The average usage of a coffee maker indicates that it consumes 5-8 amps when it works for 10 minutes and makes around 4 cups of the hot brew. In terms of wattages, a classic coffee maker uses up 80 watts in the span of 10 minutes, making 4 cups of coffee in the process. Modern coffee makers come in a lot of varieties and function differently. The electrical consumption, however, remains within the predictable range of 5-8 amps.
More About Coffee Makers
Coffee lovers worldwide usually explore the two most common brewing methods, drip coffee, and percolator. The coffee maker accompanies most of us at the breakfast table each morning. Every morning we follow a similar routine by adding water, some scoops of coffee and flipping on that coffee maker, and let it do the rest. But we seldom wonder what goes on inside that coffee maker and how does it succeed in providing us that excellent brew that kick-starts our day so effectively. Why does that gurgling sound occur so randomly, and how does it manage to heat things so quickly.
These are questions that do not bother us while waiting for that perfect cup, but some extra knowledge never hurts us, right? Especially when it’s about our favorite breakfast buddy that has served us so great for a long time. So let us take some time and explore how exactly the standard coffee makers function and don’t forget to keep that cup handy.
Common Types Of Coffee Makers
Modern electrical appliance oriented brands are coming up with newer models of coffee makers every other month. Newer features, cooler appearances, and hefty price tags come along with them. But if we go to the basics of their working principle, we will find that each of them falls under one of the four basic types of coffee machines described briefly below.
1. Manual Coffee Maker
True coffee purists swear by manual coffee makers even today. Sure they might not have to rush to work with their cappuccino in their hands, and they have the privilege to sit back and enjoy their dose of coffee in the morning. And boy, do they savor it? Manual coffee makers require considerable skill to perfect and make that excellent cup. A barista has to operate a lever by which the suitable pressure on the machine is maintained. Once perfected, these machines produce a far superior quality brew of your favorite coffee than any commercial hokum used in the market. But alas, not most of us have the luxury of time and convenience to try them out.
2. Semi-Automatic Coffee Makers
This brings us to semi-automatic machines where the barista’s need to maintain the perfect pressure on the lever is relieved. The device is able to automatically maintain the pressure inside the maker. The semi part comes in with the other aspects, such as controlling water flow and related operations to be done manually. Relatively lesser sets of skills are required to operate these machines smoothly. The quality of the brew is fantastic here as well and must be savored.
3. Automatic Coffee Makers
The most commonly found coffee makers out there are the automatic ones. It is very similar to the semi-automatic, except they have buttons to automate the water flow and control other associated operations as well. The barista has fewer things to worry about here and will not require many skills to make a great coffee cup. Instead, he can focus on other aspects, such as serving customers properly and ensuring they have the right coffee experience at their establishment. Though not as strong as savory as the above ones, the coffee quality is still one to lighten your pockets for.
4. Super-Automatic Coffee Makers
The next-gen coffee makers are termed super-automatic ones. The barista is relieved of all his duties except maybe wiping coffee off his mustache. Skills are not required at all to operate this super-automatic machine. Everything just starts happening at the look of a button. All this automation comes at the cost of brew quality, which dips drastically although to an acceptable level. Also, these machines show remarkable consistency in their operations and quality of the final product.
|Coffee maker type||Pros||Cons|
|Manual||Best quality brew of coffee||Time and effort consuming|
|Semi-Automatic||Automates the pressure application part, relieving the barista of the manual effort of holding the lever||Coffee quality decreases|
|Automatic||Automates most of the activities||The quality of coffee declines further.|
|Super-automatic||Automates the entire activity. Barista just needs to press the button.||Regular quality coffee.|
How Does The Modern Coffee Maker Function?
The modern-day coffee maker is the drip coffee machine that follows a simple routine to operate. If we open these machines up, we will find the following parts inside.
The reservoir holds the water that is to be used to make the coffee. The reservoir needs to be filled up at the start, and hence whenever required.
Below the base of the reservoir, there is a white colored tube which is programmed to carry the hot water from the reservoir up to the area of the drip.
A shower head is situated where the white tube delivers the hot water. The showerhead then sprays this water over the coffee grounds. In many coffee machines, this hot water is delivered onto a disc with many perforations through which the water falls on the coffee grounds. This area is hence known as the drip area.
The heating element is the most thermal part of this machine, which comprises an aluminum coil having two parts: a tube for the water to flow through and a resistive heating element. The water is heated up using this element and then pushed through the tube.
How Does The Heating Element Work?
When we say that the machine comprises a resistive heating element, we simply mean a wired coil that can be compared to a light bulb filament of the electric toaster. It works in a similar fashion as well. When we turn the machine on, electricity flows through this coil, which is embedded inside a plaster to give it a more rugged feature. The heating element is actually situated between the warming plate and the water tube made of aluminum. The heating element presses directly against the inside of the warming plate. Heat transfer is optimized by the use of heat conductive grease, which FYI is a very messy one and hard to get off our hands, let alone our clothes. It helps dissipate the heat effectively inside the coffee machine.
The heating element not only heats up the water when we turn the machine on and put water into it, but it also keeps the coffee warm once it is made and kept inside the machine.
The Switch And The Valve
The final components that facilitate the entire coffee-making process are the switch and the valve. By controlling the switch, the coffee maker is turned on and off. Sensors and fuses are interlinked with the switch to facilitate proper control so that the heating element does not overheat, and the steady temperature is maintained. Once the coil gets too hot, sensors detect the heat and use the fuse to cut off current flow into it.
The valve is a one-way valve which can be found either in the hole inside the reservoir or inside the aluminum pipe. The valve restricts the boiling water from flowing back into the bucket. The valve allows cold water to enter the aluminum tube but also drives the air bubbles off the boiling water up the white tube. The valve is essential in the functioning of the entire machine and must be adequately maintained at all costs.
The Coffee-Making Process
Now let’s get to the real procedure and make the coffee using the machine, of course.
1. Let’s start with pouring in cold water inside the coffee maker. It would flow from the reservoir through the hole and into the orange tube.
2. The water then flows into the valve and aluminum tube and then enters the heating element. Then it also enters partially up the white tube. Gravity lets all this flow and occurs naturally.
3. Next, we need to turn on the switch. The heating element begins to heat up the aluminum tube, and gradually, the water inside the tube boils.
4. When the water starts boiling, the bubbles rise up inside the white tube. The tube is sufficiently small for the big bubbles so that the water column rises upwards on top of the bubbles.
5. The water then flows up the white tube and hence disperses to evenly drip on the coffee grounds waiting patiently.
6. The hot water then gradually flows through the coffee grounds, picking up their oil-essence on their way into the coffee pot. This coffee oil released during this entire process is termed as caffeoyl.
Coffee is arguably the most preferred beverage throughout the globe. Modern technology has made it very convenient for us to make that hot brew in a matter of minutes using various types of coffee machines. It is, however, quite interesting to find out how the device actually functions and what all kinds of machines are available at our disposal.