Review: Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffee Maker
I’ve never cared too much about automatic drip coffee makers and to be honest thought they brewed mediocre coffee at the best of times. However, due to a number of emails and Facebook messages asking for my opinion on the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew I thought I'd take a look to see what all of the fuss was about.
I wasn’t thrilled about the thought of spending money to buy the Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker as I knew it would just be placed in the back of a cupboard gathering dust once this review was done. So instead I made a few phone calls and managed to get my hands on a FlexBrew from a family friend, perfect!
Want to know if this drip coffee maker is any good? Keep on reading this review, and I’ll let you know how it performs its features and my overall impressions.
FlexBrew Standout Features
Hamilton Beach cornered the market a few years ago with the Two-Way Brewer. At the time that coffee maker was one of the most versatile automatic drip brewers in the market with the ability to brew not only a full pot of coffee but also an individual coffee mug too.
With the new FlexBrew, Hamilton Beach has built off the success of the former Two-Way Brewer. By keeping the much-loved features, adding some more, and then making a few tweaks to the design, they have made the FlexBrew even more versatile.
The FlexBrew is a nifty coffee maker that allows you to brew either a full carafe that’s good for up to 12 cups of coffee or you can choose single cup brewer on the left to make just enough for one. What I did like about the single cup selection is you have the option the brew using lose ground coffee via the built-in metal filter, or you can use your favorite k-cup with the pod holder insert.
If that wasn’t versatile enough, you also have the option the choose between brewing directly into your coffee mug or into a tall travel mug (up to 14 ounces from ground coffee), so you can take your coffee with you when you leave the house. Another smart addition to the FlexBrew is the metal shelf that can accommodate almost any standard sized coffee mug, so there is no need to worry that your favorite coffee mug is not going to fit. Unfortunately, there isn’t any travel mug supplied with the unit, but luckily I had my Bodum Travel French Press that I use for this review.
Let’s take a look at some of the features of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew. This does seem like a complicated coffee maker and to be honest I’m more of a manual pour over coffee maker guy, I can’t be doing with all of these buttons, buzzers, and timers. Luckily enough the 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker comes with a quick start guide with simple step-by-step brewing guidelines to get you up to speed of the various buttons and functions.
The face of the Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker is where you can fiddle with the different settings. It’s here that you can also see the clock as well as the indicator that shows you the brew mode you have chosen, such as regular or bold brew strength.
Next to this, you’ll see the dial which you simply turn to the right for single cup mode or to the left if you want to brew a full pot. When you select the single cup mode you then have the option the choose to use a coffee pod (K-cup) or loose ground coffee; you can set that with the button directly right below the blue lit clock display.
The Hamilton Beach coffee brewer also gives you the option the “set and forget.” Basically this means you can add your ground coffee to the filter basket, add your water to the boiler, and then set a preferred time for the FlexBrew to turn on and start brewing. This is perfect for those of you with hectic mornings when getting the kids ready for school often takes priority.
If you run out of the door in the morning and forget to turn the Hamilton Beach coffee maker off you needn’t worry because after two hours the brewer will automatically shut off.
Both sides of the machine have hotplates that also act as a trigger that allows to coffee to flow. A word of warning these hotplates can get hot, up to 400 degrees, in fact, so be careful you don’t want to burn yourself – trust me I found out the hard way.
I’m not a fan of automatic coffee makers, but I can understand the need for fast and efficient brewers, so yes they do have their place. With the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew, I particularity liked the combination of a larger carafe and the single cup serving, giving the best of both worlds. And with the additional option to use both coffee pods and loose ground coffee you really have a very versatile brewer on your hands.
What really matters is the coffee right? I’ll be frank, I wasn’t expecting much from the FlexBrew, but I was pleasantly surprised with the brewed coffee. Sure it’s nothing like what I’m used to when using the AeroPress or the Chemex, but it’s palatable.
Even though there is a slight learning curve, it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of how the FlexBrew works, especially after reading through the quick start guide.
If you have your mind set on buying an automatic drip coffee brewer that is super versatile I recommend that you take a look at this Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker. However, for me, It’s now boxed up, and on its way back to its owner, I’m still trying to convince her to try other brew methods, but she’s having none of it. Personally, I’ll be sticking my manual coffee brewing, but it was fun to see what all of the fuss was about.