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Coffee Machine vs Coffee Maker: How are these different?

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When it comes to coffee makers and coffee machines, there are a lot of people who are unsure of the difference. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between these two types of appliances. We will also talk about which option is better for you. Let’s get started!

A coffee maker makes coffee, while a coffee machine makes coffee with some electronic and automated function. Every coffee machine is a coffee maker, but not every coffee maker is a coffee machine.

What is a coffee maker?

“Coffee makers” is the parent category for essentially anything that makes coffee in some way! This can range from a percolator or your automatic drip coffee brewer at home, all the way to espresso machines that are thousands of dollars. In the end, if it makes coffee, it is a coffee maker.

In the image you see above, you can see a wide range of coffee makers! You can see the drip coffee maker on the left, the more manual style Moka Coffee Maker, and of course on the right is your home espresso machine. All of these are coffee makers, but not all of them are coffee machines.

What is a coffee machine?

Keeping in mind what a coffee maker is, a “coffee machine” is a subcategory of the parent category of “coffee makers”. This will generally rule out manual coffee makers like the Aeropress Go (read our full review here) or American Press and instead requires some electronic, and automatic coffee-making process.

This will include your automatic coffee maker on your kitchen counter (such as the Moccamaster coffee maker on the left side of the photo above), the espresso machine (what you see on the right of the above image) your favorite coffee shop uses, and even that vending machine at your local convenience store.

Coffee Maker vs Coffee Machine

Now that we have a good definition of each of these! I wanted to put together a quick table, which will show you what I mean. All coffee machines are coffee makers, but not all coffee makers are coffee machines.

The Product (Click to See More)Coffee MakerCoffee Machine
Takeya Cold Brew Coffee Maker (Paid Link)YesNo
Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine (Paid Link)YesYes
Keurig K-Classic (Paid Link)YesYes
AeroPress Original (Paid Link)YesNo
Bodum Brazil French Press (Paid Link)YesNo

As you can see from the above table, every one of these very different coffee devices are coffee makers, however only the coffee makers that utilized electrical or automated brewing systems would be considered a coffee machine.

Do you need a coffee machine?

If you are someone that truly enjoys making a great cup of coffee, you might want to rethink utilizing a machine, and instead, use a manual coffee maker.

Generally speaking, manual coffee makers (that don’t have any automation), will allow you to adjust the taste of your coffee considerably to be exactly what you want. A great option for this is the Aeropress Go that I use, it is very easy to use, uncomplicated, and easy to clean up afterward.

If you are someone that likes to press a button and go, then a coffee machine is a perfect solution! These are generally easier to use, and take considerably less hands-on interaction with your coffee. This can cut your active usage of the coffee maker from 3-5 minutes or more, down to 30 seconds or even less in some cases.

Espresso Machine vs Coffee Machine

In the same way, as we talked about earlier, the difference between these two classes of coffee makers is the same. Every Espresso Machine is a Coffee Machine (due to its automatic and electronic nature), however not every coffee machine is an espresso machine (as not every coffee machine can make espresso.

An espresso machine is a coffee machine that utilizes extremely high pressure to extract a fine coffee grind. It is generally much more expensive than your average coffee machine and can range from a few hundred dollars, all the way up to several thousand.

That said, not every espresso coffee maker is an espresso machine (confused yet?), as there are plenty of great espresso makers on the market that does not have any automated features, such as the WACACO Minipresso GR or the even nicer (and more expensive) NEO Flair Espresso (which can also be found in one of our best of articles here).

Key Takeaways

Remember, every coffee machine is a type of coffee maker, while not every coffee maker is a coffee machine. The automation and electronic component is generally the differentiating factor.

As for which is right for you, it comes down to what you want out of your coffee-drinking experience. If you want an appliance that is easy to use and doesn’t require much interaction, a coffee machine is perfect for you!

If you want more control over your cup of coffee and are willing to put in a little bit of effort, then a coffee maker is probably a better choice. There are many different types of coffee makers on the market, so you can find one that suits your needs.

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