If your morning routine includes a cup of coffee and a fresh-fruit smoothie, you might be tempted by the Hamilton Beach Java Blend Brewer/Blender 40918, $80. The two-in-one device combines a "to-go" style drip coffeemaker, complete with a 16-ounce travel mug, and a two-speed blender with a 32-ounce container. Sounds handy, plus the appliance's compact design can save space on the countertop. Unfortunately, those conveniences were not matched by stellar—or even steady—performance in our tests.
As a blender, the Hamilton Beach scored a 31 out of a possible 100. The biggest ding came during our durability test, which involves repeated crushing of our large, tray-made ice cubes. Multiple samples failed the test, resulting in the lowest possible score. We also ran performance tests on the blender using smaller crescent-shaped ice cubes, which the manufacturer's manual recommends. The blender fared better in those tests, for example producing a very good pina colada. But that wasn't enough to lift its score.
Turning to our coffeemaker tests, the Hamilton Beach earned an overall score of 40. It fell short of industry guidelines for brewing temperature and duration, necessary for a flavorful cup of joe. It also was only marginally convenient to use, though to be fair no to-go coffeemaker scored better in this regard. But several models did deliver superior brewing, including the top-rated KitchenAid Architect KCM0402ACS, $100, with its excellent brewing performance.
Bottom line the Hamilton Beach Java Blend Brewer/Blender 40918 joins the long list of multi-functional appliances that are only middling at their multiple tasks. Especially if there's space on the countertop, you're better off investing in a full-size blender and coffeemaker. For an extra $10, you could have the recommended Mr. Coffee BVMC-EHX33CP coffeemaker ($30) and the Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004 ($60) blender.
—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico)