Differentiating Coffee Makers
One of the reasons coffee is so widespread is due the versatility in creating and enjoying it. Coffee beans are grown in many different regions creating an array of possibilities that will satisfy any palette. As well, the variations in roasting and brewing coffee gives coffee drinkers the option to enjoy it in many different fashions. Brewing coffee has taken on numerous styles, four of which will be discussed in this article. The four types of brewing techniques are drip, French press, vacuum, and stovetop. Each of these machines require different methods of preparation enabling everyone to find the one that fits their unique taste and preference.
Drip coffee has become a household necessity; ease of use and efficiency has aided this trend. The machine does almost all the work; you simple need freshly ground coffee and cold water to get great results. A drip coffee maker that delivers this very effectively is the Bunn BT-10. This commercial style machine is considered a pour over drip coffee maker. This method is extremely efficient in that water is poured directly into the reservoir where the built in heating element immediately delivers hot water at the precise temperature for brewing. This enables the BT-10 to deliver a delicious cup of coffee in just three minutes, in comparison to most machines that take six to ten minutes to do the same. A commercial style shower head distributes water more evenly over the surface of the grounds extracting a richer more flavorful cup of coffee. Paper filters are used for easy cleanup. Simply discard the filter and used grounds once brewing is complete. The BT-10 offers a stainless steel carafe that will keep coffee warm for hours. Bunn machines have performed in a multitude of commercial settings; this was designed for commercial quality coffee to be attained in your own home at a reasonable price.
The vacuum style brewing has been in existence since 1840. This method is usually made up of two separate glass containers stacked one on top of the other. The top is where brewing actually takes place. Simply ensure the filter is in place, fill the container with one rounded tablespoon of grounds per cup. Next, fill the lower section with cold water and heat to boiling temperature with an external or internal heat source. Once boling is complete remove from the heat source. A siphon, linking the two containers together, pulls the hot water from the lower container through the grounds into the top, and gravity fed through the filter into the lower container. Separate the top grounds container from the lower and you are ready to pour your coffee. The Bodum Santos is an excellent example of the modern amenities linked with this vintage brewing process. The Bodum will draw attention to it wherever it is located. It has a wonderful hourglass shape, which is quite appealing to the eye. The brewing pot has a built in heating element that when activated heats the water to proper brewing temperature. This model comes with or without a timer allowing you to awake to a freshly brewed pot of coffee. As well, it is equipped with a fold out stand for the top container, allowing for a smooth transition between brewing and serving. The carafe warmer has an auto shut off feature for added safety. Plastic containers keep this machine from falling prey to breakage, like that of its glass counterparts. With a built in heating element the lower pot cannot be submerged in water or placed in the dishwasher but can easily be rinsed with warm water and a mild detergent. This modern machine allows those who prefer a more interesting way to brew coffee the conveniences of modern technology.
Stovetop brewing is similar to the vacuum method in that it has two separate, stacked pots, but the grounds and cold water are in the same container, with the second container simply holding the finished product. The process in which this machine operates is quite simple. A lower container holds the appropriate amount of water, as well as the filter basket filled with ground coffee. Heating the lower container forces the water through the grounds, then it is siphoned from the lower container into the top where it is ready to be served. The la Pavoni four or six cup espresso maker is made of 18/10 stainless steel for long-term durability and heat retention. Its style and shape make it very attractive to those who want something with more of an elegant flare from their coffee maker. Close attention must be paid to this type of process - preventing the coffee from boiling could potentially heed a bitter tasting coffee. The size of the stovetop style maker is perfect for brewing for yourself or you and a guest, though not recommended for use at larger gatherings.
Last, but not least, the French press, developed in 1933, is an elegant and engaging way to brew coffee. This process is very simple in design and produces full-bodied coffee. Simply fill the canister with one tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee to every cup of hot water. Stir, and then place the plunger handle onto the pot to aid in heat retention. The recommended time to steep the coffee is four or five minutes. The next step in this process is to slowly depress the plunger. The plunger has stainless steel mesh that forces the grounds to the bottom of the carafe separating them from the liquid. Serve the coffee directly from the press pot. This method is designed for immediate consumption. The glass containers lose heat rapidly, which in turn creates a less desirable cup of coffee. Stainless steel press pots are on the market and can hold heat longer, yet you don’t have the luxury of seeing your work in action like you do with a glass carafe.
All of these methods produce great tasting coffee, yet each involves a certain element unique to its process. The object now is to find the one that best fits with your lifestyle. Each process requires certain time and involvement that you may or may not want to endure. Hopefully this will bring you closer to an informed decision, and satisfy your desire for not only great coffee, but an appreciation for the various ways that it can be prepared.