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Technivorm Moccamaster - Rick Waits's Review
Posted: November 20, 2004, 11:44am
review rating: 8.4
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Technivorm Moccamaster Coffee Makers
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Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster has 34 Reviews
Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster has been rated 8.64 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since October 24, 2007.
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Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Eddie Dove 9.19
Tim Markwood 9.00
James McNab 8.60
Rick Waits 8.38
Brett Maraldo 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.4
Product Reviewed: Moccamaster CD
Manufacturer: Technivorm Quality: 10
Average Price: Varies Usability: 8
Price Paid: $189.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Boyd Coffee Company Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 month Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Braun Flavorselect and many others.
Bottom Line: The Technivorm gets all the brewing parameters correct and is the best drip brewer on the market.
Positive Product Points

Fabulous cup of coffee that is right on par with making coffee manually using a Melitta cone and hot water at ~200F.  Perfect brewing temperature, the right amount of time (water spent with grounds), excellent design where the hot water is insulated from the cold water reservoir.  Long product/company history, quality ratings and long life.  Plain cool to watch IMO and looks great on the counter.  Quiet operation.  Operator friendly and easy to clean.

Negative Product Points

Before I start, please understand that I look at things pretty closely and am geeky.  Most of what I think needs improving are really not negatives in the sense of being a big thing.

Ten cups on the Technivorm is a little smaller than I’d like.  I'd prefer the capacity be in the 12cup (56oz range) like other drip brewers I’ve owned (i.e.  Braun Flavorselect).  

Of course we all know that leaving the brew on a hot plate is the kiss of death to your flavor.  So if you plan to use the CD, also plan on pouring the brew into a glass lined thermal carafe right after it’s done brewing.  The “two stage” temperature feature on the hot plate control isn’t really that big a difference and IMO not useful (more in the Details section).  

The handle could be more comfortable in the hand; it’s sort of squarish and thin to the feel.  It’s not a big issue, just a comfort improvement I think TechV could make.

What’s often referred to as the “water pipe” (the 7 ˝” rectangular piece that delivers the water from the reservoir to the brew basket) swivels at the connection to the reservoir.  If you like pushing it out of the way, then maybe you’ll like the swivel movement.  I find myself re-centering it to align with the brew basket lid a little more often than I’d like.

The holes in the optional 9-hole water pipe (while helpful versus the default single hole pipe) are not centered over the brew basket.

Detailed Commentary

I’ve been using (testing out) my CD for just over 3 weeks now.  The first thing I did was check out the maximum capacity of the water reservoir so I could set my coffee to water ratio appropriately.  Here are some details you may find of interest:

Water capacity to the 10 cup fill line in the reservoir = 42oz
Water capacity to the very top of the reservoir = 48oz (my personal favorite)

Compared to other popular brewers like the Braun Flavorselect, the 10 cup level of the TechV is very close to the Braun 10 cup capacity in ounces.  I just wish the TechV could handle a full 56oz (or 12 cups) like the Braun.

The temperatures are spot on.  I measured 202F, but did not have a thermocouple with data-logger.  So, Mark’s professional review of the CD has more detailed temp info.  But I can say that my measurements were quite close to his and I was very impressed.

The total brew time (time water spent with the coffee grounds) is very important to avoid over-extraction of the coffee.  On the TechV, this area is quite remarkable.  It only takes 5 ˝ minutes on my machine from start to finish.  That’s also with me filling the reservoir to the very top (48oz of water).  I have not seen any other brewer come close to the Tech V in this regard.

Two Stage Temperature Feature (Geek alert – you may want to skip this section if not geeky at all):
OK, lets talk about that warming plate (two stage) temperature feature.  I’m not a scientist, but conducted some simple tests on my own using a Taylor instant-read digital thermometer with a range up to 450F.  First, I loaded up the TechV with water to the 10 cup level, put all the pieces in their normal positions and started the brew.  Then I clipped the thermometer through the small opening in the spout where it was centered and about 1 ˝ “ from the base of the carafe.  I started the brew and allowed it to complete normally.  Here’s what I measured on both the low and high (+) setting of the plate temp switch, starting with cold water and separate brews for each setting:

Low Setting
Time    Temp (F)
----------------------
 2:30       183
 3:30       186
 4:00       188
 5:00       189
 5:30       189  (brew done)
10:00       187
15:00       184

High Setting
Time     Temp (F)
--------------------------------------
 2:30        183
 3:30        187
 4:00        188
 5:00        189
 5:30        190  (brew done)
10:00        188
15:00        186


Measuring the plate surface temperature with the same thermometer lying horizontally with tip on plate surface, I measured 270F on “Low” and 299F on “High”.  One thing for sure here…don’t touch that plate until it’s cooled down!  So, bottom line from my little test (even after 15 mins on the burner)  I didn't really see much difference at the liquid level in the pot between the two settings.  I think Technivorm should consider investing in other features that would actually be meaningful versus this particular one.

Optional 9-hole water pipe:
This is an optional extra cost feature that you can order for your TechV.  According to Boyd’s, it was really created to help those with “hard water” or some such thing.  In reality, people purchase it (as I did) hoping for better water dispersion over the grounds.  The 9-hole pipe slightly favors the left side of the filter basket (viewed from the top) so more water falls to that side of the basket.  That’s  because those 9 holes are more aligned with the left side of the basket and are not centered over the basket.  I’ve dug through the grounds several times after brewing and not found any unsaturated grinds.  

