There are so many coffee makers on the market these days. Automatic systems trying to force pods, cups, and capsules on you; espresso systems that run the gamut from fully automatic to completely manual. Buying coffee makers for your kitchen can be a difficult and expensive process. The range of technologies and the associated price ranges are vast and confusing. I get a ton of questions on the options available and thought I'd give you a peek at what's in my kitchen.
What's In My Kitchen: Coffee Edition
I basically have three distinct coffee modes on any given morning:
1) I'm rushing out the door at some ungodly hour and need to grab a cup of coffee for myself as I hit the road
2) It's late enough that I'm not alone in my need for caffeine and am making a pot of coffee for all
3) Weekend and Holiday mode where I can relax and take the time to make myself a latte or espresso
I don't have an industrial-sized kitchen, so keeping fifteen coffee systems on my counter top is just not an option. Here's the lineup that keeps our household running:
The Two-In-One Brewer can brew a single mug or up to 12 cups of coffee. I love this system because it's simple to make a quick cup of coffee if I'm on the go, while still allowing me to brew for a number of people. Also, it doesn't require the use of costly coffee pods. I can use freshly ground beans or standard drip coffee if I want. The 12-cup carafe uses a standard paper filter, while the single cup maker has its own unique scoop that doubles as a filter. I absolutely love this brewer!
I grew up on coffee beans coming pre-ground from a can and there's definitely nothing wrong with that. However, once you've ground your own beans there is really no going back. In a recent conversation with Second Cup's coffee expert Patrick Russell, he mentioned people should really think about their coffee as they do their bread. That is, buy in small batches, freshly roasted about once a week. With specialty coffee sections popping up in most grocery stores it couldn't be easier. Whether you have them grind it at the store or you do it at home as I do—there really is no substitute for fresh coffee beans. The great thing with this grinder is that it is compact, auto-stops when the beans are at the perfectly ground consistency and can grind for both drip or espresso coffee.
Unless you have a serious coffee habit, the automated espresso systems are generally outside the budget of the average home consumer. However, there's nothing wrong with a manual espresso maker for those days when you have a few moments to spoil yourself. I have this espresso maker at home because it's small enough to put in the corner of my kitchen without taking up to much counter space while still being able to pump out a great espresso or latte. It's not overly complicated to operate and is easy to clean. There's something incredibly therapeutic about grinding your own beans, frothing your own milk, and making your own cappuccino or latte at home.