It's unbievable, but when you start your search for a new coffee maker, you will find a huge variety to choose from. The first step in choosing the right one is deciding what type you want. This depends on what kind of drinks you want to prepare. Your basic decision here is if you want traditional coffee or a specialty drink. A standard machine is preferred by people who like the taste of weaker coffee. Most flavored grounds are made for traditional pots. If you like to try a wide variety of coffee types, you may want a standard machine.
Drip machines work by heating the water and then dripping it through the grounds. The grounds are placed in the filter and the dripping water extracts the flavor. The Bunn coffee makers are very reliable machines that brews a cup in about three minutes. Many models offer pause and pour features that allow you to interrupt the brewing process, if you can’t wait for that first cup in the morning. Timers allow you to program the machine to start brewing before you wake up in the morning.
These machines are easy and convenient to use. They are great if you drink a lot of coffee or will be serving a crowd. You can brew a pot at a time, rather than just a cup or two.
Specialty Coffee Machines
If you love the specialty drinks at your local café and want to make them at home, an espresso maker may be for you. These machines are more expensive, but make a superior drink. You need to be willing to spend some more time in preparation and these machines only make one or two cups at a time. If you will be serving a crowd, that may not be practical. The most common machines are semi automatic, automatic and super automatics.
With automatic machines, you load the portafilter with ground beans. You set the water level, depending on the drink you are making. Once everything is set, the machine does the rest. A milk frother attachment is included for making cappuccinos and lattes. Some automatics come with a built in grinder, but many do not. Many espresso lovers prefer a separate grinder for quality grinds. Adjustable coffee grinders allow you to set the consistency of the beans. Automatic machines are pod compatible, if you want to skip the grinding altogether. Opinions differ regarding pods, with some people loving the convenience and others thinking the taste is weak or bitter.
Super automatics are the most expensive home machines. They also make drinks of superior quality, which makes them worth the expense. These machines do the whole job for you. Add some beans and the machine will grind the beans, tamp them into the filter and prepare your drink. Super automatics are fully programmable. You set the machine for strength, texture of the beans, water level, temperature and quantity.
The size of the reservoir varies by brand, but you will need to refill it regularly. Distilled water is the best choice for keeping your machine clean and your drinks tasting their best. You will need to empty the waste box frequently. This is where the machine dumps the used grinds. Additional features like cup warmers and hot water dispensers are convenient.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Coffee Maker
Whether you have a standard or specialty machine, you will need to clean it regularly to keep it in good working order. Build up from your water can cause scaling inside, which can shorten the life of the appliance. Vinegar is helpful for removing deposits inside the machine. If you have hard water, consider using distilled water. Because the water doesn’t contain impurities, it won’t leave scales behind.
More cleaning is involved with semi automatic and automatic makers. You need to clean all areas of the machine regularly. The specifics vary by model, so read the directions for how to clean yours properly. If your model has a removable brew group, you will need to take it out and rinse it at least once a week. Non removable models are self cleaning.
Some automatics and all super automatic expresso machines are self cleaning. You program the cleaner for how often you want the machine cleaned. These are the most convenient for both making drinks and cleaning up.
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