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cr0786
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: US
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 5:11am
Subject: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

Hello

For the past couple of years, I have used a single-cup Keurig machine for my coffee.  While I enjoyed it at first, I think I need to move up to a real coffee maker (the coffee is just okay and the cups are way overpriced).  But since I am the only one drinking coffee, and I would typically have 2 or at most 3 cups at a time, Iím looking for a mid-sized machine.  My first attempt was to look at the Technivorm machines,  since they seem to be so highly regarded.  I donít mind spending the money, IF it is really going to be an excellent machine.  The one I was looking at is the KBTS 741, a 1 L /  8 cup maker, which seems perfect for the size I am looking for.  But I do have a few concerns, and I was wondering if anyone with experience with one of these machines could help clarify a few things:

  1. The Technivorm thermal carafes do not look like they have a pour spout Ö do they not drip?  I think I read somewhere that they would drip unless you put the cap in place, which to me seems like filling the water tank would then require a secondary water pourer (my coffee maker is not next to the sink).  This also brings me to #2:

  2. If the coffee brews without the cap on the carafe, wouldnít a lot of heat be lost while itís brewing?  Or, say I turn on the machine and walk away for 15 minutesÖ that means a lot of heat would be lost if I donít put the cap on immediately?

  3. These machines do not feature auto-off, is that right?  So how do you exactly know when the brew cycle is done?

As I started out saying, the Technivorm is the first I have really been looking at, just because people talk it up so much.  But at the same time, I am no coffee connoisseur, so I donít necessarily want to spend $280 if I wonít tell the difference between it and a $80-100 machine.  If anyone has any suggestions or thoughts on looking for a quality, preferably around 8 cup (or 10) maker, please share.

Also, for what itís worth, I have also used a French press, which did produce good coffee, but the cleanup is enough to deter me from using it on a weekday morning and I prefer an automatic machine.

Thanks
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JPDyson
Senior Member
JPDyson
Joined: 12 Apr 2011
Posts: 417
Location: Durham, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Yama tc5
Drip: V60, Bonmac, Chemex
Roaster: Behmor, Poppery II
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 6:30am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

The Technivorm has a significant design difference from most lower-end drip machines in that it has a separate water heating chamber to ensure ideal brew temps. The Bonavita has the same thing, and costs a fair bit less.

As for auto-off, I assume you mean the water heater (because there's no hot-plate on the carafe models). I do believe the heater coil on either machine will turn off when the water is all boiled.

 
--Josh
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JPF
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jun 2010
Posts: 223
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivaldi, Pre-millenium...
Grinder: Dosered SJ, Resurrected...
Vac Pot: Yama Siphon
Drip: Technivorm
Roaster: Behmor, Poppery I
Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

I have the thermal carafe Technivorm for a few years now, and am very happy with it.

cr0786 Said:

The Technivorm thermal carafes do not look like they have a pour spout Ö do they not drip?  I think I read somewhere that they would drip unless you put the cap in place, which to me seems like filling the water tank would then require a secondary water pourer (my coffee maker is not next to the sink).  This also brings me to #2:

Posted July 11, 2012 link

It doesn't drip.  I use the brew-through lid and it pours very well.  I put the cold water in the carafe, fill the tank, then put the carafe in place.  The machine will not brew without the carafe in place.  The solid lid keeps heat in better long term, but it does not pour as well, and isn't necessary unless your going to let the coffee sit for an extended period.

cr0786 Said:

If the coffee brews without the cap on the carafe, wouldnít a lot of heat be lost while itís brewing?  Or, say I turn on the machine and walk away for 15 minutesÖ that means a lot of heat would be lost if I donít put the cap on immediately?

Posted July 11, 2012 link

Use brew through lid.  It works great.

cr0786 Said:

These machines do not feature auto-off, is that right?  So how do you exactly know when the brew cycle is done?

Posted July 11, 2012 link

The thermal carafe machines do not have a hot plate.  The brew cycle automatically turns off after the water runs out.  There is a float switch in the tank.

Having said all this, I'm not trying to sell the machine.  It is a lot of money, and people are saying many good things about the Bonavita.  The bonavita seems to have a better spray pattern.  If it lasts as long as the Tech, it's the better value.  The only thing the Technivorm may have going for it is the copper heating element.  People keep these machines forever.

 
Living the caffeinated life.
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cr0786
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: US
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Wed Jul 11, 2012, 8:17am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

JPF Said:

It doesn't drip.  I use the brew-through lid and it pours very well.  I put the cold water in the carafe, fill the tank, then put the carafe in place.  The machine will not brew without the carafe in place.  The solid lid keeps heat in better long term, but it does not pour as well, and isn't necessary unless your going to let the coffee sit for an extended period.

