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What's the Best Instant Coffee Maker?

Or, How to Stop Buying Crappy Coffee Makers


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Modern coffee makers SUCK. Apparently all brands and models. Because they're short-lived and unreliable. This is especially appalling when you consider how simple and straightforward their job is, for many of us: simply keeping several cups of water sufficiently hot for making instant tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or instant oatmeal, etc., etc., etc., on demand.

[If you're one of those folks who go through all that extra trouble to brew your coffee, rather than simply drink instant, this page is not for you]

Over the years (decades, actually), we here have bought cheap ones, expensive ones, different brands and models, and all of them, without exception, crapped out on us sooner rather than later. So basically we've ended up paying an annual or semi-annual (or at times even more frequent) installment payment, merely to heat up a few daily cups of water. Sheesh! That's ridiculous!

So we finally decided we'd had it, and sought a more permanent solution. So to get the big picture on all this, I checked out the reviews on Amazon.com for coffee makers, electric kettles, hot pots, and hot plates (all the various related options).

I was surprised to discover that everyone considers it normal for their coffee makers, electric kettles, and hot pots to conk out in just a matter of months, forcing them to regularly buy new ones. An individual product's cost seemed to have little impact on its service life in customer reviews, with $50 and $100+ models often lasting little longer than the under $20 variety. And even the hot plates did only somewhat better in service life expectancy; not nearly as good as you might expect, even for $50 plus models.

Indeed, where coffee makers, electric kettles, and hot pots were concerned, people were more often concerned with BPA (bisphenol A) contamination from the plastics used (nasty stuff human beings absorb from handling things like grocery receipts, and ingesting substances which previously had contact with certain types of plastic, which messes with their hormone balance and may cause all sorts of dire health problems in the long term), or excessive corrosion in the heating elements or case of metal versions.

So what's the answer to the coffee maker problem, if you'd rather save your money and the environment by utilizing lots fewer disposable appliances, protect your personal health, and kick the damn corporations for building such shoddy stuff by reducing their sales and profits?

Go old fashioned on them! Get a nice sturdy tea kettle, and just let your household stove top keep it hot all day long, switching off the stove before going to bed.

An all or mostly glass or ceramic kettle should ease BPA and corrosion concerns, as well as have a minimal effect on beverage taste. Amazon had a popular one costing as low as $10 last time I checked:

Medelco 12-Cup Glass Stovetop Whistling Kettle

(Note that prices fluctuate, and tend to go up over time, so it may cost more than $10 later; I just hope it's still available when you read this)

Us, we're old and been around a long time, so had a ceramic coated metal kettle just sitting around that we could press into service (received it as a gift long ago).

But many of you won't even have to do that much! Because it's also possible to simply use the glass pot which came with your now dead coffee maker, too. They typically consist of a glass container with a plastic lid and handle. We probably have a dozen of these sitting in storage here, besides the one which came bundled with our latest dead appliance. So for now we're just letting that one sit on our stove, with the eye turned up to about 25% or less power.

I might note that people in Amazon reviews said if you turned the heat up too high on such things, you might melt the plastic handle-- so just don't do that. I expect most people will be fine NOT boiling their water in these things, just like we are. In which case the plastic handles should do fine.

And if you don't have an old glass pot from a now defunct coffee maker, and don't have the money to buy a new one, just ask around: there's literally millions of these sitting around in people's kitchen cabinets, garages, and basements! So you should be able to score a free one in most places. Heck: you may even find one along with its dead coffee maker in the nearest dumpster you run across (those coffee makers are always dying all over).

So that's how you can save anywhere from $20 to $100 a year for the rest of your life on your hot beverage drinking, and avoid the hassle and inconvenience of all those small appliances crapping out on you unexpectedly, and forcing you to shop for replacements.

Having been one myself, I understand the problem might be more complex for college students and others living in restricted quarters, with tiny budgets, and possibly clumsy room mates. In those circumstances, a full size kitchen stove might not be available, and leaving a hot plate on all day to keep the water hot in a pot might be unsafe. So perhaps the best option for replacing a coffee maker in that instance would be to simply use your compact microwave oven: something which most people will possess at this late date (and doing away with the coffee maker will free up precious shelf space in your room, while a microwave is more versatile than a coffee maker). A good microwave can likely heat up a cup of water in around 30-40 seconds. Just make sure you have a good ceramic cup you can use to contain your beverage!

You're welcome!

Copyright © 2015 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved.