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Electric Coffee Makers - How to Choose the Right Electric Coffee Maker

Updated on March 11, 2011

If you're a real coffee lover, then you need to know all you can about electric coffee makers. You don't need to overpay for coffee at expensive coffee shops and you don't need to tolerate mediocre home-brewed coffee either.

With this hub, I will teach you about the variety of electric coffee makers available to you and how you can achieve consistently delicious mugs of great coffee every single day.

I'll provide information on both budget electric coffee makers as well as top of the line drip coffee makers and whether those expensive models are worth it. I'll also discuss personal electric coffee makers ideal for that one travel mug you take on your commute every morning.

Gevalia Electric Coffee Makers
Gevalia Electric Coffee Makers

First I encourage you to sit down and write down a list of features and functions you require in your ideal electric coffee maker before you even start the shopping process.

You may be surprised how quickly you can become overwhelmed with features and promotions of different electric coffee makers once you begin the process. Having a predefined list of what's important to you will help you keep your head clear and help you find the best electric coffee maker for you personally.

Questions you might consider when writing your list include, how much do you drink every day? How much are you currently paying for coffee, whether at coffee shops or in the form of the filters and coffee you buy at the store? Do you already have a preference of brew style, be it percolator, pressure or drip brew? And of course, what is your budget?

Additionally, I encourage you to browse the Internet before you shop at your local department store or super store for electric coffee makers. You'll learn a lot by reading reviews on products pages at places like Amazon.com. You'll also find far more models of coffee makers than can possibly be housed by any single brick and mortar store.

A Classic Electric Drip Coffee Maker
A Classic Electric Drip Coffee Maker

Electric Drip Coffee Makers

An electric coffee maker can mean many things. There are electric percolators, electric espresso makers which essentially use pressurized steam to brew the java, and of course the electric drip coffee maker.

In all likelihood, you'll probably want to choose among the electric drip coffee makers. These coffee machines offer the most models and the best compromise between ease-of-use and quality-of-brew.

All drip filter coffee makers operate in the same basic manner. You place a filter (either a disposable paper filter or metal or plastic permanent filter) into a basket which will hold the ground coffee bean. You pour cold water into the electric drip coffee maker reservoir, then you turn the machine on. At this point, the coffee maker heats the water to a high temperature and pours the water through the coffee grounds held in the filter.

The filter slows the water down so that it temporarily pools among the grounds, then the brewed coffee liquid drips down into a waiting coffee pot or coffee carafe. The process is remarkably simple yet consistent and effective.

Sometimes people will claim that electric drip coffee makers or automatic coffee makers in general make an inferior brew. However this is not the case; simply put, garbage in, garbage out. In other words, often times when people make coffee at home, they use cheap pre-ground beans. Also, they often don't properly maintain and clean their electric coffee maker.

If you buy quality whole beans, grind them just before you brew. And then keep your coffee maker properly cleaned so you can achieve a truly great cup of coffee even with an inexpensive electric coffee maker.

A Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe
A Coffee Maker With Thermal Carafe

Electric Coffee Makers with Thermal Carafes

Electric coffee makers with thermal carafes have a distinct advantage... but only if you don't drink your coffee right away after you brew. 

The problem with the standard coffee pot on a heating plate design is that you encourage two separate flavor-changing and quality-reducing processes.  The two processes are reheating and oxidization.

Coffee oxidizes quickly when exposed to the air, just like when a peeled apple browns.  When you place a non-sealed, non-thermal coffee carafe or coffee pot on a heating plate, you reheat the coffee at the bottom of the pot and oxidize the coffee at the top of the pot. 

And of course, heat rises, so you create a constant cycle of reheating the coffee at the bottom, then after it rises to the top you oxidize it, then it sinks until it is reheated again... and so forth.

So to put it bluntly, that coffee you drank from the office pot which had been sitting there for 40 minutes was some really crappy coffee.

Thermal carafes bypass this by maintaining the innate heat of the coffee after the brew rather than heating it, and vacuum-sealed thermal carafes also prevent air exposure, thus greatly reducing the oxidization as well.

So if you can, I suggest considering electric coffee makers which feature a vacuum-sealed thermal carafe.

The Fantastic Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker
The Fantastic Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker

Single Cup Coffee Makers

These single cup electric coffee makers have really evolved in recent years. If you buy a quality model, you can achieve a quality mug of coffee without having to brew more than you really need. These small electric coffee makers are great for minimizing waste and saving money.

I mean, think about it. How often have you brewed even a small pot of coffee, filled your travel mug and headed out the door, with the rest of the brewed coffee wasted and sitting in your pot until evening or even the next morning?

In the past, these single cup brewers didn't properly heat the water to achieve a full brew, but that is no longer the case these days. If you buy a main brand single cup electric coffee maker, you can achieve a concise cup of delicious coffee every morning.

My favorite is the Keurig Gourmet Single Cup Brewing System, picture there to the right or available from Amazon right below here.

Electric Coffee Maker Reviews

Many variables must be considered when proclaming any coffee machines as the best electric coffee makers, but I'll do my best to offer you my view.

Mr. Coffee FTTX95

This electric coffee maker feature  a 10-cup reservoir and stainless steel carafe.  The stainless steel looks great in modern kitchen decor and its programmable capability makes it convenient for your busy lifestyle.  This coffee maker features pause and serve functionality and optional gold filter. 

I feel this is a quality coffee maker with solid components, however I feel Cuisinart creates more aesthetically pleasing designs and I've achieve better tasting coffee from Cuisinart and DeLonghi models.

Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe

In my opinion, this is the electric coffee maker to get if you really love your coffee. While is a 10 cup coffee maker instead of a 12 or 14 cup like the others described here, it makes up for this with excellent flavor, a fantastic and stylish appearance and the best thermal carafe I've ever used.

The thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot and tasty for hours and it makes it virtually impossible for you to spill your coffee when you pour from it. The curved profile and brushed stainless steel design will make your kitchen look better. In fact, watch television shows and movies carefully: you will often see this exact coffee maker on the kitchen counter of those Hollywood sets.

It can be a little bit of chore to clean up afterwords, but you'll get the routine down pretty quick and believe me, the delicious coffee this electric coffee maker produces is well worth it!

DeLonghi DC514 Electric Coffee Maker

This is a great coffee maker if you drink a whole lot of coffee fast or you serve a number of thirsty coffee drinkers regularly.  It features a large 14 cup water reservoir and carafe.  It also features an aroma button, pause and serve functionality and handy cord storage.

The DeLonghi DC514 brews excellent coffee by releasing the water in 30-second intervals to maximize aroma and flavor.  The reservoir features a charcoal filter to remove the chlorine flavor from tap water.  It also features an electronic "clean me" capability, which measure internal oil and residue build-up and lets you know when it needs to be cleaned.

This is a high quality coffee maker.  The only shortcoming, in my opinion, is the lack of a thermal carafe.  But you can order one separately from DeLonghi if yo uso desire.  If you're really serious about your coffee and you either drink a lot with each brew or serve several individuals, this the electric coffee maker for you.

The Clover Electric Coffee Maker

Thank you for reading and I hope this helps you better understand electric coffee makers and prepares you to buy the best electric coffee maker for your particular needs.

I've included a remarkable coffee maker created by researchers at Standford Researches.  Since this baby costs several thousand dollars and is in limited supply, I wouldn't expect to bring it home with you any time soon, but if you love coffee, you'll enjoy this video.  Take care!

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