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Nov 19, 2009 08:47 PM

Please give me some advise on choosing a coffee maker

Hi there

I recently fall in love with home-made coffee:)
I am really new to making coffee. Can someone here give me advise on how to choose a beginner coffee maker?

Thanks in advance

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  1. For starter, I would just buy a #2 plastic cone filter to make single mug or cup of drip coffee. Put a #2 paper filter into the cone, place the cone on top of a mug. Fill the cone with the appropriate amount of coffee grind for 'drip filter'. Pour a little fresh almost boiling water to wet the ground; then pour the amount of the boiling water that will fill the mug into the filter. Let the water drip down to your mug and enjoy your coffee. Depends on how much coffee you drink and the convenience, buy small amounts of whole coffee beans from a good source and ask them to grind it for you. Talk coffee with the staff where you buy your beans to learn about coffee, brewing, etc. For a good cup, freshness of the coffee beans is very important. There are other methods that makes a good cup: moka pot and French press are two, but they are a little more complicated to use.

    1. If you're wanting drip coffee, you can't beat a chemex. It's a bit more involved than your normal drip brewer, but the taste cannot be beat.
      If you're wanting a very versatile, cheap, 1-4 cup brewer, get an Aeropress. It makes a very clean shot of espresso (It'll do up to 4 at a time), It's very cheap, but requires about twice the coffee of an espresso maker, and four times the amount you would use for a normal drip brewer, which is a large downside.

      There are lots of fans of French Presses also, but I personally don't like them because you have to keep a bit of coffee in the bottom of your cup because there is always a bit of grounds in the coffee.

      1. Someone obviously made you some homemade coffee. Just copy them for starters -- If you liked that cup of coffee, buy the same coffee maker and coffee that they used.

        Don't put too much effort into the first one. Your first coffee maker is never the right one, but it'll do until you learn what you really want/need.

        1 Reply
        1. re: puzzler

          Count me as also suggesting this course.

          All the talk about grinders & brew methods is great for someone who's tried a few different things & kinda knows what they don't like. But, for someone just starting out (like zhlmmc), this advice strikes me as the best way to begin.

        2. Your best chance of getting great coffee is to buy freshly roasted beans, grind them in your new recently purchased grinder. Then figure out what type of brewer you want. The pour- over and Chemex recommendations are right on the money.

          1. zhlmmc, the first four replies are all excellent. Technique is more important than hardware -- we'll get to hardware in a moment. By "technique," we mean ensuring that your coffee beans ARE fresh. Assume nothing: do you have any idea when the beans in the bins in your supermarket aisle were roasted? Unless frozen (see below), the oil in coffee beans begins to get rancid by about one week after roasting, and the beans begin to taste stale. We buy beans only from shops where the roasting is done on the premises, and that have sufficient traffic to ensure 100 percent turnover every 48 hours or so. If there is no such retail store to which you have easy access, some reputable mail-order roasters -- like -- actually roast-to-order and ship beans to you the same day that they are roasted.

            We buy whole-bean only, and when we bring the beans home, we freeze all the beans that will not be consumed in the next three days or so (in our case, that means all but about one-third pound). We freeze the beans in the same bag that we get them in at the coffee store, but we put that bag inside a plastic freezer bag, from which we squeeze out the excess air before sealing it and putting it in the freezer. Using that technique, the bag gets opened only three times after we bring it home: once to decant out the first third of a pound, a second time about three days later, when we decant out the second third of a pound, and finally, about three days after that, when we remove the bag from the freezer to become our room temperature countertop bag.

            The room temperature beans, too, are kept in the bag they came in from the roaster (each of the first two third-pounds gets decanted into the previous pound's bag), and the countertop bag is, in turn, kept inside one of those snap-down gasket lid ( calls it a "lightning closure") porcelain containers to minimize oxygen contact with the beans. It gets opened only for measuring beans into the grinder. All of this "technique" SOUNDS much more complicated than it is in practice, and ensures that the beans used to brew coffee are never more than three days away from either the roaster or from the freezer where they went soon after roasting.

            Finally getting to hardware, chipman has it right that you need to pay attention to the grinder. And you want a BURR grinder, not a whirlygig grinder. Burr grinders generally are pricier than whirlygigs, but need not break the bank. A great source for really fine but affordable grinders is here: The coffee should be brewed from beans that have been ground within the previous ten minutes -- the ground beans exposed to the air go south very quickly after grinding.

            As others have suggested, Chemex is a great place to start brewing coffee at home. Sooner or later you will want to graduate to a vacuum pot But that can wait (unless you get too curious). There really is something special about coffee brewed in a vac pot.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Politeness

              Later on, if you DO decide you want a grind-and-brew, but don't want to spend the Capresso (? I think that's the name of the company) bucks, for somewhat less you can get the (new, improved, and FINALLY done right) Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew that I got for my husband last year. This one finally, finally comes together: it's not a total bitch to clean, you can adjust your grind and your brew strength, you can store 1/2 a pound of beans in the hopper, it's a burr grinder, and the carafe is thermal. All the previous incarnations of this combo, by Cuisinart, were FAILURES (and we know that personally, having been trying, off and on, for a decade) but we're on 15 months with this one and hubby couldn't be happier: