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Firstly, I am not a morning person and thankfully my job as a TEFL teacher allows for this as I work mainly afternoons and evenings, so as a result of this I have only one early morning per week! However, my partner has a "normal" job, gets up, showered and dressed at around 6:30 each day and is usually quite noisy in the process of it all so lie in's are few and far between for me as once I have been woken up it is very rare I can fall back to sleep, needless to say coffee is a necessity while I sit and check the morning emails.
When I first moved in with my partner our coffee machine had already been purchased, it is the Philips HD 7546/20 model. At first I was a little wary as I had only ever drank instant coffee and had no clue how to work a coffee machine, I needn't have worried though I picked it up almost instantly!
Philips HD 7546/20
The Philips HD 7546/20 is a filter coffee maker. It has a 15 cup capacity, although as I will explain later this is arguable depending upon your cup size. To make coffee in this machine you will also need to purchase some coffee filters and some filter coffee, these items can be bought in most supermarkets with varying prices depending on brands and quality. The machine also comes with a measuring spoon for scooping the coffee into the machine. My partners' reason for choosing this coffee machine in particular was a simple case of it being on offer at the time combined with how easy it is to operate.
The coffee maker is mainly black in colour with a stainless steel silver coloured coffee pot and silver front to the swing door. The handle of the coffee pot it quite chunky which makes it easy to grip while still half asleep and it is made from a smooth black plastic. Our coffee maker is located in the corner of the kitchen and in my opinion I think it looks quite smart. We have a black and silver kettle standing next to it and I think the two together make the kitchen look quite stylish. The design of the machine means it fits nicely into the corner and doesn't look too bulky.
The machine has only one button for operating it. This is located at the base of the machine and you simple give it one firm push to begin the brewing process. In all honesty I have no idea how to stop the machine as I have never needed to, I think if for some reason I did need to then I would simply unplug it from the wall.
The machine comes with a medium length cord, approximately 80cm (as measured with my tape measure at an awkward angle!) and a moulded plug. Our plug is the European 2 pin one as the machine was bought here in Poland, however I have checked online and the machine comes with the same cord and a moulded 3 pin plug if purchased in the UK.
Make Some Coffee...
Making a the coffee is simple and I often prepare the machine before going to bed at night so in the morning I only need to press the button. To prepare the machine for making coffee you will first of all need some Size 4 coffee filters. These can be bought in most supermarkets and are usually found in the tea and coffee isle. To place the filter in the machine you must open the door on the front of the machine, this is easy to do and requires no effort at all, in fact I often think it is too easy as I have swung it open only to have it rebound off the wall! Now, this is the part where I have had issues in the past, when you place the filter in the machine there is a small ridge at the back of the cone shaped area the filter rests in, this ridge signifies where you should line the small semi circle which is cut out of one edge of the filter, when I first started using the machine I had no idea of this and had a few frustrating moments when I poured the coffee to discover it was very weak and upon opening the filter door I was greeted with a folded filter and a lovely mess to clean up because the filter hadn't stayed in place and the edge caught on the door as it was closed. I have however found a way around this so even it I forget to put the filter in the correct way it will stay in place and not fold over, my little trick is to fold the bottom of the filter to the side so it sits slightly lower in the holder and therefore doesn't get caught on the edge when I close the door. This fold at the bottom doesn't effect the taste or strength of the coffee and so far it hasn't let me down.
So, once the filter is in place you need to put some filter coffee in it. The amount you should use will vary depending on the brand you buy and also your personal preference to the strength. Personally I find that using the spoon which came with the machine, two slightly heaped spoons is just about right for my tastes and this seems to be pretty constant across a few different brands including Tchibo and Jacobs.
Finally we need to add the water. The easy part, simply open the lid on the top of the machine and pour the desired amount of water in. There is a small water level indicator on the front of the machine to tell you how many cups you can make with the amount of water you have added. The maximum is 15 cups. Now, I don't know how big the manufacturers cups are but I think they must be pretty small as I fill our machine to the 9 cup level yet this only seems to give us about 4 and a half cups of coffee in what I would call normal sized mugs. For me this isn't a problem as I don't think I could drink 15 cups of coffee a day! But for someone with a large family or a lover of coffee this may be a bit misleading. I will put some photos with this review on Ciao so you can get an idea of the mug sizes I am using. Once the water is in you simply need to close the lid, ensure that the coffee pot is in place and press the "on" button at the base of the machine. The machine will then start to gurgle and make a few funny noises while brewing your early morning beverage.
