14 Types of Coffee Makers: A Beginner’s Guide

We use affiliate links and may receive a commission on purchases. Read more here.

We often hear the question “what coffee maker should I buy?”

Before you can answer that question, you have to know what type of coffee makers there are.

There are many different coffee makers on the market and it’s important to understand what each type does, and if it suits your needs.

In this guide, we break down 14 of the most popular types of coffee makers to help you make the right choice for your home.

Manual Coffee Machine

Espresso is a concentrated form of coffee, served in small shots and is the base for many coffee drinks.

All espresso machines work similarly. They force hot water through tightly packed ground coffee.

While they may appear very different, they share similar parts and designs, allowing them to perform the same function despite their differences.

Manual, or lever, espresso machines take you back to the good old days when baristas produced every espresso by hand. With a manual machine, you pump a lever to produce up to 9 bars of pressure, which forces hot water through the coffee grounds.

Although modern machines now make it easier to brew coffee, use less energy, and deliver better consistency in results, some coffee connoisseurs prefer manual machines because they offer complete control over every step of their brewing process.

Popular manual coffee machines include the Italian brand La Pavoni.

Espresso Machine (Semi-Automatic)

Espresso machines with electric pumps let you make espresso shots without having to manually move levers.

These are the most popular type of machines for making espresso both at home and in cafes.

To use a semi-automatic espresso machine, grind the beans, load the portafilter with grounds, tamp it down evenly and insert it into the group head on the coffee machine.

Then simply push a button and wait for the shot of espresso to dispense.

Semi-automatic machines have a few manual steps, but the benefit is that you control most of the process from start to finish.

You choose when the shot starts and ends, as well as how fine or coarse your grind is and how much coffee to use.

Popular coffee machines that fall into this category include the Breville Barista Express and the Gaggia Classic.

Automatic Coffee Machine

Automatic espresso machines differ from semi-automatic machines because there are fewer manual steps.

For example, with automatic coffee makers, you don’t have to press a button to stop the water flowing through the ground coffee. Fully automatic machines have built-in timers.

If you’re looking for convenience, this is a handy upgrade, as it lets you make an espresso shot with one less step.

However, if you’re interested in making the best espresso shots that you can, it’s not recommended, as the extraction time is something you want to retain control over.

RELATED: Manual vs Automatic Coffee Machines

Super-Automatic Coffee Machine

With the push of a button, a super-automatic coffee machine grinds, doses and tamps the coffee beans before extracting an espresso shot.

A super-automatic coffee maker is good for people who love to drink coffee but don’t want to worry about grinding beans and tamping grounds each morning.

Super-automatic machines will usually froth milk for drinks like lattes or cappuccinos. However, they may struggle to create the same taste as a coffee made by a barista, because they lack the ability to control variables, such as grind size, dose, and temperature.

Drip Coffee Maker

A drip coffee maker is a coffee-making device that allows the user to brew coffee with minimum effort.

Cold water is poured into a reservoir and ground coffee beans are placed in a filter. The water heats up and passes through the beans, releasing the coffee into a carafe that sits on a hot plate, keeping the coffee warm.

A popular variation of the drip coffee maker is the Thermal Coffee Maker.

Thermal coffee makers brew coffee the same way drip brewers do, but in this case, the carafe is insulated (regular drip coffee makers have a single layer glass carafe).

This insulation keeps the coffee hot for several hours without needing to continue to heat it using an element. This method preserves the full flavour of your coffee and avoids the negative effects that come with over-brewed coffee.

Pod Coffee Makers

Pod coffee makers, such as Nespresso or Dolce Gusto, make it easy to brew a fresh cup of espresso with the touch of a button.

Capsule machines use pods with pre-measured coffee grounds and force hot water through the capsule at high pressure, similar to the process in an espresso machine.

Pod coffee machines are perfect for people who want to be able to make a consistent cup of espresso with minimal effort.

These machines are also great space savers thanks to their small footprint. This makes them a popular option for people with small kitchens or limited space.

However, capsule coffee machines can be expensive and wasteful because you have to buy proprietary capsules that cannot be reused.

Also, some people feel that these machines produce a lower quality drink because they do not allow you to adjust the grind size and other variables like you can with a traditional espresso machine.

Stove Top Coffee Maker / Moka Pot

The Moka pot, a two-piece brewing unit, is an affordable alternative to a traditional espresso machine. It makes a thick, rich brew that can be drunk on its own or with milk.

The bottom of the Moka pot is filled with water. An inverted funnel is placed over the water and the top half of the pot is filled with finely ground coffee. The pot is then placed on a stovetop over low heat.

