We have been using a Black & Decker (GE) Space Saver under-counter drip machine for the last 8 years, and before that a GE Drip with thermal carafe. After I began to roast my own beans 4 weeks ago and got a decent grinder (a Solis 166), I began to be more concerned about the quality of brew we were getting out of the Black & Decker. Very often there was a bitter aftertaste to the cup...
I have read extensively regarding drip machines, both pro‘s and con‘s and everything in between. Our favorite method of brewing is to use a French press, but this is not always convenient. I have always enjoyed being able to set the drip machine the night before and wake up to fresh, hot coffee the next morning. Most of the posts and articles I‘ve read mention that brewing temperature and time seems to be the key, and that not many of the machines can achieve anything near the requisite 190° F or higher.
I measured the temp of the water exiting the brew head on the Black & Decker and the highest I could read was 170° F. This was measured using a dish towel to hold the thermometer directly under the brew head, trapping the hot water in the towel. Not an encouraging result. I decided to keep my eyes open for a new machine. Many posts mentioned that people were very happy with the Braun KF 187, but the price of $99 (US) seemed to be steep.
I needed to replace the Bloomfield we had been leasing at work, as that kind of capacity was no longer needed, but I didn‘t want to get a Mr. Coffee. Imagine my surprise when I when to our local Costco expecting to see only Mr. Coffee (like they‘ve had for the last few months...) and discovered that they had a huge stack of the Braun KF 187‘s in both white and black. I picked up two, one for the office and one for home for $59.95 each plus the local sales tax.
I made a pot immediately upon returning to the office and was very pleased with the resulting brew: full and flavorful with no hint of bitterness. I used a new roast of Costco Drum Roasted Sulawesi ground as fine as the La Pavoni could produce.
At home that evening, I relegated the B&D to the garage and set up the Braun, loading it with home roast Costa Rican ground on a medium setting on the Solis 166. That coffee, sipped on the way to work with a little half & half, tasted remarkably good; very much like the French press I was used to.
This morning I went to Starbucks to buy two barista thermometers, one for the office and one for home. I decided to run an experiment to see how hot the Braun ran.
I used a full load of fine ground Colombian and a full 12 cups of water. After the cycle was through, I checked the temperature of both the hot grounds in the filter basket as well as the temperatur of the coffee in the carafe. The rsults, averaged between the two thermometers were:
Temperature of grounds: 93° C or 200° F
Temperature of the coffee: 87° C or 189° F
The temperature of the grounds taken right after the brew cycle tells me that the water coming out of the brew head may have been a degree or two hotter, but not by much.
I am extremely happy with this data, which means that I won‘t have to worry about that data point when evaluating a particular roast or grind.
I highly recommend this machine. It is very well designed and thought out. The end product is, however, the best part.