The Best Coffee Equipment: Coffee Makers, Roasters & Grinders

Look, I get it! I really do! You want the best coffee, made for the least amount of money, and with the most convenience. Well, there is a trade-off between these three elements: you can have any two of them, but not all three at the same time! This page aims to help you focus on which elements of the coffee making process are important to you and which coffee makers, grinders & roasters help you do that!

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So we'll delve into the world of coffee equipment: from handmade coffee makers to automatics to full on roasters! I'll try to give you an indication of where they live on the coffee triangle I mentioned earlier.

FYI: buying a product from a link on PurelyCoffeeBeans.com may earn me a small commission. Sincere thanks for your support!

This section is first, simply because so many coffee drinkers buy pre-ground coffee for use at home or work. If you're usually buying this kind of coffee, then look no further than different types of coffee makers that you might need to try. You will still need to pay attention to the basic grind size, though.

What are the top twelve types of coffee makers?

What other popular types of coffee makers are right for your needs? Let's explore different types of coffee brewing machines, with a brief maker comparison. We welcome you to read our review of 12 coffee maker types. Just click on the link in each paragraph to find out more about each coffee machine model. This work is still in progress at the moment!

#12 - Drip Cones

These coffee cones do come in a variety of materials including plastic, ceramic, wood, and metal. There are also several different sizes and shapes, the filter papers for which are not interchangeable. While the plastic cones are pretty affordable, the ceramic drippers are much more aesthetically pleasing, as is the V60! Of course, it's arguable whether they produce better coffee. Learn more about coffee cones here.

  • V60 cone
  • Ceramic Cones
  • Flat-bottomed Cones

Choosing plastic, glass or ceramic coffee cones has the one undesirable aspect - they can be broken. The metal and silicon cones are much tougher if you drop them. They aren't indestructible, however. The only real issue with these drip cones is finding the right filter papers to match your size and type. They are NOT interchangeable by any means.

  • Equipment Cost: 4.5 - very affordable for starting out, you don't need much else other than a source for hot water. You really only need a decent coffee spoon, kettle (which most of us have), coffee papers for the cone.
  • Convenience: 1.0 - you need a hot water source, thermometer, and you'll need to rinse the equipment and clean up after use. You also need to learn how to get the method of making the coffee right. And you have to stand over the coffee equipment as you make it, so you can't pull double duty cooking breakfast or getting dressed!
  • Coffee Quality: 4.0 - whatever coffee you put in, you'll get good results if you pour the water slowly and make sure the grounds are properly infused. It's perfect for one or two cups. But the coffee cools quickly, esp. in cooler climes. And it's hard to make coffee for your colleagues or family... it's too small.

In short, I love my coffee cone, and despite having other coffee equipment... it suits my lifestyle. Keep reading for one that suits yours!

#11 French press coffee

One of my favorite ways to brew coffee is with a French press. Why? Well, French Press Makers brew up a wonderful tasting coffee for you. Not only that, it's a glamorous way to make coffee, made with lovely shiny bronzes and glass. Learn more about French Presses here.

Key points for the French Press:

  • Makes 2~4 cups easily (or about 1 ~ 2 mugs)
  • Needs coffee ground for French press, medium ground.
  • Glass jugs are beautiful, but can be broken.

I've used quite a few over the years, and loved them for their gorgeous looks. I don't have any now... they're all broken!

  • Equipment Cost: 4.0 - Once you buy your pot, you really don't need to buy much else except coffee. Typically prices range from $15 to $35, the cheaper models tend to be made of plastic or cheap glass, while the more expensive models may be double-hulled to keep your beverage warm. Be careful, your French press pot can be easy to break, especially if it is glass or plastic.
  • Convenience: 3.5 - It's one of the most convenient manual methods of making coffee. Simply add several spoonfuls of an appropriate grind, add hot water, and wait for 3~4 minutes. After a few minutes, slowly press then pour. Wash up is easy too. You can simply rinse off the jug and plunger!
  • Coffee Quality: 3.0 -  I reckon you receive a fuller, natural flavor from the coffee by pressing your coffee in this manner. Watch for the size of coffee grounds you want to use, you need slightly larger grounds. If they're too fine, you'll get lots of 'silt' in your coffee (like a Turkish or Greek coffee almost). The biggest drawback is that the coffee does not remain hot for long, so look for a double-hulled French press pot to avert the heat loss. Also, the coffee can become bitter if you forget to press the plunger! So watch the time!

