The truth of the matter is that you can make an
excellent cup of coffee with no more than a simple pot to hold the ground coffee and hot water in for a few
minutes. Having said that, various coffee makers can add convenience and reproducibility to
the process. They also, let's face it, can add a certain sense of style. I don't use my press pot as
often as I might because I find it to be a bit of a pain to clean. Even so, there are a lot of weekend
mornings when I get it out just because I enjoy the process of making coffee with.
We'll go into the different brewing techniques and the coffee pots and machines you can use for
each. As we do, you see that although there are endless variations and modifications there have really been only a
few real innovations over the centuries.
Leaving aside the possibility of cold brewed coffee for the moment, a coffee maker or machine
has three main jobs: heating the water to the correct temperature, bringing it into contact with the coffee grounds
for an appropriate amount of time and then separating the freshly brewed coffee from the grounds. Using a machine
to accomplish these tasks is a matter of convenience and style, but there's no doubt that the machine used affects
the quality of the final cup.
I think the ideal material for coffee pot is porcelain a glass. You want something that is
non-reactive and won't affect the flavor of the coffee. Stainless steel works also quite well and is a good choice.
An enameled steel pot is acceptable alternative, especially considering it's old time chuck wagon appeal.
Do not use an aluminum pot. Water heated in aluminum absorbs trace amounts of the metal. Coffee
made with this water will be dull and flat. It may even have a metallic taste. The effect really isn't subtle.
One of my main objections about the moka styled pots used to make a close impression of true
espresso is that the brands you see most often made of aluminum. There are, however, companies that make these pots
from stainless steel and you want this type of coffee maker it's worth seeking them out.
It's also important that the coffee maker is easy to keep clean. The inner surface should be
smooth and easily accessible. It's simplest if you can get your hand holding a sponge inside. I'll admit to
ignoring this advice myself. I have a couple of Thermos carafes that I use to hold coffee when I'm making it for a
crowd (I'll brew one pot of coffee, pour it into the Thermos and serve it while the next pot is brewing). I have to
use bottle brushes to clean these. It's no big deal but it is something to keep in mind when you're looking at
coffeemakers and coffee carafes. Having to use brushes is a minor annoyance and you obviously need to have brushes
that can do the job at hand.
There are lots of coffeemakers to choose from. You very likely will eventually own several. Some
will be just for style, some will be for convenience and some will be because you need a specific pot for a
specific brewing method. Some you keep simply for nostalgia, like the Chemix pot that was my first drip coffee
A good place to begin considering your options is Manual versus Automatic Coffee Makers. Then check out the
different coffeemakers I describe on other pages along with the different brewing methods. Some brewing methods use
specific machines. Once more, this is an area you can explore and experiment with.
Jake's Coffee World Home
Manual Versus Automatic Coffee
How to Brew the Best Coffee