Newest Review: ... water, I think this is sufficient as it lasts quite a long time, however if you use a lot of water it might be better opting for a larg... more
Good at what it does - Holds and Filters water
Brita Fjord Cool
Member Name: Bokkie
Brita Fjord Cool
Advantages: Well designed, easy to use, will fit into most fridges, Brita's filters work
Disadvantages: Quite expensive to replace cartridges,' Cartridge Exchange Indicator' isn't useful for everyone
The reason I bought it was, after having become hooked on good filter coffee at University, I needed something to negate the effect of the hard water where I live on the coffee's taste - brewed with my old coffee machine that did not come with an in-built filter.
The Jug -
The first thing to say is that it does what it says on the tin - it holds water; in fact it holds 1.5l of filtered water in the main body, and another 1.1l in the filtering reservoir. The reservoir is filled from the tap, through a hatch that is opened by pressing down on a extension of it, with you thumb, that is located (cleverly) where your thumb sits naturally when holding the handle. Once the water has poured through the reservoir and filter, and into the main body of the jug, it is easily poured out through the spout; cleverly the spout has a cap over it, which opens automatically as water is poured through and closes again afterwards - helping keep the water fresh. Alongside this the reservoir is not connected to the spout, so you can pour half way through the filtering process and only get water that has made it through the filter / has been filtered. Aesthetically it is quite pleasing as well, and comes with nice design features like non-slip rubber on the base and handle. Possibly the best design feature of the jug is that it fits nicely into the door tray of my quite small fridge, unlike a bulky Optima jug I tried before.
Cartridge Exchange Indicator -
This is an electronic gadget, inlaid into the top of the jug, that essentially tells you when you should change cartridges; which in theory is very useful for someone like me, who wouldn't be able to taste the difference. Whilst it sounds clever at first you soon realise that it's function is moot, unless you are the average Brita user; this is because it is not a sensor as much as it is a very basic clock, counting down in % from when you start it until when it has been programmed to think that (through average household use - filtering 2 litres a day) the cartridge will need changing. I however am not the average user, as I only use the amount of water each morning that I need for a mug of coffee, so it is actually just a slightly annoyance to have it flashing away at me when, by my calculations, I have another 15 Litres of use left. I understand that there are more expensive jugs with actual sensors, which may be very useful - but this isn't either a sensor or useful.
The Maxtra Cartridge
Though this is a review about the jug, rather than the cartridge, it would be remiss not to talk about the Maxtra Cartridge, given that it is a component of the jug and key in the filtering process - without it you would have just bought an expensive and weird (if the cartridge isn't in place) jug.
Brita tells me that the Cartridge is better than the competition because of it's four stage filtration - 1. Intensive Pre-Filtration, 2. Ion Exchange Filtration, 3. Activated Carbon Filtration, 4. Intensive Final Filtration (Brita, http://www.brita.net/uk/maxtrafiltration.html?L=1) - and, though I don't understand / or care, I do believe that it is true. I cannot taste the difference between filtered water and British tap water, but I can taste when filter coffee isn't right; Optima Water Filters failed to improve the taste, but Brita's Maxtra Cartridges really do get rid of the hard water taste that ruined my coffee.
Something I like about Brita is that they encourage you to recycle their cartridges; which you can do by posting them to BRITA Recycling, Freepost TK1917, Sunbury-on-Thames, TW16 5BR (or at least that used to be the address - it is what it says in my Instruction manual) or by calling BRITA customer care on 0844 742 4800 to find out where their nearest recycling point is.
Ease of use I have already covered with regards to using the jug; you can only pour filtered water, the hatch over the reservoir is easy to open and ergonomically designed, and there is non-slip rubber in the right places. Though it is not of importance to me, others might be interested to know that it isn't the quickest of filters - probably taking 3-5minutes (I have never timed it) to filter the entire contents of the reservoir; however if you are desperate for a glass of filtered water you can pour mid-filtering, and only get filtered water, so the time it takes to filter the entire 1.1l is really neither here nor there. With regards to the installation of the cartridges, this to is simple (and well covered in the jugs manual, and on the side of the cartridge packets) - simply twist the old one off, submerge the new one in water and shake until the bubbles stop, twist it on, and do two or three runs of 1.1litres (using the same water for each run if you are an environmentalist). Simple.
Overall a good product that does what it says.
Except for the addition of an actual sensor to tell you when to change your cartridge, I can not understand why anyone would purchase a more expensive model; he filters work (and are the same on all Jugs - I presume), it is aesthetically quite pleasing, and it fits in the fridge. Cost wise it varies between £10 - £20, and comes with various number of free cartridges depending on where you buy it , and additionally when I last checked Tesco did the best deal on stand alone cartridges - selling a 6-pack for £22.
Summary: Holds + Filters water; buy it over more expensive models, unless you really want an in-built sensor
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