Be sure to grab our adorable, free printable at the end of this post...a cute coffee printable that will look adorable in your kitchen, even if you haven't found the best coffee maker for you!
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The concept of the Chemex actually outdates all of the other brewing options listed here, but has only recently become popular again among those of us considered "coffee snobs". It is basically a pour over, but with a bit more class (and the one-piece version does change the overall quality a bit). The Chemex comes in several sizes, so you can make anything from a cup of coffee at a time to a full pot. We love this thing!
Easy clean up
Best flavor profile
Fairly portable (we can use it camping)
Coffee cools quickly (if you like scalding hot coffee, this is not for you!)
Requires unique filters
Hard to find (most people will have to buy this online)
Time-consuming (you need to manually do the whole process of creating your coffee)
More to know: The Chemex has easy clean-up because it is one piece and you can rinse it after each use. This is also why it is expensive (along with it's cute factor!). Although the Chemex is a bit more expensive and harder to find (most kitchen stores have them as well as Amazon) than your traditional coffee pot, we think the investment is worth it for coffee purists. It does require the use of special filters made for the Chemex (can be purchased through Amazon) but we have adapted the brown coffee filters found at our local grocery store and they work fine. If you love to make coffee at home and haven't tried a Chemex...give it a try. We think you'll love it!
The pour over is basically a version of a Chemex, but you put the pour over right over your drinking cup and the coffee drips directly into it. This manual version of drip coffee allows you to have the most control over how the water hits the grounds. It gets second place because it just isn't quite as awesome as the Chemex. Yet, if you are often making coffee for one, this a very good option.
Easy clean up
Most portable of all coffee makers (you can even get plastic versions that can pack easily in luggage or go in your purse!)
An excuse to make coffee only for yourself!
Often dishwasher safe
Coffee cools quickly (though not as quickly as with the Chemex)
Works best with special filters (though regular filters still work alright)
Only makes 1 cup at a time
Requires the boiling of water.
More to know: The pour-over option is great for single people as well as for that person that likes a cup of coffee in the afternoon after work. It is small and therefore easy to pack away. Most are dishwasher safe and because they are so small that means they are GREAT for using regularly. This kind of coffee is time consuming to make simply because you have to boil water and then pour the boiling water slowly over the grounds. But, it also means great tasting coffee!! Pour-overs often require special filters but you can often adapt regular filters to use. Pour-overs are our favorite version of a coffee maker to gift...they are inexpensive and universally appreciated!
The french press is another old-school way to make coffee that allows the coffee grounds to sit in the water in order to release their flavor. Because they sit in the water, this type of coffee making offers one of the most robust flavors. We also love this version because it requires no filters! If you are a person who is about the morning coffee "experience", this may be your best option.
Most robust flavor
Very simple to use
Makes for multiple people (not groups, though)
Often dishwasher safe
Messy (getting the grounds out is a pain!)
Have to pay attention to time (if you forget it, you'll have STRONG coffee)
More to Know: French Presses are fantastic! They are one of the easiest "fancy" methods to use, don't require filters, and are often dishwasher safe. However, I hate that the grounds are hard to get out of them and make for a bit of a messy clean-up. But for newbies to any coffee maker that isn't a machine, a french press is a fantastic starter! Best of all, they come in all sizes and kinds...even travel versions for those on the go!
The Keurig is one of the newer coffee phenomenons. The machine allows you to make individual cups of coffee using disposable "K-cups" that have single portions of coffee in them. The individual portion sizes allow each person to have coffee suited to their preference. We like this for the convenience, but otherwise it's a bit too modern for us. If you are looking for a coffee maker for the office or a family that has very different coffee tastes, this might be a good choice for you. This choice is quickly taking the place of traditional coffee makers.
Easy to use
Easy clean up
Expensive (both the machine, and the required K cups)
Not adorable (let's be serious, that's important to us!)
More to Know: Let's not lie, the Kuerig is hands-down one of the best inventions ever. We have one, we use it, we love it, even if we don't always want to admit it. It is just so fast and easy! Kuerig is getting smarter about making more compact versions and supply many more varieties, which is a good thing because one of the worst things about them is their size! Ours is down at the studio because I simply won't give up precious counter space in my rental for it. Also, coffee from a Kuerig just doesn't provide the same experience and flavor that one of the non-electric versions will provide. But for busy people that just want fast and easy...a Kuerig is hands-down the best!
Stove top Percolator:
A stove top percolator works similarly to a traditional coffee maker, but sits on the stove top rather than using electricity. This coffee is generally a bit more bitter than other brewing options, and can change flavor dramatically based on how long you leave the percolator on the stove. We love how a percolator feels so old-school and will probably whip one out for the holidays. This is a must for camping enthusiasts!
No filters needed
Great for camping
One step (heat water and put coffee in one spot)
More bitter flavor
Messier clean up
Must watch closely
Harder to learn to use
More to Know: Truth be told, I don't have a lot of experience with a stove-top percolator. I've used one only a handful of times. I do know that they are a bit tricky to use but once you do it it's pretty handy! I had to stand and watch it after it got close to done so that it didn't over-brew. This version is not a top pick for us. But, we do find them charming and know that some of you will as well! Especially if you have memories of grandparents with one!
The traditional coffee maker is the best known way to make your coffee. Hot water is dripped through the coffee grounds, which means that the first cup of coffee is much stronger than the last cup brewed. We really aren't fans of the regular coffee pot, mostly because we like things that are unique and make our coffee the best it can be! But if you need a easy morning wake up call, this is the coffee maker for you!!!
Great for large groups
Easy to use
Programmable (fresh coffee before you wake up!)
Easy to clean
Keeps coffee warm (although, we think that's gross)
More to Know: While a traditional countertop coffee maker is not our favorite, we do understand the popularity. They are easy to use, most everyone is familiar with them, they often brew a large pot (depending on the size you get;you can even get commercial size!), and it is easy to find filters for them! They make a good choice for those that just want coffee and don't care much about flavor and experience. Also, they are very inexpensive. All good points. However, if you are a true coffee drinker you will pass on this and take the extra few minutes in the morning it takes to make coffee with one of the other methods. The flavor really is that much better. Or if you must have quick & easy and can afford it...spring for the Kuerig. But if you want a fast, easy, inexpensive method for straight old coffee...the traditional countertop coffee maker is the one for you!
Nellie wants you to know that if you use a coffee maker as cute as this one, that makes it completely okay. The flavor might not be as good, but the cuteness factor makes up for it!
This new trend in coffee making is something we know almost nothing about! We would love to offer you great tips on using these, but since we've never even SEEN one in real life, we won't do that. If you have experience with them, please let us (and other readers) know what to expect in the comments.
For fun we've created a 8 by 10 coffee printable that you can print and put in your home.
(To print click on the image, and either save to your computer, or right-click and choose print.)
I'm kinda loving the printable with my owl mug...all sorts of cuteness!
If you aren't interested in grabbing a coffee maker but would love an occassional cup, here are some great ways to make coffee without a coffee maker!