How to pick the best way to make coffee for YOU

Best coffee maker | what version of the many coffee makers is best for you? |nelliebellie.com

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 chemex is a great way to make coffee for drinking black | 5 ways to make coffee

 

Chemex:

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!

Pros:

Stinking Adorable
Easy clean up
Best flavor profile
Fairly portable (we can use it camping)

Cons:

Expensive
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 a great coffee making option when you have limited resources!

 Pour over:

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.

Pros:

Easy clean up
Great flavor
Most portable of all coffee makers (you can even get plastic versions that can pack easily in luggage or go in your purse!)
Really cheap
An excuse to make coffee only for yourself!
Often dishwasher safe

Cons:

Coffee cools quickly (though not as quickly as with the Chemex)
Works best with special filters (though regular filters still work alright)
Time consuming
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 offers a gourmet coffee-drinking experience | 5 ways to make coffee

 

French Press:

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.

Pros:

No filter
Most robust flavor
Very simple to use
Makes for multiple people (not groups, though)
Often dishwasher safe

Cons:

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 a very fast way to make coffee with little clean up | 5 ways to make coffee

 

Keurig:

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.

Pros:

Individual portions
Customized flavors
Easy to use
Easy clean up
Quick

Cons:

Poor flavor
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!

Use a stove top percolator for a reminiscent coffee moment | 5 ways to make coffee

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!

Pros:

Old-School
No filters needed
Great for camping
One step (heat water and put coffee in one spot)

Cons:

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!A traditional coffee maker is still a great way to make coffee for groups | 5 ways to make coffee

Traditional Coffee Maker:

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!!!

Pros:

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)

Cons:

Boring
Boring flavor

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!

The aeropress is a new coffee making trend that we want to know more about!

 

Aeropress:

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.)

Free "This Home runs on Love and lots of Coffee" printable | nelliebellie.com

I’m kinda loving the printable with my owl mug…all sorts of cuteness!

Free coffee printable from nelliebellie.com

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!

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14 Comments

  1. Sue
    July 23, 2015 / 7:48 am

    I only recently started drinking coffee. I discovered on a trip to Europe, the reason I didn’t like American coffee is that it is simply flavored water, not coffee. I purchased an Aeropress after trying a Kuerig and several other coffee making items. I like the Aeropress as it gives an actual cup of coffee sans bitterness. It is also easy to clean. Great tasting coffee in a simple process. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should.

    • Nellie
      Author
      July 24, 2015 / 11:14 am

      You’ve convinced me! That is the only one I haven’t tried and as a true coffee fanatic, it seems only right to do so! Thanks!

  2. Marie Dealing
    June 26, 2015 / 4:29 am

    I am 71 and European born. I grew up with the french stove percolator. Similar to American percolator, only the “filter” part was on top of the pot not inside. When I got married I had a Melissa Coffee pot with a Chemex. I had no clue it was called a Chemex until I read it in your article. Later an Espresso Machine , still have it! Also have 2 French Presses, large and small. Electric percolator and Coffee Machines! I graduated from drinking a large cafe au lait in the morning to a pot of coffee a day! Hot coffee in the morning and as the day progresses to ice-coffee the rest of the day! I LOVE MY COFFEE! I have 3 sons and they all wanted to buy me a Keurig machine which I consider a waste of money and waste of my time! I just couldn’t see myself making a cup coffee at the time! I had expensive coffee machine and cheap coffee machine! The worst coffee machine was the Hamilton Brew Station, which started to leak after several month. I returned it and the new machine did the same!! For a while I used my French Press and that was to much work and clean up! I went to the Dollar Store and bought myself a cheap Coffee Machine without a Timer for $ 10. This was about 3 years ago and I still have the Coffee Machine. I can smell the fresh coffee brewing in the morning, just like the old fashion percolator. I turn the machine off and drink ice-coffee the rest of the day! It’s not always the machine who makes so called great coffee, but what kind of coffee and how much coffee one uses. People tell me, I make the best coffee, First of all, you know it is coffee because it does not look like tea! It is dark and rich looking and it smells like coffee. I buy only coffee beans and grind them up for each pot of coffee. I buy different flavor coffee beans, sometimes I add Espresso to it etc. It all depend what kind of coffee I feel like drinking that day! Personally, I believe all those different coffee machine are not worst their money if you do not know how to cook coffee to begin with. Even though it is time consuming the best, and simple way to cook the best coffee is a coffee carafe, a Chemex, a kettle of boiling water! Slowly pour water over the coffee grind and let it sip into the carafe. Almost like a French Press. By the way at one time I was told, drinking so much coffee as I do, it would stop me from sleeping at night, it is
    not healthy etc. I never had a problem going to sleep, my blood pressure was always a healthy normal, and my “ticker” is doing just fine! Recently I read if you drank at least 2 cups of coffee a day —you live longer! I always drink black coffee. If the article is true, I should reach 100 b’day with ease! ha ha ha ha

