We are big coffee drinkers in our house, it is probably how we keep going on so little sleep. :) We go through a coffemaker about once a year since our water is so "heavy" the water pumps burn out so quickly. We have tried just about every brand of maker out there, from the very cheap to the expensive and have determined that we like the flavor of the brews from Mr. Coffee makers the best. The criteria we have for an acceptable maker are simple (besides the flavor)- programmable (so the first cup of the morning is ready when we wake up), at least 8 cup capacity and a thermal carafe. My wife and I do not like old or burned coffee that you get from a maker with a burner so the thermal carafe keeps the flavor longer.
A few weeks back our trusty Mr. Coffee died which was a sad event in our household. It had been pretty sick for a while but you are never prepared for the departure of an old friend. So I headed off to Target to get a replacement and was hoping to get a similar model which had been a good maker and was really cheap. Unfortunately it seemed that makers with a thermal carafe are no longer the "in" thing as there was only one model that had both the thermal carafe and a timer. Lucky for me it was a Mr. Coffee brand so I picked it up and took it home.
We used it for about a week when it started leaking, just a tiny bit at first, so we kept a wary eye on it. Our vigil turned out to be good thinking as after another week or so the thing just dumped an entire pot of coffee and grounds all over the kitchen counter. Big, big mess! So I cleaned it up, put it back in the box, and headed back to Target to exchange it for another one just like it. I figured that we just got a lemon as surely they couldn’t all be defective. It’s one of the reasons I like shopping at Target, especially for small electronics like this. They have a 90 day return/ exchange policy which is really nice and they never hassle you about it.
Unfortunately, Target didn’t have another one like this, in fact, they didn’t have any coffee makers with a thermal carafe at all. I was just about to give up in despair when I spied, way down by the commercial makers, the Hamilton Beach BrewStation. The HB is a different type of maker as it has no carafe. At all. The coffee is brewed directly into a thermal container which is part of the unit and you "pour" your coffee by pushing your cup onto the dispense bar. No muss, no mess. It’s a 12 cup brewer that keeps the coffee tasting fresh by virtue of the thermal container and here’s the kicker- it has a tiny warming plate inside the maker that is thermostatically controlled to just "bump" the coffee temperature to keep it warm without making it taste old. Neat idea and the clincher was the price- it was on sale so it was $10 cheaper than the one I was returning. So I picked it up and took it home.
I have to say we were not sure how well this would work, both the warming freshness factor and the dispensing mechanism. I am happy to say both my wife and I are extremely happy with the way it has worked out. It is the easiest maker I have used, works flawlessly, and makes good coffee that stays both fresh and hot for hours. So this is why I am departing from the norm and writing about a coffeemaker of all things. The Hamilton Beach BrewStation is just that good, and for less than $40 with an internal water filter, timer function, and that no mess coffee dispenser.