In short, if you need decent coffee in simple machine, this is for you, otherwise if you like your coffee lawsuit hot… keep reading! I'll add more here about using and selecting a French press ...

#10 - Coffee percolators

Stovetop percolators are now back in fashion (not that they ever were out) because people are realizing that these manual coffee makers make great tasting coffee! Many people are discovering that stove top percolators are also eco-friendly because they will typically use less energy than standard automatic drip coffee makers.

What are the perks of a percolator?

  • Stovetop percolators are inexpensive.
  • A percolator coffee pot can use up to 20% less coffee.
  • You can adjust the strength of your coffee easily.
  • For those who like a really hot cup of coffee, a percolator is the way to go.

So how does a coffee percolator actually rate?

  • Equipment: 4.0 - They are really economical to buy, use and last a long time. You'll find a range of types: electric, stovetop or even portable percolators.
  • Convenience: 3.5 - It's quick to make coffee and you don't need to stand over the brewer as it perks away. Electric percolators will stop perking at the right time, so that you do not need to watch the coffee pot as closely as you would with a stovetop type of percolator for use on any kitchen hob.
  • Coffee Quality: 2.5 - For some, the smell of coffee perking is an evocative experience of times gone by. You can control the flavor by adjusting the length of the perking period. Just don't let the percolator boil. Lastly, you will find that your coffee is hotter than the standard drip makers offer.

If you fancy an easy way to make coffee or miss the smells of your childhood camping... consider the coffee percolator!

#9 Thermal Coffee Brewers

If you drink a lot of drip coffee, you'll find that a thermal coffee brewer offers one neat feature: the ability to keep coffee warm without exposing it to a hot plate. If you've ever wondered why your second cup of coffee tastes different, then this kind of coffee maker will resolve that problem for you.

So how does it work? You wonder… as you notice the missing hot plate! But the carafe, or double hulled jug, is the essential component. This jug is the secret to keeping your pot warm.

The real challenges with this kind of machine are:

  • does it brew the coffee at an adequate temperature (because it won't get warmer!)?
  • how effective is the hulled jug at retaining the temperature?
  • how easy is it to clean out the jug?

Equipment: 3.5 - The thermal coffee maker is most similar to the drip coffee maker, with one notable exception - the insulated jug. Simple to operate, simple to keep warm, and effective. The jug is the only thing that might be tricky to clean out after use, as the coffee residues may build up over time.

Convenience: 4.0 - Massively convenient, especially for those on a limited timescale in the morning, especially if it is matched with a timer for brewing. We love ours. We don't have to attend to the brewer or turn off the hot plate, when the coffee is ready.

Coffee: 4.0 - Compared to the traditional drip coffee brewer, you'll notice that your 2nd cup of coffee tastes much better than the stewed cuppa you might be used to.

This is what I currently use at work, and it keeps coffee warm without unduly influencing the flavor volatiles in your coffee. The thermal carafe keeps that coffee tasty and as fresh as possible!

#8 Built in coffee maker

There is nothing more extravagant than having a built-in coffee machine right in your home kitchen! Extravagant or not, the convenience of an entire coffee center is a real time saver, not to mention a counter space saver, too. Spoil yourself with a built in coffee center!

  • Space saving
  • Range of drinks
  • Automatic cleaning

You will need to find the appropriate cabinet space to accommodate your new machine. Many people find it most likely will offset any cabinetry that they would have stored their appliances in anyway. Typical installed units can make many different drinks, not just drip coffee.

Lastly, for these expensive machines, you will need to have a decent service company. Most of the machines are electronic, so calibrating their settings should be part of the maintenance schedule, otherwise the drinks may taste wrong. Look for quality products from companies with a strong track record of maintenance and reputation. Why? Adding such high end equipment to your kitchen ultimately increases your home's value.

