Types Of Coffee Makers

There are many methods of coffee preparation. Each method has its own unique traits suited to a variety of tastes and lifestyles. Here are some of the more popular and interesting coffee preparation methods, and the types of machines or apparatus for each.

One of the most familiar manners of brewing coffee is the use of the PERCOLATOR. Boiling water is repeatedly filtered through the coffee grounds. This is an old favorite, particularly when used with very mild coffee. One drawback of percolation is the resulting bitterness of the coffee which is caused by prolonged overboiling.

AUTOMATIC DRIP brewing tends to take much of the guesswork out of preparing coffee. Cold water is poured into a reservoir and is heated to the appropriate temperature; the water pulses through the ground coffee awaiting it in a filter. Some models have a switch which slows the pulsing of the water to allow a rich brew, even if only a few cups are desired.

MANUAL DRIP coffeemakers use a paper FILTER CONE similar to the one used in the Automatic Drip machine. Water is heated separately, and at first a small amount is poured over the coffee grounds, allowing them to "blossom" - to open up and release their flavor (See "Agony of the Leaves" in Tea Through the Ages - before pouring in the rest of the water to drip through the filter.

COFFEE FILTERS strain grounds out of the brew. PAPER FILTERS are efficient in keeping out some of the strong flavor, leaving a "clean-tasting" cup of coffee. GOLD, GOLD-TONE, STAINLESS, and NYLON FILTERS permit more of the coffee’s flavor to flow through. No matter what type of filter is used, it is not unusual to find minute particles of grounds floating in your coffee.

PLUNGER POTS, otherwise known as FRENCH PRESS coffeemakers, are rapidly growing in popularity for many reasons. They are frequently used at professional coffee tastings as they are as close as possible of making the "perfect" cup of coffee. The
plunger pot permits full contact between water and coffee, extracting more of the rich flavors.You are also in control of bringing the water to its optimum temperature, just below boiling, making for a hot cup and full extraction.

There are a variety of sizes and styles of the FRENCH PRESS, accompanied by a wide range of prices. They have a tempered glass beaker or carafe plus a stainless or nylon filter/plunger. Place ground coffee and hot water in the carafe, stir once, and allow to steep. The strength of the coffee is determined by controlling the steeping time, 3 to 5 minutes. As soon as the pre-determined steeping time elapses, slowly push the plunger down, pressing the filter screen through the mixture. Hold most of the grounds securely at the bottom of the carafe as you pour your hot, extremely fresh coffee.

For those coffee drinkers who prefer their brew stronger, more flavorful and intense, there are ESPRESSO and CAPPUCCINO machines. Electric machines with an internal pump and a cold water reservoir usually produce the best brew.

When making espresso, only a small amount of water is automatically drawn, heated, and then pumped through the coffee grounds at a very high pressure, extracting the essence, richness, and intensity of the coffee. These coffee machines can also produce cappuccino, cafe au lait, hot chocolate, and tea.

Cappuccino is espresso, only topped with frothed milk. To get the best froth, use only a small amount of milk, in a small, cold stainless or ceramic pitcher. To make the froth,place the tip of the steaming tube just beneath the surface of the milk and turn on the steam, allowing the milk to aerate by swirling around the bottom of the pitcher.

Many stovetop units are not true espresso machines; one of these is known as a MACCHINETTA, a fairly inexpensive, traditional coffeemaker which dispenses coffee by boiling water and then causing enough steam pressure to climb through the grounds. The payoff for using a stovetop machine is that the higher water temperature creates a cup that is strong but somewhat thin and bitter, as opposed to the espresso from a pump-type machine.

Coffee prepared by the COLD WATER METHOD causes less stomach discomfort to those who are troubled by the acidity in coffee. Using the TODDY COFFEEMAKER, one pound of coarsely ground coffee is steeped overnight in water and the filtered into a carafe. This resulting mixture is combined with water to taste and then heated when ready to serve.

TURKISH coffee refers to both the preparation and grind of this Middle Eastern specialty. It is ground nearly to a powder, mixed with equal parts of sugar, and is then boiled in water several times until it becomes almost syrupy in consistency. The froth is served between boils. Drunk in small cups that usually contain some of the grounds, the brew is exceedingly strong. The coffeemaker used is called an IBRICK.

VACUUM coffeemakers are a double delight, Besides brewing wonderful-tasting coffee, these makers give a great show to watch. Consisting of two carafes, water is held in the bottom while the coffee grounds rest in the top. When the bottom carafe is heated, the water is forced to the top carafe, where it steeps with the coffee. When the heat source is turned off after a couple of minutes of steeping, the "filtered" coffee is forced back to the bottom, ready to be served.

The NEAPOLITAN is one of the more traditional drip coffeemakers. The part without the spout is filled with water, and the special filter fitting in this part is filled with coffee. When a bit of steam comes out of the spout, the heat is turned off and the coffeemaker is then turned upside down. The hot water slowly drips down to the section with the spout. Remove the top part containing the coffee and serve.

For those coffee drinkers looking for the bizarre in coffeemakers, try the COFFEE SOCK. It is usually made of cotton and does look like a sock. Simply put some ground coffee in this intriguing device and infuse it in hot water. You can even use your own socks! This custom of preparing coffee is popular in South America.

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About The Author, Terry Kaufman
Terry Kaufman is Chief Editorial Writer for http://www.niftykitchen.com and http://www.niftyhomebar.com. See more Hints, Insights, and Unusual Facts about Food and Cooking, at http://www.niftykitchen.com/site/339522/page/65097.©2006 Niftykitchen.com. No reprints or any commercial usage without written permission.