Posted July 11, 2012 link

Sorry, maybe I am just misunderstanding, but are you saying there are two lids for the TV maker?  One lid that is in place while brewing, but does not allow pouring, and then another to pour?  Or is it that with the lid on, retaining heat, you cannot pour and you actually remove the lid entirely to pour?
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Eiron
Senior Member
Eiron
Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 343
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill 0930
Grinder: Quick Mill 031,...
Drip: TechniVorm KBTS
Roaster: Behmor 1600, Presto Poplite
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 11:12am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

Hi cr0786,

I'm in the same boat as you WRT household coffee drinkers (I'm the only one) & how much coffee I'll drink at a time (maybe 3 cups). For me, the KBTS was the perfect solution, but I had additional criteria that made it an easy choice. Besides the previous criteria, I also wanted:
1) Something that would last longer than the previous $100 machines I'd bought (two Brauns, each lasted about 10 yrs)
2) Something that was not only "certified" to SCAA brewing guidelines, but also had established a reputation for reliability & longevity
3) Copper boiler (copper heating element was a bonus)
4) Something not made in China
5) Thermal carafe
6) No bells & whistles, only "ON" & "OFF"

With the TechniVorm I also got "green" manufacturing, industrial-service build quality (including redundant safety features), unique styling, & a wonderful "5-1/2 cup" brewer (American 6 oz coffee cups versus European 4 oz coffee cups).

As to your concerns:
1) The pour spout on the KBTS is different from the larger, oft-complained-about KBT. The larger KBT has a "stylized" spout, where the KBTS has a more "functional" design. Mine does not drip, but then I'm not in a hurry when I pour my beverage. I'm not sure what you mean by a secondary water pourer in the context of whether or not the carafe drips? I don't follow how one aspect affects the other? I'm not aware of any brew-thru lid for the KBTS model, but that doesn't mean there isn't one available.
2) No, you don't lose very much heat at all. To start with, the Cater-Profi carafe is probably the best thermal carafe I've used. (I don't even pre-heat mine, as I've found it's waste of time, water, & electricity.) Also, the narrow neck of the carafe naturally helps retain heat, so even if you walk away for your example of 15 minutes the coffee should still be too hot to gulp.
3) As JPF mentioned, there's a float switch at the bottom of the water reservoir that automatically cuts power to the heating element. As also mentioned, there's a carafe switch that cuts power if the carafe is not in place under the filter cone.

As I mentioned, I had additional concerns to the ones you've voiced. And I wasn't making such a big jump from one style of machine to another, but instead looking for the best version of what I'd already been using. If you're so inclined, you can assemble your own "manual" version by using a Melitta 6 cup drip brewer, a tea kettle to boil your water, & a nice thermal carafe to pour it into when it's done dripping. That'll run you maybe $50+ & deliver fantastic coffee, but obviously won't be fully auto.

 
"Just what I need - another 'geek' label..."
- my friend Mark, on being told of Coffee Geek's existence

Good, affordable espresso: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/355707
Coffee's hot enough for OCD: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/330079
Personal & global health: http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/ci_12802509
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cr0786
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 4
Location: US
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 5:07pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

Thank you for the response and answers to my questions.  I think a little bit of the confusion was that apparently the carafe on the KBTS model was recently redesigned and now appears to be more similar to the larger KTS model (see here, http://www.roastmasters.com/kbts.html).  However, it sounds like dripping it not so much of an issue when the brew thru lid is in place because it directs the flow out in a steady stream.  So that helps alleviate that concern of mine (I know it might sound like a stupid thing, but sometimes for me it's those little things that add up).

The more I look at it, the more I like it.  The price is high... but if it's a quality machine that will last, I think it's definitely worth it and justifiable.  My only slight worry is that I'll brew up a carafe of coffee and not really be able to tell the difference between this and another coffee maker.  Like I said, I'm not much of a coffee snob/connoisseur, but I do appreciate a good cup.  If I don't grind beans fresh every morning, will I still be able to recognize a noticable gain over other makers?  (I like to buy the beans and grind them at the grocery store, and buy enough to last a week or two... way more convenient and less mess at home, though I understand it may be a compromise for flavor/quality).
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Endo
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Endo
Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 804
Location: , location, location.
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: machine is < important than...
Grinder: !
Posted Thu Jul 12, 2012, 5:26pm
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

I'd definitely go for the new Brazen by Behmor at $199 when it starts shipping in about a month.
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Eiron
Senior Member
Eiron
Joined: 12 Nov 2007
Posts: 343
Location: Loveland, Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill 0930
Grinder: Quick Mill 031,...
Drip: TechniVorm KBTS
Roaster: Behmor 1600, Presto Poplite
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 7:23am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

cr0786 Said:

...  I think a little bit of the confusion was that apparently the carafe on the KBTS model was recently redesigned and now appears to be more similar to the larger KTS model (see here, http://www.roastmasters.com/kbts.html).  However, it sounds like dripping it not so much of an issue when the brew thru lid is in place because it directs the flow out in a steady stream.  So that helps alleviate that concern of mine (I know it might sound like a stupid thing, but sometimes for me it's those little things that add up).

