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Things to Consider when Choosing Your Coffee Maker

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For many people, the day doesn’t officially start until that first pot is brewing. Coffee has become a mainstay of their morning routine. Coffee provides the caffeine that some people need to wake up in the morning or to get that extra boost as the day goes on, and research has shown that the antioxidants in coffee may have a variety of health benefits as well. That said, not all cups of coffee are created equal; choosing the right coffee maker can make all the difference between an outstanding cup and one that’s just alright.

So how do you know that you’re getting the coffee maker that will best meet your needs and serve up the coffee of your dreams? While any coffee maker may be capable of making a good cup of coffee, there are some features that you can look for to help your coffee brew right, stay fresh, and taste delicious.

Essential Features

Digital Timer – Though it’s reached the point that it’s almost difficult to find a coffee maker without some sort of digital timer, you should make sure that the coffee maker you choose comes equipped with a timer that features an automatic start function. Most people don’t make full use of this feature, but by preparing the coffee maker the night before you can actually save time in the mornings by having your coffee start brewing just before you wake up.

Construction – Stop and take a look at the model of coffee maker that you’re considering buying. See how well it’s constructed, how easy it is to use, and whether the coffee pot is reinforced or is simply glass. Reinforced coffee pots act like a thermos, keeping your coffee hot and fresh for much longer.

Pause and Serve – This is one of the most useful features that your coffee maker can have if you need a pot of coffee. Instead of having to wait for the pot to finish brewing or trying to swap out your cup and the pot (and spilling coffee everywhere), the act of removing the pot closes a valve on the maker and lets you pour yourself a cup before resuming your brew.

Optional but Useful Features

Water Filter – An optional feature that’s becoming more common in coffee makers, having an in-line water filter can really improve the taste of your coffee by making sure that there aren’t any impurities in the water you brew with. Keep in mind that this adds a little bit of extra maintenance to your coffee maker as well… you’ll need to change the filters regularly.

Variable Temperature – Even the cheapest coffee maker heats water up enough to brew with, but if you have a variable temperature gauge you can actually tweak your brewing temperature to suit your tastes. This feature isn’t essential, however, so if there’s a significant price difference between two coffee makers with this as the only difference, don’t feel bad if you choose the one without.

Locking Lids – A useful feature that generally comes with coffee makers that use reinforced pots; a locking lid enables you to ***** a lid directly onto the pot which makes it easy to take coffee to a neighbors or other destination. Locking lids are often designed so that you can’t have both a basket in and a lid on; this way you won’t accidentally start brewing when the pot is closed.

Other Considerations

Drip Type – Most coffee makers that you’ll buy will be of the automatic drip variety… this way you don’t have to do anything except fill the basket, pour in water, and start the brewing cycle. Be aware that other types of coffee makers do exist, though, including manual drip, percolators, and press pots.

Capacity – Sometimes you might only want a little coffee, and sometimes you might want a lot. Stop to think about exactly how much coffee you’re likely to need, and make sure that the coffee maker that you choose can handle that amount. If you drink a lot of coffee, you don’t want a small coffee maker. Look for coffee makers that feature a variable capacity, so that you can make as much or as little as you need.

Filter Type – When it comes to filters, there are 3 options that you should consider. You can find coffee makers that use the standard paper filters, metal permanent filters, and even “pods” which are pre-packaged coffee discs complete with their own filter. Metal filters generally produce a better taste and are compatible with makers that use paper filters, while pods require that the maker is specifically designed for them.

Grinder – Fresh-ground coffee tastes better, and some coffee makers have a coffee grinder built in. However, you can usually save some money by buying a separate grinder, so it’s a good idea to explore that option as well.

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