Different types of coffee makers

Coffee can be brewed in different ways and manners. All coffee makers have in common that they work without the necessity to boil coffee in a separate container. Grounded Coffee beans, the coffee grounds, are placed in a filter area, either made of metal or of paper and hold in a container, which is set over or in the coffee pot. Cold water is heated in a separate container and than directed towards and through the grounded coffee. The amount of coffee that can be produced is determined by the size of the water container, the filter and the carafe that contains the finished coffee. You can buy a single cup coffee machines, a 12 cup coffee maker or an even larger one. Here the most common methods to prepare coffee:

1. Coffee Cooking
Perhaps the oldest method of preparing coffee, it consists in placing roasted and ground coffee beans in a pot and in adding hot water. A lid is placed and the whole mixture is brought to the boil. After a while the coffee is tasted and when it seems strong enough, removed from the heat source. The brew is either filtered or it has to be waited until the majority of the coffee grounds has sunk to the bottom of the pot. Overcooking the coffee often leads to a bitter taste. This method is also often referred to as "cowboy coffee" or "fire place coffee".

2. Drip-brew or a drip coffee maker
This type simulates the working of a manual drip coffee brew, where a filter containing the grounded coffee is placed over a carafe and hot water is poured over the coffee ground and than, passing through the filter, drips as coffee into the carafe. This can be done manually or by using an electric or automatic drip coffee maker. An average size for a drip brew coffee maker would be a 12 cup coffee maker.

3. Electric or automatic drip coffee maker
Water from a cold water reservoir passes through a flexible tube into a heating chamber where the water is heated, a thermostat prevents that it is heated too much and converted into steam. This heated water gets moved up towards a spray head from where it drips down onto the ground coffee. This coffee is normally contained in a, paper or gold, filter hold by a container, which is located below the spray head. The water passes through the filter, the coffee and than drips into a glass or thermos carafe. When brewing more as 12 cups coffee a more powerful heating element is necessary. In 1972 Mr. Coffee factored the first such automatic drip-brew coffee maker for home use. The model became soon incredibly popular.

4. Percolator style coffee maker
Percolating means to trickle and refers to the fact that the water is heated, climbs through a funnel or climbing tube and then trickles back into the water chamber, passing through the coffee grounds.
The process is repeated and the liquid passes repeatedly through the grounds and the water, the coffee becoming so stronger and stronger. Often a transparent cupola is included in the lid or in the upper chamber to give the coffee brewer the possibility to check on the strength of the brew. The first percolators produced were often made entirely out of glass, providing an unrivaled purity of flavor and, unfortunately also, a very frail construction that broke easily.

5. Vacuum coffee maker
Vacuum coffee makers are known to produce an exceptional clear brew. The water is heated in a lower chamber, the resulting expansion of the water forces it through a climbing tube into an upper chamber that contains the ground coffee. When the lower chamber is empty, the coffee maker is removed from the heat source and the resulting vacuum then brings the coffee back into the lower chamber, passing through a sieve or strainer that filters out the coffee grains. The coffee is served from this lower chamber.

6. Siphon Coffee maker
A variant of the above, it has two chambers that are not constructed one above the other, but side by side. Both chambers are arranged on a scale like construction and with a counterweight being localized opposite of the chamber where the water is heated. The heated water is forced though a tube into the brewing chamber which activates the counterweight that turns off the heat, preventing so the "overcooking" of the coffee brew. The brew then returns, by force of the developing vacuum,
into the first chamber from where it can be served. Nowadays a thermostat is used to the same effect of cutting of the heat.

7. Pour-over or water displacement drip coffee maker
This method was first introduced by a company called Bunn. It consists in heating up the water in a holding tank to near boiling point. All the water in this holding tank is brought to the near boil at roughly the same time. When colder water is added, the less-dense hot water is displaced out of the heating chamber into the tube that leads to the brewing chamber from where it drips through the grounded coffee beans and passes through them. It is a very fast method to brew coffee, perfect for brewing large amounts of coffee in a short time. But it also uses up much more energy, i.e. electricity as it preheats the water in the holding tank. This type of coffee maker is especially effective for the use in restaurants and larger catering situations like big office parties.

Summary of coffee making methods: So that is my little round up of all things coffee makers, I hope you have enjoyed it! And I hope this information is also useful for you when you are about to purchase your next coffee maker! Each of this methods has its advantages and its disadvantages. Which one you use depends entirely on your needs of coffee making. You can brew a large amount of coffee manually and by hand, but using the right, (semi-) automated method will be far more effective. Consider your needs and then choose the right method of coffee making for you. Have fun experimenting and don't forget to enjoy your favorite cup of Joe ;-)