Selecting a Coffeepot or Coffeemaker

The Coffeepot

The term coffee pot is loosely used to refer to whatever pot is used to brew coffee. The choice of method to brew is an individual one which depends in part on the type of coffee you are brewing and what method you find easiest. Below you will find pictures of some of the different types of coffeepots available. The main types of coffee makers are the coffee press pot (also known as the plunger pot), the automatic coffeemaker, the percolator, the pod coffee maker, the coffee urn, the cappuccino machine and an espresso pot. The cappuccino and espresso machines are used to make cappuccino and espresso. The automatic coffeemaker and the percolator are also referred to as electric pots although you can still find a "stove top percolator" which can come in handy for camping and power failures. With a press pot the water is heated in a separate pot and poured into the press pot.

The automatic coffeemaker and the electric percolator are the most commonly used. Automatic coffeemakers are usually available in 4 cup, 8 cup and 12 cup sizes. The numbers 4, 8, and 12 refer to the largest pot that can be brewed. Although a 12 cup coffeemaker can be used to brew smaller amounts the flavor might suffer if brewing less than half a pot. The reason for the decrease in flavor is that the water will not have ample time to reach proper brewing temperature if you are brewing less than half a pot. It is important to choose the coffeemaker size that fits your needs. If you frequently brew small pots you would benefit from having a second smaller pot. A coffee urn is practical for entertaining and generally brew 20 - 42 cups of coffee though larger urns are available. Commercial coffee systems are available for heavy office, cafeteria or commercial use.

There are also combination or multifunction coffeepots. These are coffeemakers that will also brew espresso or cappuccino or feature a built in coffee grinder.

Our Favorite Coffeemakers


If using an automatic coffeemaker there is also a choice of filters. Coffeemakers use either a cone shape or flat bottomed filter. In general with either shape it is best to use a permanent coffee filter as opposed to paper filters. A paper filter will absorb some of the necessary aromatic oils that give coffee its flavor and aroma and thereby diminish the flavor of your coffee. In addition to absorbing the coffee flavor, paper filters will add an undesirable paper taste to your brew. If you must use a paper filter try to rinse it with water before use. It is far easier to invest in a gold tone filter which to insure a fresh non bitter taste only needs to be rinsed after each use. We recommend a gold tone coffee filter but you can find permanent filters made of other materials.

Whatever type of coffeepot you choose be sure to clean it after each use. If coffee oils are allowed to build up your coffee will have a bitter and rancid taste. Cleaning the pot, filter and basket after each use will help to decrease the amount of residue and oil left behind.

About once a month (or more frequently depending on use) clean your pot with a vinegar water mix. Fill your pot with a mix that is one third vinegar to two thirds water and allow it to brew through. Turn pot off, allow to cool, empty and then brew a pot of plain water to rinse the system. Cleaning coffeemakers monthly is another simple yet important step in brewing good coffee. You need to know not only how to make coffee but how to maintain the equipment.