“ Type: Automatic / Power: 900 Watt / 10 Cups „
In 2004 I purchased the Proline CM3 coffee maker for myself at a very good price of £12-99 from Comet and was surprised until very late on this year to see Woolworths still sold it as part of their Elevation/Worth It! Series for an even cheaper price of £9-99. It did seem a cheaper proposition at the time since I had smashed my parents' glass cafetiere and so my Proline came to reside at my parents.
The model in question is the CM3W model, the "W" possibly referring to its white colouring. A friend of mine used to own the same model but in black of which she had bought from one of the mail order catalogues - larger high street shops only seem to sell the white one although it no longer available to buy at Comet. Colour aside, the plastic bodied machine is made of cheap plastic - the swing out cup can be taken out by applying a strong hold on the machine and popping out the hinges and there is a Nylon washable and permanent mesh filter cup which is a good size which fits into the basket holder.
The capacity of the machine can take 10 cups full of water, although I have never met anyone who has gone to all the trouble of measuring water by cups to ensure that the water can fill the capacity suggested. Roughly 10 cups for me mean about 6 mugs worth of coffee, which is enough for anyone by my reckoning. However the first machine was broken when I took it out of the box, and had to be returned to Comet as well as managing to break the hinge when trying to fill the water into the machine! Comet replaced the machine happily and I thought that was that. As for controls there is only one; a green neon switch at the side which switches the machine on and keeps lit to show that it is on; not the most modern things you'd find on a coffee machine but necessary. There is a 900 watt element but this isn't enough to heat water given that most kettles these days come with a starter of 2000 watts.
As for its true purpose, the machine does make filter coffee but it can be slow waiting for the machine to gurgle (and does it loudly); its not a modern cappuccino or espresso coffee maker so it won't feature a milk steamer or anything modern like that.
Firstly, if the glass jug is not resting on the hotplate completely, droplets of coffee from the filter can make their way down to the back of the machine causing the jug to stick to the hot plate and burning coffee liquid will make its way onto the hotplate; here my parents Morphy Richards coffee maker is so much better in this respect. Thank goodness the jug on the Proline is dishwasher safe but as it has a steel ring which is part of the handle stuck to the rim of the jug it is impossible to use in the microwave. After a long period the plastic lid of the jug also dulls with coffee stains and this has proved difficult to get rid of. I have tried bleach but once the coffee jug lid has dulled, it is impossible to return its colour back to true white. There is an anti drip valve located just below the filter cup but it only works occasionally as opposed to always and the filter cup will drip unless you slowly and gently remove the jug without disturbing the filter cup. The slightest bump against the cheap filter cup will produce a couple of drops!
The hotplate only heats up if the machine is making fresh coffee. It will keep the jug warm after the coffee making process has finished but because it has a thermostat, it has no keep hot facility. It will keep the coffee warm but the coffee in heat strength is quite lukewarm as a result. The hotplate itself is apparently non-stick but has the poorest lining on it. The quality of the end result is warm filter coffee rather than hot.
Generally the quality of build and plastic is poor - you get what you pay for in this respect. This is evident from its lack of design that has gone into the making the machine. In particular, the flip up lid to put the water in doesn't seem to fit flush with the rest of the machine and the nylon filter, though easy to clean is not a good design because at the bottom of the filter it still leaves coffee in the middle where the sides of the filter come down to. When we were using the machine between two and three times a week, we discovered that the pipe that leads to the filter basket was coming away from the water unit at the back of the machine. This resulted in the lack of the sound of water as it gurgles in the machine.
It is not possible to take the top off to inspect the tube or water tank until you dismantle the hinge basket off its carrier, turn the machine on its side (making sure the jug has been taken out and all the water has been poured out as well as drying the unit thoroughly and leaving it to cool to ensure no burnt fingers on the tubing inside) and undo five of the tinniest Philips style screws ever to take off the top cover on the machine. Once you have done this, and with a little bit of effort of pushing the plastic grip like teeth off the edges, you have to prise the top off without dangering yourself or causing a crack in the poorly thinned plastic that covers the machine. The first time we did this, we discovered a huge clump of coffee grinds which had found its way into the top of the lid. This does not inspire confidence when the steam and the water the machine produces should be able to filter out.
There are no perforations OUTSIDE on the top of the machine either and this is probably why grinds of coffee have made their way under the lid through the perforations INSIDE at the top of the lid. I was really shocked about this and questioned the hygiene risk to Proline which fell on dumb ears! Once inside, the area where the water goes, you have to be careful not to cause harm to yourself whilst trying to fix the tube back onto the water carrier tube, which is a solid plastic tube and has quite a rough edge to it. This is why the rubber tubing which transports the water from the tank to the filter basket spilt in two. The area of the water tank is silly too as it is quite difficult to get your fingers into the water tank to apply the rubber tube onto the solid water pipe.
