Sometimes it is just super cool to have an old school coffee maker and use it to make your morning coffee in a rather retro kind of way, kickin’ back and whacking on the tunes from the 60s, 70s’ and 80s and sipping away.
Technically speaking, pretty much all coffee makers that outside of an Aeropress and single serve coffee machine are old school coffee makers as the original brewing methods date back 100+ years.
the newer models look more modern and up to date, but the technique behind a moka pot, French press and even a drip coffee maker is not new at all.
Keep reading as we talk about the old school way of making a cup of coffee.
What To Look For In An Old School Coffee Maker
If you are seriously thinking about buying an old school coffee maker there are a few things you need to consider before you splash the cash and buy one.
Read: How long do you percolate coffee?
What Kind Of Coffee Do You Enjoy?
Spending your money on a coffee machine or an antique coffee maker that you are not going to use at all that often is simply a waste of money – unless you manage to get a great deal on it. There is a classic coffee maker to make just about every kind of coffee drink that you can think of, from percolator to moka pot to French press to drip coffee, Turkish coffee and even espresso shots.
Size Matters: Think About The Amount Of Coffee You Will Be Making
Are you going to be making coffee for one, two, four or more?
The amount of coffee that you want to make in one go will influence which coffee maker you think about getting, or maybe you want to get the larger one just in case you have guests. Be careful not to just make coffee for coffee’s sake, you will end up wasting your good beans.
Normally the model that makes more cups of coffee will cost a little more.
Think About The Style Of Your Vintage Coffee Maker
This applies more to the larger coffee makers than the smaller ones. Keep in mind these are retro style old-fashioned coffee machines and might look a bit off or out of place next to modern kitchen equipment. If you are like me and don’t care…fine, no worries there.
Also think about the color and if it fits into your current kitchen’s color scheme.
This is something that only applies to the larger machines. The smaller and more portable ones can be stored in a cupboard.
Some Features May Be Missing
Some of the cool features that you may enjoy with modern coffee machines will probably be missing on a vintage coffee maker, particularly if it is an authentic coffee brewing device and not a modern machine with a retro-classic facade.
Just keep it in your mind that you might not get all the bells and whistles that you are looking for.
The Best Old School Coffee Maker
The following short list is what I personally consider to be the best old school coffee makers based on a few factors including their style and beauty, the quality of coffee brewed and ease of use.
#1 Classic Golden Belgium Luxury Royal Family Balance Syphon Coffee Maker
The classic Belgian syphon coffee maker is, in my opinion, the one that looks the most classic of them all. There are two variations, one silver, the other gold. While they both perform the same functions and the material used does not alter how your coffee will taste, the gold version just looks much more elegant and more of a vintage old school coffee maker.
Brewing capacity is 500 ml (17 ounces). And is more than a enough for 3 to 4 coffees depending on the type of coffee drink you are making.
#2 Ariete Vintage Kitchen Counter Top Espresso Machine – Runner Up!
If ever there was a classic looking retro-style home espresso machine this is it! Although technically speaking it is not a proper old school coffee maker it certainly has the look, feel and well, espresso machines do date back to 1906.
It has everything you need to make all your favorite espresso based drinks, including ristretto, espresso, latte, cortado, macchiato, flat white, cappuccino and many more thanks to the inclusion of the milk frother.
There are a variety of colors for the model that you want including a pale blue, mint green and champagne color.
#3 Farberware Yosemite Coffee Percolator
Percolated coffee was the thing way back in the 1950s and 1960s. This percolator brings back that classic feeling and look with what is a very traditional looking percolator that is straight from the era.
Appearances are deceiving, this percolator is not as clunky as it looks. The mirrored look and being made from non-reactive stainless steel means it will not retain odors. The lifetime warranty and 8 cup, 40 ounce (1.2 liter) capacity is very ample for dinner parties.
#4 Elite Gourmet Americana Coffee Maker
Few things scream out “old school” or retro louder than being an all-in-one kitchen appliance. This device right here is a complete breakfast machine with a toaster oven, griddle and a drip coffee maker.
It just looks so retro, so vintage, so yesteryear.
#5 Bialetti Moka Express
This is the classic Italian coffee maker that is literally ageless. The design and functionality has barely changed since it was first introduced in 1933.
Moka pots come in various sizes from 2 cups to 12 cups. Single cup variations are available but are rarely seen. Regardless of the size, these can easily be hidden away in your cupboard.
You can make all kinds of coffees with this brewer, and it is very good for all the milk-based espresso drinks. Just be aware that you are not going to be able to make an espresso despite the various claims. What you will be able to make is espresso like drinks which are as close as you can get without a proper home espresso machine.
#6 Bayka French Press Coffee Maker.
Perhaps the forgotten man of the classic old school coffee makers. The French press coffee pot dates back to 1923 and is one hundred plus years old.
Bayka makes a fully functional and classic looking model that is dishwasher safe and can be used in exactly the same way as a modern looking French press with the bonus of being made with stainless steel and no cheap plastics here. You can expect this press to last you a number of years.
Sizes available are 21, 34 and 50 ounces. As word to the wise – French press is the best brewing method for getting the best out of your top quality specialty grade coffee beans as you have full control over all the variables that affect the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Old School Coffee Maker
What Is A Traditional Coffee Maker Called?
Old style electric drip coffee makers can be considered as a traditional coffee maker as can moka pots, percolators and a very classic looking Belgian siphon coffee maker. Even old style pump or lever based espresso machines can be considered as a traditional coffee maker as these were amongst the first of their type.
With the exception of modern espresso machines, Aeropress and single serving coffee makers like Nespresso and Keurig machines, there are no new coffee makers or coffee brewers. Even a French press is pretty old school as it dates back to the early 1900s.
What Is The Oldest Coffee Maker?
The oldest known coffee maker is the ibrik or cezve which is still in use to today in Turkey, Greece, Albania, Bosnia and countries all over the south-east of Europe and Arabian nations. The exact start date or year is unknown but came hundreds of years before the more modern drip coffee makers, percolators and espresso machines.
December 26, 1865 is the date that James Mason patented the invention of the coffee percolator. 1906 is the year in which Angel Moriondo invented the first steam powered espresso coffee machine. Two years later, in 1908, Melitta Bentz created the world’s first drip coffee maker, which is often erroneously referred to as the first coffee maker. As I have demonstrated, this is not true.
Other key dates include 1914, the year in which the vacuum, or siphon coffee maker, was invented.
How Did They Make Coffee In The 1940s?
In the 1930s and 1940s, coffee drinkers made their coffee in a jug. The water was boiled and then they added coffee grounds and simply let the grounds settle and then poured the coffee through a strainer. Some coffee lovers would boil the water again, then brew the grounds a little more and then strained the grounds.
What Is Cowboy Coffee?
Cowboy coffee is a traditional coffee made with coarse or unground whole bean coffee. It is brewed by heating water to simmering point and adding whole beans or coarsely ground coffee and allowing it to brew for a few minutes. It is not uncommon for eggshells or a pinch of salt to be used to take the edge of the bitterness of a strong well brewed cowboy coffee.
Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up, Old School Coffee Maker
Rather than just list drip coffee maker after drip coffee maker and call the list that I created a list of old school coffee makers, such a list would really be a list of old school drip coffee makers.
Old-fashioned vintage coffee machines are a lot more than just drip coffee makers, literally with the exemption of the modern espresso machine and the Aeropress all coffee makers are old school.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article and have a better idea of what classic looking machine you want to get your hands on.