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Remington iCoffee machine redefines coffee making

Machine presteams grounds then stirs them with jets of water

Published: October 01, 2013 10:45 AM

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The Remington iCoffee looks like a conventional drip coffeemaker with a giant basket. But the differences are more dramatic. While a traditional drip coffeemaker showers the coffee grounds with water from above—a method that Remington claims inadequately covers the grounds—the iCoffee uses SteamBrew, a process that uses hot water jets to soak and stir the grounds in a swirling soup, akin to a French press.

A look inside the 12-cup machine reveals more. Three rods ring the perimeter of the basket, each with two ports that begin the brewing process by squirting water into the grounds. Six rotational water jets then circulate the grounds in hot water. Remington—the same company that makes water filters but not shavers, outdoor gear, or firearms—claims that its process eliminates the acidic and bitter aftertastes of the standard drip process. It also claims you’ll need to buy 15 percent less coffee, since you won't need as much to get a great cup of joe. And if you use paper filters, you’ll also save on those too; the machine’s swirling precludes the use of paper filters.

At the beginning and end of the brewing process, the machine plays notes from Mozart’s "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" perhaps a suggestion that you and your coffeemaker will make beautiful music together. At the very least, this $170 coffeemaker makes for a pricey if steamy date. Yet in our tests so far, the iCoffee met industry standards for good brewing, which involves reaching and maintaining the optimal brewing temperature.

To be fair, the price isn’t unheard of among drip coffeemakers, and that amount is common for some single-serve machines. For example, our top-ranked drip model, the Cuisinart Crystal SCC-1000 Limited Edition Perfec Temp, costs $200. And if you typically use a drip coffeemaker, the high-scoring Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT costs only $40.

Whatever your budget, check our buying guide and Ratings of more than 100 coffeemakers before you shop. We also have reviews of pod coffeemakers and brew and dispense models. And we'll be adding the iCoffee to our coffeemaker Ratings as soon as we complete our testing.

—Ed Perratore

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