Manual versus Automatic Coffee Makers
The choice of manual versus automatic coffeemakers comes down to a matter of budget and
convenience. There's no doubt that you can make a terrific pot of coffee using the simplest and least expensive
equipment. Made correctly, the coffee will be at least as good as that from machine costing hundreds of dollars. In
fact, in many cases it would even be better.
The trade-off is having to pay a bit of attention to the coffee making process. You need to be
in the kitchen while you heat the water to the proper temperature, then (if you using a manual drip pot) pour it
over the coffee grounds over the course of a few minutes. The total time involved isn't long, but you do need to be
With an automatic machine you put the grounds and water into their respective containers, push a
button and walk away. This is great if you want to be doing something else while the coffee brews. You can even get
automatic coffeemakers with timers on them so you coffee will be ready for you first thing when you wake up in the
morning. Some complicated machines will even grind coffee immediately before brewing as part of their automated
As you can see, automatic machines can be quite convenient. Depending on your situation, it may
be well worth it for you to get one. However, be warned - too many automatic coffeemakers, even one's costing
hundreds of dollars, make lousy coffee. The most common reason is because the water temperature is off. Too
frequently, the water starts off too cold at the beginning of the brewing process and is too hot by the end of
I also don't like that many automatic coffeemakers have a built-in heating element under the
carafe. Keeping coffee on heat is a good way to ruin it quickly. I greatly prefer automatic machines that use a
insulated carafe to hold the coffee.
On other pages on this site I report on coffeemakers that I have either evaluated and tested
myself or have seen reviewed by reliable sources such as Consumer Reports. There are definitely some excellent
automatic coffeemakers out there but you do need to be a bit careful. Is entirely too possible to spend lots of
money to get an automatic machine that does little more than ruin good coffee.
I think most people interested in an automatic coffeemaker should also have a manual maker as
well. After all, a simple drip or press pot coffeemaker is quite inexpensive yet makes excellent coffee. You can
then take the time to do your research and find the automatic maker that's right for you. Even if the automatic
machine becomes your mainstay, I'm sure you still use your drip pot from time to time.
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