Filter Coffee Makers
You can't over estimate the importance of coffee in our home! It's not an addiction but, I like to wake up to a large cup of proper coffee in the morning. A cup of coffee is not just a drink, it's an experience, much like a nice glass of wine. And like wine, I also limit the amount I will drink, most I'll drink in a day is 3 large cups.
For over ten years now, I have used a Krups Aroma Control filter coffee machine and it has really been very good. I would have been quite happy to buy another one but, Krups don't sell this machine in the UK any more. The 'aroma control' bit refers to a bi-metallic strip that prevents coffee entering the jug until it heats up. This causes the coffee to sit in hot water for a longer period of time.
One of my key criteria in choosing a filter coffee maker was that it had a stainless-steel 'thermos' jug (double skinned and insulated to keep in the heat). These are more durable than glass and avoid the need for a hot plate.
Whilst, I can see the idea idea of a hot plate appeals to some people, it very much depends on how you drink coffee and how much you drink too. The idea of my coffee sitting around on a hot plate and being stewed just does not appeal to me. When I make a cup of coffee, it is always to be drunk immediately.
I also like the Krups machine because it has a push switch to turn it on, with automatic switch off after a period of time. It can also be manually switched off and I generally did this each time I use it.
I have noticed similar Krups machines for sale on eBay, both new and second hand. These are not official UK models though and will most likely be designed for European markets and have a European plug. They may also be USA models.
I spent a long time looking at filter coffee machines but, the choice really is quite limited given my criteria:
Melitta Aroma Excellent
The Melitta Aroma Excellent machine looked like a likely candidate but, it features twin hot plates and thus has a heater under the jug.
The stylish looking Philips HD7546/20 machine looks like it can do the job. My only real concern was that it has auto-switch off but, no manual switch to turn the device off.
In the end, I decided to go with the Philips machine.
In terms of size, they are very comparable. The Philips is a slightly shorter, but broader machine. It does feel like the Philips makes better use of the space is takes up on our kitchen worktop. Both have are black and metallic to fit in with the black granite worktops in our current kitchen.
The first thing I noticed on unpacking the machine was that is comes with a European power plug and an UK plug adapter. How on earth Philips thinks this is acceptable I'll never know. It sticks out too far over the work surface and simply looks hideous! I don't care about the warranty, this just has to be cut off and replaced with a normal black UK plug.
Measures & Volumes
As a rule of thumb, when I make a large cup of coffee for one, it equates to two cups on the Krups machine. Thus it is a 5-cup coffee maker and not really a 10-cup coffee maker as claimed.
A quick comparison of measures and volumes with a measuring jug, shows the new machine to be very similar to the old machine. 1000ml equates to 7 cups on the Krups machine and 7½ on the Philips.
The Krups has easier markings though, thanks to it having a narrower and taller water tank. This means the gauge is 16cm tall and the zero mark is clear. On this new machine the gauge is just 9cm tall and the zero point is not indicated.
The quality of the machines looks to be about comparable. The Philips stainless-steel jug is thinner and lighter (700g versus the Krups 1130g) but, it doesn't feel any less sturdy and seems to be a better insulated. Both are double skinned.
As proof of how well insulated it is, I ran a full 10-cup cycle with just water, to flush the machine through. I put it on at 7:30am and then forgot about it. On checking the machine later (at 9pm), the water was still hot in the jug. This further supports my view that you don't need a filter coffee machine with a hot plate.
Both machines can't be used whilst under the wall mounted cupboards and have to be slid out from underneath them, to fill them with coffee and water.
The Krups had a removeable insert for the coffee filer, which made insertion and extraction painless. There is no such insert in the Philips but, the whole swinging front door can be lifted up and removed. Removal is a simple process, re-attachment less so.
The Krups jug featured a screw-top lid that needed to be unscrewed slightly, to let the coffee out. This often confused our guests. The Philips features a twist action lid, with three clearly marked setting to close it, open it and to remove it.
It makes a satisfying noise when in use but, is not too loud.
Which Filter Coffee?
I walked into our local supermarket one day and bought a packet of all the decent looking filter coffees that they sold. Over time I tried them all and ranked them. Whilst it wasn't the cheapest coffee, the one I preferred and use on a daily basis is the Carte Noire filter coffee.
I see that you can buy this coffee on Amazon and they even have a 'subscribe and save' offer with even greater discounts.
I like my coffee! It's an important part of my day and an essential element in getting me going in the morning. Cofee is not just a drink. It's a daily experience that improves the quality of my life. I look forward to it and savour the moments.
At work, I use the same coffee in a cafetiere.