- From: "Jack Denver" <nunuvyer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:17:44 -0400
Here is a machine that has not gotten much attention on a.c.:
At its original $200 retail, not much of a deal. For $80, maybe?
A cup at a time machine that is made to use ground coffee (or any brand soft cup-at -a -time pod).
As far as I can tell the setup is this: there is a water reservoir (with built in carbon filter), a thermoblock and a low pressure vibe pump. And a motorized show head (like an espresso group) that can descend up and down like a motorized piston into a metal brew cup (not unlike an espresso brew basket but larger) that can take from 2 to 4 TB of coffee (up to maybe 20g) or 1 to 2 pods. After priming and a brief warmup time (2 mins) the piston descends to compact the puck and a vibe pump noisily and with much vibration pulses on and off - maybe 1/2 sec on, 1/2 sec off .until the selected amount of hot water (from 4 to 12 oz) has been pumped thru. Buzz,pause, buzz, pause - a real headache generator. Video here:
I assume the pulsing is to give the thermoblock time to "catch up" with the temperature. It may also improve extraction vs. a continuous pour - a sort of "squeezing the teabag" action.
When you are done the piston rises, leaving a compacted puck (or spent pods) that can be knocked out easily. A quick rinse of the brew basket and you are ready to brew the next cup, as many as you like at any time. A "clean" button lowers the piston so you can wipe the shower screen with a wet cloth. Or at least that's how it's supposed to work. There is a button for "bold" - dunno what it does.
The machine is made in China, is quite complex mechanically and electrically and the build quality is questionable. There are sensors that detect whether the brew basket is in place, etc. and these go bad. It has apparently been discontinued by Cuisinart and if one breaks now (under the generous 3 yr warranty) they give you a credit at the Cuisinart online store but not a new machine (since they don't have any more).
No idea what the brew temps or pressures are like, but it's not (for all the resemblance) an espresso machine and I suspect the pressure is much lower. But its not exactly a drip machine either. I assume that with the largest amount of coffee and the smallest amount of water selected (20g in 4 oz. of water) you get something that is close to moka coffee but I'm just going by the descriptions.
Any thoughts? Is it a poor man's Clover, an automated Aeropress or a piece-o-junk?
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