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When it comes to coffee, I've always been happy to spoon instant Nescafe from a jar, but recently I acquired a taste for the freshly brewed stuff and I decided that it was time I treated my family to a filter coffee maker. I didn't have a lot to spend, but when I spotted this model for just over £30 on Amazon, it seemed to offer what I was looking for.
This appliance is predominantly black and silver with a green panel across the front. The LCD display dial glows fluorescent blue when the machine is switched on, which looks rather cool. The shiny, funky appearance definitely attracted me and I love its modern yet stylish look. Morphy Richards also provide kettles, toasters and other kitchen accessories to match the colour scheme, although I'm hesitant to give my kitchen a completely green makeover. (You can get the same model in red or plain black, if you prefer.)
This machine is quite straightforward to use. It's simply a matter of filling the water reservoir using the water level indicator as a guide, spooning some coffee into the permanent mesh filter, sliding the jug onto the hot plate and pressing the 'on' switch. The water level indicator is easy to read so there is no danger of exceeding the maximum level on the gauge. In less than 10 minutes you will have a jug of fresh, hot coffee and a kitchen smelling as enticing as Starbucks.
However, don't be surprised if it takes a bit of trial and error before you make the coffee the appropriate strength for your tastes. First of all, it's important to remember that the water indicator is marked in cups - which is not the same as mugs. The difference between cups and mugs led to a bit of confusion for me at first. I had to remember that if I wanted to make 3 mugs of coffee, this meant I had to fill the water indicator to 6 cups. (This coffee machine will make up to 12 cups of coffee, i.e. 6 mugs.) We found that 1 heaped dessertspoon of filter coffee per mug was a pretty good guide for our own tastes. However, at times when I've been tired and forgetful, I have got muddled and added a dessertspoon per cup as opposed to per mug, which has meant the coffee has come out resembling liquid mud. The process is fine once you get the hang of it though.
One of the things I am pleased to report about this coffee maker is that it is very easy to pour the water into the reservoir without spilling. This area isn't so small that you end up slopping water all over the place (never a good thing with an electrical appliance.) The jug pours very well. I did read a review on Amazon in which a consumer said that they struggled to pour water from the jug into the reservoir without spilling, so they had purchased a funnel for this purpose. Well, no funnels for me. My hand is quite steady enough to manage this without making a mess.
You do need to make sure that the coffee jug's lid is completely shut before you slide it onto the hot plate and start making the coffee. Otherwise the coffee will not drip through into the jug and will flood the filter.
The coffee maker has an anti-drip valve which means that when you remove the jug from the hot plate after making the coffee, you don't get any dregs of coffee dripping through onto the plate. This works pretty well but not completely. I've had a few drips to clean off the hot plate, which isn't a big deal, but it can smell a bit unpleasant if even a small amount of coffee gets burnt on.
For me, the most off-putting thing about filter coffee makers is having to clean the messy filter afterwards. It's not so bad if you remember to do it straightaway but in the past I have been guilty of forgetting and perhaps not making another brew for several days. So when I've come to remove the filter, it hasn't been particularly pleasant. (In fact, I am ashamed to say, I had a filter that went mouldy in the past.) Although I am much stricter with myself these days about looking after my appliances, I have taken to buying some throwaway coffee filter papers, which I line the machine's filter with. This means I can just throw out the filter paper afterwards. I know this sounds like defeating the object of having a machine with a reusable filter, but it just makes life a bit easier for me and it does avoid that annoying task of trying to clean up stubborn coffee grains from your kitchen sink, which get absolutely everywhere.
If you want to wake up to the smell of coffee, the filter coffee maker has a timer which is fairly straightforward once you know how. You simply set the time using the 24 hour clock then press PROGRAM on the control panel to key in the time you want your coffee to be brewed. The clock display is a traditional style with hours and minutes hands (rather than digital) which makes it a bit simpler. To be honest, we haven't made much use of this facility. The coffee is brewed so quickly anyway that it isn't as if you have to wait very long for your morning cuppa. Besides, I quite like the leisurely pottering around and filling the coffee maker on a morning, then listening to it as it starts to drip and hiss and splutter. For me that is almost the best part of the experience.
The coffee maker keeps your coffee warm on the hot plate for 2 hours and there is a special button to avoid burning the coffee at the bottom of the pot when it is left for long periods. During that time, it retains its freshness and doesn't taste stewed or unpleasant. The coffee has always seemed to be at the right temperature for me, but the temperature of the warming plate can be adjusted easily using the 'warmer' button on the display. The coffee maker switches itself off after 2 hours. If you're the sort of person who wants to keep topping your coffee cup up all afternoon, this might be a bit annoying, but I rarely want more than one cup out of every brew anyway and can't imagine that I would ever want to go back to a pot of coffee that had been sitting there for longer than 2 hours.
Don't be tempted to put the coffee jug or the filter in the dishwasher as they will be damaged. A wash or soak in a bowl of soapy water will suffice. A quick wipe of the external areas with a damp cloth keeps the machine looking clean. You should rinse the water reservoir occasionally with cold water. If you live in a hard water area you are advised to descale the coffee maker every few months.
All in all, I recommend this coffee maker. It looks good, does the job and isn't overly complicated to use. It feels quite lightweight but not so flimsy that you worry about accidentally knocking it over.
It seems good value and has been well-used at our house over the last few months without any complaints. Whilst I haven't had it a long time, I have been using it every day and have noticed no faults so far. I am a little wary after reading one or two negative reviews from people who found this model developed faults fairly quickly, but all I can say is so far so good. Time will tell, but at the time of writing, this is suiting me just fine.
Filter Coffee Maker 12 Cups Programmable Timer Green