This month I was able to test out the new from Hamilton Beach. The product was provided to me for review, but everything else is 100% my opinion!
I like coffee treats. I say treats, because I don’t like plain coffee. But put enough cream, sugar and chocolate in it and I am in! I love it with Hazelnut, with whipped cream, with creamer, any number of amazing things. Seriously, take a look at my Instagram. I swear 1/3 of the pictures I take are of coffee.
But, I only drink one a day. Its a rule I made for myself that I am really quite good at sticking to. I have my treat in the late afternoon, or sometimes in the early morning. But it is always just the one cup.
You can see why having a regular 12 cup coffee maker doesn’t really suit my lifestyle.
So, when Hamilton Beach asked if I would like to review their new Flex Brew coffee maker, I was all over it. This fancy contraption can brew 12 cups of coffee grounds on the left side, and single-serve coffee grounds, pods OR CUPS on the right side. I was so excited to use the cups! I mean, I’m not shelling out $100+ for one of the fancy cup machines. But if this fella can multitask, it might just be worth it. Amiright?
I received the maker as a gift from Hamilton Beach so that I could review it. I confess. I had 3 cups of coffee that day. But to be fair, 2 were decaf. I tried the machine 3 ways. First, I made a pot of coffee grounds. Then, I made a cup of coffee grounds (pictured). THEN I made one of the prepackaged cups.
A few of my first impressions:
- The machine is very pretty. It has bright stainless accents and a blue LED screen that makes it look very high end compared to my cheapo 6 cup machine.
- The machine is also pretty large. It is larger than the cup machine we have at work, and it dwarfs both my 6 cup machine and my previous single-cup machine.
- The 12 cup side uses paper filters, but the single-cup side uses a built in/reusable filter. I’m not a huge fan of built in filters because I find them hard to clean.
- While the machine can hold 12 cups of water, the instructions have you keep it empty. This is because when brewing a single-cup, the machine keeps going until the water is gone. (Ask me how I know. I’ll tell you. I overflowed my first attempt.) This is different than the cup machines I’ve used, and it means that you have to fill the water every time you use the machine.
- The LED screen and instructions are easy to read and make tons of sense. We were up and running in less than 5 minutes.
- There is a little shelf for the single serve coffee cup. This adjusts so it fits a standard ceramic mug and a tall travel mug. This is much improved from other makers I’ve seen that let the coffee drip for inches into the small mug, causing splatters and drips.
- The single serve grounds area forces water through a couple of places into the grounds. I found the coffee was much better than other single-cup machines I’ve used because of this. In other machines the water usually goes straight through the center, sometimes leaving the outside grounds dry and producing weak coffee.
The coffee flavor was good and consistent. I loved using both the cup option and the single serve grounds option. Cups can get expensive, but they are convenient. Grounds are cheap, but don’t offer the same compact variety. The fact that this machine does both is great.
The 12 cup side, well, that is just overkill for me. Seriously, I’ve had a 6 cup maker for 5+ years and never brewed more than 3 cups in it. I can’t imagine what I would do with 12 cups! In the end, after a whirlwind love affair over a weekend that consisted of no less than 8 cups of coffee consumed by my husband and I, we have come up with the following pros and cons.
- Lovely, well made, high-end looking machine. Probably one of the best looking makers on the market.
- Like the name says, very flexible in options. Would be GREAT for an office where 12 cups would be distributed in the morning, with single cups in the afternoon as needed.
- Easy to use.
- Nicely priced compared to other similar machines, especially those that use cups.
- Great details, like the adjustable shelf for smaller cups.
- The single serve and cup options use two different adapters. That means you have to store each near the machine and swap them depending on your needs.
- The programmable brew option and timer is only for the 12 cup side. I would have loved to program a single cup to be ready when I roll out of bed. This machine cannot do that.
- The machine keeps going until water runs out. The instructions advise using the recipient vessel to fill the water, so you know how much will fit, especially in the single serve mode. It is nice in theory, but trying to pour water from my travel mug into the machine results in a wet mess every time. Also, there is no way to store water for future cups like on other single cup machines. This is a deterrent to my earlier suggestion of office use.
All in all it is a good product. I found nothing glaringly wrong with it, and if it fit my lifestyle better (as in, hubby and I each drank several cups in the morning) I would probably use it all the time. It is pretty in my kitchen, and while it is large, I don’t think it takes up too much space. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs this type of flexibility in their coffee making, and I would highly recommend it over a regular cup machine in an office setting.