Posted July 12, 2012 link

Oh, wow! Just released 3 mos ago! I see Boyd's has the new version shown, but Sweet Maria's still shows the original version. That package from Roastmasters is a great deal!! I've only used a (25 yr old) SwissGold filter with mine, but I know others here use paper filters with theirs. When I bought mine (almost 7 yrs ago), I bought it from Boyd's because they were the only ones offering it in other colors (it comes in eight different colors). I got a sort of metallic charcoal. :-) It's also possible that a company that sells the KBTS thermal carafe separately (like Sweet Maria's) might be willing to swap out the new KBTS carafe with the original design.


cr0786 Said:

The more I look at it, the more I like it.  The price is high... but if it's a quality machine that will last, I think it's definitely worth it and justifiable.  My only slight worry is that I'll brew up a carafe of coffee and not really be able to tell the difference between this and another coffee maker.  Like I said, I'm not much of a coffee snob/connoisseur, but I do appreciate a good cup.  If I don't grind beans fresh every morning, will I still be able to recognize a noticable gain over other makers?  (I like to buy the beans and grind them at the grocery store, and buy enough to last a week or two... way more convenient and less mess at home, though I understand it may be a compromise for flavor/quality).

Posted July 12, 2012 link

I do agree that you have a valid concern over cost-to-value. You're making a big jump between brewer styles! Unless you want to scramble to find someone who still has the original carafe design in stock, you could try something like the made-in-China Bonavita brewer (also SCAA "certified") at $150. But you just have to recognize that you're getting a lot of unknowns with that brewer (durability/longevity, brewer construction materials & safety design, manufacturing practices, lack of in-depth review/teardown/scrutiny, etc). I disagree with JPF that it has a better spray pattern, but it does have a different spray pattern. It also has its own quirks, such as having the filter basket sit on top of the pot rather than being attached to the brewer, & not allowing reduced flow for brewing fewer cups.  And since it brews eight 5 oz cups rather than eight 4 oz cups, you'll always be at the "short end" of the brewing cycle. It also doesn't appear to be as "futz-friendly" as the TechniVorm, but that would assume that you want to futz with the brewing, & I don't get the impression that you do. (I sure don't!)

As for your beans grinding, I'd look at it this way: The better your brewer, the better your coffee can be. As you already know, it's a balancing act between coffee, water, & brewer. You know you want to start improving your drink, so you gotta start with one of those three things. Eventually, you'll probably end up changing all of them. :-) I order fresh roast online, grind at home with a decent burr grinder, & use water filtered thru a solid carbon block to remove all organic compounds but leave dissolved minerals. (My next step will probably be to buy a home roaster, but I'm not quite there yet.) Before I bought my TechniVorm, I was using a "free" Gevalia/Krups brewer that made very good coffee. But I already had the burr grinder & water filter, so I'd upgraded two of the three variables. When I got the TechniVorm I switched from buying whole beans in the store, to buying freshly roasted beans online, so that made another improvement in my drink.

It's a journey....

 
"Just what I need - another 'geek' label..."
- my friend Mark, on being told of Coffee Geek's existence

Good, affordable espresso: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/355707
Coffee's hot enough for OCD: www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/330079
Personal & global health: http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/ci_12802509
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,452
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 7:30am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

Endo Said:

I'd definitely go for the new Brazen by Behmor at $199 when it starts shipping in about a month.

Posted July 12, 2012 link

I agree, wait a bit and check into the Brazen, that is going to be an awesome machine at a bargain for what it offers/does. If you haven't heard or read about it: http://www.behmor.com/brazen.php

You should easily taste a difference with any of these machines mentioned vs cheaper ones for the simple fact that they give you control at the correct brewing temps, Brazen will even let you adjust temps higher/lower to find that sweet spot.
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lotek
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Joined: 23 Oct 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Frisco Texas
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: De Longhi Burr
Drip: Bodum FP, Hamilton Beach,
Posted Fri Jul 13, 2012, 8:24am
Subject: Re: Looking for a quality, medium-sized coffee machine
 

I used a Bunn HT up until about a month ago when my 4th one up and died.
While I was researching replacement machines my wife and I found a few close out
KBT-741s (gloss black models) at Willam Sonoma for $199, it was, a done deal.
I've wanted a Technivorm but couldn't get my head around a $300 coffee machine.  
I've only had mine about a month but for what it's worth here's my take on it.

I find that a quicker pour is cleaner and more controlled with the Technivorm, but still
it's leagues above the Bunn which was the worst pour I've ever seen.
The KBT now comes with the brew through lid, the earlier models did not.
I find little heat loss after 15 minutes.
As I usually do not make a full pot heat loss is not a huge issue for me.
There is an auto off for the heating element as noted above, the light on
the rocker switch will stay illuminated while the machine is turned on.
Once you use the machine you'll see that it's fairly obvious when the brew cycle
is finished, no water/bubbles coming up the central feed tube.

I was actually going to wait for a Behmor, but at the same price I couldn't
pass up the Technivorm which was available.
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