Coffee – Coffee Makers, From Copper Container To Modern Equipment
Coffee makers have been around, not surprisingly, almost as long as coffee. The original coffee brewer was the Turkish Ibrik, a copper container with a long handle and a grooved tongue. Still used in the Middle East, it produces a very strong brew since it does no filtering.
For those more interested in drinking a beverage than eating coffee grounds, a wide variety of types are available from the plain to the esoteric. Here are a few things to look for…
The largest percentage of coffee makers these days is, of course, the inexpensive drip model. Pour water in the top, it’s heated by an electric coil, the water passes through coffee grounds and into a glass pot sitting on a heating plate.
But beyond these basics, there are a few features it’s handy to have.
Controls have proliferated to the point that many makers look like a modern stereo. LCD screens display the time, the time to brew, temperature, a timer and several infobits even more esoteric.
The ‘degree of brew desired’ control is a minimum, but more control rather than less may be preferred. Auto-shutoff is handy for those who forget to turn it off. Most people these days are too busy to wait for the brewing process to complete, so they remove the pot before the water has finished draining. In the past, coffee would continue to drip, splashing onto the heating plate. The automatic shut-off solves this by stopping the water flow when the pot is lifted.
The illuminated displays also help on those dark mornings when you can’t find the light switch and haven’t yet had your coffee to get your eyes completely open.
Cleaning has been made easier, too, by the invention of coffee ‘pods’ – small pre-measured paper containers of coffee through which the water flows. They have the added advantage of providing good filtering for grounds. Once the brewing is complete you just pop them out (after they’ve cooled!) and toss them into the waste basket. Essential for the busy – and opposed to cleaning up – coffee drinker.
Several models are available with water filters, essential for the urban dweller where the city supply often tastes like the community swimming pool. The filters are pricey but a good cup of coffee is priceless.
Permanent coffee filter styles can be had, but with the pods they’re much less important. Debates rage over the environmental impact and the taste effect of the paper from the pods. Vote your conscience.
Some even have integrated bean grinders, but I prefer to do that in a separate device for easier clean up. I haven’t seen one, but wouldn’t be surprised if there were even integrated roaster/grinder/brewers.
That really is taking a good thing too far, in my opinion. Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are best. Maybe the Turks have something there. My coffee has been tasting a little weak, lately…