13 Types of Coffee Brewers Explained – What’s Right For You?

There are many types and styles of coffee brewer available, but which one is the best for you? After all, no one coffee maker is going to be perfect for everyone. Everybody has different coffee needs! We made this in-depth breakdown of the most popular coffee makers on the market to help. Which machine do you think will suit your style, tastes and budget?

Note: This is not a complete guide to EVERY coffee maker in existence. But it is a thorough guide of the most common brewer styles available in 2022.

What is a French Press?

A French Press is a very classic, cost-effective, and beautiful coffee brewer. It has a central cylinder, usually made of glass but sometimes stainless steel. There is a plunger on a stem that runs through the lid of the French press. To brew coffee, fill it with coarse ground coffee and hot water. Let it steep for about 5 minutes, then press the plunger down.

When you are grinding coffee for your French press it should be as course as possible. This maximizes the flavours while minimizing the sediment in the bottom of the press. For more info on grinding coffee, see our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022.

When your coffee is in the water for the entire brewing process, it is immersion brewing. The benefit of immersion brewing is that it produces a very bold cup of coffee.

French press coffee is one of the easiest methods of coffee brewing there is. French presses are a very cost effective brewer. We sell several for under $20. French presses are a testament to the fact that great coffee really can be accessible for everyone. For more information, check out What Is A French Press?

What is a Pour-Over?

A pour-over brewer is another manual coffee brewer. Pour-over brewers have a filter that holds the coffee grounds while you pour hot water over them. The water steeps through the grounds into a chamber or mug below. There are many different styles of pour-over available.

The benefit of a pour-over brewer is the complete control over how your coffee grounds get wet. Because you control the water flow, you also control how fast your coffee brews. For the most precision we recommend getting a gooseneck kettle.

The grind for a pour-over coffee is medium coarse, the same as it would be for a drip machine. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is a Siphon Brewer?

A siphon coffee brewer uses heat to move water back and forth between two brewing chambers. The heat source on a siphon brewer is often a small oil or alcohol lamp. You can also find electric and stove top siphon brewers.

Gold syphon brewer for brewing coffee

Using a siphon coffee brewer is fun and feels a bit like being a mad scientist. To use a siphon brewer you put your water into the metal chamber. Add your coffee grounds into the separate brewing chamber. Light the alcohol lamp to heat the water in the metal chamber. The boiling water travels through the siphon tube to the brewing chamber. There it mixes with the ground coffee. Once all the water has left the heating chamber, extinguish the lamp. When the heating chamber starts to cool, the brewed coffee siphons back into it. Once all the coffee is back in the metal chamber, serve and enjoy.

Grounds for a siphon coffee brewer should be coarse. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

A siphon brewer is great for anyone who loves gadgets and taking time with their coffee – Check out this video to see the magic in action!

What is a Cold Brewer?

Cold Brewed coffee is coffee that you brew and serve cold. There are many different styles of cold brewers. The differences depend on if you use water or ice, or if you want the grounds filtered during or after brewing.

With any cold brewer, the concept is the same. You steep your grounds in cold water for 12-24 hours and then filter or separate the grounds from the water. No hot water ever comes into contact with the coffee grounds. The brewed coffee remains smooth and sweet, and doesn’t have the acidity or ashy taste of a hot coffee cooled down.

There are many styles of cold brewers available. Anything you can put in the refrigerator for 12-14 hours with coffee grounds and water in it can be a cold brewer. To learn more about making your own cold brew, take a look at What is Cold Brew Coffee?

All cold brewers work best with coarse ground coffee, much like in a French press. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is an AeroPress?

Alan Adler invented the AeroPress in 2004. The AeroPress has grown to become one of the world’s most used coffee brewers in a very short time. This brewer has three main parts, a plastic cylinder, a plunger, and a filter holder. There are also several accessories included to help with brewing.

To use an AeroPress, place a filter in the filter holder. Then attach the filter holder to the plastic cylinder and set it over a cup. Add your coffee and water, wait 1-3 minutes, and plunge the plunger down, releasing the coffee into your cup.

Normally you use a medium ground coffee for your AeroPress. The bonus feature with this brewer is you actually can use different grind consistencies with it. You simply do a reverse inversion brew style.

With the AeroPress you are able to brew a small serving of very strong, espresso-style coffee. Top up with hot water to make a delicious americano, or add some frothed milk to make a perfect at-home latte.

To learn more about AeroPress and now to use one, take a look at What Is An AeroPress.

What is a Moka Pot?

A moka pot is a an Italian style stove-top espresso machine. The most popular brand of moka pot, which you have probably seen, is the Bialetti. It’s iconic “Little Man With A Mustache” mascot has global recognition. We love our Bialetti Moka Express as a coffee brewer.

Yet Bialetti is far from the only brand of moka pot on the market. At Cupper’s Coffee & Tea we are big fans of the brand new Bellman CX-25P stove-top espresso maker. It also includes a pressure gauge and a built-in steam wand.

Moka pots work by building up steam pressure in the bottom chamber of the pot. This forces steam through the central area through coffee grounds between two filters. The result is in the top as a small espresso-style cup of coffee.

Moka pots need a finer grind of coffee than a drip or AeroPress, but not as fine as a true espresso grind. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee. You can also see our article What Is A Mocha Pot? What Is A Bialetti? for more info on how these work.

What is an Ibrik?

An Ibrik is a traditional Turkish Coffee brewer. Ibriks are usually made from brass, copper or stainless steel. They are very unique and beautiful and come in a range of sizes.