...and Wake Up!
After around 5 minutes, sometimes longer if you added more water, you will begin to smell that lovely aroma of fresh coffee and the machine will automatically switch off once all of the water has been filtered through.
Pouring a cup of coffee is as simple as removing the coffee pot and pouring, yes? No. To pour the coffee from the pot you will need to turn the lid on top of the pot to "pour" setting. This is very easy and once you are used to which logo means pour you will be doing it with a simple flick of the thumb. However to begin with I forgot which logo meant what and often ended up turning it to the setting where you can remove the lid completely, this wasn't too bad except the lid plopped off and into my cup when I began to pour without realising my mistake. The logos on the lid aren't really very clear in my opinion and if it is a dark morning you will struggle to tell the difference between them, well that is my excuse anyway!
Once poured you simply need to return the lid to the central position and place the coffee pot back in the machine. The pot is insulated in a similar way to a Thermos flask and therefore it is great at keeping the brewed coffee hot and warm for a good few hours. I find that if I make the coffee at 7am it will remain reasonably hot until around 9am when it seems to become more warm than hot, but this is still great as it keeps the warm temperature for another 2 to 3 hours. I have often poured a cup at around 11:30am and been pleasantly surprised by its warmth.
Cleaning the Philips HD 7546/20 is one of my most hated jobs! Firstly, removing the used filter is easy, you simply open the door, admire the soggy coffee grains, chuck it in the bin and start all over again. At first this procedure was fine until I noticed the inside of the filter area was starting to look a little, well, gross! So I looked for a way to clean it, thinking I may be able to take the door off and give it a proper wash I spent a few minutes pulling at the machine but no such luck, it wasn't meant to be so simple and the door remained firmly in place. Because of this I was left with just one option of getting a soapy cloth and giving it a good clean and then washing it out as best as I could, as this was such an awkward job I have since started giving it a wipe after every use and then a proper clean every few days, this seems to be much more effective.
The second part of the cleaning process is the coffee pot. Due to the design of the pot it is impossible for get your hands of even your fingers inside to give the pot a good scrub and we all know how much coffee can stain! Therefore my solution to this problem is to leave the coffee pot in soak for as long as possible when the machine is not in use, usually at the weekends as we are lazy and lie in so coffee isn't needed so much. I find that if I leave the pot in soak long enough and give it a good shake with the lid securely in place this will remove a lot of the stains. This method is working for now, but I am not convinced it is enough and I am still looking for a better way of cleaning it so if anyone knows of anything then I would be very grateful!
How Much for a Coffee?
The Philips HD 7546/20 can be purchased on Amazon for around £67. I'm not an expert on coffee machine prices, but I think for the ease of use combined with the good looks and the fact that it provides me with coffee each morning which stays warm in the pot for a good few hours, it is worth this price.
Easy to use
One button operation
Brew's coffee fast
Keeps coffee hot for around 2 hours and warm for at least another 2 to 3
Looks quite stylish
The coffee pot is very hard to clean properly
The filter part is fiddly and can easily fold the filter resulting in terrible coffee
Overall this machine would be perfect if it would put the milk and sugar in my coffee and bring it to my bedside! But in reality we know this will never happen so I will go on the real information and say that apart from it being a right pain to clean this coffee machine is fab! It has become part of my morning routine which now consists of: opening my eyes, moaning about the noise of my partner getting ready for work, staggering sleepily across the flat to the kitchen, as I often prepare the filter and pot the night before I simply press the "on" button and crawl back to bed until the smell of fresh coffee stimulates me to get out of bed and switch the laptop on to face the day! Good Morning Ciao-ers!
4 out of 5 stars, with one being lost for its awkward cleaning.
Thanks for reading :)
Short name: Philips HD 7546/20