Saturday, April 20, 2013

Special Report: What's new is old.

POT: Melitta™ 10-cup coffee maker.

COFFEE: Colombian Supremo sourced from the usual.

NOTES: As I mentioned below, there have been some major coffee-making changes here at Das Sommergarten. Our faithful Melitta-filter system Hamilton Beach™ coffee maker went away. It didn't die, but an identical unit we had given to one our daughters did die (internal water/electrical damage to the control IC), and so we gave her ours... and got a new maker for ourselves.

The new maker is a Melitta-branded maker with a couple of unique features. It's hot (I measured the brew-temp at 200F), and it has a variable brew-strength control that mimics the proper way to brew coffee with a Melitta filter system. By using the 'Robust' setting, the basket of grounds are soaked in water just below boiling point, and then the water-flow stops. Melitta used to say this was to allow the flavor to "burst," and I'd say that's accurate. After the initial wetting drains, the maker starts up again. This combination of properly hot water and seeping makes a better cup of coffee than most coffee makers are capable of.

The downside to this maker is the carafe. The old Hamilton Beach maker used a glass-vacuum lined thermal carafe (like an old-style Thermos™ vacuum bottle). The new one, like almost everyone I have seen on the market, uses a stainless-steel vacuum carafe. While far more rugged, the stainless steel carafes do not retain heat as well, and the carafe tends to retain old coffee oils and is much more difficult to keep clean. Brushed steel has far for surface irregularities that can trap coffee oils than does smooth glass.

FINAL NOTE: I should mention that Melitta is still a closely-held company from Germany who distributes their filters and drip manual coffee makers in the USA themselves, but their electric coffee makers are manufactured and distributed here by... Hamilton Beach.

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