Small appliances, also called brown goods (because the color of the wooden and bakelite cases once used) are portable or semi-portable machines, generally used on table-tops, counter-tops, or other platforms, to accomplish a household task. Examples of brown goods are: television and wireless sets; microwave ovens; coffee makers; and personal computers.
Small appliances in the context of coffee brewing would generally refer to electric coffee makers.
While appliances are normally powered by electricity, other coffee counter top products such as manual pour over filter, french press or Aeropress coffee makers as well as manual mill coffee grinders would still technically be considered small appliances.
Small appliances were created for domesticity. Larger appliances that were used commercially were impractical for home use and so small appliances were developed to exploit the domestic market.
Some coffee machines, such as commercial espresso machines, were redesigned in order to be appropriate for home use. The result of this was the domestic espresso machine that was powered by steam to save cost. Small appliances were designed to be smaller, lighter and cheaper.
Due to these changes, commercially brewed coffee is generally considered to be of a higher standard than home brewed coffee, though there are exceptions to this.