Brews at proper temperature Excellent value Slim profile & elegant design Warming plate better than most
Negative Product Points
Lack of thermal carafe Control buttons small and counterintuitive Filter basket seems fragile Narrow necked carafe more difficult to clean and dry Some overflow problems when brewing full pots
I received my Presto on Christmas Day 2004. I had researched it through the Coffeegeek forums and alt.coffee before asking my brother to order one from Costco. He is a member and thus gets a 5% discount, but I would have ordered one irregardless of that fact.
The Presto arrived packed only in its own box. I was a little worried about potential damage, but my worry turned out to be unwarranted. The contents of the box included the coffee maker, glass carafe, removable filter basket, instructions, a form to order replacement parts, and a small plastic coffee scoop.
My first impression of the Presto was that it was well made of higher quality plastic than most domestic coffeemakers. It has a slim profile, and seems to be made to sit broadside towards you; it takes up less counterspace than many kitchen appliances. The plastic filter holder seems a bit flimsy, and includes a spring dripstop along with a folding handle. The entire filter basket swings out and relies on a friction fit when fully closed. The glass carafe is beaker shaped with a narrow opening making it more difficult to clean and dry than other carafes I have owned. The control buttons are small and counterintuitive. Pressing the on button once places the Presto into autoprogram mode(red light). Pressing it a second time turns on the coffeemaker(green light). Pressing it a third time shuts the coffeemaker off. The Presto also has an auto-off feature which turns the unit off after 2 hours. There is an LCD clock located in a small oval window just above the control buttons, but its size and lack of backlighting makes it difficult to read. Its main purpose is to serve as a timer for those who use the autoprogram feature to wake up to their morning coffee. I do not fall into that category.
The Presto is a 10-cup coffeemaker. I find that the reservoir holds about 44 ounces of water. A unique feature of the Presto is that it has 3 heating elements. The first initially heats the water, the second heats the water again at the top of the coffeemaker just prior to dispersion, and the third consists of an "always on" warming plate that continually adjusts its wattage to help maintain proper brewed coffee temperature. This differs from other warming plates that only cycle "on" and "off". I find that when I am either too lazy to transfer my freshly brewed coffee to my thermal carafe or I am going to consume the brewed coffee within one half hour, the warming plate does an admirable job of not cooking the coffee.
The main reason I wanted this coffeemaker was that it was advertised to brew in the 195 to 205F temperature range. A simple test of brew basket water temps with a digital instant-read thermometer showed a high temperature reading of 203.5F. The Presto brews a full pot in about 8 minutes. Water dispersion is accomplished through 3 holes arranged in a straight line, although it appears that there are 6 more potential holes arranged in a showerhead pattern that could be opened up with a simple modification. Grounds saturation is already very good, so I am hesistant to experiment. I am now brewing the best autodrip coffee that I have ever made. The inclusion of a thermal carafe would make this an almost ideal coffeemaker.
Ordered online from Costco.com. Shipped only in its own box, so you had better hope that your UPS driver is not having a bad day. Return policy from Costco is unbeatable.
Three Month Followup
UPDATE (3/08/05) I started to experience a problem in which brewed coffee entering the carafe would siphon in-between the plastic top and glass portion of the carafe. The coffee would then run down the outside of the carafe and sizzle on the warming plate, creating a mess. Presto customer service insisted on sending me a new lid for the carafe. I received the new lid, and it has been redesigned. My coffeemaker is now better than ever. If you are experiencing the above mentioned problem with your Presto, I advise you to contact Presto for a free replacement carafe lid.
One Year Followup
UPDATE (12/18/07) Ding-dong my Presto is dead! When I press the power button, I can get the red standby light to light up, but when I press it a second time to get the green power light, nothing happens. I tried using the standby function with the timer, but that does not work either. Against better judgement, I opened the machine up by unscrewing the screws beneath the machine to see what was inside. By jiggling all the connections and putting the unit back together, I was able to get it to work intermittently for a short while, but now nothing. The Presto made some truly wonderful coffee and I will miss it, but I guess it still falls in the class of disposable coffee makers. I got almost 3 years of daily use out of it. I am waiting on my Technivorm.