As the water boils, it pushes steam through the coffee grounds, creating pressure that forces the coffee up through a tube into the top half of the pot where it collects in the upper chamber.

Once all of the liquid has passed through the grounds, the process is complete and you can take your brew off of the heat.

Percolator

A percolator is a type of coffee maker that heats water located in the bottom that then travels through a tube to the top, is dispersed over coffee grounds, and then drips back down to where it started.

While they are not quite as popular as they once were, they remain a quick and easy way of making a strong brew at home.

While these devices may appear similar in appearance and function to a Moka pot, they do operate slightly differently.

While the percolator relies on gravity to pass boiling water over ground coffee beans, the Italian Moka Pot uses pressure to force water upward through the coffee grounds, which are located in between the lower and upper chamber.

French Press / Plunger

Many Australians rely on a coffee plunger as their go-to method for making coffee at home. This simple device is easy to use, easy to clean and can serve many people at once.

Coarsely ground coffee is added, hot water is poured over the top, and the lid is then placed on top to keep the heat in.

After allowing the coffee to brew for 3-4 minutes, you simply push down on the plunger and serve. The stainless steel filter means there are no paper filters to dispose of afterwards, only grinds that can be discarded with other organic waste.

The mesh metal filter on the french press allows many of the natural oils of the coffee to make their way into the brew. This results in a robust, full-bodied cup of coffee that can be drunk black or with milk.

RELATED: How to use a coffee plunger

Pour-Over Coffee Maker

To make pour-over coffee, medium-coarse grounds are placed in a cone-shaped filter. Hot water is added to the grounds in batches, first to “bloom” the coffee—to release gases trapped in the coffee beans—and then to fully brew them. The brewed coffee drains into a single cup or a larger serving vessel.

Popular pour-over coffee makers include the Hario V60, Chemex, Clever Dripper, and Kalita Wave. Some glass pour-over coffee makers have a cone shape, while others are flat-bottomed with a lip. They are generally made of ceramic, glass or metal.

Advantages of this style of brewing include control over all aspects of the brewing process and the ability to use different grind sizes and quantities for controlling flavour.

They are popular in cafes and specialty coffee shops due to their ability to produce a superior cup of coffee—one that is bright, nuanced, and clean, and showcases the notes of the coffee bean.

Disadvantages include increased time and effort required compared to other methods of brewing.

Syphon / Vacuum Coffee Maker

Syphon coffee makers consist of two glass chambers connected by a funnel that holds a filter. Coffee grounds are placed in the top chamber, and water is placed in the bottom.

When the water in the bottom chamber is heated, a vacuum is created and the liquid rises through the funnel into the top chamber, mixing with the coffee grounds.

When it cools, it recedes back through the filter into the bottom chamber to be served.

When compared with pour over coffee brewing, vacuum or syphon coffee makers produce a different tasting cup. Syphon coffee is made by a full immersion process and the result is a clear, smooth-tasting cup of coffee with intense flavour.

Aeropress

The Aerobie Aeropress is a coffee maker that uses manual pressure to quickly brew strong coffee. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and portable.

The brewing technology developed for this press results in a smooth, less acidic flavour with a shorter brewing time.

The Aeropress coffee maker allows you to make great coffee at home by combining hot water, ground coffee, and manual pressure. Heating the water is the most time-consuming part of this process.

Turkish Coffee Maker

A Turkish coffee pot is also known as a cezve or ibrik. It is a small, round vessel with a long handle. It has an hourglass shape, with a wide bottom and narrow neck.

It’s often made out of stainless steel or aluminium, but sometimes it’s made of copper or brass. The size of the pot generally ranges from one to six demitasse cups.

The Turkish coffee pot is designed to brew unfiltered coffee directly on the stovetop.

Its design allows you to use very finely ground coffee, so the water absorbs more flavour from the grounds.

The result is an intense, rich brew with a thick head on top — called kaimaki in Turkish.

Cold Brew Coffee Maker

Cold brew coffee makers make it easy to make cold brew at home. They generally work in one of two ways.

The first is immersion, which involves “immersing” the coffee grounds in water for 12 to 24 hours.

The second method is called cold-drip, which slowly drips water through a bed of crushed coffee beans over a lengthy period of time.

The cold-drip process takes longer, but it provides a more pure result because it completely separates coffee grounds from the brewed liquid.

However, the immersion method is the most common way you’ll see cold brew coffee made. Ground coffee is placed in a container, and cool water is added. The coffee and water mixture steep for 12-24 hours, after which it’s strained to remove the grounds.