If you have read some of my previous articles, you probably realized that there are many ways to prepare coffee, and different methods produce different results.
One doubt that comes up a lot is which coffee maker you should buy, so here we will take a quick look at each of these methods with their advantages, disadvantages, and for whom I recommend each one.
The first thing to know is that there are two main ways of preparing coffee: immersion and percolation (drip).
In the immersion method, we place the coffee with the water in a container, and when we leave them together, the extraction will take place until it is ready to filter and drink. In the drip or percolation method, the water passes through the ground coffee beans extracting it by the action of pressure or simply gravity filtering it into another container.
Let’s start with the best-known coffee maker, the French Press. In the decanter, we place the coffee beans together with the water, and after a few minutes, the beverage is ready to be filtered with the plunger that has a metallic mesh.
Advantages of the French Press
- It is cheap.
- Super easy to use, so it generates consistency, and there is little margin for error.
- It does not require our constant attention during its preparation, so it is ideal for doing something else, such as breakfast in the morning.
- It is sustainable since it does not use disposable filters.
Disadvantages of the French Press
- It is not very easy to clean.
- Due to its metallic filter, it is easy to generate fine particles of coffee beans at the bottom of the cup.
For whom do I recommend the French Press?
For those who are just starting in the world of coffee and are looking for something very easy to make and replicate a good cup of coffee every time, for those who enjoy a coffee with a lot of body and texture, and for those who are looking for something versatile since it can be used for other things such as frothing milk, preparing Cold Brew and various infusions.
The Moka Pot is another of the classics and one of the queens of percolation. In this coffee maker, we place the water in the bottom container and the ground coffee in the funnel-shaped filter, and once we close it, adjusting the top part, pressure is created due to the water vapor that is enclosed, which causes it to pass through the funnel, through the coffee extracting it towards the top container.
Advantages of the Moka Pot
- It is cheap.
- Super simple, quick to use, and clean.
- We have the beverage ready to drink in a few seconds, and it is very easy to generate consistency.
Disadvantages of the Moka Pot
- It is not very versatile; the size of the coffee pot will dictate how much coffee will be prepared since it is always necessary to fill the entire coffee filter to obtain a good extraction.
- When creating a very intense, concentrated, and full-bodied coffee, to drink it like a traditional filtered coffee, it is necessary to use the bypass technique, that is to say, to dilute it with water.
- It necessarily needs a power source for its operation, so it limits a little where to use it.
For whom do I recommend the Moka Pot?
I recommend it for those who enjoy drinks with milk since it is ideal for imitating espresso-based drinks in a very cheap and simple way. Also, for those looking for the convenience of something quick and simple without compromising the quality of the coffee.
Siphon Coffee Maker
The Siphon is similar to the Moka pot in operation, but it is an immersion method. In this coffee maker, we also place the water in the lower container over the fire, and once again, as it is enclosed, the water vapor makes it rise toward the upper container. Still, once it is at the top, we place the coffee and allow it to be extracted together with the water.
Once it is ready, we remove it from the fire, and the coffee begins to decant in the lower container passing through the filter that is in the middle.
Advantages of the Siphon Coffee Maker
- It produces a coffee like a few others, combining the immersion and the cloth filter produces a little more clarity but maintains the texture.
- In addition, it is a spectacle to watch as it rises and falls.
Disadvantages of the Siphon coffee maker.
- It isn’t easy to clean.
- It requires our constant attention at every step.
- They are generally more expensive than other coffee makers.
For whom do I recommend the Siphon coffee maker?
I recommend it to the passionate coffee nerd who enjoys the show this coffee maker produces and is perhaps looking for a hobby in brewing coffee.
Manual percolation or drip brewing methods
We continue with the percolation or drip methods with manual pour-over. These consist of a cone-shaped filter holder where we place a filter, generally made of paper, where we place the ground coffee beans and manually pass water through them, which is then extracted towards the container below.
Among these, we find those with a pointed filter base, such as the V60 and the Chemex. Others have a slightly flatter filter base, such as the Melitta type, and even flatter, for example, the Kalita Wave, which has a flat circumference. The flatter the base, the better the coffee beans will be distributed and the easier the extraction will be.
