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Philips Thermal Brewers - All - Ron Lee's Review
Posted: April 7, 2004, 1:19pm
review rating: 9.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Philips Thermal Brewers - All
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Arrow The Philips Thermal Brewers - All has 5 Reviews
Arrow The Philips Thermal Brewers - All has been rated 7.72 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 23, 2002.
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Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Robert Kennedy 9.10
Ron Lee 9.00
Steve Dearth 7.66
Antonius De Korte 6.83
Arnold Weisenberg 0.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 3.0
Product Reviewed: HD7538
Manufacturer: Philips Quality: 0
Average Price: Varies Usability: 8
Price Paid: $61.00 Cost vs. Value 0
Where Bought: eBay Aesthetics 7
Owned for: 1 month Overall 0
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Avoid this machine unless you like sour, weak, lukewarm coffee.
Positive Product Points

Build/finish quality was reasonable. Some nice configuration details - removable resevoir, thermal carafe.

Negative Product Points

Made marginal coffee at best. Simply did not get hot enough, plus dispersion was terrible.

Detailed Commentary

I was looking for a thermal carafe drip coffeemaker (drip units fit into our morning routine best - they're easy to set up, and you can fire them off and leave them unattended while you head for the shower), I specifically wanted one with a stainless liner (I'd had an early Krups thermal, and had so many glass liners shatter on me for little or no reason that I'm leary of going that way again). I'd seen enough negative reviews on earlier Capresso thermal models that I didn't want to take a chance, especially at the price. I bought the unit on eBay, for $49 + 12 S&H.

The unit is nice enough looking, in a generic sort of way. I liked the removable water resevoir. I didn't like the basket style filter, as these seem to have more problems with complete saturation, especially since this unit has a single hole for dispersing hot water (an aside here - I finally found a use for the "pause and serve" feature that appears on most drip makers nowadays: don't put the carafe in place for 20 seconds or so, and this will all but guarantee saturated grounds).

The big problem is that this unit doesn't brew anywhere near hot enough. This observation is based on 2 units (I returned the original to Philips, who shipped me a new one, on the remote chance the original was just defective - it wasn't). The first unit never made it past ~175 degrees. The second was a little better, but was still below 185. Both readings were just made using an instant read thermometer in the basket with "pause and serve" engaged, so that water accumulated in the basket. In both cases, you could only get it this hot if you were brewing a full pot or close to it - forget partial pots (no small batch brew switch). This made for very sour coffee, which was not hot enough to stand up to added cream or 1/2 & 1/2. Again, the second unit was better, but still unacceptable (and the coffee was even worse when you didn't do the "pause and brew" trick - that made it sour AND weak).

I've given it an 8 for usability, as there's nothing complicated about it, and 7 for aesthetics, as it looks OK. But for quality/value/overall, it just didn't make acceptable coffee, so it gets 0s.

Buying Experience

Dealing with Philips customer service was actually a real pleasure, other than the unavoidable time lag for shipping and processing, during which I had no coffeemaker. I dropped off the original unit at a local authorized service center, and Philips corporate shipped me a new one by FedEx. When I confirmed that this was a design issue rather than a defective unit, they refunded my cost, including shipping. The person I dealt with at Philips corporate specifically gave me her name and extension, without being asked. She repeated the information on the authorization letters she sent me for returning both units. It's nice to have continuity when dealing with a problem.

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review rating: 9.0
Posted: April 7, 2004, 1:19pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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