Coffee makers range from the charitable to the futuristic

It came so suddenly, I almost didn't realize what had happened. The golden warmth of Indian summer up and faded, leaving us with lower temperatures, brisk mornings and cool nights. And me, without a coffee maker.

See, last spring, my coffee maker decided it was tired of working and just quit. Seeing as the weather was warm, though, what did I need a coffee maker for, anyway? Now, with lows near the 50s, I need the jolt of hot coffee to get my day started.

As I shopped for my replacement picker-upper maker, I came across the Hamilton Beach Ensemble model. The vibrant red appliance does more than make a good cup of Joe - a portion of the sales support the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign to educate women about the warning signs of heart disease. The automatic drip coffee maker features a programmable clock and timer and two-hour automatic shutoff, and will be sold until February 2009. Retailing for $49.99, the model is sold at Target and area home stores.

For the sipper needing versatility, Hamilton Beach also offers the Stay or Go Thermal Coffee Maker. Whether you'll be drinking at home or taking the show on the road, the Stay or Go maker comes with a 10-cup carafe, as well as stainless steel travel mugs. The carafe has double-wall vacuum insulation, keeping coffee hot for hours, or iced down for a warm-weather treat. Retailing for $79.99, it's sold at area home stores.

I admit it: my kitchen, like the rest of my home, is less than spacious. Thankfully, Black and Decker's Spacemaker lives up to its name. Mounting under the cabinets, the 12-cup coffee maker frees up precious counter space. And for the impatient, the maker comes with a Sneak-A-Peak interrupt feature, which lets you fill a cup while the coffee is brewing. The maker retails for $49.99 at Wal-Mart, Target and area home stores.

Some days (usually the ones ending in 'y'), I need an extra punch of caffeine, and fast. Futuristic in appearance and traditional in taste, Haier's 20-Cup Espresso Maker features a swing steam nozzle with adjustable emission, a stainless steel boiler and Italian pump. To top it off, it also comes with a cup-warming system and two espresso cups. Can't stomach espresso? No worries - the machine makes cappuccino, too. The Haier maker retails for $89.99 at area home stores.

E-mail staff writer Anna Ferguson at anna.ferguson@gwinnettdailypost.com.