In terms of styling the Proline CM3W takes up more space than my food processor. It is quite bulky unless you site the machine with the tank facing towards the wall and the water cup gauge - a handy point - to the left as it will appear more compact than it really is. The power cord which is supplied is a mere 0.3 metres in length so you do need a plug socket very near to the machine. My parents couldn't wait to get rid of it when they had been given their Morphy Richards filter coffee maker and once again came to stay with me for a couple of months. However it was not to last any longer than just that couple of months;
The last straw of ownership came one day when I decided that I wanted a whole day's worth of coffee. So I went through the directions, filling the machine up and went to switch it on. Only the Proline CM3W had other ideas. I went to press the on switch and the pilot light button came away from its housing on the machine. I looked at it carefully to discover that the assembly for it also came away from the machine. So you get what you pay for sometimes, and although no longer on sale in the high street, if you fancy a cheap filter coffee maker there are so many other machines out there to consider. If I don't get fresh coffee instantly, I'm like a dog chewin' a wasp! if you see this model on Gumtree or EBay, do yourself a favour and consider something else. Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008
Coffee Machines in general I love good coffee and am always on the lookout for a good coffee maker. I looked up Dooyoo to see what was new on the market and found a plethora of Machines, 173 to be exact, most of which had not yet been reviewed. My late Mother used to make a great brew with nothing more sophisticated than a saucepan , hot water and a good medium roast, coarse grind coffee. She had her beans, quantities and timing down to perfection, and this more by feel and smell than an exact science. I left home and struck out on my own without inheriting her art. Over the years on my visits home I found that her finesse was being blunted too. Partially by age I presume, but also by disappearance of known varieties and replacement by other cultivars on the market. Where once I had seen three or four types of coffee beans there were a dozen or more, and she just could not keep up with the testing, eliminating and perfecting according to the swings of the market. Scornful of new fangled gadgets, she just slowly gave up on coffee. I, on the other hand, have an innate love of gadgets and am experimenting with them to this day. Before proceeding to gadgets, it helps if you find the type of coffee you like, a matter of personal taste of course. To my palate the South American coffees have a sour, unpleasant undertone. My favourite is Duowe Egbert pure Arabica. As to the way of making I'll try to some up the experience of the last 40 years in chronological order. The first gadget to come my way was what is listed as "Moka Express Hob Espresso maker". This is essentially a three part gadget. A lower container for water, a coffee holding strainer which drops over it, and, screwed in over it the finished product receptacle with an internal column with a thin bore leading from the coffee container to the upper chamber. The loaded gdget is placed on a heat scource. The water boils, turns to steam, passes through the coffee, up the column,
where on expansion it cools down enough to liquefy again and give a good hot cuppa. Drawbacks - gauge the right amount of coffe. Too much is poisonous, too little is swill. With use the cast aluminium threads become too tight and seperating the parts becomes a trial of strenght. The second gadget to come my way was an old fashioned percolator. Placed on a source of heat it wouls perk away filling the house with great aroma. The problem was the guesstimation as to when to take it off the heat. Next in line was the caffeterie type of coffee maker. Here the coffee is measured into a pyrex beaker, covered with boiling water, and after three to five minutes the coffeee grounds are pushed down with a strainer/plunger. The resulting coffee is excellent but too cold for my taste. I had to preheat the beaker and mugs with boiling water and heat the milk, being careful not to boil it. Very soon I came to the conclusion that it was more trouble than it was worth. It was succeeded by a Sunbeam electric perculator. It was pleasing aesthetically and not too hard to clean. It had a timer to stop the perking at just the right moment and made a great brew, providing you were there to catch it immediately on completion. Otherwise the far too hot warming plate would kick in which in a matter of a few minutes would cook the coffee to an unpalatable swill. After this Hubby put his oar in and brought a home caffeteria. Espresso and filter machine combined. It was monstrous in size, and for lack of space in the kitchen was relegated to the top of the washing machine. Due to cramped space the swing out filter funnel soon broke. Whilst it was alive I had no end of trouble finding the right size filter papers. The espresso part of it was too difficult to descale and went to a scrap heap after a year. Whilst in Canada we found a perfect little cheapie (twenty Canadian dollars) at Canadian tyre. It was a filter type machine, just for two mugs. It needed filter papers wh
ich were cheap and available everywhere. These made cleaning a joke, just pick up the mess, toss it out and give the rest of the machine a rinse. A cut out mechanism stopped the action as soon as the water reservoir emptied. Any standard size mug, glass etc. fitted under it. Unfortunately it was 110 current and stayed there, giving good service to this day . So what do we do to get a good cup of Java? Enter the ready prepared, disposable filters. (Rombouts have very good coffee in them). Place over the right diameter cup, fill with boiling water, clamp on the provided lid and watch it drip. In 2-3 minutes a perfect brew every time. Not very economical or practical when you have guests (then I bring the electric perk out of the mothballs) but ideal for one or two individuals.