Having used both the 9-hole pipe and the 1-hole pipe,  I believe the 1-hole pipe to be the slightly better of the two.  Technivorm didn't make the 9-hole pipe to improve saturation of the grounds.  The 1-hole pipe drops the water straight down the center of the filter basket.  From my observations during brew and from digging through the grounds after, I believe there's not a significant advantage to the 9-hole pipe.  With both pipes I have not found any unsaturated grounds after the brew cycle is complete.  There is a visual distinction between the two pipes while watching the brew process.  In the early stages of the brew cycle, I saw more unsaturated grounds (especially to the right side of the brew basket) using the 9-hole pipe.   With the 1-hole pipe, I'd say you have roughly the same amount of early stage unsaturated grounds, but they are more to the outside edge of the basket.  Of course, as time progresses and in fairly short order, the grounds become totally saturated with either pipe.

IMO, from a flavor perspective (not doing any stirring of grounds), I think the 1-hole pipe produces just slightly better results than the 9-hole pipe.  Coming from a manual Melitta #6 pour-over method before purchasing the TV, my method was also to pour straight down through the basket.  That method worked very well with the Melitta and I think is the better choice with the TV (given the current design).  At this time, I'd recommend that people keep their coin and just use the 1-hole pipe that comes stock with the TV.

Quality of the finished product (the coffee):
Absolutely wonderful results and I’ve used several different varieties of coffee.  Many of these same coffees I use in my espresso machine, so I know their individual flavors at peak when processed as espresso.  In the Technivorm, each variety exhibited the flavors I’d expected from a drip brew that has the brew process correct.  No bitterness, no bite, just a smooth flavor that makes you come back for more.

My personal coffee/water ratios for the TechV CD:
Water – fill it to the top (48oz), it doesn’t hurt a thing and doesn’t overflow when you mount the lid.
Coffee – 64grams

Lastly, I was compelled to purchase a TechV because of the many recommendations I’d read (some people saying they were still using them after 20yrs).  The cost is a hurdle for some people, but I saw it as a small consideration when compared to getting many years use from a product that produces this high a quality brew.  If I get 20 yrs from mine, then that’s $9.45 a year which is a real bargain for a consistently great brew each day.

Buying Experience

I purchased mine from Boyd Coffee Company.  They are wonderful people, very helpful over the phone and shipped the product right away.  With the Boyd’s offering came a package of filters (I think it was a 100 count) and 12oz of Boyd’s coffee.  

Their coffee was quite stale by home-roast standards and was not marked as to the roast date.  It was definitely past it’s prime, but still drinkable by other lesser standards and better than Folgers.  My recommendation to Boyd would be to follow the lead of quality roasters like Intelligentsia.  Based upon the stale coffee I received, I could not recommend Boyd for coffee purchases at this time.

Three Month Followup

Did not provide...see my 4+ years review in the 1 Year Followup.

One Year Followup

This is more than a 1 Year followup as I have been using the Technivorm for roughly 4yrs and 3mos.  In brief, the product is still working and still produces the best cup of coffee you can get from a drip machine.  From a machine point of view, the Moccamaster CD has not failed to heat water and process the brew to perfection in all these years. There are a couple of weaknesses that I should share with a couple of the components of this brewer.  

The 1st weakness is the handle of the carafe.  There are two plastic vertical ears that support connection of the carafe lid to the carafe.  These plastic ears have not held up to use and the right side ear has broken a couple times within the last few years.  These vertical support ears have to flex slightly to allow the carafe lid to snap-in and be held in place.  They are really too thin to support years of that flexing and so they crack where they meet the carafe handle.  

I super-glued them back in place a couple of times, but the fix lasted only about 5-6mos each time.  So, next I added/glued some plastic stock on the inside edge of the handle (next to the base of the plastic vertical ears).  My hope was to provide some support to the base of the ears where they have been cracking.  This too eventually broke loose.  The last thing I have done to deal with these thin vertical ears, is to drill three holes through the base of the ear and into the plastic support stock I'd previously added.  Then, I inserted three brass pins/rods through the support ears, into the body of the handle and into the plastic stock that was added.  I glued everything up again, filed the brass pins flush and am hoping that the brass pins will add enough strength to this flimsy design.  So far, this is holding OK, but time will tell.  This is probably a lot more than most people would even consider doing, but I build scale models and this kind of stuff is pretty much 2nd nature and easy to do for me.

The 2nd weakness is in the lid that fits over the brew filter.  This particular part has often been referred to as "being flimsy" by people reviewing the product. It is flimsy and mine developed cracks right where you would expect them to occur.  It cracked diagonally off both the corners of that slot cut into the lid.  This also has been a couple of super-glue repairs for me.  It is currently holding OK, but I baby it when handling that part anymore.  

You may wonder why I'm repairing these things instead of replacing and that is a good question.  Basically it's two reasons, cost and availability of spares.  I haven't seen anyone selling replacement parts for the Technivorm and when I inquired to Technivorm, they sent me to their US distributor at that time.  It took several emails to get an answer and as expected, the parts were not inexpensive, nor was anyone interested in providing a free replacement due to the flimsy design of these parts.

Overall, I love the brewer and most importantly the coffee I get from it.  If I had it to do over again, I would not purchase a Technivorm model where they used the same carafe and brew/basket lid design as used on the Moccamaster CD.  I would buy another Technivorm without hesitation, but I would be more selective about which one.

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review rating: 8.4
Posted: November 20, 2004, 11:44am
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