Others have written about the Technivorm. I agree with most of the prose here to date except for the guy who definitely thought it sucked. I have a slightly different viewpoint on the subject as I am a guy whose life and wife are dragging him kicking and screaming away from his Cona Vac Pot as the AM drug preparation device of choice.
Coffee preparation and ritual are deeply entrenched in our household. I have been in search of excellence in coffee for some time now. Through the old Coffeekid site, this site, and alt.coffee newsgroup, I moved from an electric Chemex drip machine into the world of espresso, vacuum pots, and home roasting. In our house, AM coffee has until recently been brewed in a Cona model D vacuum pot. Afternoon and evening coffees are made using a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine. Vacuum pots make the best non-espresso coffee of all coffee preparation methods, imo. But it takes about a half hour of pretty much undivided attention to make coffee in the Cona. Since my wife and I have embarked on a serious Olympic sailing campaign, we don't have a whole lot of spare time. I've had to backtrack from home roasting for the most part, and also look for a less time consuming method of brewing AM coffee. Enter the Technivorm.
I bought the Technivorm because it is reported to produce hot enough water for proper brewing. The reports are correct. Mine produces 201 Degree water.
Some say the aesthetics are funky. I personally like them a lot and the Technivorm is way different from other drip coffeemakers. So not only does it make hot water that is hot enough, the Techivorm is cool looking as well. In person, it looks much better than it does in the picture at Boyd's Coffee's website.
Quality of construction appears first rate, as well it should for the cost of the machine. The stainless steel housing is very solid and nicely finished. The switches feel robust. The water receptacle is clear and one can easily see if the machine has any scale built up inside. I like the carafe design. I was under the impression that the Technivorm machines had a quirk whereby the heating element could stay on when no water was present in the reservoir, such as after brewing a pot. The first time I ran the machine, I heard a soft click as the reservoir became empty. Boiling action ceased quickly afterward indicating that a shutoff switch does indeed exist. I asked Boyd's about this and they confirmed that there is indeed a microswitch that shuts off the heating element when the water in the reservoir empties out. In addition, there is a switch that shuts off the machine if you remove the carafe. Seems reasonable to me. The stainless steel spigot swivels out of the way for positioning the filter basket over the carafe. The filter basket sits on top of a platic shelf. Design of the shelf is good and it is sufficiently strong. Basket design seems good as well, although I do think that there is potential for leaving the flow rate switch on the basket closed on sleepy mornings. I haven't tested this out yet, but leaving the switch closed may mean that you wake up by mopping the counter and cursing, rather than ingesting caffienated elixir. Now - a diatribe about cup volume. I dont know who the moron was that decided how big a coffee cup was, but as you know, a coffee cup is not 8 ounces of fluid - it's some annoying quantity less and it seems to vary all over the place. The Technivorm purports to make 10 cups. It makes slightly more coffee than my Cona model D vac pot - prolly 35 ounces total. Ten cups my yass. For my wife and myself, this is just about perfect. For more people, such as all of you polygamists out there, the volume may be a bit on the shy side and may cause intra family strife, a common irritant.
Brewing is pretty damn easy and painless. Slide the spigot out of the way, install a #4 Melitta style filter into the basket. Grind some coffee and shove the grounds into the filter enhanced basket. Rotate the spigot front and center. Then turn on the switch. I give the slurry and grounds a stir once the water starts blurshing out because the spigot has only one hole and no shower head. I intend to stick a dispersion device there because I am an incorrigible fiddler and because i think this is one area where the Tecnivorm can be improved. Once brewed, the heating element automatically turns off. The element turns off if you remove the carafe as well. Brewing is complete in a short period of time - around 6 mins for the full 10 cups.
My goal in purchasing the Technivorm was to simplify my AM life while at the same time retreating as little as possible from the complex coffee tastes produced by brewing freshly roasted coffee in a vacuum pot. If one takes the trouble to stir the grounds once or twice, the Tecnivorm produces coffee that is almost as good as the Cona. Certain notes are lacking, but they are also lacking in the Chemex manual drip process as well, a drip coffee making process that is held in high regard and one that we are also quite familiar with. The Cona vac pot uses a simple glass rod as a filter. This allows oils and extremely fine sediment to pass through. Perhaps the missing flavors are those of the oils and sediment. Perhaps they can be restored through the use of one of those gold perforated foil filters rather than using paper filters.
I'm glad I bought a Technivorm. It looks way cool. The construction is first rate - worth the money. Most importantly, it produces coffee almost the equal of my Cona Vacuum pot. That's a significant achievement. If you don't have time to make vac pot coffee in the morning, and if you want something a bit different, then check out the Technivorm.