  • Equipment: 4.0 - They are high-end coffee machines that add value to your kitchen and your house. Make sure they make the coffee you like! Look for machines that offer plumbed-in water refilling, generous containers for coffee, grind coffee as well as use pre-ground, and have a decent amount of storage for waste product. They are not maintenance-free, so you will need reminders to clean out the machine, replace milk or coffee, and empty the inevitable spent coffee grounds. This should be a relatively easy and quick task.
  • Convenience: 4.5 - No need to drag out the coffee maker each and every morning, ... everything is done at the press of a button. Stick to a regular cleaning and maintenance cycle, though.
  • Coffee Quality: 2.5 - Well, what can I say? Much of that means matching the quality of the beans to the equipment. Typically, such machines will grind to preset levels, and infuse the coffee to the same kind of standards. You may need to recalibrate if settings drift or are not to your extraction standards. This could be a pfaff, especially if you're not so technically-inclined.

I've found a short list of in-built coffee machine available on Amazon. Hope this helps your research!

#7 On Demand Coffee Makers

On demand coffee makers, such as the Cuisinart Coffee on Demand and the Hamilton Beach Brewstation, keep your coffee hot without the hassle of a glass carafe, all the while brewing exactly the amount of coffee you need! 

Advantages:

  • A lot of advantages: There is nothing to break for a start... and there are so many ways to break those thin glass jugs!
  • Also, the absence of direct heat means that the coffee won't stew if you forget to turn off the hot plate

Many companies manufacture on demand coffee makers, so take a look at Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, Delonghi, etc...

These types of coffee makers use an insulated container to hold your brewed coffee, and have easy dispense buttons so you can grab a cup of coffee one handed. (helpful if your arms are full of babies, reports, etc.) Carafe-less on demand coffee makers come in a good variety of brewing sizes, from the unique Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Coffee Maker... to a full size 12-cup coffee maker.

The first clear bonus is that your coffee stays hot for hours, until the unit turns off, because the coffee drips into an insulated holding tank with a mild heating element inside.

And probably the most obvious advantage is that these coffee machines do not use a carafe to hold the brewed coffee. So you do not need to replace any more broken carafes!

How do these types of coffee makers work?

Hamilton Beach Brewstation is one of the on demand coffee makers that accepts a travel coffee mug. You press a button, and your brewed coffee dispenses into whatever container you hold under the spout.

If you like to fill tall containers such as coffee travel mugs, be certain that you select a unit that has enough clearance for your beverage container to fit under the dispenser. Most people who use the on demand type coffee makers say they will never go back to the old style of coffee makers that use a heated plate to keep the carafe of coffee hot.

Unless you use purified water to brew your coffee, having a water filter is really a nice addition. After all, the best tasting coffee begins with the quality of water your pour in. The Cuisinart DCC-2000 includes a removable/replaceable water filter so that your coffee tastes it's best. You will get a water filter with the Hamilton Beach Brewstation Deluxe. For all other Hamilton Beach coffee makers, you can purchase a water filter separately.

On Demand Coffee makers, like this Cuisinart DCC-3000 Coffee-on-Demand 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, aim to make life just that little bit more convenient in the mornings, during coffee breaks, and at other times of the day when you fancy a cuppa but face daily home or work pressures! The coffee is available at the press of a button, and is poured into your cup or jug. The coffee tastes much fresher than leaving it on a hot plate, too!

#6 Coffee maker with grinder

Many people like the convenience of having just one coffee appliance to do everything automatically:

  • Grinding the coffee beans
  • Brewing the coffee

Grind and Brew Machines come with an array of features. Automatic drip machines are the more common type of these combination machines today.

But you can still find complete coffee centers, like the ones from Jura, that will not only grind your beans to perfection, but also brew up a cup of espresso, cappuccino or a regular cup of coffee with the push of a button.

From simple functions to more elaborate programmable features, you will find the convenience of a maker with a grinder built in grinder to make a fresher cup of coffee every time.

Read more about selecting a coffee machine with grinder here …

#5 Under counter coffee machines

Space Saver Coffee Machines offer full flavored coffee in tight spaces.

