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Best Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker

Coffee has been around for a long time. It can be traced back to the 15th century. However, it wasnt until the early 1900 that coffee was made at home via machine. Some of these Retro Coffee Maker are still used today. They are built solid and considered to be one of the best in the industry. Over the years, there are a few different type of coffee maker. Some are better than the other, but the Best Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker are the Italian Espresso Maker.

What is a Vintage or Retro Coffee Maker

The word Vintage has been thrown around lately. When most people think of Vintage, its usually mid century. However, manufacturer will can a coffee maker vintage if it looks Retro. While those do look nice, they are not really vintage. They good thing about these models is that they use a newer mechanism. Previously, the percolator was all the craze. But they drop out of favor once drip coffee took over.

Different Type of Coffee Maker

There are a few different type of Coffee Maker. The one that is preferred by Italian are the espresso maker. In America, drip style coffee maker are the most popular. They offer different style of coffee. One isnt necessarily better than the other, it just depends on what you prefer.

Espresso Coffee Maker

In this category, there are many models and variation. Modern one are almost fully automatic. From the grinding to the tamping, all of it is automated. But the vintage models are lever operated. Controlling the temperature, pressure and grind are important for making good coffee. However this can be challenging to most user. But if you want coffee shop quality coffee, this is the way to go.

For a coffee maker to be a true espresso machine, it has to make 9 bar of psi. Hot water will be press through coffee grind at that pressure. Anything below that is not true espresso. Which brings us to Moka Pot.

Moka Pot

The Moka Pot was invented by Bialetti in 1933. This same style is still used today and can be purchased brand new. Unlike true espresso maker the moka pot can never reach 9 psi when making coffee. The advantage that this coffee pot has is the convenience and affordability. All you need to do is tamp it and put it on the stove top. Although there is still some skill involved.


The percolator is a style of coffee maker that was popular until around 1970. How it works is by pushing hot water through coffee grinds. It constantly recirculate the hot water through the grind until its done. The problem is that this hot water is also the partially cooked coffee. Lots of coffee lover hate this and claim that the flavor is off. To get around this, the drip coffee maker was invented.

Drip Style Coffee Maker

The Drip Style Coffee maker is revolutionary. Instead of it recirculating the hot water, only fresh water is drip through the coffee. This gave superior flavor and ease of use. Some coffee maker even have prebuilt grinder so that everything is automated. Just add coffee bean and set the time. Although a lot of the vintage and retro coffee maker do not have this feature.

Getting Good Coffee from your Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker

So you have a vintage coffee maker but you ask why does it taste bad. There are a few things you need to take into consideration. The first thing you should do is get fresh coffee. Something that is freshly roasted is best. Better coffee brands will have a roast date. I recommend getting one that is within 30 day or roasting.

Second thing you should do is get freshly grind coffee. If you can, get whole beans coffee. Pair this with a burr coffee grinder will get you the best result.

There are two main type of grinder, blade and burr. For the average coffee drinker, blade is good enough. But you get the best flavor from the burr style. It gives you more consistent grind and flavor.

Finally, getting clean filtered water is important. I would avoid using tap water that is usually full of chlorine. If you must use tap water, then at least filter it with a brita pitcher.

Best Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker

Below, you will find a list of the Best Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker. Please note, I have included the Best and not necessarily the most affordable. Having said that, I will provide some best buy so that its more affordable. I will list the best in each category, get one that best suits you.

La Pavoni Professional 16-Cup Espresso Machine, Copper and Brass (Best Overall)

La Pavoni has been around for over 50 years. While there are small changes in the design, the overal construction remains the same. There are a few different colors available, but I personally think the copper and brass model looks the best. To use this machine effectively, you need skills and experience. But if you truly want the best Retro Coffee Maker, this is the way to go. Just be prepared for the price.

Bialetti – New Brikka, Moka Pot, the Only Stovetop Coffee Maker Capable of Producing a Crema-Rich Espresso (Best Moka Pot)

The Brikka Moka pot is a redesigned of the traditional Moka Pot. Because of its weighted top, it can achieve a higher pressure. This gives you stronger flavor than your regular moka pot. Its a great affordable alternative to the espresso maker. Plus, its a bit easier to use than a espresso maker.

Presto 02811 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker (Best Percolator)

This percolator looks exactly like those made in the 1950. Its a simple design and durable. Just take care, most of these do not shut off by themselves. I recommend pulling the plug after its done brewing. Other than that, its durable and does the job effectively.

Smeg Drip Filter Coffee Machine, Red, 10 cup (Best Drip Style Coffee Maker)

Drip Coffee Maker hasnt been around that long. It came about in the 1970 when the company Mr Coffee invented the first automatic drip coffee maker. But since these arent really considered Vintage or Retro Coffee Maker its not really preferred. Smeg is one of the few that makes a “Retro Coffee Maker”. It looks great and produce some great coffee. However, it is pretty expensive and its more eye candy than functional…


There are many actual Vintage and Retro Coffee Maker. The designed has mostly stayed the same since the early 1900. You dont have to get the fake retro one but you can if you want. The best of the lot is the one made by La Pavoni. However, its really expensive. Getting a Moka Pot is a good affordable alternative. For regular coffee, I recommend getting a drip style coffee maker like the smeg. But affordable alternative are good as well. They just wont look retro. Finally percolator is a great looking retro coffee maker. I just dont think they make great coffee. Looks nice though.

Looking for a Coffee Grinder, check out our article on the Baratza Encore Grinder.

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