Brass Turkish ibrik coffee brewer with wood handle
To brew Turkish coffee, start with extremely fine ground coffee and a lump of dark sugar in the ibrik. You can add ground sweet spices if you’d like. Cinnamon, cardamom or anise are common. Add water, then hold the ibrik over the heat let it boil. Once the pot boils, remove it from the heat and let the bubbles settle. Repeat this process three times… and you’ve got yourself some sweet, dark, Turkish coffee. The grounds for Turkish coffee resembles flour. They are not strained from the brewed coffee. The grounds will settle (mostly) to the bottom of your cup and you don’t drink the last sip. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is a Cafflano Kompact?

Cafflano makes an amazing single cup brewer called the Kompact. It is a simple brewer and folds up very small, making it perfect for traveling. The silicone brewing chamber folds up like an accordion.

To brew coffee in a Kompact, add your coffee grounds and water into the brewing chamber. Let it steep for 2-4 minutes. Once it finishes brewing, screw on the filter cap and squeeze your brewed coffee into your cup. Brewing coffee on the go has never been easier.

For the Kompact, grind your coffee coarse like the French press grind. This minimizes any sediment while giving the fullest flavour. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee. And check out What Is A Cafflano Kompact? for more information on this awesome little brewer! 

What is a Clever Dripper?

The Clever Dripper is a sweet little coffee brewer. It produces a cup of coffee with the boldness of a French press, but the smoothness of a paper filtered pour-over. The brew chamber is shaped like an over-the-cup pour-over brewer… but with one big difference.

The special difference between this and other drippers is its unique pressure plate. The water pushes the plate to close the brewer, so it keeps your coffee in funnel until it is completely brewed. Steep your coffee in the Clever Dripper for 4-5 minutes. Then set the Clever Dripper on top of your cup and watch as a perfect cup of coffee pours into your cup.

For the Clever Dripper, grind your coffee for a drip maker. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is a Phin Coffee Brewer?

A coffee Phin is a traditional Vietnamese brewer. It is a very slow manual pour-over. Vietnamese coffee is often served dripped over iced and sweetened condensed milk. You may have also seen Vietnamese Egg Coffee online. That is coffee brewed in a Phin and poured over egg whites, milk and sugar. The heat from the boiled water cooks the ingredients.

Coffee phin making Vietnamese coffee

A Vietnamese Phin brewer is very easy to use. Add a small amount of coffee to the bottom of your Phin above the bottom filter. Gently tamp the coffee down with the top filter. Then set the brewer on your cup and pour hot water into it. Allow it to drip into a cup on its own or over ice and sweetened condensed milk for a true dessert coffee.

Vietnamese Phins need coffee ground for a drip maker. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is a Drip Machine?

Most people have tried coffee from a drip machine. Drip machines are the most common home brewers on the market today. They come in many shapes and sizes, often with a carafe and heated pad.

Brewing drip machine coffee is fairly classic and well known. Load your ground coffee into the filter basket lined with a paper filter. Then you fill the tank with water, and start the brewer. The brewer heats the water and drips it over the grounds. The resulting coffee collects in a carafe.

The benefit of a drip machine vs a pour-over is that the coffee brewer does all the work for you. You can even get drip machines that have a coffee grinder built right in. If you don’t have a built-in grinder, you need to get drip grind coffee. Too coarse and the coffee is tasteless and weak. Too fine, and you’ll have a backed-up mess all over your counter… and no coffee. See our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on grinding coffee.

What is a Home Espresso Machine?

If you are looking for a café drink in your home look no further than a manual home espresso machine. These machines are smaller than a commercial machine, designed to fit on your counter. They also tend to have a smaller and less powerful boiler than a commercial machine. As a coffee brewer, they don’t need to keep up with a drink rush in a coffee shop.

Using a manual home espresso machine takes some practice, and is very dependant on each style of machine. At Cupper’s Coffee & Tea, we’re happy to work with you directly to make sure you’re getting the best drinks you can make. Call us to tell us what machine you have and set up a time, and we’ll help you out!

An added benefit of a manual home espresso machine is that they usually have a steam wand. You can make perfectly textured milk for amazing lattes, macchiatos and cappuccinos. Many of them also have coffee grinders included, but not all.

If you need your coffee ground, use a home-espresso grind. This is coarser than for a commercial espresso maker, but is still quite fine. Check out our Definitive Guide to Coffee Grinders in 2022 for more info on espresso ground coffee.

What is a Bean-to-Cup Espresso Machine?

Many people buy manual home espresso machines with the best intentions. Then they end up not using them, or only use them rarely. The reason for this is that learning to make a good cup of coffee is *hard*. Good baristas at your local coffee shops spend a lot of time learning how to craft your drinks perfectly.

Enter the bean-to-cup super-automatic espresso machines. With the push of a button you can have a perfect latte, flat white, or macchiato in your cup. These machines tell you what they need, prompt for cleaning, and make amazing coffee. Jura even has a line of machines that connect right to your smartphone so you can ask Siri to make your coffee for you… before you get out of bed!

All our Jura super-automatic espresso machines have a built-in-grinder, so you get the freshest ground coffee possible. Simply decide on what you’d like, push a button, wait a few moments, and enjoy.

If you’ve enjoyed exploring the types of coffee brewers and want to learn more, make sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Everything Coffee.

Not a coffee drinker? That’s okay – Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Luxury Tea.

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