Choosing a Home Coffee Maker

There are two main considerations when buying a coffee maker for your home or small office: type of brewer and features.

Choosing the best coffee maker for your needs can be accomplished by evaluating how many people will be drinking the coffee, coffee drinking patterns and how much money you want to spend.

Somebody who lives alone and makes one cup of coffee to drink on the commute to work, for example, will have very different needs than a small office with 4 or 5 employees who drink coffee sporadically throughout the day.

You can pay very little money and get a drip coffee maker for your home that works perfectly fine, as they all work basically the same – they pour hot water over coffee grounds and then filter the coffee into a decanter of some sort. On the other hand, it doesn\’t cost too much more to get a coffee maker that has lots of extra features and will last for many years to come. Prices generally run the gamut from a $29.95 special on up to over $200.


There are basically four types of coffee brewers - Drip, Pod, Thermal Carafe and Chemex-type brewers.

• Drip Brewer – the drip brewer is the old stand-by – pour the water in the top and the coffee is served up in a glass decanter that site on a warmer. The decanter sits on a warmer that keeps it warm. Consider a brewer with an auto-shut-off if you are worried about leaving the warmer on.

• Thermal Carafe – the thermal carafe brewer brews into a thermal carafe instead of a decanter. There is no need for a warmer, as the thermal carafe keeps the coffee warm and preserves the flavor and aroma for hours. Another advantage to the thermal carafes is that they do not break as easily as glass decanters. Variations on thermal carafe models include thermal mugs and double thermal carafes.

• Pod Brewer – the Pod Brewer is the hot new entry in coffee brewing. For each cup you brew, you insert a prepackaged coffee pod into the brewer. The machine brews the cup, then you dispose of the pod. There is no mess because the coffee comes in the filtered pod and is thrown away in the filtered pod. The negative is that the pods cost a bit more than regular coffee and filters, plus, you can only brew one cup at a time.

• Chemex – the Chemex brewer was developed about 50 years ago by Peter Schlumbohm, a New York state chemist and coffee connoisseur. With it\’s elegant design featuring a one-piece, hourglass shaped vessel made of high quality, heat-resistant glass, it has earned a place in the permanent collection of New York\’s Museum located in Corning, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Additionally, the Illinois Institute of Technology has selection the Chemex brewer as one of the 100-best designed products of modern times.. Besides making what many consider to be the best cup of coffee they have ever tasted, it\\’s classic blending of design and function. Additionally, it brews what many consider to be the best cup of coffee they have ever tasted.


All coffee makers employ different features to accomplish different needs. Features that may be included on more expensive brewers include a clock/timer to enable programmable brewing times, water filtration, stop-and-serve and auto shut-off. Also, some brewers may be combination machines that include an espresso maker or a grinder. Here are some options to consider:

• Programmable – you can program the machine to have the coffee brewed before you walk into the kitchen.

• Volume: Options range from brewing on a per cup basis to brewing into a 12-cup carafe.

• Speed: Bunn coffee makers feature a hot water reservoir that enables the machine to brew a pot of coffee in 3 hours.

• Integrated Grinder: some brewers have a built-in grinder that grind the beans and then dumps them into the filter basket. The advantage is less mess and less work on the part of the operator. A disadvantage would be that there are more parts that can break and make the whole unit useless.

• Water Filtration: greatly reduced mineral build-up in the water reservoir.

Please consult our Home Coffee Maker Comparison Chart at for more information on home coffee makers.

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