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Hamilton Beach Brew Station - Robert T's Review
Posted: April 25, 2006, 3:21pm
review rating: 9.5
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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Arrow The Hamilton Beach Brew Station has 28 Reviews
Arrow The Hamilton Beach Brew Station has been rated 5.43 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 8, 2003.
Arrow Hamilton Beach Brew Station reviews have been viewed 163,948 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Lainie Smith 10.00
Mischelle Ogle 10.00
Robert T 9.50
Mike Boysen 9.00
Chris Hoesing 9.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 3.6
Product Reviewed: BrewStation
Manufacturer: Hamilton Beach Quality: 5
Average Price: Varies Usability: 3
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 3
Where Bought: Gift Aesthetics 4
Owned for: 2 years Overall 3
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: If you use a tall mug, stay away!
Positive Product Points

- The basic concept -- a dispenser-oriented, rather than carafe-oriented drip machine -- is a good one.  Or so I thought.
- The two major components are easy to clean
- 6-cup batches produce reasonable results

Negative Product Points

- The dispenser is shorter than my most-frequently-used mugs, meaning that "bucket-style" pouring is necessary
- When pouring from the "bucket", steam can easily burn hands
- The water reservoir is shaped very awkwardly for filling
- The bucket would have made a great candidate for thermal-insulation; instead it is burner-heated, which inevitably leads to stale coffee.

Detailed Commentary

I grew tired of my previous drip machine before it died, and my fiancee and I spotted this machine right around the same time we were formulating our wedding registry.  So, we added it to our list, and received it as a wedding gift not long after.

So - my (now) wife and I have now been married to one another for almost two years, and to this coffee maker for about the same amount of time.  The honeymoon with my spouse has been great; with the BrewStation, much less so.  

First, a bit about our coffee drinking habits: aside from weekends and the occasional after-dinner cup, the bulk of our coffee-making takes place in the morning, before work.  We generally brew a 6-cup batch, and within a few minutes of the completion of the brew cycle, we parcel the coffee out into two Nissan stainless insulated mugs, from which we sip over the course of our respective work-days.

Our hopes for the BrewStation were high.  Our thinking was that since we rarely moved the carafe on our previous coffee maker more than about 3 feet from the base, why not exhcange the difficult-to-clean glass carafe (the lid was not removeable) for a nice dispenser?  Great idea, right?

Wrong.  For starters, the "lever" or "button" that must be pressed (with the mug) in order to dispense coffee requires very firm pressure to get the coffee coming.  As the pot is depleted, the coffee flow slows to a trickle; this is very frustrating when you can plainly see through the plastic that there are 3 cups of coffee remaining inside.  I have been able to improve the flow rate by simultaneously pressing down on the top of the BrewStation as I push inward with the mug.  Unfortunately, if the brew was recently completed, the top can be quite hot, so I find myself doing a ridiculous sort of dance: I press with the mug (so hard that the BrewStation slides along the countertop),  then I stop the sliding as I press on the top until my hand gets too hot, then return to sliding while I shake my hand to cool it down.  It's not unlike what you might see when a dog is so intent on chowing down that it pushes its food-bowl around on the floor.  Comical, yes.  Convenient?  No.

But the #1 problem with the BrewStation is that the insulated mugs we use each day (and which I love, and would not exchange for ANYTHING, thank you very much) are simply too tall for the dispenser.  They don't fit under the "spout".  D'oh!  If I had forseen this, I would never have asked for this contraption.  Anyone who is accustomed to using a "travel mug" which is taller than about 5 inches (particularly the types design to nest into a car's cupholder) will experience the same problem.

By rights, this issue should have relegated the BrewStation to the TrashPile.  But, since this thing was a gift, and we didn't uncover the problems until after several uses (we started out using it with "normal" ceramic mugs, during a weekend), we felt obligated to find a way to make it work with our tall mugs.  In my experience, there are three options:

  1.  Tilt the mug while pressing.  
    This works, but not well.  You can only fill 2/3 of the volume of the mug, due to the height, and the aforementioned "hard-press" problem really makes this a challenge to pull off without sloshing.
  2. Move the brewstation to the edge of the counter, so that the mug can extend below the countertop level.
    This works also, but the "hard-press" problem again makes this a challenge.  Also I don't want to have to slide the appliance all over the place just to use it.  What a pain.
  3.  Remove the filter basket and pour the coffee out, directly into the mugs, "bucket-style".  
    This works OK and has becme my daily habit, but it's very annoying since the bucket-handle is right above the coffee, and hot steam rises straight across my hand as I hold the handle.  I've found that it's not QUITE hot enough to burn, but close enough to be unpleasant!  Hence, the once-mighty BrewStation is reduced to functioning as a lowly carafe again, and a really inconvenient and steamy one at that.  Sigh...

A few more points related to the bucket - it's used to transport water from the sink to the reservoir, which is shaped in a sort of wrap-around fashion, encircling the bucket on the back and right-hand sides.  With the lid up, pouring from the bucket into this narrow channel of a reservoir can be a bit of a challenge for a pre-morning-coffee, bleary-eyed individual.  A minor gripe, perhaps, but a removeable reservoir would have been nice.  So would a thermal-instulated, rather than burner-heated, bucket.  

Also the bucket's plastic window has stained, so that it fades from the original translucent-white at the top to a sort of amber-brown at the bottom.  I could probably clean it with some kind of coffee-cleaning chemical, but I'm too despondent at this point to care.

So - in a nutshell, the Brewstation might be great for some folks - particularly those who use exclusively "short" cermaic mugs, or those, as one other reviewer mentioned, in an office setting.  But for anyone who makes a habit of using taller mugs, save yourself the hassle and look elsewhere!

Buying Experience

There's nothing worse than getting a gift you feel obligated to use... and then having that gift burn your hand every morning.

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review rating: 9.5
Posted: April 25, 2006, 3:21pm
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