Shopping - Buying Guides

Buying guide: Coffeemakers

Find out what to look for in a coffeemaker so you can make your perfect cup day after day.

A Starbucks or Timmy's habit notwithstanding, most Canadians consider a good home coffeemaker to be a kitchen must-have. But with coffeemakers at every price point and available almost anywhere (including at your local Starbucks or Tim's!), how can you zero in on the best one for your home?

The answer depends on your drinking habits and lifestyle. Answer the following questions and find out what to look for so you can make your perfect cup day after day.

1 How many cups of coffee do you drink on average?
Are you a light drinker or a diehard caffeinista? This first question will help narrow your choices.

If you have a one- or two-person household and only sip a morning cup, consider:

• A drip coffeemaker that brews your morning java directly into an insulated portable cup, like the Cuisinart Two to Go coffeemaker, which comes with two travel mugs.
• A French press-style coffeemaker that will allow you to make just a single cup (or up to eight, when you have guests). Try a Bodum Chambord or Bistro, for their classic styling.
• A single-cup coffee system that uses pods or canisters, like Java Pod, Mr. Coffee or Senseo. Keep in mind however, that not all the casings can be composted or recycled, meaning they may produce more landfill-destined waste than other coffeemakers.

If you consume a lot of coffee in your household, consider:
• A conventional drip coffeemaker with a 10 or 12-cup capacity.
• A 10- or 12-cup drip coffeemaker like the Hamilton Beach Stay or Go, which brews coffee into an insulated thermal carafe so that coffee stays extra fresh without needing a heating element underneath. (This extra heat can cause your coffee's flavour to deteriorate after 20 minutes.)
• A French press – although keep in mind coffee chills a lot faster in a French press so it may not be the best bet if you nurse several cups while reading the weekend newspaper.
• Finally, if you're a social butterfly, consider a coffee urn. They come in 40- to 60-cup models, more than enough to keep your book club or family get-togethers humming.

2 Where's the coffeemaker going?
For electric coffeemakers, placement is a key concern. Not only do you need an electrical outlet, you'll need to place the coffeemaker safely away from the sink. So where are you putting it?

On a petite kitchen counter or table: Look for a compact, space-saving design. Models like the Black & Decker SpaceMaker II even mount under your kitchen cabinetry so they don't take up any counter space at all.

On an island or peninsula: When space isn't at a premium, and when your small appliance is out on display (in the centre of the room, in this case), look for smart design features like a snazzy colour or chic, contemporary styling.



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