Consumer Reports: Improve your coffee and espresso break

Whether you like a latte, energize with an espresso, or kick-start with a cappuccino, you want a coffee maker that can deliver. That's why Consumer Reports' testers assess brew time, convenience, and even owner satisfaction on dozens of single-serve and drip coffee makers.

The experts at Consumer Reports run coffee makers through brewing performance, timing, and convenience tests, and say the good news is that with a great coffee maker you can get the caffeine you crave at home for less money per cup.

For coffee connoisseurs, you'll want to consider a drip coffee maker over single-serve or pod machines. And that's where the brew-performance test comes in.

To get the most out of your coffee beans, you want a drip coffee maker that can heat the water to between 195 and 205 degrees and hold it there for 5 minutes or more. If a coffee maker can't do that, chances are good you're not going to get the best-tasting cup of coffee.

The $100 Cuisinart consistently tops CR's ratings, and for good reason! In CR's most recent survey, Cuisinart earned CR's top rating for owner satisfaction.

For less money you can get comparable brew performance from the $25 Hamilton Beach coffeemaker.

If getting that coffee fix fast is your first order of business, then a single-serve or pod coffee maker might be a better option.

CR evaluates single-serve coffee makers for temperature and size consistency on individual cups of coffee and-most important-on how long it takes to deliver that first cup, then the second. There's no brew-performance test for pod coffee makers. CR's expert taste testers weigh in, too. Of the nearly 40 single-serve coffee makers CR tested, NONE earns better than a Good rating for taste, which is only mediocre.

Instead, CR says to consider which brand of coffee pod you want to drink.

Looking for ALL the bells and whistles? It might cost you. The $380 Delonghi makes espressos and has a built-in milk frother. It's great for a crowd of coffee lovers because it delivers not only the first cup especially fast but subsequent cups, too. It uses Nespresso's coffee capsules.

Think espresso delivers the most caffeine? CR says it depends. An ounce-or one shot of espresso-contains 63 mg of caffeine. Regular coffee has 12 mg of caffeine per ounce. So yes, espresso does have more caffeine ... except most of us drink at least 8 ounces of regular coffee in a serving, and that would add up to 96 mg of caffeine.