Coffee Makers: Drip, Percolate, French Press

Coffee makers are standard equipment in most kitchens. There are many different types, styles, sizes, and manufacturers to choose from. Even people who do not drink coffee will often have a machine for making coffee to accommodate visitors.

An Old Percolator Sketch

Perhaps you remember the percolator that sat on the kitchen counter at holidays and family gatherings bubbling water through the coffee grounds to create enough coffee for everyone? Often these were large contraptions with pipes, valves, and nozzles. Percolators are still often used when coffee must be made for large groups of people. Scaled down versions are still made, but not often used because they are not as convenient as a coffee maker using the drip method. Percolators take longer and are generally harder to clean up. The other disadvantage of percolating is that it can make coffee taste bitter. Also, coffee grounds can easily get into individual cups of coffee.

The automatic drip coffee maker is probably the most popular of modern coffee makers. They are quick to brew, making about 6 cups in under 10 minutes. Auto-drip also does a good job of preserving flavor. The coffee from these makers does not contain a lot of the sediment and oils that might be found with other brewing methods. Manufacturers range from Black and Decker and Zojirushi, to Mr. Coffee.

French Press Coffee Maker

The French press is a simple device, a glass tube with a mesh screen plunger that fits inside to filter the coffee grounds. Sometimes called the plunger pot or press pot, it can be enjoyable to use. The French press produces a full-bodied aromatic brew. Nearly boiling water is used, but there is no heating element within the pot. The coffee should be consumed right away as there is no means to keep the coffee hot.

Electric espresso makers are popular, but price much higher than standard coffee makers. Stove-top espresso makers are available at a moderate price. Using a stove-top brewer is easy, simply fill it with water, put your grounds in the filter, and place the whole thing on a source of heat. This makes a rich cup of coffee, but will also be slightly cloudy as there is a fine powder of coffee grounds. It will eventually settle to the bottom of the cup. Coffee made with this method has a full body and aroma. Some manufacturers include DeLonghi, Breville, and Lello.

Next Page: The Health Benefits of Coffee


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