I swear, coffeemakers are going to be the death of me. It should be easy. Buy a coffeemaker and it makes coffee for me. But no. I have coffeemaker drama.
It started a while back when I finally broke down and bought a Keurig. A single cup on demand! Sounds like coffee heaven, doesn’t it? My plan was to use it for single shots of decaf, while still using my regular coffeemaker to make sure there was a full pot of fully caffeinated brew waiting at 6 am. Sadly, I use a very large coffee mug and when Keurig says single cup, they mean one of those delicate little teacups that hold a few mouthfuls. Rather than go through the rigmarole of running the cycle twice, I brought it back and paid $5.00 for a jar of instant decaf.
So Friday was a snow day. A pretty nasty one, too, because it wasn’t just snow, but an ugly mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain. And I discovered, while fishing around in my dishwater, that the glass carafe from my coffeemaker had broken. Ouch, btw. My husband and I put on our boots, threw the truck in four-wheel-drive and went off to Walmart to buy a new coffeemaker.
We chose a simple GE coffeemaker because it was close to the one we’d had. It’s neither the cheapest nor the most expensive and, since I couldn’t remember if it’s the Mr. Coffee or the Black & Decker carafes that dribble coffee down the pot and onto the floor while you pour, GE it was.
First clue we didn’t pick a winner? No packaging, other than the big inserts that kept it from rattling around, and no book. Gah. I don’t really need the book, though, having had a similar model, so I pulled it out of the box for a cleaning run. Almost every plastic hinge on the damn thing was broken. Nice. (Dear Walmart: When somebody returns something all busted up, you don’t put it back on the shelf. Or rather, you’re not supposed to.)
It wouldn’t have been so bad if my husband wasn’t getting up at dark o’clock the next morning to meet some friends for snowmobiling. When you get up at dark o’clock, you want the coffee brewed and waiting for you. So my plan was to use the old coffeemaker with the new carafe. On Monday morning I’d wash up the carafe and take the broken coffeemaker back. I would have a little guilt about using it once or twice before returning it, but then again, they sold me a broken piece of junk that they’d obviously put back on the shelf after taking it back.
Guess what? The old coffeemaker didn’t work. My guess is that taking it out and dropping it on the cement pad of the porch so the husband could take it out to the garbage broke something inside of it. So…we put our boots on and put the truck in four-wheel-drive and slipped and slid our way back to Walmart. (Bonus—no lines, no waiting!)
We bought the same model, but we opened the box and checked it all over first. (And then we couldn’t get it back in the box properly, of course.) And despite the many horrific reviews on Walmart.com that I hadn’t read before I bought it, this one functions properly.
More or less.
It’s been my experience that, while using the permanent filters that come with coffeemakers may seem like a lovely, Earth-friendly idea, they leave a dark sludge in the coffee that’s really quite nasty. I had some basket-style paper filters left over from an old coffeemaker (pack rat FTW!) and used one of those the first night. Well, this coffeemaker has an oversized basket that’s supposed to be awesome for reasons not made clear. It’s twice as tall as the basket filter, so the filter folded up on itself and my coffee was full of grounds. Used the permanent filter Sunday and Monday nights and suffered through sludge at the bottom of my cup. (I looked at Walmart and they don’t have oversized, taller paper filters.)
After reading the horrible reviews I should have read before I bought the damn thing, I saw somebody mention using the cone filters (which is what my previous model used) because they’re taller, even though they’re not shaped to fit the filter basket. I tried it last night and my coffee this morning is neither full of grounds nor sludgy. But using a cone filter in a basket-shaped filter basket is just wrong. And it did fold up a little to one side. No grounds, but based on taste and color, I suspect more than a little water bypassed the grounds and ran into the pot for a nice diluted effect.
So much drama over something that’s supposed to be one of life’s little conveniences.
I think #1) I’m going to nurse it a little while, then claim it shit the bed and buy a Bunn or something. And #2) if you made it this far, I’m sorry my coffeemaker drama ran so long. I love my coffee.