Recommendations for an inexpensive coffeemaker for guests?
I don't drink or make coffee, but I would like to be able to offer guests coffee. Any recommendations for a relatively inexpensive, easy to use coffeemaker for such occasional use? Thanks so much.
If you have a 8-12 cup brewer already, my recommendation would be to pick up a large thermal carafe that pumps the coffee (I saw one a week or so ago at World Market, and have seen at Sam's Club et al.) You will need to make several batches to fill it up ahead of time, but the coffee stays hot for awhile (longer if you rinse ahead of time with boiling water.) They are pretty reasonably priced, and often come in pairs (regular and decaf).
If you're brewing capacity is more limited, consider picking up coffee at a coffee or bagel shop -- they often have large sized containers for catering business meetings and the like. The containers generally hold heat well, so nothing special to buy.
Easy to use and cheap = Mr. Coffee auto drip coffee makers, or Krups. The cheapest is Mr. C. For simplicity, buy an insert "gold" filter to the fit the basket so that you don't have to fish for filters. All you'll have to do is bang the old grinds down the drain and you are done. Melitta may also have an inexpensive drip maker.
These are fool proof once you get the water/coffee proportions right, but you can spend more if you want to upgrade to niceties like thermal carafes. If you are not completely clumsy, the glass carafes are standard and with Mr. Coffee, easy to find replacements. Further, I find having a water fill guage helpful, and I know my last two (Mr. C and Krups, in that order) have water fill gauges.
Do these make coffee as well as French press? Not really, but since you don't drink coffee, the lowest common denominator is these easy to use machines.
Now, if you are in the mood to spend more, the single serve options out there like Keurig will always guarantee that you will have fresh coffee in the house to brew, have the proportions right, and an actually offer varieties. To a coffee drinker, months-old preground in an open can is blech, so if you are really only going to do this for guests, and don't want to be bothered with filters, you will win some admiration for your efforts with a single serve system. It will probably pay for itself in about ten cans of unused and stale coffee that you are likely to throw away if you go the standard drip route. More money, but it won't break the bank if you shop around or use a coupon.
A Melitta filter in a cone, or some other form of pour-over drip brewing would be the least expensive method and it’s one I’ve used for myself for 40+ years. I drip my coffee directly into a thermos and it stays hot all morning. I recently spent quite a bit of time at a home that had a French Press and gave serious thought to switching over to that method. I thought it made a better-tasting cup of coffee on the whole. But the French Press coffee needs to be decanted into another container to keep it warm and I just didn’t feel like adding yet another kitchen gizmo that would have to live on my very limited counter space.
What I absolutely would not consider would be any kind of automatic unit that will either take up counter space or will have to be hauled out from dead storage every time you need it. You can make a very good cup of coffee without that.
JoanN, I used the pour-over drip brewing for many, many years and got great results. I drink an entire 8/10 pot of coffee every morning. I have some dear friends who have a French Press, and when I stay with them I enjoy it but I know what you mean about keeping it warm.
Right now I have a Melitta "Mill & brew" that I bought 7 years ago at a Tuesday Morning for $32. That was an absolute steal and it makes a nice cup of coffee. Hope it never "dies".