A machine that will make the most wonderful coffee for YEARS!
Positive Product Points
Makes the best coffee we've ever made ourselves, by far. So simple my husband could use it at 5am in the dark. This machine has excellent potential for longevity--its simplicity means fewer things to break, burn out, or just plain quit working (as our Krups did after two brief years). Heats to the optimal temperature for extracting the best flavor. Thermal carafe (with the lid screwed on) keeps our coffee piping hot for hours. Water is dispersed into the grounds in a shower-head type spray that soaks all the grounds pretty well, although I usually futz around and stir them anyway.
Negative Product Points
No timer for an automatic brew (this is a postive for coffee conniosseurs, but a negative if you're typically in a hurry in the morning). Not the most attractive machine to have out on the counter. It looks like something from the 60's, and not in a cute retro way. Hard to find (I researched for months before buying this machine and still only found three companies--all online--selling Technivorm in the US.
I've decided buying a coffee maker is a major life decision; as such, I've spent two months researching online the best machine for taste and quality within the $150-$200 range, and I am hoping my time investment and patience will pay off in the form of a machine that I will have and love for the next ten or so years. I've learned that most department store brands are built to survive around two years. My $100 Krups made it twenty three months. (Luckily, I had a DeLonghi capaccino maker going to waste in the basement that I've been using in the meantime, but my God! It takes forever to make two cups--not to mention the cleaning). After the explosion (or possibly implosion) of our Krups, my initial instinct was to run out and buy the new Cuisinart Grind and Brew because I like the idea of freshly grinding the beans before brewing. Then I considered that I could be spending $150 plus for a machine that might break down on me in a year. I calmed down and decided to read online reviews. I read about how, as I'd suspected, hundreds of people had had the same Krups coffee explosion problem that we'd had. I also learned that it seems the more things a coffee maker does, the more likely it is to have a part or two malfunction or quit within a couple of years. (There went my idea for the Grind and Brew--turns out the grinder doesn't last very long in many cases).
In the end, I really debated between a Capresso and the Technivorm. My husband's only request was for a thermal carafe, since I make the coffee when I get up at 5:30 and he doesn't roll out of bed until 7:30, long after I'm gone. One review of the Technivorm suggested buying a different thermal carafe for the Technivorm, but we've found that as long you screw the lid on (duh!) it actually holds the heat really well for hours. We opened the carafe four hours after brewing and still got steam.
I wanted something relatively simple to use, preferably something that would brew on its own with a timer (coffeegeeks everywhere are cringing, I know). This, however, was a feature I was willing to forego in exchange for better tasting coffee, which is what the Technivorm gives me. Our old Krups didn't even compare. I wanted to grind my own beans, but the blade grinder my hubby brought home was essentially a blender that left some beans only partially cut and others in a fine powder that ended up creeping through my Swissgold filter and into my cup. I want to be clear that the soot we got in our coffee is not a Technivorm problem, but a grinder problem. Either buy a quality grinder (you could be talking hundreds of dollars), or grind the beans at the grocery store a couple of times a week. We are going with the grocery grinder option since, A. The burr I want is $200, and B. While I like my coffee beans freshly ground, I don't necessarily have that kind of time every morning.
All in all, I love my Technivorm because of its ease of use; all I have to do is add water and grounds and turn it on. Clean up takes almost no time at all. I love it because it also allows me to be a coffee geek; I can lift the lid to the grounds, stir them around, let the water soak them for a while, and then release it for a half-way drip if I have the time and inclination. I love it because I genuinely believe, after months of research, that I will still be using this machine ten years from now; it is made out of actual metal, not the chrome painted plastic of so many other brands. Most of all, I love it because the flavor is so rich I don't miss my morning capaccino at all, and I especially don't miss the mess.
I found my Technivorm through Rojo's Roastery out of New Jersey. I also looked at Boyd's and Sweetmaria's to compare prices. The machine itself cost the same all three places, but I like being able to deal with an actual person, which is what I got by calling Rojo's. The guy I talked to, who I believe is the owner, shipped my machine that day, and he even tossed in some free gourmet coffee ( the company's own freshly roasted beans--SOLD!). I got personal service, free custom roasted coffee, and my machine (at my door two days later).