This is also known a space saver coffee maker. You will find these types of machines available with programmable features and a thermal pot is available from some manufacturers.

Some styles will allow you to grab a quick cup without removing the entire carafe with an underside serving nozzle, so your coffee can finish brewing as intended.

Find out if a space maker coffee pot is right for you with this link ...

#4 French drip coffee

Typically found in the Southern states, a French drip coffee pot is traditionally a teardrop shaped coffee pot.

French Drip Type Makers are sometimes as elegant as this one (pictured). You can simply use regular ground coffee, as compared to the French press style which uses coarse grounds as recommended.

French drip coffee is the perfect type of coffee pot for small, intimate luncheons; the pot itself is a talking point, as few people have seen one in use. Some of the most beautiful designs can be found with the porcelain models. Since they do not have a heating element, they fit nicely in with your table decor.

Explore the art of French drip coffee, how to make it and supplies here.

#3 Vacuum coffee making

Vacuum Coffee Making is something you rarely find, except with the true coffee connoisseur now days.

Using a vacuum type coffee making equipment will produce a coffee that is pure and without any of the noticeable sediment that you may find in drip coffee.

Many tasters feel that coffee from a vacuum type of maker is noticeably weaker in strength, this is primarily due to the fact that vacuum brewed coffee is much more a pure cup of java.

Read more here about making coffee using a vacuum coffee maker …

#2 Single cup coffee machines

There are many types of single serve coffee machines available. Single Cup Coffee Machines may use either pre-filled capsules or ground coffee

The most popular machines use pods, a type of coffee-filled packet, but you can find single cup coffee machines that use whole coffee beans, too.

Single serve coffee machines mean just that … they will make one cup at a time.

This is ideal if you prefer a different flavor or strength of coffee than the ones with whom you share your machine.

Read more about single cup coffee machines here …

#1 Automatic drip coffee machines


The most common type of coffee makers, for both home and commercial use, is the automatic drip coffee maker. These drip machines begin the coffee brewing process by pumping the water through a heating element, and then slowly dripping the heated water over a basket of ground coffee.

There are many popular types of drip machines, ranging from under $30 to well over $200 for the best models, but they all function in the same way. Simple to use, I reckon that they provide an economical method to make coffee (the machines can be found for relatively little cost), you can use whatever coffee you have (but pay attention to the grind level), though some clean up is required after use. The machines do work pretty much by themselves, so there is no standing around while pressing matters need to be dealt with.

Read more here on how to select the best automatic drip coffeemaker …

Bonus Quirky Coffee Makers

One alternative that is easier is the disposable coffee bags that fit over your cup. Starbucks calls it its Personal Drip System, but there are many companies competing in this increasingly competitive segment. It is somewhat more convenient, but experience shows that they are more expensive, while the resulting coffee isn't as tasty.

Alternative quirky methods abound, though most have issues. You can also consider the Aeropress system for decent espresso. Portable systems also can be found that provide everything in a convenient package, too.


Would the best coffee grinders stand up, please!

Choosing the best coffee grinder begins with how you brew your coffee. So if you already make coffee, then this is the easy part; but if you are looking for your first coffee maker, then consider how you will make your coffee.

There are three different types of grinder that you could use for grinding coffee beans: the blade coffee grinder, the burr and conical burr grinder, and the manual coffee grinder. But first let's consider your brewing method.

How do you brew?

The French presses need coarser grinds than drip coffee makers do. But espresso makers need finer grinds. So if you haven't bought your coffee maker yet, then consider that question first!

Once you decide that, then find out the different ways to actually grind coffee. It's easy to learn how to grind coffee beans well if you just follow some commonsense tips.

In general, the finer the grind, the more the coffee is in contact with the hot water and the less flavor you get. While espresso is strong and tastes great, the grounds are only in contact with the water for less than 30 seconds!

Now why not first read the buying a coffee bean grinder tips page is really the best one for you.

Blade Coffee Grinder

Blade coffee grinders are the least expensive, as little as $10, and chop the coffee beans much like a food processor chops vegetables. However, the friction of the blades creates heat that may burn or singe the beans.

