It all started on Friday as I was browsing through Consumer Reports and saw a mention of self-serve coffee makers:
“These machines brew up to 12 cups at once and keep the coffee hot throughout the day in an internal reservoir. There’s no hot plate to burn your brew or carafe to wash. Instead, the coffee is dispensed cup by cup through a self-serve mechanism.”
One of the coffee makers mentioned was the Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit. As it happens, I’ve been using the Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker, Single-Serve and 12-Cup Pot for years and have been very happy with it. That’s it there in the upper left.
One of the things I like about it is the brew option called Bold, which makes a stronger tasting coffee by slowing down the brewing process. I noticed that the BrewStation had that option as well, and the idea that I would not have to wash the carafe all the time, nor have to reheat the cups of coffee in the microwave seemed very appealing. The way I brew coffee now is to make a pot in the morning and when it’s finished brewing, turn off the coffee maker, and let it sit in the carafe; the carafe is nearly airtight and keeps the coffee reasonably fresh for several hours.
I checked on Amazon, and they had it for free overnight delivery, so I ordered it right away.
Without really giving it much thought.
Within a few hours, I began to have misgivings. Would the coffee really stay fresh if it was kept heated for several hours?
But this was Consumer Reports, so they wouldn’t recommend a lemon, would they?
Spoiler Alert! They would and they did.
The coffee maker arrived on Saturday, too late to make coffee, but I did set it up for the next day, New Year’s Day.
I was looking forward to trying it out, and after the coffee was nearly finished brewing, I pressed my cup against the dispenser bar to get my first cup of coffee.
And received my first disappointment.
The cup tended to slip off the dispenser bar. Oh, well, I thought, I’ll get the hang of it.
In any case, that first cup of coffee tasted just as I expected it to. Great!
When I came back for my second cup, I was disappointed. To say the least.
You know how when you order coffee in a restaurant and it’s been sitting around for hours on the hot plate and it tastes more like burnt out ashes than coffee? That’s what this tasted like.
I had to pour it away. I poured it all away and made another pot, well, tank of coffee, but this time I set the program to automatically shut off when the brewing was done. The first cup was once again fine, but the subsequent cup, that had just been sitting in the coffee tank, had a distinctly metallic taste.
Well, I tried it again the next day with the same results, and I am now back to my original coffee maker.
Not only couldn’t I stomach the taste of the coffee that was sitting around in its tank for any period of time (I like my coffee black, perhaps if I smothered the flavor with cream and or sugar I wouldn’t be so fussy), but the coffee tank (which is removable) still needed washing, just like a carafe, despite what Consumer Reports claimed. The only discernible advantage I could find in this BrewStation was the removable water reservoir, which I could fill at the tap and then just attach to the BrewStation. With the original coffee maker, I had to fill the carafe and then pour that into the reservoir.
So I put the BrewStation back into its box, and even there I ran into a problem. When I couldn’t get it to fit snugly on my first try, I pulled it back out, or perhaps yanked is the better term, and it rose up and smacked me right in the face.
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