From single-cup capsules to the multi-brew ability of grind and measure brewing, coffee lovers have plenty of ways to customize these little appliances.
But how do they stack up against the truly great coffee makers out there?
Let’s take a look and see what modern coffee makers have to offer.
The very first thing you’ll notice about most modern coffee machines is that it uses one kind of filter: single-serve pods. These are pre-measured coffee packets that allow you to enjoy freshness every time without any spillage. Modern pod makers often come in cute shapes, such as frogs or other cute animals, and come in a variety of flavors. There are many different brands of single-serve pods to choose from, and the brewing options are nearly endless.
The next thing you’re going to find is that these machines generally don’t allow for a great deal of creativity. You have your pre-loaded pods, but most machines will only let you add a cup or two at a time. That’s about all there is to them, and you can spend hours doing that if you want to. Coffee machines of the past were great for creating wonderful cups of coffee because they gave you the freedom to create amazing things. Nowadays, however, they focus more on simplicity than the creative element of coffee makers.
One thing that you can definitely expect to find in a good number of modern machines is a way to heat water to help make a wonderful latte or cappuccino. These machines usually come with a small tank that holds the hot water for a long period of time, and then it forces that water through the filter and into the beverage cup, much like how an espresso machine works. The main difference is that instead of the water being forced through the grounds, it is pushed through the grounds instead. If you like a thicker cup of coffee, you’ll appreciate how this can create a richer flavor and a thicker foam. The downside, however, is that you’ll need to pay extra for the convenience of steaming water as opposed to just pushing it through the filter.
Steam brewers also do not come cheap. Some are only able to produce coffee while you are drinking it, and that’s about it. You can’t put milk and sugar in them or otherwise manipulate how the beverage comes out. A lot of the more elaborate coffee makers can give you the ability to add a variety of beverages and condiments, though.
In addition to the ability to create specialty drinks, you might also find yourself interested in trying something different once you brew your own coffee machine. You could try a milk frother, for example. Milk drinkers are always in search of a way to get their favorite beverage without having to use ice or hot milk. A milk frother can help make it possible. If you already have a steam wand, the job of turning the knob and moving the wand over the milk will take care of the rest.
Another popular type of coffee machine is the piston-driven. These are traditionally considered less fancy than their steam-driven counterparts, but they can be just as efficient. They work with a simple pump rather than a handle. They aren’t as common as the steam machines, but they do make a good place to start if you don’t want to buy a specialty machine. You can find them cheaper than the other two choices.
Finally, an undercounter or at-home espresso machine is an option that’s worth considering. These are often very well priced, depending on the model, and you can use your own water to make your own specialty drinks all the time. Most of these machines also allow you to make your own coffee to go with your beverages. They are not as common as the other machines, but they can be a good choice for some people who like the idea of doing the coffee drinking themselves. There are plenty of budget-friendly models that you can look into if you’re interested in this kind of specialty coffee machine.