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The Hamilton Beach BrewStation® 40-Cup Urn (Model 40514): a review
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Published Monday, December 30, 2013 @ 11:29 AM EST
Dec 30 2013

I swear there's a person at Hamilton Beach whose sole function is to review products before they're manufactured to make certain each contains at least one maddeningly stupid design flaw.

The last Brewmaster® I owned had the dispensing spout so close to the side of the coffeemaker that you could only use "regular" thin-walled coffee cups. Have an insulated cup or one with a slight lip? Watch the amazing Brewmaster® as the coffee pours down the outside walls of your cup!

When I saw this model in the store, I thought... aha! An aluminium pot with a hole in the side! How can you possibly screw this up?

Oh, Hamilton Beach, you adorable knuckleheads... I underestimated you.


At ten cups, the flow slows to a trickle. At six cups, it's below the spout opening. But don't tip the pot, because safety!


This coffee is what's left below the spout opening. It exists to remind you that perfection is a goal to be attempted, not achieved.

As the photos show, at the ten cup mark (60 ounces, using the six-ounce coffee cup standard), the coffee level reaches the top of the spout and the flow slows to a maddening trickle. At four cups (24 ounces), the coffee level drops below the spout. Since the instructions admonish the user not to tip the pot, this means you're waiting forever for the last six accessible cups, and throwing away the remaining four.

So, you may ask, why buy this sterling example of a badly-engineered consumer product and recommend it to others?

Well, it's cheap. It's well-made. It brews ok. It keeps the coffee hot. Its irritating behavior doesn't begin until the bottom of the pot, at which point you should be sufficiently caffeinated to deal with it without flying into a seething rage or collapsing, sobbing uncontrollably, into a fetal position on the kitchen floor.

If your household drinks a lot of coffee, it's more convenient than making several 10-12 cup pots.

And in some perverse way, the fact each Hamilton Beach coffeemaker I've ever owned has had some dumb design element is somewhat endearing.

I picture a decent, dedicated guy in Ohio somewhere working feverishly to come up with the Next Great Thing and, just like Wile E. Coyote, being crushed when the first manufacturing run from China comes in and he realizes he just designed a coffee pot capable of dispensing only 90% of what it produces.

And then some middle manager-type, like Lumbergh in Office Space, saunters over to his cubicle and says, "Ah. Yeah. So I guess we should probably go ahead and have a little talk. Hmm?"

Hey guy, it happens. Hang in there. I'm rooting for you.

Which is why I keep buying HB coffeemakers. It gives me something to anticipate in my advancing years. I used to say I hope I live to see my grandchildren. Now I say I hope I live to see HB produce the perfect coffeemaker.

Who knows? Perhaps when I buy my next unit in two years (the average HB coffeemaker lifespan; about a nickel a day, which isn't bad), they'll have a 16 cup unit with a programmable timer, a spout design that accommodates cups of all sizes, and a pot that fully empties.

And, just for old times' sake, a power cord that's only three inches long.


Categories: KGB Opinion, WTF?


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« Quotes of the day: Rudyard Kipling
Home Page
Out with the old... »