My husband and I are not huge coffee drinkers, 1-2 cups a day, he drinks regular and I drink decaf. Because of this, we had gone through at least 4 of the "pod" type machines. We found out rather quickly that those are expensive, that the coffee refills are expensive and are also not very good. Because we drink different kinds of coffee, the pod machines were very handy for us, however we had used regular coffee in them.
When our last one began to die (none of them seem to last very long), we began looking for a non-pod type one. For us, it was most important that it was quick and easy for us to switch out the coffee and "reload" for the other person. For those reasons, we ended up with this coffeemaker.
First and foremost I have to say this was difficult to find at this time. None of the Wal-Marts I visited (3 within a 60 mile radius) had this in stock, even though the online system told me that each store did, in fact, have it. I ended up ordering it from Wal-Mart online (and this morning I see that it is now out of stock online as well), so I hope that it is not being discontinued.
Upon opening the box, everything was fully assembled and it only took a second to remove the tape holding the fill tank shut. I immediately ran 2 pots of water and white vinegar through it to clean it and then made coffee.
When you open the tank lid, you see the basket for the coffee. Thankfully, H-B has thought about this a bit and provided the maker with a little handle, which is plastic instead of metal (which would quickly get very hot) to lift the basket out. I had read the reviews and purchased the smaller 4 cup filters and they fit very well. To remove the filter basket, you push the drip spout flat against the back of the machine and just lift out the filter basket. Once the filter basket is removed, you then remove the tank underneath by lifting it out. This tank is used for filling with water to then pour into the machine. Supposedly there are graduated marks on the inside of the tank so that you know how much water to use, I have yet to find those :) If there is one drawback to this coffee maker, it is the poor instructions which come with it. Granted, it's not rocket science, but these are some of the poorest instructions I've ever seen.
Once you take the tank to the sink and fill it, you pour the water into the right side of the coffee maker. There was a little piece of paper inside the filter basket when I opened the coffee maker which specifically showed you where to do this. If you pour it into the left side, the water comes flowing right out of the middle spout of the maker, so you need to make sure that you pour it in correctly, otherwise you will have a mess.
You then place the tank back on top of the maker, then drop in the filter basket, fill with coffee and make sure to flip the fill spout back out so that it is over top of (and flowing into) the filter and coffee. I imagine that the complaints here about leakage are due to the fact that this has not been realigned.
All you have to do at that point is to push the "Start" button. You immediately hear it heating up and fresh coffee is available almost immediately. The flow of coffee is limited by how much has flowed through the filter though, so in my experience, I go ahead and get the rest of my breakfast ready and by the time that is done, I can then also dispense my coffee.
The coffee sits in the fill tank until you dispense it by putting your mug under the spout and pressing on the silver bar with the mug. Our mugs are Fiesta and they work fine, as do our travel mugs. We also have some large clear glass mugs which are too wide to fit and I guess will now become soup mugs :) however the Fiesta ones are fairly large (these are the rounded square) and fit fine.
It makes about 2+ mugs of coffee (I think these are 12 oz). Yet again, a 6 cup coffee maker (of any kind), isn't really. When my husband and I are both trying to get ready and want our coffee, we just put a smaller amount of water in and that way there is not so much to throw out. As this is fairly new to us we are still trying to get that amount down.
Temperature-wise, it dispenses hot coffee that is MUCH hotter than any of the pod machines we have had. Having said that, the temperature seems to be at hot but drinkable level. I have seen others say that the longer you let the coffee sit, the hotter it seems to get, but it never sits that long here. If you want a scalding hot cup of coffee that takes 20 minutes to cool enough to drink, this maker won't do it for you :)
Cleaning is simple, the fill tank and basket come out to wash. One thing the instructions do say is not to put either part in the dishwasher.
I have not used the timer feature, but the clock/timer is a nice feature as well as the 2 hour shut off. The instructions DO tell you how to set the clock and how to program it for a delayed start. It is a fairly small footprint and is probably a bit less tall than an average 8 cup coffee maker. I appreciate not having to worry about breaking a glass carafe that would most definitely need replaced in our household.
All in all, I am pleased with my purchase and hope that this appliance LASTS. Frankly I have been extremely tired of buying new toasters, coffee makers, etc. because of this built-in mortality that they all seem to come with now.
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