- Created: Wednesday, 15 June 2005 01:00
- Written by Colin
The World's Cheapest (and most effective) coffee maker.
Looking to assess your level of expertise in the coffee brewing game? Open up your Mother-in-laws cupboard. Okay, maybe your grandparents cupboard would be a good choice too.
Poking through m.i.l.'s kitchen space the other day I came across a little used Black and Decker Brew N Go from, what seems, like about 8 or more years ago. It had obviously not been plugged in in at least that amount of time. No slight to my m.i.l.'s housekeeping, because her place is spotless. However, this coffee appliance had a kind of filmy sheen coating most likely the product of sitting next to the stove for nearly a decade. Not having reviewed anything recently, I thought it might be kind of cute to do a technical review of something 'super-cheap'. What I discovered came as a bit of a surprise.
As I packed up the unit to take it to the 'test-lab', the m.i.l. could not help but reach into the fridge and offer me the matching 10 year old brick of coffee.
Aww, shucks, thanks Mom, but no thank-you!
The neat thing about playing with appliances is the element of the unexpected. In the world of coffee toys, the surprises are never ending.
The B&D BrewNGo is a sub-40 dollar unit and for the bucks, there are some serious pluses worthy of a drip drinkers consideration. Update: stopping at Canadian Tire last night, I found them on sale for $14.99. That is a whole lot of coffee for cheap.
To start with, the B&D's power-plant (heater) is a startling 800 watts. With a dual-digital thermometer in hand, I filled the unit with the suggested amount of water. Oh yes, prior to all of this, I ran a product called "Melitta Carafe Cleaner" through the brewer. That and a simple exterior scrub down and the BrewNGo was good as new.
Within about 40 seconds of pressing the power switch, water started to gurgle into the brew basket and the temperature indicator on the hand-held pushed into the high 190 degree (F) range or about 96 or 97 degrees (C). That is almost the ideal brewing temperature. Within the first minute of the brew cycle, the temperature in the brew basket had soared to an astounding 205 degrees (F)! Perfect! The perfect temperature had been achieved in the brew basket on this, a sub-40 dollar coffee brewer. There are still many multi-cup brewers out there that fail this simple task.
I was not actually watching the clock (my bad) but I do know that the brew cycle was pretty complete within about 4 minutes or so, probably sooner. Time for yet another surprise. The coffee was very good. Not very, very good, but good; better than most of the impromptu brews I whip up with a paper filter and carafe most of the time.
Okay - let's quickly look at the pro's and con's of this uber-cheap unit:
- more than sufficient heating source to achieve the desired water temperature in the brew basket.
- very compact footprint.
- Coffee tastes good and is hot.
- Cheap and uses permanent filter.
- slightly rushed brew time
- coffee blooms or overflows the brew basket into the water reservoir. Always use the correct amount of ground coffee.
Colin Newell lives and writes in Victoria, B.C. Canada. He knows full well that a good cup of coffee needn't be a pricey proposition. This article proves it.