    • Nellie
      Author
      June 26, 2015 / 10:03 am

      I love this!! Yes, knowing how to make good coffee is more important than the machine. And, I’m a big fan of old fashioned hot water poured over grind, myself. There is nothing like a good cup of coffee in the morning. And if you are 71 and still going strong… I’m going to keep drinking my coffee ;). Some day, maybe even a cup with you over great conversation!

  3. Jean
    May 19, 2015 / 5:09 pm

    Just found this site–thank you for all the great tips. I currently use a Keurig, but after reading your post I plan to buy a Chemex.

    • May 21, 2015 / 4:16 pm

      So glad you liked it! I use a Keurig too, simply because I really need to have it be easy in the morning. Nellie uses the Chemex and ADORES it!

  4. December 31, 2014 / 1:29 am

    I use a mokka pot to make “espresso” for cappuccinos. It is old school and the way the Italians and Spanish do it. It easy, portable and utterly delicious! :)

    • December 31, 2014 / 8:57 am

      Interesting. We’ve never heard of that…we’re going to have to find one now and try it out!

  5. Andrea
    December 20, 2014 / 11:51 pm

    I have a stovetop percolator that I used religiously until I got a Keurig. But I also have a french press and a coffee cone. I will say that my press is a tiny one and not worth the hassle. I have had decent press coffee, so can appreciate the french press but don’t like the mess no matter what size. I was surprised at how good the coffee cone is. It’s fast as boiling water and easy to do and like you said- portable. I kinda go in phases and still use each one on a regular basis. I do have the stainless steel reusuable coffee k-cup by EKoBrew or something like that for my Keurig.The stainless steel one is definitely worth the cost and ease of cleaning. I love all my methods of coffee. :d

    • December 22, 2014 / 4:41 pm

      We go through phases, too. Switching it up is fun. And we might have to try the stainless steel reusable filters, because the ones we have are just too messy to use the way we would like.

  6. D
    December 8, 2014 / 8:43 pm

    I own a chemex, the other pour over option mentioned, mocha pot, mr coffe mini espresso machine (it was a gift), aeropress and a keurig. and recently gave my french press to a coffee newbie, and have yet to replace it :)
    with regard to the aeropress… it makes a rather bold cup and if that’s not your bag then you may want to go with any of the other options in this article. I, however, enjoy a bold cup more often than not and usually roast my beans on the FC+ side.
    I prefer a pour over then the aeropress then a french press. I drink a pour over for every day coffee and the others when i want something different. they all brew a different tasting cup so your brew method would probably be decided on just how bold you like the flavor in your cup
    :)

    • December 9, 2014 / 3:11 pm

      You know your coffee! Thanks so much for explaining the aeropress to us…we might have to give it a real try!

  7. Ann
    November 17, 2014 / 7:22 am

    I have a red Keurig that I love. I do not drink a lot of coffee so I like the ability to have the one cup selection. The choice of flavors is nice also, with my favorite being Cafe Mocha.

    • November 17, 2014 / 7:41 am

      Ooh…and I red one makes a Keurig much more adorable, too!

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