933 so people could make their favorite drink at home.
The advertising slogan "an espresso at home like at a bar" ensured high sales of the model. The Moka pot is known all over the world, but it is most famous in Europe, especially in Italy.
The coffee maker consists of two chambers with a basket for ground coffee between them. The lower chamber is filled with water, and the upper one is for the finished drink.
The water in the lower chamber is heated when the Moka pot is placed on the stove, and pressurized steam passes through the filter that holds ground beans. Next, the finished drink rises into the upper chamber.
The coffee tastes rich and strong, but can sometimes be a little messy.
Although the Moka pot was marketed as a way to brew espresso at home, it does not formally brew espresso. Pressure causes water to flow through ground coffee, just like in espresso machines, but the pressure is much lower.
Moka pots are made of metal and are designed for making stovetop coffee. There are also modern models in which the upper part is made of ceramic or glass.
Moka pot coffee makers are suitable for making small quantities of coffee at home. The most common models brew six 1.35-ounce cups.
Percolator Coffee Makers
Percolators were popular in the mid-twentieth century, but they're no longer mass-produced. Drip coffee makers, French presses, and espresso machines replaced them. Sometimes small batches of percolators are produced as souvenirs.
The coffee maker is designed for making stovetop coffee, but there are also electric models.
A percolator looks like an ordinary teapot. Inside the metal case is a hollow tube that extends almost from the very bottom to the top of the device. At the top is a metal filter that holds ground beans.
Water poured into the percolator heats up, passes up through the hollow tube, and enters the coffee filter. After extracting through the ground coffee, the liquid rains down into the main water tank again. This process is repeated many times.
The percolator is often compared to the Moka pot, but their main difference is that in a Moka pot the finished drink is not extracted several times but instead rises into a separate chamber. This means the risk of getting over-extracted coffee is much lower with a Moka pot.
The taste of coffee brewed in a percolator is too bitter and oversaturated. For this reason, the percolator has lost its popularity.
Single-Serve (Pod/Capsule) Coffee Makers
These became very popular in the late 1980s. Single-serve coffee makers allow you to brew a cup of coffee quickly and are very easy to use.
Ground beans are packaged in a plastic or aluminum capsule. You just have to load it into the coffee maker and press the start button.
The machine punctures the capsule and pressurized hot water flows through the ground beans. You get a cup of delicious coffee every time, without the need for regular cleaning.
Nespresso and Keurig are the most popular capsule coffee maker brands.
All Nespresso coffee makers are designed for easy brewing. Their water tanks eliminates the need to add water each time you want to brew a cup of coffee.
The company produces two lines of pod espresso makers: Original and Vertuo. The capsules for these lines differ in shape.
Original-line machines allow you to brew coffee of up to 3.7 oz. If you like larger drinks, the Vertuo line is for you.
Capsule coffee machines prepare a single cup at a time, but you can always find a model that will let you brew the kind of coffee you want.
For cappuccinos or lattes, the company has models with integrated milk frothers. You can also buy a separate Aeroccino accessory for frothing milk.
Nespresso produces a range of capsules with different flavors and aromas. You can always find the perfect drink.
Nespresso coffee and espresso makers are suitable for both home and office use.
The disadvantage of these coffee makers is the high price of the capsules. For Original-line machines, you can find compatible capsules from other manufacturers. This helps you save money. For Vertuo machines, capsules are only available from Nespresso.
This company also produces many models for preparing different espresso drinks, including cappuccinos and lattes.
Keurig partners with third-party capsule manufacturers so you can brew a variety of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate drinks.
Keurig coffee makers are suitable for both home and office, and the company's K-Cup pods are cheaper than Nespresso pods.
Siphon Coffee Makers
Siphon coffee makers were actively used until the middle of the twentieth century. Now they are becoming a fashionable trend.
They have a unique design and it's fascinating to watch coffee being brewed in these coffee makers.
The design consists of two glass flasks. Water is poured into one and ground beans are poured into the other.
First, the flask with water is heated. After the water boils, a flask with ground beans is placed on top of the water flask. The water is pushed up into the grounds flask and extraction begins.
Once extraction is completed, the coffee maker is removed from the stove or other heat source. The lower flask cools down, causing the finished coffee to flow from the upper flask into the lower flask.
A siphon coffee maker brings out the flavor of the beans well. The resulting coffee is rich with an aroma characteristic of the beans that were used.
You can brew three to eight cups of coffee at a time depending on the model. The brewing process itself is laborious and time-consuming. It's not very suitable for daily use, but it is fun to watch.
Some coffee shops use siphon coffee makers. These coffee makers are also suitable for home use. They're a great gift for a coffee connoisseur.
Turkish Coffee Makers (Cezves/Ibriks)
A Turkish coffee maker is a small vessel, most often made from copper, with a long handle. The body of the coffee maker tapers slightly towards the top and then expands again. Other names for this type of coffee maker are cezve and ibrik.
Turkish coffee is brewed on a stove or in hot sand. When the cezve was first invented, the Turks used it by a fire. They moved the coffee maker across the sand closer to or further away from the fire to adjust the brewing temperature.
Making coffee in a cezve is very simple. Finely ground coffee and water are poured into the pot. The drink is heated but not brought to a boil. Sugar, cinnamon, or cardamom can be added directly to the pot during the brewing process for flavor.
The drink is unfiltered and very strong. It is poured into small cups and drunk after the coffee grounds have settled to the bottom.
A cezve is best for home use because it's meant for brewing very small quantities of coffee. Most can only brew 6.7 ounces of coffee at a time—that's enough for 2-3 small cups.
Vietnamese Coffee Makers
In Vietnam, Robusta beans are used more often than Arabica beans. To neutralize the bitterness of the drink, the coffee is prepared according to a special recipe.
Vietnamese coffee is sweet and strong. Sugar, condensed milk, cream, or milk are added to it. On a hot day, ice is added to make iced coffee.
Vietnamese coffee is brewed in a stainless-steel phin filter kit: a filter cup, a flat filter, a press, and a lid. The kit is placed on top of a glass so the coffee will brew into the glass.
Sugar or condensed milk is placed in the bottom of the glass before the phin filter is placed on top of the glass. A filter cup is placed on the filter. Ground beans are poured into the cup and compacted with a press. Then hot water is poured into the cup, the cup is covered with a lid, and the brewed coffee slowly drips into the glass.
After three to five minutes, you have a ready-made drink.
This device is designed to brew an average of eight ounces of coffee, though larger ones can brew up to 15 ounces of coffee.
They are suitable for home and work use.
Now you know about the most popular types of coffee makers.
You can try new methods of brewing coffee and choose your favorite so you can always brew a drink that suits your mood.
But choosing the best coffee maker isn't enough to prepare delicious coffee with a bright aroma. You also need the perfect coffee beans. Choosing the right brand and type of coffee will help you brew your best cup.
For this purpose, we've compiled a section on coffee beans. Check it out to find our detailed recommendations for choosing the perfect beans.