Coffee information from The Coffee Brew.

Coffee Makers – from an old copper container to a modern kitchen accessory.

Since coffee has been around for centuries it’s not surprising to know that coffee makers have existed for almost as long.

The Turkish Ibrik was the original coffee brewer – it comprised a copper container with a long handle and a grooved tongue. It is still used in the Middle East today and because it does not have a filter system the resultant brew is very strong (and you have to use your teeth to filter out the grounds – something that is not popular in the western world coffee culture).

So if you are more interested in drinking a beverage than eating coffee grounds then there is a huge variety of coffee machines available from the plain to the esoteric. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for....

One of the most popular coffee makers these days is the inexpensive drip model. Pour fresh clean water in the top – it is heated by an electric coil and then the water passes through coffee grounds into a glass pot sitting on a heating plate. Very simple and easy to use.

But beyond these basics, there are some features which are handy to have.

All sorts of controls have proliferated to the point that many makers look like a modern day remote control device. There are LCD screens to display the time for timing the brew and temperature plus several other bits of information. There is also a 'degree of brew’ control on some machines and the auto-shutoff is pretty handy too as most people these days don’t have the time to wait for the brewing process to complete and they would tend to remove the pot before the water has finished draining. This causes the coffee to continue to drip, splashing onto the heating plate. The automatic shut-off solves this problem by stopping the water flow when the pot is lifted.

There is also an illuminated display and this is a big help on those dark mornings when you can't find the light switch and haven't had your coffee to get your eyes completely open.

Cleaning has been made easier, too, by the invention of coffee pods - small pre-measured paper sachets of your favourite coffee grind. You just pop them in a coffee maker specifically designed for coffee pods. The water flows through the pod which acts as a filter for the grounds. Once the brewing is complete you just pop them out (after they've cooled!) and toss them into the waste bin. Great for people who are in a hurry and don’t want too much mess to clean up.

You may have also come across k cups. Available in single or two cup size they work in a similar fashion and are also simple and convenient to use to make a quick brew. K cups are also designed to fit into a specially designed coffee maker.

Several models of coffee makers are available with water filters. A good idea for urban dweller as often the local water supply tastes like the community swimming pool. These filters can be a little pricey but a good cup of coffee is worth the expense. To overcome this problem you could also buy filtered water from your supermarket or collect some rain water (which I like the best).

You can also buy permanent coffee filter styles but with the pods they're much less important. Debates rage over the environmental impact and the taste effect of the paper from the pods. I think it is more of a personal issue so you will have to judge that for yourself.

Some coffee makers even have integrated bean grinders. Personally I prefer to do that in a stand alone grinder as it is easier to clean up. I’m sure it won’t be long before you can buy integrated roaster/grinder/brewers. There may even be a model out there now – haven’t seen one yet though.

Brewing coffee at home has made the automatic coffee maker one of the most popular kitchen accessories all around the world. However sometimes I find the old-fashioned ways are still the best for extracting the full flavour and aroma from your favorite bean.


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