Brew Express Coffee Maker

Brew Express coffee maker

Brew Express in-wall coffee makers connect directly to power and water supplies, tapping into either a cold-water line or a bottled-water dispenser. Brew Trak technology ensures a consistent brew temperature regardless of incoming water temperature or electricity voltage variation, and the thermal carafe maintains temperature and coffee quality in or out of the heating element. Available in 12-cup, 10-cup and four-cup sizes.

KitchenAid 90th Anniversary Stand Mixer


KitchenAid marked its 90th anniversary with a special edition stand mixer in Candy Apple Red. As a tribute to earlier models, the 5-quart Artisan Series stand mixer includes a clear glass bowl (with a handle, pour spout, and measurment lines) in place of the stainless steel bowl sold with today's models. The 10-speed stand mixer features a tilt-head design for easy bowl access and can accommodate eight to nine cups of flour. The mixer comes with three accessories: a flat beater, a dough hook and a wire whip. KitchenAid is making the glass bowl available separately this fall.

Not Just for Tea Drinkers

An electric kettle for brewing tea.

Courtesy of Breville

Unlike most electric kettles, this one actually steeps the loose tea leaves for you.

For many people in the United States, stove-top kettles are king. They're affordable, they heat water pretty quickly, and some even whistle when the water reaches its boiling point. Electric kettles tend to be more popular in countries where tea is preferred to coffee, but they have advantages anyone can appreciate.

For example, electric kettles boil water more quickly, so they're more energy efficient. They also free up burner space on the cooktop or range, and can be used in places without access to a stove; say, at the office or in a bedroom. And of course, hot water comes in handy for hot chocolate or instant oatmeal and soup as well as tea.

Material options:
Electric kettles may be made from plastic, glass or stainless steel. Plastic is the most affordable option; glass offers the option of viewing your water or tea but can crack or break; stainless steel keeps the water hot the longest, but makes the kettle heavier to lift.

Corded or cordless:
A corded kettle sits on its own base and has an attached cord that plugs into the outlet. A cordless kettle sits on a "plate," and the cord is attached to the plate. They work the same way, but the cordless option makes pouring and serving easier.

Nice features to look for include a water gauge to indicate the level of the water inside the kettle, a water filter, variable temperature control with different settings for different types of tea, and an automatic shut-off function so that the kettle doesn't boil dry.

Kettles typically cost between $20 and $100, although they can run as high as $250 if they have a lot of features.




Three Types of Electric Coffee Machines

When it comes to electric coffee makers, you have three main options: automatic drip or filter coffee machines, which are the most common type in the United States; "pod" systems, which are a newer variation on the filter coffee makers; and percolators, the most traditional style.

Automatic drip coffee makers
became popular because they brew quickly and can be easily cleaned. These coffee makers have baskets that either are fitted with a mesh filter that can be removed for cleaning or are lined with a disposable paper filter. Water heats up in a separate tank, then drips through the coffee grounds and goes into a plastic, glass or stainless steel carafe. Usually the carafe sits on a hotplate that keeps the coffee hot.

Automatic drip machines make anywhere from four to 12 cups of coffee and cost from $15 to $200. Optional features that add to the price but may also add to your enjoyment include: settings that allow you to schedule the brewing time, built-in grinders or temperature controls, automatic shut-off switches, and a thermal carafe instead of a hot plate.


  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Make enough cups for most households


  • Difficult to customize blends for individuals


Pod systems are the newest way of making coffee. Instead of placing grounds into a filter basket, the user inserts a pre-packaged pod of ground coffee. Each pod holds just enough for one cup of coffee. Most systems have their own line of pods, but many brand-name coffees also sell their coffee in pods. Pods come in a variety of coffee blends and flavors. Most pod brewers cost between $40 and $100, but some machines run upward of $400.


  • Good for households with only one coffee drinker or coffee drinkers who prefer different blends


  •  Pod coffee costs more than standard grounds or beans

look like metal pitchers and can make from two to 10 cups of coffee depending on the size. Inside is a small metal basket for the ground coffee. After filling the pitcher with water, you either heat it on the stove top, or, if the percolator has an integrated heating element, turn the percolator on to heat the water. As it heats, it is drawn up a tube that leads to the coffee grounds, where it then drips over the coffee. The brew is ready when all the water has passed through the ground coffee. Prices range from $25 to $100 except for commercial-style urns, which can cost several hundred dollars.


  • Coffee is fast and hot
  • Urns make enough coffee for large parties or meetings


  • High temperature
  • Too many circulations of the water can lead to bitter flavor




For the True Coffee Lover's Next Remodel


Courtesy of Dacor

Built-in coffeemakers allow you to make gourmet coffee right from home.

