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Choosing a coffee maker isn’t quite as easy as picking out the top-rated machine in some commercial survey or test. The right coffee maker can be a highly personal decision because there are so many different tastes in coffee and so many factors to consider when you choose a coffee machine for your home or office. Here are some questions you should consider and tips to help you choose the best coffee maker.
How to Choose a Coffee Maker
Personal Use Preferences
1. Where and when will you be using your coffee maker?
Some models are made for home use while others are designed for office use. Think about how you’ll use the coffee machine and what factors are important to you.
One choice for your home kitchen is the Hamilton Beach Brew Station, which rated high in Consumer Reports coffee maker ratings tests for January 2009. For the office, you might consider a Keurig B60 single serve coffee maker to allow people to make their favorite coffee one cup at a time.
2. What size coffee maker do you need?
According to Consumer Reports, the 8-12 cup coffee maker is the most versatile size. It makes enough coffee to serve a crowd, but most can be adjusted to make pots as small as 4 cups. If you want even less, there are many coffee pot options that make just one cup of coffee at a time.
The Cuisinart Brew Station was another high rater in the Consumer Reports coffee report. It makes up to 12 cups or as few as four cups, with variable controls to deliver just the right amount of water for smaller cups. In addition, one of the best single cup coffee makers just may be the Bodum French press, which brews one perfect cup of coffee without electricity – you just have to heat the water yourself.
3. Do you drink your coffee at home or on the run?
If you pour your coffee into a travel mug and head out the door, you might find one of the models that dispenses coffee into a thermal coffee mug suits you perfectly. There are even models that brew two travel cups at a time so that you and the roomie or significant other can make your coffee and run at the same time.
4. How long does your coffee sit in the pot?
Thermal carafes can let you brew full pots and keep them warm for hours without burning the coffee on the burner plate. Not everyone likes thermal carafes, though. As one coffee forum poster pointed out, “I like to see how much coffee is left in the pot from across the room”.
5. Do you use one particular type of coffee, or prefer a variety?
Single serve coffee systems like Keurig, Senseo and Tassimo make coffee with pre-measured pods of coffee. Some even have include the filter system and brewer in the coffee capsule or coffee pod. The expert tasters claim the coffee is only so-so, because the brewers can’t heat the water to the right temperature, and dislike the fact that you can’t adjust the amount of water or coffee used. Consumers seem to love the machines, though, with sales of the Keurig and Senseo rising every year. Even the limitation of only being able to use the pre-packaged pods doesn’t have much impact any more. Keurig K-cups come in well over 100 different flavors and brands, and there are reusable filter/pods that allow you to use your own coffee in each of the machines.
In addition, you’ll want to consider price, special features, appearance and brew quality when picking the right coffee maker. You’ll find a lot of help with that by reading the coffee maker reviews on this site.