When shopping, you'll find several types of coffeemakers, including manual-drip systems, coffee presses, percolators, and "pod" coffeemakers that brew individual cups using ready-to-use packets of coffee. But consumers buy more automatic-drip coffeemakers than any other small kitchen appliance--about 14 million a year.
Automatic drip coffeemakers
By far the most popular type, automatic-drip machines have you fill a chamber with water, load coffee into a filter basket, and flick a switch to heat the water and drip it through the filter into the pot. Popular brand names include Mr. Coffee and Black & Decker.
A newer type of machine, these force water through a little coffee packet, called a "pod," that fits the machine's dispenser. There's no measuring and spilling of grounds. To operate the coffeemaker, you typically fill the reservoir, put the pod in and scrunch it down, and push a series of buttons to produce a cup of coffee. These are more expensive to buy and operate than other types because you must also buy special coffee refills.
Types of espresso makers include simple manual stovetop models (typically a two-tiered metal pot), steam machines (in which steam pressure pushes hot water through the ground coffee) and electric pump versions. Electric pump versions can range from completely manual, in which you control the full brewing cycle, to fully automatic, in which the machine grinds the beans, makes the espresso and collects the spent grounds in a bin. Some machines use capsules or pods; others can use either ground coffee or pods.
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