Call me obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive or a coffee snob, but cheap coffeemakers, and a few expensive ones, just don’t make good coffee.
I haven’t been drinking coffee for as long as most people my age. I didn’t start until the late 1990s. A friend of my youngest daughter gave her a bag of O’Henry’s Southern Pecan Cream for Christmas one year, and I perked a pot for her in the coffeemaker I kept for parties.
That bag of coffee started my quest for the perfect coffeemaker. A friend of mine, who keeps his Consumer Reports (CR) magazine next to his Bible, firmly believed in buying a really good coffeemaker. CR said Braun and Krups were tops, so I purchased a four-cup Braun Aromaster. I loved it.
I nurse a theory about what it takes to brew good coffee. I believe the water must be at or very near boiling temperature. I don’t like the pablum that passes for coffee at restaurants, church gatherings or friends’ houses. In my coffee-of-the-month-club Gevalia and the 4-cup Cuisinart I purchased for my horse trailer, I have to use more coffee to get the same strength that I did with my Braun. In the long run, that costs more, and still doesn’t make coffee as well as the Braun. I tried a Keurig and gave it away. No matter what coffee I brewed in it, the results tasted like the plastic in the coffeemaker.
So, when my Braun said, “Alvedersein,” naturally I went searching for one just like it. I visited Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Kmart. I searched major department stores online, along with internet sales sites, including the manufacturer. Apparently, Braun doesn’t make a four-cup coffeemaker anymore. I did find one or two used ones on eBay, but they must have been inlaid with gold, judging from their prices.
My next step was to find a Krups. Again, I went through the same search process. Imagine my excitement when I found a four-cup Krups for just $10, plus $4 shipping. It took more than two weeks to get it. As soon as I opened the box, I knew it was the kind you find in your hotel room on a little black tray with pre-measured packets of coffee. It has no permanent filter, only the filter basket, which is shallow and almost square-shaped. You can’t find a paper filter to fit it, much less a permanent one.
The first morning I used it, I adapted a cone-shaped filter. I figured I was in trouble, though, when the coffee started flowing in less than a minute. “How can it possibly get the water hot enough to make good coffee in less than a minute?” I pondered. But it was pretty good. Not Braun good, but better than most coffee makers, including the Gevalia 12-cup I had been using until the Krups arrived. The second day, though, my adaptation failed, allowing grounds to plug up the hole in the filter holder. That resulted in half the coffee remaining in the filter basket, half in the carafe, with coffee grounds in both. Ugh!
When I emailed Krups, I found out that model was 15 years old, and they no longer make parts for it. I was furious with the eBay seller for not stating it was a hotel-room coffee maker. I was about ready to either send it back or, gasp, try that $25 Black-and-Decker model with a stainless-steel carafe that I had spied at Target. If it didn’t make good coffee, at least the return process would be easy.
However, I purchased a package of round Bunn-brand paper coffee filters cheaply at my local bent-and-dent store, and thought, “What the heck?” When I put one in the Krups filter holder, all I had to do was trim about half an inch off the top. Voila! It worked.
So, I’m keeping the hotel model...
...at least until I can find another inexpensive, four-cup Braun.