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December 4th, 2004

My Coffee Maker Dilemma

I have expressed my enjoyment of coffee at the Ping before. But in the time since that Ping, I’ve learned something else about coffee makers myself: I have really horrible luck with coffee makers.

The first coffee maker I had, and the one I had when I wrote that Ping, was a rather attractive model from Philips that I got back in 2000. It did the job well and worked just fine, really, until I broke the carafe. One morning I had just taken the carafe out of the dishwasher and placed it on the maker’s hot plate. I then turned around and heard it crash to the floor – the sleeve from my robe caught on the handle and dragged it straight down. Fun!

So that coffee maker was replaced with a Mr. Coffee. It didn’t make the best-tasting coffee in the world, but it worked fine. Until one day, while in the dishwasher, the plastic top of the carafe fell to the bottom and melted. Thus, the carafe was instantly defective. Now I could have just bought a new carafe but given my distaste for this model’s coffee, I decided to get a new one.

So that coffee maker was replaced with a Melitta two-cup coffee maker. No glass carafe to break. No handles to pull on. Two travel mugs, no more. But I found a pretty big design flaw in the way it dripped coffee to those mugs (which I ended up fixing with a twist tie,) and then it did something unique this week. I poured water in, had the grounds set up, and went to take a shower. I came back to find about half an ounce of coffee in the thing and heard the pump struggling – hard – to get water up to the grounds.

And then as an added bonus, it spilled the rest of the water all over the counter. That was awesome!

The sad thing is that this merry-go-round of coffee makers has happened over the period of a year or less. But today, today I must replace the coffee maker again. Anyone with suggestions is welcome to post ’em, and even wise ass comments would earn a glance.

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday December 4, 2004 -- 2:27:58 pm
I went with Gevalia. They usually run ads where you buy a pound of coffee (~$24-28) and they give you a free X, X being a coffee maker, a thermos, decent coffee cups, or some combination thereof.

Even after you're a member you can take advantage of the deals. I think we've gotten two coffeemakers, two thermoses, a carafe, and four cups over about a four year period.

And their coffee isn't bad, either.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday December 4, 2004 -- 2:30:41 pm
Oh: and the coffeemaker we got eight years ago is still working just fine (the second one we gave away as a gift).

Their current offer is: "Try one pound of our exceptional coffee for only $14.95, including shipping and handling, and receive a Thermal 8-cup Coffeemaker and 2 Gevalia Mugs as a special gift."

That's a lot better than the deal we got! If you can wait a week or so for it to get to you.

FROM: Chris
DATE: Saturday December 4, 2004 -- 2:38:06 pm
I have to agree with Merle. I've been using that free coffemaker from Gevalia for years. It's a 4 cup model. I didn't stay in the club - the coffee is too damn expensive, but the free gift is well worth the effort.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Saturday December 4, 2004 -- 10:59:32 pm
my officemates have taken advantage of that deal a couple times, those dern coffee snobs! (our office smells so good in the morning and so stale in the afternoon...) Right now they have a Mr. Coffee and I guess it works fine... it uses a pocket-type filter (not a flat-bottom), if that makes a difference in the coffee taste, I don't know.

FROM: Tina
DATE: Sunday December 5, 2004 -- 9:36:29 pm
You can't beat a Cusinart coffee maker. We have the burr coffee grinder as well. And it can be programmed the night before so you can wake up to a fresh pot of coffee.

Get the metal carafe instead of the glass one - and keep it far away from your dishwasher.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday December 6, 2004 -- 7:35:01 am
Funny you should mention that Tina, because I ended up getting a Cuisinart - with a metal carafe!

The way I saw it, it fixed all my past problems with coffee makers. First, the carafe is metal and won't break if I clutz it. Second, the handle on the carafe is contained so I can't catch anything on it. And third, it uses the same filters I bought for the last maker (and have about 70 of.)

So far so good: two days, good coffee, no problems.

FROM: Tina
DATE: Monday December 6, 2004 -- 10:27:43 am
Yay Paul! :) Don't forget about getting the burr grinder - it rawks.

FROM: Dave
DATE: Tuesday December 7, 2004 -- 2:03:59 am
I have what I think is the best cofee maker for daily use..

FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday January 5, 2006 -- 10:50:57 am
I'd like to note that it has happened again: I've broken another coffee maker. My sturdy and great little Cuisinart is technically broken. But! Still quite usable.

The deal is that the wee plastic piece connecting the coffeemaker's lid to the coffee dispensing spout has broken. Thus, when I open the lid, it can flip back all the way (180 degrees) instead of being halted by the spout. This is all right, but not perfect.

Sadly, there was no way I could see this coming and I'm not sure what happened to it. But I've broken another coffee maker. Why?

FROM: Matty Midura [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday April 5, 2006 -- 9:53:14 am
Geezzzz; "I'm getting heartburn, reading about all these coffee maker
posts/comments/ads - on the net.." I'm into my '5th coffee maker' actually!
Drip style - Proctor Silex (1970 era) that has, a more reliable heating element..

However, I have broke (4) glass carafes over a three month span, and
I have had enough!!! I stumbled upon this forum, while searching for replacement
(i.e. metal) types. I have limited room on my office's counter, to facilitate the use
of the 'over-sized' units (i.e. Gevalia etc.) mentioned herein. I suppose
that I can keep looking!

DATE: Wednesday April 5, 2006 -- 11:00:39 am
What about the stainless steel perkerlators? They have a metal basket that holds the grounds so they don't require filters and they last FOREVER! Just fill with water, add the grounds and plug it in. Plus, when you unplug them, they stop heating, but the coffee keeps warm. My mom bought 2 from a garage sale that were made in the 1960's and they both make a mean cup of coffee. They still manufacture them, but I don't which company.

Paul February 3, 2009, 12:45 pm

And yes, the Cuisinart is now officially broken.

A few weeks back I ordered a new filter basket to fix the mild problem I had back in 2006 (I’m a little slow with that stuff.) The biggest issue was that coffee would continue to drip out of the basket when the carafe itself was removed, which meant a big giant mess.

Surprisingly, a new basket did *not* fix that. So $10 down the drain.

As a bonus though, the on/off switch has decided to work only sometimes. It’s a rocker switch. I’ll press it on, hear the “on” click and then… another click, signifying it’s turned itself off. But then other times it works perfectly so it’s probably something small.

Now I’m confronted with the same issue I had four years ago. This time I’m wondering if I should just bite the bullet and get a Technivorm or another ridiculously expensive coffee maker so long as the thing won’t fall apart in four years. (To be fair, though, the Cuisinart only cost $20. That’s a hell of an ROI.)

So any advice is appreciated. Oh, and I do have a French press; it’s ultimately too fussy for me to do at 6am.

Paul February 4, 2009, 2:29 am

I appreciate the input Dave, but I’ll have to pass on that because I’m stingy:

Paul March 7, 2009, 12:46 pm

As another follow up, today the Cuisinart did the “I’m going to belch a bunch of black liquid and coffee onto the countertop” thing. The on/off switch has been on its best behavior lately but if the two coincide anytime soon, there’s going to be some unpleasantness.

Bah, I say. Bah.

Paul June 14, 2010, 10:17 pm

Noting here for posterity that I’ve now had Consumer Reports’ top-rated Michael Graves design coffee maker for well over a year with no major problems. Still works, still makes good coffee, nothing broken.

Silly long URL:

It’s not the prettiest coffee maker ever, but that’s okay.

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