I am not a coffee snob, but I make a pot each morning just to mark the new day. I add cream and sweetener, so the pure taste is lost on me. I appreciate the caffiene. So imagine my frustration at the loss of my third coffee maker in the past 18 months. I do not abuse small appliances. Hell- I barely use them. The toaster pops out of its cupboard spot on an “as needed” basis. My Cuisinart has never left the box. (I am that pathetic as a cook) The electric knife emerges at Thanksgiving. The coffee maker and the microwave are the only appliances that I have bonded with. Given the fickle nature of these units, it’s a good thing that I resist having my heart broken.
The two coffee makers that went south first were Cuisinart units with a thermal carafe. They simply DIED. They gave me about six months apiece- just enough time to learn how to program them with ease, how to align the thermal lid to avoid overflow of grounds, and how to clean out the lime. Sure- I bear responsibility for being suckered twice. But I could take that carafe to the family room for convenient refills; I was not tethered to the kitchen counter. The fact that coffee grounds often clogged the opening of the pot, sending coffee streaming down the counter and onto the floor was something I forgave. I should not have been so generous.
I researched like a banshee after being betrayed twice by Cuisinart: I would not buy another unit by this manufacturer. I discovered that the ratings of coffee makers, collated on Amazon.com, reflect a secret society of coffee purists. I did not realize that unless I used a burr grinder just before brewing that I would be drinking swill. Oddly enough, I am ok with garden variety coffee. Guess I am after the buzz and the aroma.
At any rate, I replaced the Cuisinart with a Krups.
The ratings were ambivalent, but it was designed by someone named Dahlstrom. So I bit. And I loved this coffee maker. I could choose how long the burner would stay hot, 2 or 3 hours. I could select rich or anemic strength. I could pre-program for weekends and weekdays. It looked pretty on the coffee bar. Alas, a 5 cent spring broke, and made the access to the coffee basket impossible. I could pop it open with a table knife, but the plastic latch was starting to erode. After my last operation, the latch disappeared into oblivion. I experimented with placing a kitchen canister upon the top to hold the door down. It worked, but it looked pretty junky. Steve is not a fan of the junky look.
Yesterday I gave up my efforts to rig it. I had failed, like BP in the gulf.
Off to Target I went, with one goal: to buy a no-frills basic coffee maker that would not betray me. More features, more problems, I say. I came home with a $34.99 Hamilton Beach,
and I am not too proud to say that the phrase “no drip pot” tipped it in. I had pre-selected a Mr. Coffee programmable for $29.99, but it was not in stock. My new machine has no filter (just an annuity for the manufacturer, I say) and no sophisticated features. It was a cinch to set up, easy to program, and simple to fill with grounds and water. This morning I was greeted by a lovely pot of coffee. Once I adulterated it with milk and sugar it was no different that my Krups $129.99 coffee. And the pot did not drip! This coffee maker will probably last for a decade. I plan to withhold affection, nevertheless.
I am writing about this petty adventure as a cautionary tale: do not fall in love with your appliances. If you are a bride registering- keep it simple. The coffee maker you love as you remove it from the box will give up on its job. The attached grinder will clog, and in cleaning it, you will ruin the electronics. The unit may spring a leak, its plastic may melt or crack, the pot may be discontinued or it may just do their chore badly. If manufacturers want us to love and be loyal to our kitchen aids, they should make them to create loyalty. Stainless steel is a lie- this stuff is plastic encased in aluminum foil. They are built to be disposable. Accept this in advance. Or save the boxes and sales slip for everything you buy, and wait.
My way is better: buy cheap, stay aloof.