Everyday Coffee: How I Test

This is part of my Everyday Coffee series, in which I review five affordable SCAA-certified coffeemakers. I’m in the middle of testing one of the coffeemakers this week, so here’s a look at how I actually do my tests. Read on to find out why subjective is the only way to go.

I Love Coffee

And there’s no better way to make coffee than by hand. A manual brewing method, such as a pourover or French press, will always give you the best results. And taste aside, the act of handcrafting my own coffee is just therapeutic.

A Chemex filled with finely-ground coffee beans is being used to make coffee. A sink and metal pitcher are visible in the background.
Basically my house, every morning.

Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to babysit a manual brewing process. On workdays, I like — no, NEED — to capture every last minute of sleep in the mornings. Shaving off the 15-20 minutes it takes to make two pourovers is worth every second of sweet, sweet dreams.

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KitchenAid KCM0802 Review: A Retro-Future Coffeemaker

This is part of my Everyday Coffee series, in which I review four affordable SCAA-certified coffeemakers. This weekend I started using up is the KitchenAid KCM0802. Read on to find out how it compares!

Meet the KitchenAid KCM0802
The KitchenAid KCM0802 coffeemaker, silver in color.
Nobody will ever accuse KitchenAid of boring design.

KitchenAid, makers of the best stand mixer ever made, has entered the game. Say hello to the KCM0802.

KitchenAid claims that this is not a typical automatic drip coffeemaker; it’s an “automatic pourover”. The idea is that it simulates the pourover process by alternating between sprinkling the grounds with water, and then pausing the flow to allow them to steep. This differs from a typical coffeemaker, which just continually blasts the grounds with water until the reservoir is depleted.

In keeping with the “everyday coffee” mantra, I’ll be taking a subjective look at features like flavor, usability, and design. I love my pourover as much as the next guy, but here in the real world, I just don’t have the time to handcraft two brews every morning. Read on to see if the KitchenAid KCM0802 does a good job at balancing convenience with quality!

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Everyday Coffee: A Week with the Cuisinart CPO-800

This is part of my Everyday Coffee series, in which I review four affordable SCAA-certified coffeemakers. Read on to find out how the Cuisinart CPO-800 ranks after a week of “daily driver” use!

A Week with the Cuisinart CPO-800
A Cuisinart CPO-800 coffeemaker sits on a granite countertop. The display shows the strength and temperature settings, as well as the time. The carafe is about 75% full of rich, dark coffee. Daylight streams in through a window in the background.
Scientists predict this is what life will be like in the year 2000 AD.

In my last post, I introduced you to the Cuisinart CPO-800. Over the past week, I’ve been using it as my daily driver for coffee. Today I’m going to post my results.

Since this series is titled “everyday coffee”, I’m going to skip over technical measurements like acidity and total dissolved solids. Instead, I’m going to focus on subjective, real-world measurements like taste, ease of use, and overall functionality. The idea here is that this has to fit into real life for everyday people; great coffee and minimal hassle are absolute “must haves”, especially at this price range.

My cost for the CPO-800 unit was $179.99 plus tax from Kohl’s. That makes this tied with the Bunn HB for the most expensive coffeemaker in this series. And unfortunately, it’s just not worth it.

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Cuisinart CPO-800 Review: Live from 1985

This is part of my Everyday Coffee series, in which I review four affordable SCAA-certified coffeemakers. Criteria is simple: they have to be programmable, they have to be easy to use, and they have to produce a damn fine cup of coffee. Read on to see how the Cuisinart CPO-800 compares!

Meet the Cuisinart CPO-800
A Cuisinart CPO-800 coffemaker. The carafe is about 75% full of rich, dark coffee. Sunlight streams in through a window in the background.
The sharp angles and VFD display give it a very 80s appearance.

First on deck is the Cuisinart CPO-800. I actually purchased this last Friday, and I’ve been using it religiously all week. I love this design! Gentle angles, a vintage-looking vacuum fluorescent display, and a semi-traditional coffeemaker look. The Cuisinart CPO-800 looks like it’s straight out of the mid-80s, and that’s a great thing!

The CPO-800 is one of three tested units that mimics the behavior of a pourover. Water gets heated to that golden 195-205 range, then sprinkled (or “jimmied” if you’re from Philadelphia) over the grounds in waves — including a presoak. The presoak allows the coffee to bloom and develop its full flavor, while the brief pauses in watering ensure the grounds aren’t over-extracted.

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Everyday Coffee: Coffeemaker Roundup

This is the first in a series called “Everyday Coffee”, in which I put four highly-rated coffeemakers through everyday, real-world testing.

We have a long-lasting love-hate relationship with coffeemakers.

An antique hand-operated coffee grinder is overflowing with beans. It's sitting next to a cup of rich, fresh-brewed coffee. Morning sunlight reflects off some out-of-focus objects in the background.
You don’t grind coffee like this. Stop showing off.

Your great-grandparents likely used a French press, siphon, or pourover. Probably involving fire. They’re all great brewing methods with their own strengths and weaknesses. They take a bit of effort to do correctly, but they can easily coax out the rich, full-bodied flavor of coffee.

Your grandparents likely used an electric percolator. And it was terrible. It produced hot, dark liquid that contained caffeine. Technically, it was “coffee”. But if you weren’t careful, it would burn and over-extract the coffee, resulting in a bitter pot of awfulness. Most electric percolators have a window of roughly 30 milliseconds between “still brewing” and “LOL RUINED AGAIN”.

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