When I went out and have a coffee it always seemed to taste better than the stuff I drank at home, this was of course down to me drinking instant at home. Whilst Nescafe Alta Rica is a nice coffee, which I still drink in the office, it really can't be compared to the unadulterated taste of filter coffee. Whilst I own a small Cafeteria I have a complete inability to make a decent mug of coffee with it. So what does this model feature? Well it makes basic filter coffee, no frills. It has all the essential elements: boils water, removable re-usable nylon filter, anti-drip mechanism and hot plate. It also has a 12 cup capacity (or four mugs). I generally only make one or two mugs at a time so my that is the experience on which I base this opinion. Getting the water into the coffee maker would be a relatively easy task if weren't positioned under a cupboard, with an opening flap at the back of around an inch wide and six inches long. The coffee goes into the permanent nylon filter which swings out for easy access. Whilst the filter is easy to clean and it makes a perfectly enjoyable coffee time after time, it does unsurprisingly instantly stain to a lovely shade of brown. Whilst the filter does a good job with keeping the solids out of your drink, you will get some fine pieces getting through so it is a good idea to clean the filter compartment from time to time. This model comes with a semi-successful anti-drip mechanism. If it had no antidrip mechanism you could look forward to watching your coffee sizzling on the hot plate every time you took the pot out to pour yourself a mug, whilst this particular mechanism doesn't totally eliminate the problem it does cut it down. However the mechanism is operated by a raised dome on top of the pot which leads to a couple of small problem, the first being it makes it slightly awkward to remove and replace the pot, with the former sometimes swinging the whole filter compartment out.
Since the coffee has to run down the dome in order to enter the vent to enter the pot, it will stain the centre of the lid which takes some care to actually remove completely. The hot plate keeps your coffee delicious and hot while you leave the coffee maker on. I personally find that the most important piece of advice when using this item is to ignore they're a scoop of coffee per cup as this leads to undrinkably strong coffee, my recommendation is use two thirds of the amount (2 scoops per mug) which lead to the perfect mug of coffee (together with three sugars). Next piece of common sense advice is to always clean the equipment ASAP after using it, it is so much easier. It is also important to clean the hot plate and trim from time to time as you will get the odd splater. Finally I will quickly comment on its looks, it a hulk of white rounded cuboid of plastic and glass. I don't find this a problem as its not there to be admired for it looks, I stand around and admire the wonderful cups of coffee it produces. I'd fully recommend this to anyone who want a cheap no frills coffee maker. I would recommend it over a cafeteria if you don't portability since it makes a perfect cup everytime and is easier to clean, and only costs around a fiver or so more. I must say it is one of the best £13 I've ever spent.
I don't know quite what it is but there is something quite luxurious about real coffee. For years I've suffered with the instant kind, but somehow this just isn't the same. The smell of hot fresh coffee is always so inviting and personally it brings back memories to me of my days as a teenager spent in or around coffee bars in the Liverpool area. So I was therefore delighted to receive a real coffee maker as a Christmas present from my son last year. Having a hot cuppa immediately after the Christmas lunch was a real treat. The model I have is the Proline CM3. This has a capacity for lO/12 cups, although I haven't tried using it whilst full yet as I am the only family member who actually drinks coffee.....all the others are tea drinkers. There is a swing out filter system and a permanent nylon filter inside which can easily be cleaned under a hot tap. Because of the swinging out action it is extremely easy to put the coffee in and take the filter out afterwards to clean. The coffee is made very quickly. As I have said I haven't used it to its full capacity, but certainly I have used it half full and it only takes a matter of minutes before it is ready for use. I personally just use ground coffee as I don't have a grinder but the taste has been really good....not bitter and not too bland. The jug is plastic with a white plastic lid and handle and again these are very easy to pull out and clean. There is a clear measuring point so you can see easily how many cupfuls of coffee you will get. If I have any complaints at all they are the usual ones with coffee makers. For example once you have taken the required amount out, the remaining coffee goes cold very quickly or stews.The manufacturers however recommend turning the remaining coffee off and merely reheating it when required. Another point I have just thought of is there is nothing to indicate that the coffee is actually ready except
that it clicks off (something that could be easily missed if you are talking). A warning bell might have been a good idea to alert you when the coffee is made. The coffee maker is rather large I have to say and takes up quite a lot of space on my worktop. At a price of £12.96 this is a real bargain if like myself you're not into instant coffee. The Proline coffee maker can be purchased in many major electrical stores, although I believe mine was purchased from Index. Well, I'm off now......going to make a cuppa.
Short name: Proline CM3W