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Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal - Charlotte Picoddo's Review
Posted: July 28, 2004, 5:34am
review rating: 7.3
feedback: (4) comments | read | write
Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal Models
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Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal has 76 Reviews
Arrow The Technivorm Moccamaster Thermal has been rated 7.87 overall by our member reviewers
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Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Al Ruscelli 9.48
Gregory Scace 8.52
John Frescki 8.33
Don Rutherford 8.00
C W 7.67

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Product Reviewed: KBT741
Manufacturer: Technivorm Quality: 9
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $205.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Boyd Coffe Co. Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 month Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I like coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: The KB741 is a great way for anyone to get into and enjoy high-end coffee making, just short of full-blown espresso-mania, which surely follows!
Positive Product Points

Outstanding heating element rapidly generates optimum water temperature, delivering it in measured bursts to the filter cone in a no-nonsense fashion.  Excellent build quality, fit & finish of metallic parts.  Fascinating, mid-century modern (ie., "retro") design aesthetics.

Negative Product Points

No timer / no automatic (measured quantity) shut-off:  this is a stand there -and- deliver coffee making machine.  Surprisingly poor build quality, fit & finish of plastic parts.  Though pleasing to look at, the thermal carafe is difficult to use in practice:  pouring is sloppy, the (valveless) cap simply screws on or off; and, the carafe's build quality does not measure up to superior Nissan Thermos or Zojirushi stainless vacuum vessel standards.

Detailed Commentary

The Technivorm KB741  "drip" coffee maker (or, if you like ~ automated pour-over machine) is well matched by either the Bodum C-Mill blade or Solis Maestro Plus conical mill grinder;  a Rancilio Rocky or Mazzer Mini prosumer-grade coffee grinder is simply overkill for this technique ~ which requires only a medium (yet consistent) grind size.

The machine comes equipped with a standard, single-hole water outlet delivery pipe.  When placing your order with the primary US supplier, Boyd's Coffee of Portland, OR ~ request the optional, 9-hole pipe (less than $8 bucks) and keep the original pipe as a spare.

Further improvement is immediately apparent when the machine is used with a #4 SwissGold filter, rather than any brand (brown or white) paper filter cone element that we tested.

The supplied thermal carafe does not fit under the KB741 with its cap on.  Unlike the experience of a previous reviewer, the Nissan Thermos TGS-1500 1.6 Qt (1.5L) thermal carafe did not fit under our machine with its cap on, either (though it can be made to do so by simply raising the machine with a thin shim or otherwise clever mounting base).  However, we recommend using this well-made, Japanese thermal carafe alternative with this robust, Dutch-built coffee making machine.

Given these prerequisites, the KB741 really rocks!

What a simply great cup of coffee.  It is difficult to imagine any other automatic pour-over machine approaching the quality of beverage that the KB741 delivers.  Insofar as "drip" coffee makers go, this is as good as it gets.  But note well that this machine is, in essence ~ a "manually operated", hands-on appliance.  One cannot simply dial-in "4 cups of coffee", push a button and forget about it.  There is no buzzer or bell here:  You flip the ON switch, watch the water level (rapidly) go down the graded scale on the side of the clear plastic reservoir (with Lava Lamp or fish tank-like air bubble special effects :) while counting off  ...one...two...three...four cups ...ok, now flip it OFF.

It's quick, and it's HOT.  Perfect every time.  Distribution of the infused grounds (with the optional, multi-outlet hole pipe in place) is perfectly symmetric within the SwissGold filter cone.  No stirring or otherwise fiddling is required, or for that matter, advised.  Unlike the often touted French Press method, there is no need for you to immediately serve or otherwise de-cant the ready beverage from the thermal carafe.  And unlike many other, automatic "drip" coffee makers, (including the classic, "manual drip" CHEMEX hourglass), by delivering ready beverage directly to a thermal carafe, the KB741 Thermo has no need for a separate warming element, thermostat control, etc., and the inevitable degradation of quality that such post-production treatment incurs.

The only way one could make a better cup of coffee, with the "drip" or manual pour-over method, would be to forego ANY machine, and entirely DIY, thus:  bring water to boil and stabilize temperature at optimum; put a "showerhead" or "watering can" sprinkler on your kettle spout; stand there and manually pour hot water in measured bursts over a SwissGold filter inside a ceramic cone affixed to the top of a vacuum insulated thermos jug or carafe.  To do this well, you would have to know what you were doing...

...and to some extent, this is also true of the Technivorm KB741 Thermo.  What this machine does, and does so very well ~ is not "automatic drip" but to perfectly automate the fundamental pour-over process:  you get measured, well-distributed bursts of ideally heated water over the cone; ie., consistency is this machine's great promise.  How Much Coffee you should put into that cone, and How Much Hot Water you should allow the KB741 to flow ~ is something that you must Get A Feeling For, for any beverage quantity output goal.

This is one reason why a CONSISTENT grind, even though it is within the wide range of "medium" grain possibilities, is so important; and this is why a (better quality) BODUM-C blade or (better still) Solis Maestro burr grinder is recommended, thus.  With this remarkably consistent machine, you can and will taste the difference when ever YOU subtly change the grind size, or coffee quantity, for any given amount of hot water YOU choose to let your KB741 deliver.  Welcome to high-end coffee making:  coffee as YOU like to make it, rather than the way some engineer at a factory programmed some appliance to make coffee for you, and for everybody else.

It's nice to ride in the back seat of a Cadillac, to be driven ~ and there are beaucoup great automatic "drip" coffee machines built for this purpose (eg., the Newco OCS-8, or the Capresso CoffeeTEC).  But when YOU want to drive, you want to drive a good, no ~ a great machine:  You want a Technivorm KB741 Thermo ;-)

Buying Experience

Boyd Coffe Co., Portland, OR :  good communications, great service.

Sources for the Technivorm KB741 Thermo are limited within the USA.  Fortunately, Boyd's is a well-established coffee company and a good supplier / supporter of these wonderful Dutch import machines.

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review rating: 7.3
Posted: July 28, 2004, 5:34am
feedback: (4) comments | read | write
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