Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741 makes great coffee but isn't a perfect machine

Consumer Reports News: September 25, 2009 02:52 PM

Being able to take home a coffeemaker that we're testing for a report on these appliances is among the, um, perks of my job. I recently got to use the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741, a $265 machine that's a favorite of many coffee aficionados.

But for all its prowess at achieving the prime temperature that's vital for great brewing--195° to 205°F, held for six minutes--during our ongoing testing for an upcoming report on coffeemakers, the 10-cup Moccamaster KBT-741 hasn't impressed when it comes to convenience or carafe handling. Granted, extracting the most flavor from coffee is what matters most, but given the price of this coffeemaker, shouldn't it also be easy to use?

I recently used the Moccamaster KBT-741, made in the Netherlands, at home for a weekend. To my untrained palate, there was a noticeable difference between the coffee my machine brews and that from the Technivorm. Especially when I ground the beans immediately before brewing, the Technivorm delivered a cup of coffee that demanded I sit down, sit still, and do nothing else but savor it.

That said, I also encountered the same problems our testers have seen. What hung me up first was the protection designed to keep you from brewing without the thermal carafe in place. Most coffeemakers have a similar feature, which also lets you pour a cup midbrew. But on this Moccamaster, the brew stop comes in two parts: a button that gets pressed when you push the carafe all the way to the left and a switch on the filter holder that can halt the release of brewed coffee. Position the carafe an eighth of an inch off from the button, and no water will reach the coffee. Press the button without the filter-holder switch in its proper position, and brewing coffee will collect in the filter basket. Fortunately, the two times this happened, I was making only enough for a tall mug.

Also, after making coffee seven times, I also wasn't quite sure about the amount of water required to brew, since the lines on the reservoir didn't correspond to how much coffee I brewed--even after accounting for some evaporation and absorption into the grounds. After I looked at other coffeemakers, I realized that this Technivorm is hardly alone in the disconnect between water in and coffee out. The lesson? When brewing less than a full pot, you need to experiment to get the right amount of water.

As much as I enjoyed the coffee I made with the Technivorm, I can't justify springing for it. That leaves me with my current machine, which looks nice on the counter and does a fine job with decent beans. But I'll miss the coffee that the Moccamaster makes.

So to my colleagues, if I'm not in my office any morning next week, you might find me "testing" the Moccamaster in our labs. Just follow the coffee aroma. --Ed Perratore | | Twitter | Forums | Facebook

Essential information: Check out our buyer's guide to coffeemakers, which includes ratings of drip and pod models and espresso makers. And read our latest report on coffee. Ratings and report available to subscribers.

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