Retrofit into a kitchen remodel or installed in the sitting room of a new master suite, built-in coffee machines have become the splurge du jour thanks to their space-saving design and fun features.


  • They preserve countertop space by being installed into your cabinetry
  • They can be (although they don't have to be) plumbed directly to your water source, ensuring fresh water and saving trips from the sink to the coffeemaker


  • If your cabinet space is at a premium, a built-in coffeemaker takes up a substantial amount: most built-ins are about 24 inches wide, 22 or 23 inches deep and 18.5 inches high.
  • An average price tag of $2,000 to $2,500.


All built-in coffee and espresso machines are automatic models. You won't find them at typical retailers-instead, look for appliance specialists that carry high-end lines or at gourmet cookware stores.

The built-in models typically offer dual dispensing spouts whose height can be adjusted, a hot-water dispenser, an integrated frothing system, and either an integrated grinder with bean and ground compartments or a pod/capsule system. Other common features include multiple grinder settings, a large water reservoir, water/coffee temperature control, water hardness settings, a built-in water filter, a timer and automatic cleaning and descaling.

Some come with a cup-and-saucer warming and storage drawer; others can be installed with a separate but matching drawer unit.

Touch-pad control panels with LED displays are standard; but many of these units-which often are made by European manufacturers- offer multilingual displays.



More in this category:« Espresso Machines

They Also Make Cappuccino, Lattes, and More


Espresso machines come in a wide range of sizes and price ranges. Explore the offerings of various brands and read consumer reviews before selecting a make and model for your kitchen.

There are four types of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatics, super-automatics and built-in espresso machines.

Espresso purists tend to prefer manual espresso machines, also known as piston or lever espresso machines, but using them does take some skill. After evenly tamping the coffee grounds into the filter, the user pulls down on a handle to force the water through the coffee. When you pull the handle, as well as how fast or slow you pull it, affects the taste, and the physical effort can be tough for some people. Given the learning curve, homeowners often opt for a semi- or fully automatic version.

With a semi-automatic espresso machine, you fill the porta filter with ground coffee, but instead of using your arm power, the machine uses pump to create the pressure. A pump is very consistent in its delivery, so even if there are slight variations when it's brewing, it will make a taste of the coffee different. Most of the semi-automatics have a frothing feature on the side, so you can froth or steam your own milk, mix it with espresso shot and make cappuccino or latte. These machines have a tank in the back and need to be filled up with water. The only downside of this type of machine is that it doesn't store your coffee grounds. For every cup of coffee you have to fill the porta filter with ground coffee.

Super-automatic espresso machines allow you to store coffee directly in the unit as well as grind it freshly each time you use it. Super-automatic machines tend to be bigger than semi-automatics, so make sure that you have enough space in your kitchen. They are designed for speed, convenience and less mess or maintenance. Super-automatics will grind a pre-measured dose of espresso beans and extract a specific amount of coffee, from demitasse espresso to full cup of coffee. The used coffee grounds are placed into an internal bin that you need to dispose once it's full.

These large (and expensive) machines have displays that tell you what you are doing or what you need to do. For example, it can tell you when water tank is empty, when you need to empty the coffee ground bin, when to clean and decalcify the machine, etc. All super-automatics have a frothing feature if you want to make your own cappuccino or latte. You can also get an instant hot water for your tea or soup. Some super-automatics have an automatic frothing feature which lets you mix coffee and milk at the same time with the push of a button. Built-in espresso machines are pretty much the same as super-automatics, except that they need to be built into a kitchen cabinet.

When it comes to cleaning, most models are self-cleaning. Every couple of months you need to use the cleaning solution that will clean your machine internally.




Things to Think About When Selecting Small Appliances

A selection of color-coordinated small appliances

Courtesy of Hamilton Beach

The following questions provide some important food for thought when shopping for small appliances. We have more information on how to choose specific products throughout this section, but this list of factors to consider is a great place to start.


  1. Appearance: Are you likely to hide them in cabinets or in a pantry? Or will they spend most of their time on the counter? If the latter, do you want them to match your large appliances (which are likely to be in white, black or stainless steel)? Or do you want to add color or strengthen an existing color scheme by buying small appliances in a more adventurous shade?

  2. Capacity: What quantities of food and beverages do you plan to produce with these appliances? Enough for one or two people, family dinners, or large parties?