These are not suitable for espresso and perhaps not the best coffee grinder. But they are preferable to buying just ground coffee. Do read the coffee bean grinders tips page on making the best of your blade grinder, if you are to get the most out of this machine!

Burr Coffee Grinder

The next type of grinder is the burr coffee grinder, sometimes referred to as a flat wheel grinder. Coffee beans are crushed between two wheels, one moving and one stationary. You can control the size of the grind by adjusting the wheels to get coarse, medium, fine or Turkish grind.

A burr coffee grinder is more expensive, around $70 and up, but the flavor difference is noticeable and the beans are not altered by heat. These grinders need frequent cleaning but the results are well worth it.

Conical Burr Grinder

A conical burr grinder is top of the line and probably the best coffee grinder coffee beans for a perfect cup of coffee. The surface of the burr grinder is conical, hence the name, so these machines allow you to choose the speed of grinding and they create less friction. This type of grinder needs more thorough and frequent cleaning than a burr grinder.

Any grinder is better than none

If you can't afford a top of the line burr or conical blade grinder, don't worry; you'll still get a better cup of coffee by buying any of these three types of coffee grinders than if you bought pre-ground beans!

More about the Best Grinders

Choose Your Next Coffee Bean Grinders: Tips and Types for Grinding

Those coffee bean grinders in the supermarket are very tempting, right? If you buy your coffee in the bulk coffee bags, you will likely have the beans ground there, too. And it’s reasonable: their coffee grinder is more powerful and flexible. And the likelihood is their grinder is superior in the quality and standards of the grinding process itself. But… Read More »

Coffee Roasters For Your Home

Nowadays coffee bean roasters have become one of the most popular kitchen appliances. The freshness as well as flavor of the coffee is in best whenever it is being roasted at home in small batches.

coffee-roasted-by-machine

Coffee drinkers can choose from different varieties of brands, shapes, sizes and colors of coffee roaster for their home brewing. But nothing can beat a freshly brewed tasty coffee which is brewed right in the total comfort of your home. However, it is really important to own a coffee roaster if you want to experience the best flavor of coffee. You'll also need to learn how to use it through trial-and-error!

Coffee roasters are necessary for converting the green beans into the most popular beverage. Without a good coffee roaster, beans do not get the perfect balance to develop flavorful coffee. Most of the coffees roasters are especially manufactured for professional use in the enterprises such as at big coffee shops. However smaller roaster models for the home usage have recently become popular.

There are two types of coffee roaster for your home, fluid bed roasters and radiant drum roasters. The fluid bed coffee roasters actually work as a warm air popcorn making poppers. These coffee roasters have got a glass chamber for roasting, so you can easily watch coffee beans getting roasted with your naked eyes and stop whenever you want to.

These coffee roasters are great for the beginners and best way to start with the home roasting. The heat drum roasters are like the other professional roasters. These do not have any glass chamber for watching beans getting roasted, thus while roasting coffee beans in this roasters you have to follow the sound or smell minutely.

You can select some of the really good coffee beans and easily roast them the way you like; this will give you a chance to taste some of the best flavors of coffee. So if you have not tried this home coffee roasting, then get set to experience this fantastic treat. Your experience of coffee drinking will not be the same when you will taste the refreshing cup of coffee you prepared with your own coffee roaster.

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More about the Best Coffee Equipment

Choose Your Next Coffee Bean Grinders: Tips and Types for Grinding

Those coffee bean grinders in the supermarket are very tempting, right? If you buy your coffee in the bulk coffee bags, you will likely have the beans ground there, too. And it’s reasonable: their coffee grinder is more powerful and flexible. And the likelihood is their grinder is superior in the quality and standards of the grinding process itself. But… Read More »

Can the Cafflano coffee maker make your coffee even more portable?

Oh! That is embarrassing… I thought Cafflano was Caffiano! Whoops! I was in the local Sogo department store here in Taipei. There is a little shop that stocks interesting and unique products from Japan and other parts of East Asia called Hands Tailung. Lo! And behold the Cafflano coffee maker! It’s the middle of Chinese New Year, and… Read More »

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