A popular choice in the US, but often overlooked in the UK, filter coffee machines are a great way to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee.
Below is a guide on what to look for and what to consider when buying a filter coffee machine.
What is a filter coffee machine?
A filter coffee machine is a coffee machine which uses a filter, either disposable filter paper or reusable filter, to hold coffee grounds, stopping the coffee grounds from entering your coffee.
Cold water is poured into the reservoir, which is then heated up and passed through the filter holding the coffee.
The coffee dissolves in the water and is then dispensed into the carafe which sits on a hot plate to keep the coffee warm.
What is the difference between a filter coffee machine and an espresso machine?
Whilst espresso machines and filter coffee machines use the same concept of passing water over coffee grounds, they work in different ways.
Espresso machines use pressure to push water through the coffee grounds, whereas filter coffee machines use gravity for the water to run through the coffee grounds. This is why the brewing process for filtered coffee takes longer and creates a different flavoured coffee to espresso machines.
Because the brewing time takes longer, it also requires more coffee grounds and more water. It also draws less acidity than espresso machines, making it milder in flavour than an espresso shot.
What should I look for in a filter coffee machine?
If you’re looking for a filter coffee machine, there are a few elements that you should look for when choosing one:
- Ease of use
Ease of Use
Having a filter coffee machine that has easy to use settings is ideal for those who just want a cup of coffee without the hassle.
Many coffee machines will come with a few brewing settings and a timer, making them the perfect option to have your coffee the way you like it, whenever you wish.
Whether you’re making coffee for yourself or others too, filter coffee machines come in a variety of different sizes.
So, what capacity you choose will depend on how much coffee you, and your family, drink on a daily basis.
The brewing time of coffee will depend on the size of machine you choose, but generally it should take 5 to 6 minutes to brew your filter coffee.
If it is very quick to brew, you may be left with sour, weak or sharp tasting coffee, whereas, if it takes too long to brew, your coffee may be bitter and heavy. Keep this in mind when considering the brewing time of different models.
Aesthetics are completely up to you. You may want to choose a filter coffee machine which matches your kitchen decor, or alternatively you may plan on keeping it in a cupboard until needed, so looks may not matter.
What to consider when buying a filter coffee machine
The filter coffee machine you buy solely comes down to personal taste, how often you will use it and how much you want to spend using it.
How much ground coffee and filters you will use
This will depend on how much coffee is consumed in your household on a daily basis. The more cups of coffee, the more ground coffee you will need. A general rule of thumb is to use a filter around three times before you replace it.
Alternatively, you could buy a reusable filter, which will just need to be cleaned 2-3 times a week depending on how much you use your machine.
How expensive the coffee and filters are
This is again down to personal taste. Ground coffee comes in a variety of prices depending on the brand, where the bean is from and the quality of the bean.
Coffee filters can also vary in price, you could buy more eco-friendly options which may be slightly more expensive or you could buy regular bleached filters in bulk.
How important coffee quality is to you
Before you buy your coffee grounds, you may want to consider what type of coffee you are buying.
Things that will affect the quality of your coffee are the grind size, the freshness of the grind and the origin of the coffee bean.
Types of Filter Coffee Machines
There are multiple types of filter coffee machines which will all result in you having a beautifully brewed coffee, but some are better equipped than others.
Some may have coffee grinders built in, whilst others are solely built for brewing.
Standard Filter Coffee Machines
Standard filters are exactly what they sound like. They will come equipped with a reservoir for the water, an area for the coffee grinds and filter to be placed and a carafe underneath to hold the coffee.
The system used to disperse the water onto the coffee is called a showerhead brewing system, which ensures all the coffee grounds are evenly showered with water.
Depending on what make and model you choose, you may have different settings available to use such as timers and custom brewing options.
Grind and Brew Filter Coffee Machines
Grind and brew filter coffee machines, also known as bean to cup coffee machines, work in the exact same way as regular filter coffee machines, but they come with a built-in coffee bean hopper and grinder.
Once the beans are grinded they are dispensed into the filter basket, ready for water to start flowing.
Pour-over Filter Coffee Machines
Whilst pour-over filter coffee machines look like filter coffee machines, these machines work by dispensing water slowly over the coffee grinds and allowing you to have more control.
Some machines initially deliver the water and allow the coffee to “bloom” before dispensing the rest. This process can take longer, but it results in a more flavourful cup of coffee.
Top rated Filter Coffee Machines
Best for top specifications
To make your brewing time as pain free as possible, a coffee machine that fulfils your exact specifications is what you want. The best way to do this is to purchase a coffee machine with different brewing settings. This means everyone who uses the coffee machine can have their needs met.
The Sage SDC450BSS Precision Brewer Coffee Maker comes with 6 unique brewing modes including cold brew and strong brews, as well as 3 flow rate settings. This smart machine also comes with small cup detection for only brewing single cups of coffee.
If you want a bean to cup machine to use, the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew Filter Coffee Machine comes with an integrated coffee grinder, meaning coffee beans are ground freshly for each batch of coffee. It also has a programmable brew time, meaning you can have coffee ready for you when you wake up.
Best for price
The Geepas Filter Coffee Machine is a very cost effective coffee machine but packs a punch for its cost. The machine brews up to 1.5L of coffee, with 6 functional time saving buttons and a durable glass carafe.
Another great option is the Melitta Easy II Filter Coffee Machine which has been praised for the compact and clear design. It has a brewing capacity of 1.25L and can also keep your coffee warm for a reasonable 40 minutes.
Best for aesthetics
The Moccamaster KBG Filter Coffee Machine is a great choice if you love an industrial design to your coffee machines.
The unique copper brewing element ensures a preferred brewing temperature of 92-96 degrees, and the 9 water shower bar evenly and gently distributes the water over the coffee grounds.