A great drip machine at a dirt-cheap price. A steal for functionality, but beware the plastic.
Positive Product Points
It reaches the proper temperature for brewing, while being easily affordable for most people.
It is a rather attractive cheap drip brewer when compared to other capable machines. (technivorm, bunn, newco, zoji, etc..)
Negative Product Points
The construction is 100% Plastic. I have taken it completely apart, and there is not one structural element that is not plastic. As others have stated, the glass that the carafe is made from is quite thin and feels pretty fragile in the hands.
Difficult to wash until one invests in a bottle brush. From then on, it's been smooth sailing.
No thermal carafe, and the hot plate does its job a bit too well for my taste, but that could just be me being fussy.
The biggest selling point for this machine is the optimum brew temperature at an affordable price. The name "Scandinavian Design" is a reference to the Scandinavian born Technivorm brewer, and an attempt to copy its functional design. In my opinion, Presto has succeeded.
Immediately after purchasing the machine, I purchased a permanent filter for it. This has produced a slight bit of sludge at a slightly finer than drip grind setting, but well worth the trouble, as the flavor is much better. No paper, all of the oils and aromatic components are allowed through, and a one-time purchase, though clean-up is a bit more involved as a result.
I have not had the issue of a leaky lid on the carafe that others have complained about, and that Presto has apparently fixed with a newer lid design. I have not experienced the plastic taste/aroma until I dismantled the unit and got a whiff of the water reservoir. Considering its 100% plastic construction, I cannot say I was surprised.
My biggest beef with the machine is not the details like a fragile carafe, or flimsy brew basket, or the hot plate, or the timer, or the controls, or the plastic construction. I can quite easily look past all of those minor details when the coffee is good and the price is right. What I DO have a problem with, however, is the 3-hole shower head that the brew water exits before reaching the bed of ground coffee. When finished, there are three very obvious divot holes where this water has over-extracted a small portion of the coffee. The extraction is far from even, but it could be worse. I would prefer a spray head to a gravity-reliant drip head for a more even saturation.
I have gotten around this, to a point, by removing the carafe (to take advantage of the pause-n-serve feature for brewing benefits) and allowing a little over half a cup of water into the filter basket, and then stirring with a plastic spoon to help saturate all of the coffee grounds easily before continuing. I think it would help to perform this multiple times in a single brew session, but who wants to do that with an automatic drip machine? If I wanted to stir, I would have avoided buying a drip machine and stuck with my Melitta pour-over.
I have helped it a bit by drilling out the other bumps without holes present on the shower head. I thought it would be easy to remove it before drilling, but boy was I wrong. Be careful if you attempt this modification. I am not kidding when I say this unit is structurally 100% plastic.
The brewing time has decreased a bit, but that's easily fixed with the pause-n-brew feature, which is a whole lot easier than stirring every five seconds. It's still not a spray head, but it's definitely an improvement.
If you want a rich coffee extracted at the proper temperature for an agreeable price, I would highly recommend this machine. It does not have the reputation of the Technivorm, but it also cost me 1/8 of the price. Not too shabby, if you ask me.
It's my go-to machine when I want a good cup of coffee with no fuss. It's also what I use when I have guests because it can brew more than just one or two cups at a time.
I should mention, however, that the cups on the carafe and water reservoir are 6oz. cups. Meaning, if you want a normal 12oz. mug of coffee, plan for two cups per serving.
I have heard that these machines have longevity issues, but I am hoping for the best. I don't see why it shouldn't last for a long time if properly cared for.
After discovering on the forums that Kmart had these machines for sale (note: not ON sale.. just FOR sale) for twenty five bucks, I knew I had to grab one.