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Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal - Sam Uretsky's Review
Posted: July 4, 2009, 5:23am
review rating: 6.7
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal Models
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Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal has 76 Reviews
Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal has been rated 7.87 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since October 24, 2007.
Arrow Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal reviews have been viewed 450,147 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Al Ruscelli 9.48
Gregory Scace 8.52
John Frescki 8.33
Don Rutherford 8.00
C W 7.67

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.8
Product Reviewed: Moccamaster
Manufacturer: Technivorm Quality: 9
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $250.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Roastmasters Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 6 months Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I like coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Braun, Black & Decker
Bottom Line: This is a simple, dependable machine that makes good coffee with minimal effort.  The price is high, but in a few months that won't matter, and you'll still have something worth drinking.
Positive Product Points

This is a fairly basic, no-frills coffee maker with one critical feature -- the water reaches proper brewing temperature in about one second, and stays there for as long as it takes to brew a full pot.  It's simple to use, and the coffee is good and reliable.

Negative Product Points

There are one or two minor features that I would have liked to have -- notably a spring activated closure on the brew basket -- that are omitted.  I honestly don't know if this is because the manufactuirer wanted to keep the already high price down, or if, to a purist, this would have affected the quality of the coffee.

Detailed Commentary

There are two kinds of coffee -- morning coffee and everything else.  For most of the day, the goal of coffee brewing is flavor, and it's worth the effort to use a French Press or a stove top vacuum pot, but for the first cup in the morning, the caffeine is as important as the 30+ volatile extractives.  First thing in the morning, you're willing to make sacrifices on the altar of simplicity, which is why the electric coffee maker is so popular.  Some machines come with timers, and for those who consider fresh ground coffee critical, timers and grinders.  Some of us prepare the coffee the night before, willing to trade something in the way of flavor for minimal effort in the morning.  The Technivorm, an almost supremely no frills machine with only an on-off swtich, meets that need.  It's not perfect, and I still miss my Bodum Santos electric, but for what's on the market now, this is probably  as good as they come.

The critical issue, of course, is brewing temperature.  The narrow 195 - 205 temperature range is essential for optimal extraction of the compounds that make coffee worth drinking.  Unlike other machines, the Technivorm gets the water temperature into the sweet spot in about a second.  The result is a good cup of coffee with minimal effort.  In its time, Bodum made an electric vacuum pot that could make comparable claims for half the price -- but there are none available, and while there are still stove top vacuum pots available, they require attention -- there are no automatic shut-offs.  The electric drip pot has captured the market, and of these the Technivorm seems to offer about the best compromise between ease of use and good coffee.

There's nothing elaborate about the Technivorm -- water goes in one place, coffee in another, flip the switch and go to the bathroom.  By the time you get back, the coffee will be ready.   Usual cavetas apply:  you do have to rinse the carafe with hot water or the perfect brewing temperature will be counterbalanced by a too-cool serving temperature, but that's a universal truth, not limited to this one device.

There are a couple of what seem like design deficiencies to the Technivorm -- most notably the lack of a spring closure on the brew basket.  This has to be opened and closed manually, and it's hard to see if the control is in the open or closed position.  You would think that after several months of making 2 - 3 pots a day, and reasonably intelligent person would know to check the thing before throwing the on-switch.  I haven't learned yet.  Then the basket has to be closed manually before the carafe is removed or there will still be steady drips of coffee on the counter top.  This too can be learned so that it's reflexive, or you can keep a roll of paper towels and a spray bottle of all purpose cleaner on the kitchen counter.  I've adopted the paper towel and spray bottle method.  

It's also possible to start the Technivorm with the screw top of the carafe in place, but you're only likely to make this mistake once.

On the plus side, because the Technivorm heater gets to the proper temperature so quickly, it's possible to make less than a full put of coffee and still get adequate results.  For a while, I was using a Black & Deicker that had the spring closure on the brew basket.  This makes the claim that you can pour the first cup before the brew cycle is complete.  Trouble is, the B&D was pouring barely heated water onto the grounds, and that first cup was always a disappointment.  With the Technivorm, it's possible to make 4 cups (they call 5 ounces a cup) in a machine with a 10 cup capacity and still get something worth drinking.

Buying Experience

I bought the Technivorm shortly after Cooks Illustrated published its endorsement of the machine -- and learned how influential the magazine can be.  It seemed as if every company was sold out and waiting for a ship to arrive from Holland.  Roastmasters seemed to have, if not the best cash price, at least a couple of sweeteners: two pounds of coffee, free shipping, and a box of filters.  They were very good about sending follow-up e-mails, announcing when they expected to get the delivery, and how soon they would be able to start shipping.  That was helpful.  The machine arrived promptly after they got their delivery, and arrived in perfect condition, very well packaged.

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review rating: 6.7
Posted: July 4, 2009, 5:23am
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