Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Learning How To Buy A Coffee Maker

By John McKain

Caffeine lovers the world over have fought forever in an effort to decide which type of coffee maker can produce the perfect cup of java. It's all a matter of personal choice, however, the debate still rages on.

Ever since it was discovered that a liquid could be brewed from the coffee beans that, until the 16th century, had been eaten like vitamins to help warriors through battles and fight off fatigue, caffeine addicts have developed multiple methods to make the perfect cup of coffee.

Many agree that there is nothing better than a pot of coffee percolated over an open camp fire. Cowboys and cattle rustlers drank their coffee like this for decades sans the luxuries of cream or sugar. For those who chose to stay closer to home, the stove top percolator did the trick just fine. However, one of the drawbacks of these percolators is that they tend to perk all over the place if not watched carefully.

Fast forward to the late 1950s. A leading houseware manufacturer invented the electric percolator and women scooped them up by the thousands. These worked on the same principle - water boiling up through the coffee grounds - but they had built it controls and monitoring devices to virtually prevent any messy mishaps. Just follow the simple directions and within minutes you'll have very good cup of java.

Nothing much happened until the 1970s when the drip coffee maker came on the market. And once again, housewives flocked to the store to buy them up. Some actually came in selection of colors to match kitchen decors. The technology of these drip makers was almost reversed. Rather than boiling the water and forcing it up through coffee grounds, the water was heated separately and dripped down through the coffee grounds. One major difference in this methodology is that the only thing being dripped through the coffee grounds was pure water, not the coffee that had already been forced up beforehand as with a percolator.

Nothing much changed until the late 1980s when gourmet coffees became a hit and machinery to brew these new coffees was made available to residential homes, not just restaurants and coffee houses. Machines that made cappuccino and espresso and latte became the rage. Much more expensive than the regular coffee makers everyone used for their morning caffeine hits, these machines were big, bulky, expensive - and selling like hot cakes. Coffee lovers proudly displayed their new espresso machines right next to their regular coffee makers.

Technology essentially came to a stop at that point, and no further live changing coffee maker inventions came about for some time. What American did, however, was to look to other cultures to see what they had to offer, and quickly became enamored of the French press and what we know as "the Cuban coffee maker". Even though the brews were much stronger than most Americans were accustomed to, many quickly adapted to the addition of these stronger brews into their daily coffee choices.

Whether you prefer your coffee strong, average, or even a variety, there's a machine to suit your needs.

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