The newest member of our family

by DaniGirl on November 11, 2010 · 10 comments

in Consumer culture

I adopted a new coffee maker this week. This is a momentous occasion in our household, as the coffee pot is often the last safety rail between me and the gaping maw of insanity. I don’t just like coffee. I need coffee. My name is DaniGirl, and I am a java junkie.

We got our last coffee maker about a year ago. Its predecessor had unceremoniously passed, and I had exactly one lunch hour to find a replacement. I went with a Hamilton Beach model from Home Sense, thinking I was getting a fancy-ass coffee maker at a discount. In fact, it was just a discount coffee maker. I accidentally broke one of the hinges on the carafe lid about the second week we had it, and the coffee has gone from mediocre to awful in the last month or two. And, it had an annoying propensity to overflow without warning, flooding the counter with hot coffee and grounds — something that is very not good for our septic system. And yet, we tolerated it because the idea of spending money on another coffee maker when we have a functioning one rankles me, even if the coffee it makes is nearly undrinkable. The final straw came when it seemed to be emitting random puddles of water, even when turned off. Time for a new coffee maker.

Even though I am a copious consumer of coffee, I do not have high-end coffee maker tastes. We got an espresso-cappuccino maker for our wedding that collected a lot of dust until we got rid of it at a garage sale a few years back. I won a Tassimo through Twitter last year, and couldn’t find a blend I liked. Beloved loves the Tassimo, though, and absconded with it to his office. In all the years I’ve been buying and replacing coffee makers, I never could justify spending any more than $20 or $25 for the basic model. Does it make coffee? Then it’s good enough.

This time, though, I noticed a mid-level Black and Decker model on for half price at Canadian Tire. It’s fancy, but not pretentious. Now I know. When you graduate to the mid-level coffee maker, you get features like brew selection (mild, regular, strong) and adjustable temperatures on your warming plate. Those are nice features, I suppose, but I still wouldn’t pay $80 for them. it has the usual timer feature, so you can set it to brew first thing in the morning, and an auto-shut-off, which is invaluable. It has a little blue LED that lights up the reservoir, which again is nice but kinda useless. And, it has a digital display that tells you whether the coffee is “fresh” or “not fresh”.

This last one I was a little too excited about. And then I read in the manual that the coffee maker thinks “fresh” coffee is less than 20 minutes old. Harrumph. If I get to a cup of coffee in the first 20 minutes after a pot is brewed, it’s the exception rather than the rule. To me, “fresh” coffee has been turned back on after the auto-shut-off only once. Heck, sometimes “fresh” stretches its definition all the way to ‘was brewed today’. I am not fussy. I will drink, if I must, coffee that is burnt, or cold, and not irregularly, both.

The proof of the coffee maker, though, is truly in the drinking. I divested it of its packing material this morning (sidebar note: it now seems that small appliances are being shipped with the same amount of ridiculously overwrought packaging that one previously experienced only with toys) and cleaned it out. I brewed up a pot and was highly impressed with its near-silent operation – our current coffee maker rivals the dishwasher and passing garbage trucks for decibels. And the coffee? Divine. I am in love. In fact, I’m on my third cup, twice rewarmed, and it’s still tastier than the first drops out of Hamilton Beach’s poor excuse for a coffee maker.

Sweet brown ambrosia, you lubricate my mornings. And afternoons. And occasional evenings. Don’t judge me, it could be crack, yanno.

What about you? Do you have one of those high-end coffee makers and does it make your mornings worthwhile? Or are you more like me, unable to see what features beyond “makes coffee” one might need in a coffee maker?

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roz November 11, 2010 at 10:36 am

Having worked as a Primo Barista at Second Cup for 6 years, coffee is the most important part of my morning.

We have an “expensive” coffee maker, which i love and couldn’t see us living without. It cost $80 2 years ago, and doesn’t have many features except for one very awesome one – the carafe is vacuum-sealed stainless steel that keeps the coffee HOT for hours. No burner to make the coffee taste, well, burnt. LOVE.

2 sky November 11, 2010 at 10:39 am

I got a Tassimo last year for my birthday. I LOVE it. It’s a little pricey but you always know you’re getting a good cup. And with the lattes, cappacinos, hot chocolate etc that you can also get? A winner for me.

3 Lee-Ann Sleegers November 11, 2010 at 11:41 am

Have to have coffee in the morning to get moving! Don’t need a fancy machine, but we do grind our own beans and that seems to make a better coffee to me. As for the fancy single brews I think they are a big environmental nightmare.

4 Simon MacDonald November 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I love coffee too but I don’t have a real expensive coffee maker. Like Roz our coffee maker has the vacuum-sealed stainless steel carafe as well. That is such a great feature. To me the most important part of the coffee experience is the quality and age of the beans being used to brew they coffee. That makes much more of a difference then any uber-expensive coffee maker.

5 freemommiestuff November 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm The newest member of our family: I adopted a new coffee maker this wee…

6 Sara in Montréal November 11, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I have the cheapest of the high end coffee maker, given to me by my parents one christmas some 5 years ago. I can survive the little oventop italian expresso machine too – in fact I did so for years before the Sea*co godess. But if there’s no expresso, I’ll go with tea, thank you. So no only am I a java junky, I’m also a coffe snob. Isn’t this bad? At least it’s not a pre-cup machine, you can put any brand of coffee in it with your own spoon and your own dosage – good thing, cause I’m a double espresso kind of addict.

And don’t dare put anything in my coffee, it will ruin it all!

7 Marianne November 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I really enjoy coffee but my body doesn’t enjoy it back. It’s hard on my nerves and on my digestive system, so I have to watch how much I consume (and it’s usually decaf). So I don’t have a coffee maker at home (well, I do now have a Milita manual drip one for when we have company). I do enjoy milk-coffee, which I make with instant coffee and half hot water, half milk. Yum!

8 Janet November 11, 2010 at 8:25 pm

I actually never use our very expensive coffee maker any more. I’ve got a porcelain Melita cone that makes the best coffee ever. I love that the coffee is piping hot, not lukewarm like the swill my coffee maker produces. They are really hard to find, but occasionally the cones come up for sale on eBay or at flea markets.

9 valerie November 11, 2010 at 10:25 pm

what timing you have, Dani! Our fairly expensive coffee maker is about to get trashed. After 6 yrs, the grinder consistently gets stuck in the machine so you can’t take it out to clean it. And although I love the freshness of just-ground, there are so many parts to wash that we only use it on weekends.

I’m leaning towards a Tassimo-type, but shudder at the thought of the wastefulness of the packaging. If I could dump the k-cups into my green bin, then I’d jump at it (I LOVE having coffee at Susan’s – so yummy). Have to think on this some more…

That one you bought looks decent. But then I’d have to start using my old hand grinder… 😉

10 Hilary November 12, 2010 at 10:28 am

I’m with Janet – I use a porcelain Melitta filter cone that I got on eBay. Best. Coffee. Ever.

I’m with you on rewarming throughout the day. Once when I was a teenager my cousin was coming over for afternoon tea and my dad said “I’m going to go put the kettle on for the tea”. My response: “Why? We made a pot two hours ago, why don’t we just reheat that?” The suggestion did not go down well!

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