Coffee has been used as a drink for well over 2000 years. The first methods of brewing coffee were pretty crude but they have advanced greatly over the centuries. People used to just chew the cherry that came off the coffee tree to get a stimulant effect. Inside the cherry was the coffee bean. Over time with experimentation, people started to roast and then grind the beans for better flavor.
As early as the the late 1700s, coffee makers began showing up. This made it easy for people to brew coffee and not worry about getting grounds in their cup. This was expensive and not many people had them. The basic design is similar to coffee pots of today. There was a pot on the bottom with a place to put your ground coffee on the top. This was connected to a chamber on top where you poured in your boiling water.
People tried many different types of coffee maker throughout the years since then. There have been percolators, vacuum coffee makers, and drip coffee makers. Percolators use a pot over a heat source that forces the water into an upper chamber where the coffee grounds are. The water drips through the coffee and back into the lower pot. You know it is ready when it stops making percolating noises which are easy to hear. Then you remove it from heat before it boils. Vacuum coffee makers use what looks like two pots, one upside down on the other. As it is heated, the pressure forces hot water up into the top chamber where it infuses with the ground coffee. When you remove it from heat, the pressure is reversed and the coffee goes back to the lower pot ready to drink. Drip coffee makers are the kind we are all used to. Whether automatic or manual they work by dumping hot water over coffee grounds that sit in a filter. It strains through into a pot and is ready to drink.
With the advent of electricity, coffee makers became very popular and a little cheaper. In the early 1900s coffee makers really started to boom and by the 1970s almost everyone had a coffee maker in their home. These were usually of the automatic drip variety as they were the easiest to use. Todays coffee makers have many features. They have timers that allow you to specify when you want your coffee maker to turn on, have built in grinders, storage areas, and much more. You can buy home espresso and cappuccino machines also. Coffee makers today range from the single cup variety to commercial units that make gallons at a time so no matter what your need, you can usually find it.
As more and more people start to enjoy different kinds of coffee, coffee makers become easier to use and offer more features. Many combine espresso, cappuccino, and coffee all in one machine but it is rather bulky still. Look for these to shrink in the near future.