Advantages of manual percolation or drip coffee makers
- They are generally inexpensive.
- Cleaning is super easy.
- We can achieve extremely complex and brilliant coffees.
- We have full control of the variables, so if we know what we are doing, we can extract the coffee exactly as we want.
Disadvantages of manual percolation or drip coffee brewers
- The disadvantage is the difficulty of maintaining consistency, it is difficult and time-consuming to learn the technique. It is easy to make mistakes and create channels where some parts are over-extracted, and others are under-extracted.
- In addition, you need other tools, such as a timer scale and a gooseneck kettle, to make things easier.
Who do I recommend manual percolation or drip coffee brewers for?
I recommend it to coffee fanatics obsessed with quality and searching for the perfect cup and those who want to learn and experiment with how the pouring technique and turbulence, among other variables, affect the extraction.
You may ask, who is the king of percolation? Well, the espresso machine is one of the most popular around the world. This method uses high pressure to pass water through a compacted and finely ground coffee.
Advantages of the espresso machine
- There is nothing like the explosion of flavors in the mouth caused by an espresso that is unique and incomparable with the coffee we can produce with other methods.
- In a few seconds, we have the drink ready.
- We can create hundreds of recipes with this machine, such as flat white, cappuccino, etcetera. It is amazing.
Disadvantages of the espresso machine
- It is very expensive, a good domestic espresso machine is within thousands of dollars, to which you must add a good grinder, plus other accessories and tools.
- And even if money is not a problem, it isn’t easy to prepare coffee in it. Knowing how to calibrate an espresso takes a lot of practice and experience, and if we add to this the texturizing of the milk to create the recipes, it takes months or years to master, and it can be very frustrating.
Who do I recommend the espresso machine for?
I recommend it for those who already have experience with coffee, know how to cup, and want to dedicate all the time it takes at home.
This machine also needs to be thoroughly cleaned and maintained from time to time, so if you are not willing to dedicate all this work to it, it is much simpler and cheaper to go to a specialty coffee shop where they know what they are doing and prepare your coffee at home using a different method.
Coffee Pod Machines
At the other extreme, we find the coffee pod machines, the operation is similar to the espresso machine, passing water under high pressure through compacted and finely ground coffee, but both machines are very different.
Advantages of coffee pod machines
- They are extremely easy to use, and no previous knowledge is required.
- In addition to being very fast, in a few seconds, we have the drink ready to drink.
Disadvantages of coffee pod machines
- The main disadvantage is that it is not even similar to espresso, its preparations are intense, and it uses a very small amount of coffee, so it naturally produces a small amount of beverage. It is not of the best quality.
For whom do I recommend coffee pod machines?
I recommend it to those who are looking for the convenience of having something 100% automated, without having to think about any variable, and in a few seconds to obtain a delicious coffee to drink, obviously starting from good quality coffee beans, which in this case we must use in rechargeable pods. It will not be the best way of extracting this coffee, but it serves as a patch to the need.
2-in-1 coffee makers
2-in-1 coffee makers combine the two methods, immersion and drip or percolation, and depending on how you use them, you will obtain different results.
An example is the Clever Dripper or the Hario Switch, among others. These look like a manual drip method at first glance, but they contain a valve at the base that allows you to close it and use them as an immersion method. Once the coffee has been extracted, this valve can be opened and filtered into the container below.
We also have the better-known Aeropress. This is originally designed as a percolator, but once we turn it upside down and use the inverted technique, it becomes an immersion method.
Advantages of 2-in-1 coffee makers
- They are easy to clean.
- They are also very versatile.
- They are generally cheap.
- It’s like buying two coffee makers in one.
- You can create a lot of recipes.
Disadvantages of 2-in-1 coffee makers
- The disadvantage is going to depend on each one. For example, the Aeropress is capacity, it is a single-serve coffee maker.
- The Hario Switch, Clever, and others will have the disadvantages of manual drip methods if they are used that way. If they are used as an immersion method, they will take a little bit longer, and they will not create that clarity and brightness in the flavor of the drip.
Who do I recommend 2 in 1 coffee makers for?
I recommend them for those who want to learn, try and experiment and for those who are just starting in the world of coffee and perhaps do not have a large budget.