Coffee is a world of its own with hundreds of origins, varieties, processes, flavor profiles, and tasting notes to choose from. Beyond that, there are dozens of ways to brew it.
Let’s look at some of the most common methods and these 19 types of coffee makers you may encounter.
Automatic Drip Coffee Maker
This method is by far the most popular, because it’s an easy way to make a lot of coffee at once. Fill the water reservoir, place a coffee filter and coffee grounds in the filter basket, and voila! With a push of a button you have a pot of coffee. Many of even the most basic machines today can be programmed to brew automatically, so you can prep the machine with coffee grounds and water before bed and wake up to a fresh brew.
Preheated water is pushed through a bed of finely ground coffee using pressure and the result is a small and concentrated cup of coffee known as espresso. Espresso machines could come in manual, semi-automatic, or super automatic types . Regardless of the quality of the espresso machine, the concept is the same. Read our guide on how to use an espresso machine here.
A Keurig is a single-serve coffee maker using water and pre-filled coffee pods known as “K-cups.” This method requires even less hands-on time than an automatic drip coffee maker. The K-cups are inserted into the machine and punctured when the lid is closed, allowing water to pass through the cups to brew the coffee. The Keurig machine lets the user choose the serving size and strength of each individual cup of coffee being prepared.
Hario V60 Pour Over
Pour overs require patience and more hands-on time, but it’s a great brewing style for coffee connoisseurs. Just like other pour over methods, the Hario V60 is similar in concept to an automatic drip coffee maker, where hot water is strained through a bed of coffee grounds. In a pour over method, hot water is manually poured (by hand) over the grounds. The Hario V60 has a unique cone-shaped dripper and ridged design that differentiates it from other pour over systems.
Kalita Wave Pour Over
There are lots of different types of pour over systems. The Kalita Wave is a flat-bottomed dripper with wavy contoured filters which keep the filter from lying flat against the sides of the dripper. The stainless steel design makes it almost indestructible, and very easy to take anywhere.
Chemex Pour Over
The Chemex pour over is a glass carafe that uses a folded paper filter to absorb more of the oils in the coffee than other paper filters for a cleaner tasting cup of coffee. The glass vessel doesn’t make it a great travel companion, but it looks beautiful on your kitchen counter.
A french press maker is a cylindrical pot with a fitted metal screen that allows you to separate the coffee grounds from the brewed coffee. It is brewed similarly to tea, where the coarsely ground coffee is “steeped” in water for a specified amount of time, and then pressed down to separate it from the liquid. The most common french presses are made of glass, stainless steel, or ceramic.
A Moka Pot makes coffee that is stronger than a regular cup of coffee, but not as strong as a shot of espresso. Starting with water in the bottom chamber and ground coffee in a funnel above it, boiling water pressurized by steam is pushed through the coffee grounds so the brewed coffee ends up in the upper chamber. This is traditionally done over a stove top but there are also electric Moka Pots. Read our guide on how to use a moka pot here.
A percolator is a canister in which boiling water in the bottom is pushed through a tube, raining the boiling water over the coffee grounds, and repeating this process until the desired brew strength is reached. A percolator is similar to a Moka Pot in that there are both stovetop and electric versions available.
An Aeropress is a narrow cylindrical chamber with an airtight silicone plunger that is used to push hot water through coffee grounds into any receptacle. The Aeropress is well-suited for travel since it is small, made out of plastic, and can be brewed directly into a mug or thermos.
In this method, cool water and coarsely ground coffee are combined in a brewing container and left to brew at room temperature for 12-24 hours. After brewing is complete, it is drained through a filter in the bottom of the brewing container. This soaking method makes a concentrate that can be stored in the fridge and served many different ways.
Like the other pour over methods, hot water is manually poured over coffee grounds with a Clever Dripper. However, this method also uses the immersion method (like the french press). Once the hot water passes over the coffee grounds, it is left to sit for a few minutes to brew. A valve at the bottom of the dripper holds the water in until it is set down onto a cup and drained through.
Coffee grounds are boiled with sugar and cardamom in a cezve (small long-handled pot). Since the grounds remain in the pot, they should be allowed to settle to the bottom before the coffee is poured into servings. This method produces a very strong and rich cup of coffee.
Similar to the Keurig, the Nespresso uses pods, or pre-portioned coffee capsules, to produce a single serving of coffee. The capsule is infused with hot water and spins inside the machine until it is forced out of the punctured holes using centrifugal force. This results in a creamier and thicker consistency than regular drip coffee.
Rok Manual Espresso
This machine produces a double shot of espresso by hand. Espresso is produced with pressure and hot water to make a creamy emulsion. This device uses a piston mechanism to create the pressure manually.
A siphon coffee maker, also known as a vacuum coffee maker, uses water vapor pressure to push water from a lower chamber to an upper chamber, allowing the coffee grounds to gradually become immersed in water in the upper chamber. When the temperature is lowered, the pressure is reduced, causing the brewed coffee to drip back down.
Origami Pour Over
This ceramic dripper is unique in that it can be used with multiple kinds of filters, like flat-bottomed or cone-shaped ones.
Instant coffee is made from real coffee that has been brewed, freeze dried, and powdered or crystalized. The best part about this coffee preparation method is that any mug or vessel can be a coffee maker. No specific equipment is needed, just instant coffee and hot water or milk.
Coffee Steep Bag
This way of making coffee is simple and self-explanatory. Ground coffee is pre-dosed neatly into a steeping bag and brewed like tea. The recommended steep time will vary based on the coffee but it usually averages about 5 minutes. Great for camping trips or an on-the-go lifestyle.