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Coffee Brewer Buying Guide

There's nothing better than a delicious cup of coffee or espresso to start your morning off right. However, more and more people are choosing to brew their coffee at home, rather than waiting in lineups and breaking the budget on expensive café beverages. There is a wide variety of coffee and espresso makers available. They range from the basic automatic drip coffee makers to advanced super-automatic espresso machines. But the wide variety of coffee and espresso makers available can seem overwhelming, so if you're interested in buying a coffee maker for your home or office, follow our Coffee Brewer Buying Guide to find the coffee maker or espresso machine that best suits your preferences.

Coffee Brewer Buying Guide

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AeroPress Coffee & Espresso Maker

A unique coffee and espresso brewer that makes lower acidity coffee with rich flavour and without the bitterness. Because of its design capabilities, the AeroPress® uses a lower water temperature and shorter brew time to produce coffee with lower acidity than conventional brewers, and without the bitterness. The AeroPress® uses a paper micro-filter to deliver grit-free coffee that you can even store as concentrate. Thanks to the compact size of this coffee maker, you can brew coffee virtually anywhere with a hot water source – backpacking, camping, cottage, office, and home.

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Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

Automatic drip coffee makers are probably the most popular of all coffee makers. Their ease of use has made them a staple in most households and workplaces. In an automatic drip coffee maker, water is heated in a reservoir and automatically pours over coffee grounds within a paper filter or reusable gold tone filter and into a carafe. Typically, automatic drip coffee makers can brew between 8 to 12 cups of coffee. Most drip coffee makers have convenient features such as programmable brew start so you can set the coffee maker to brew at a convenient time, drip-stop or pause functionality that lets you pour yourself a cup before the brewing cycle has completed, and automatic shutoff to turn the coffee maker off on its own.

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Keurig Single-Serve Brewing Systems

Keurig® Single-Serve Brewing Systems are designed to brew a single cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate in 1 to 2 minutes. These machines use a sealed pod to brew your beverage and are becoming increasingly popular because of their convenience and large assortment of beverages. The coffee brewing method doesn't vary much among these brewers, however different models and brands have advanced features including; range of brewing sizes (Keurig® 2.0 brewing systems will brew a carafe size), include reusable coffee filters, charcoal water filters, and more. You can also purchase a variety of reusable coffee filters that allow you to use your own ground coffee or loose-leaf tea.

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French Press Coffee Makers

French Press coffee makers have been around for almost 100 years. Fans of the French Press enjoy this brewing method because it captures more of the coffee bean’s flavour and essential oils versus using paper filters. Since coffee grounds are fully immersed in hot water and essential oils are not filtered out, the French Press naturally produces a full-bodied and bold flavour. Relatively inexpensive, the French Press brewing method is one of the most favoured in the world because of the taste. Choose from a variety of sizes, designs, and materials (glass, stainless steel, stoneware).

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Siphon / Vacuum Coffee Makers

Most Siphon / Vacuum Coffee Makers look like a science experiment including glass vessels, heating sources and stands. However, there is an automated version from KitchenAid® that removes most of the manual work with automated full immersion siphon brewing through precise temperature and vacuum technology.

How does it work? Vacuum coffee makers operate as a siphon, where heating and cooling the lower vessel changes the vapor pressure of water in the lower, first pushing the water up into the upper vessel, then allowing the water to fall back down into the lower vessel. During brewing, a small amount of water and sufficient water vapor remain in the lower vessel and are kept hot enough so the pressure will support the column of water in the siphon. When enough time has elapsed that the coffee has finished brewing, the heat is removed and the pressure in the bottom vessel drops, so the force of gravity and pressure push the coffee down into the lower vessel, through a strainer and away from the grounds, ending brewing.

Chemex Pour-Over Coffee Makers

The Chemex® pour-over method coffee maker makes clear, pure, flavourful coffee without bitterness or sediment. The coffee only comes in contact with the scientifically designed filter and non-porous glass. With the Chemex® method, you can make coffee as strong as you like without bitterness. Because of its purity, Chemex® brewed coffee can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for reheating without losing its flavour. This artisanal brewing method is very similar to the automatic drip coffee maker, but the user has complete control over the pouring process and extraction.

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Nespresso Espresso Makers

Nespresso machines are designed to brew a single shot of espresso, lungo, or Americano. The coffee grounds are sealed in a single-serve capsule, with a variety of blends and roasts available. Most Nespresso machines can be purchased with an automatic milk frother included so you can make café-style cappuccinos, lattes, and macchiatos in minutes. Do you want to enjoy espresso and café style beverages at home but prefer quick and easy convenience? Nespresso might be the right machine for you!

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Bialetti Moka Express

The Bialetti Moka Express is a stove-top coffee maker that produces coffee by passing boiling water pressurized by steam through ground coffee. This coffee maker produces an excellent cup of Italian coffee – perfect for those who prefer a strong European style beverage. The coffee flavour gets better with each use as the porosity of the material absorbs and maintains the flavour of the coffee in its body.

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Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines

Professional appearance, freshly ground coffee beans and fantastic results make semi-automatic espresso machines highly sought after. These machines include a water boiler, portafilter and a switch or lever to perform the extraction process. Semi-automatic espresso machines allow you to take control and fine-tune your espresso by adjusting grind, tamping, and extraction time. These machines also include an integrated steaming wand so you can create café-style milk based beverages such as cappuccinos, lattes and macchiatos. After a few uses you can add Barista to your resume!

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Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Super-automatic espresso machines do everything except fold your laundry (just kidding, but that would be nice). At the push of a button, these “bean-to-cup" machines automatically grind, tamp, and extract. This automated process results in consistent coffee, espresso, and café-style beverages such as cappuccino, latte, macchiatos, and more. For the most part, you only have to worry about filling the coffee bean hopper, adding water to a reservoir, and occasional maintenance.

While the results is similar among super-automatic espresso machines, the difference comes down to functionality and programming options. Some of these machines are capable of automatic milk frothing and others use a manual steam wand. Some have one-touch profiles for pre-set espresso drinks while others require you to manually enter your drink selection and size.

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