  3. Space: How much room do you have in your kitchen to store and to use these "small" appliances, some of which are actually rather big? Will they fit in the cabinets or underneath the cabinets? Do you have more wall space than counter space, in which case you might be better off choosing built-in instead of countertop models when possible (for example, with a microwave or a coffeemaker)? Can you save space by buying one appliance with multiple functions instead of multiple appliances with single functions?

  4. Frequency of use: Will you use a particular appliance on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? Or will you only pull it out for special, rare occasions? You may want to invest more in a machine that has to stand up to regular abuse.

  5. Ease of cleaning: Look for dishwasher-safe components unless you enjoy doing dishes by hand.

  6. Corded or cordless: How portable do you need your portable appliances to be? Do you like to set up at a table that happens to be a little too far from an electrical outlet? Are you concerned about blowing a fuse?




KitchenAid Coffee Maker

KitchenAid Coffee Maker
Courtesy of KitchenAid

New coffee makers from KitchenAid have removable water tanks, variable brew-strength settings and flat brew baskets, all designed to extract maximum flavor from the coffee grounds. Features that simplify brewing include a stop function, cleaning alert, variable warming control and time-since-last-brewed indicator. Some models include power loss backup and hot water dispensers. Coffeemakers are available with 10- or 12-cup thermal carafes or a 14-cup glass carafe.

Create a Café in the Kitchen


Coffee and tea may be important enough to warrant multiple appliances and significant counter space in the kitchen.

You could treat yourself to a daily coffee at one of the coffee shops and cafés that seem to crowd every corner. You might also throw in an afternoon latte and post-dinner cup of tea. Quality caffeine, however, is an expensive habit to maintain. (So is quality herbal tea.) In the long run, buying your own beverage system is cheaper than dropping $2 to $10 a day.

Leaving aside French presses, stove-top kettles and other non-electric devices, we'll run though the basics on coffee grinders, coffee makers, tea kettles and espresso machines, from plug-and-brew models to multi-talented machines that can do it all. At the very highest end, "super automatic" espresso machines operate with push-button technology and come in both countertop and built-in models, which may have the added option of a plumbing hookup leading directly to your water supply.

Time to play barista instead of paying one!



More in this category:Coffee Grinders »

Easy Solutions for High-Maintenance Dishes

Electric Skillet by Deni

Courtesy of Deni

When a stove isn't available, an electric skillet is a great substitute for a traditional skillet or frying pan.

Electric Woks & Skillets

These items mimic traditional skillets and woks that you would put on a stovetop. Electric skillets and woks heat up after you plug them in, and they typically have a dial that controls the temperature. They also have lids to keep in steam and heat. If you have a stovetop, you might not have a need for these items, but they are convenient for camping trips, tailgates, and temporary kitchen setups. Electric skillets and woks typically cost between $25 and $100.

Deep Fryers

If you enjoy fried foods, deep fryers can be a handy and safe way to concoct dishes like French fries. Many deep fryers come with lockable lids to prevent hot cooking oils from splashing outside the fryer.

You can also purchase a rotary fryer, which rotates the cooking oil instead of just having a pool of oil in which the food soaks. Rotary fryers use less cooking oil, because the oil is spread over the food more efficiently.

Most deep fryers have between 1,800 and 2,200 watts. Fryers come in different sizes, and some have more temperature controls than others. They usually cost between $100 and $300.


Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

Courtesy of Crock-Pot


Slow Cookers

As their name implies, slow cookers cook food slowly, and they cook it in a way that keeps food moist and flavorful. Slow cookers cook items such as meats and stews over a period of hours at low temperatures (usually between 160 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Slow cookers come in a variety of sizes, so make sure the one you purchase is big enough for the amount of food you're cooking. Since many people cook meals for families in a slow cooker, you'll want one that holds at least 4 quarts, which is considered family size. Slow cookers cost between $30 and $150. Price varies based on size, temperature settings, and temperature and time programmability features.


Panasonic Rice Cooker

Courtesy of Panasonic


Rice Cookers

While cooking rice in the traditional way isn't extremely complicated, it does require a great deal of attention to make sure the rice comes out right. Rice cookers eliminate all the attention needed to make rice; they just require you to add rice and water and press a button.

Another advantage to rice cookers is that have automatic shutoffs. They detect when the rice is finished cooking, and will then switch to a warming mode to keep the rice heated until you remove it from the cooker.

Look for a rice cooker with a non-stick pan to make it easier to remove the cooked rice. Rice cookers can vary in size and settings (for instance, some rice cookers can cook rice to have different textures), but the more bells and whistles, the more you'll pay. Prices range between $50 and $200.