I’ve been meaning for some time to do a regular series of posts about all the things I use regularly, and which I think have been life-changing in some form or another. Today, I begin this series with the all-important way to start the day.
Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm Stainless Coffeemaker
Let me start by saying this: I love coffee, and I love gadgets. The Capresso 455 CoffeeTEAM Therm Stainless Coffeemaker combines those two loves to earn one of the top spots on my all-time list of favorite things.
What makes the Capresso different than any other cofeemaker?
The Capresso 455 has few things going for it that make it stand above and beyond all of the cofeemakers I’ve tried historically:
- A built in bean grinder
A stainless steel thermal carafe, so there’s no hot plate required to keeep the coffee hot
A programmable interface to allow scheduled grinding/brewing
Conical Burr Grinder
The primary feature that drew me to this coffeemaker was the out of band grinder. With other grind and brew coffeemakers I had seen/tried, the grinder sits directly above the carafe, meaning it’s constantly getting steamed and gummed up, making the whole grind and brew process more trouble than it’s worth. However, the grinder on the Capresso 455 sits off to the side, with a filter bucket on a spring-loaded hinge. With this setup, the grind mechanism doesn’t get steamed, and pretty much never needs cleaned (though I double-check it every few months just to make sure all is well). I’ve done a few quick calculations, and based on the date I bought this unit (January, 2009) and the number of cups I make per day (around 10), I’ve ground about 8,500 cups worth of beans, without a single failure. This is a very set it and forget it device, and that’s refreshing in this world of oft-failing high-tech gadgetry. You simply pour in beans when the beans are getting low, and empty out and rinse the filter basket after brewing.
Stainless Steel Thermal Carafe
I wouldn’t have thought that this was a big deal when I was purchasing it, but having a portable coffee pot has proven to be a very handy feature with this coffeemaker. I usuaully work from home a few days a week, and my home office is a small jaunt from the kitchen, so if I want to bring the carafe with me to the office, I can just carry it along and refill as I get low. Even if you don’t have any need to move the carafe around, having the ability to keep coffee hot all day without even having a hotplate is a great feature. On other coffeemakers, I’ve had people empty the pot and forget to turn the hotplate off, which results in a scorched glass (and sometimes damaged pot). This unit doesn’t even have a hotplate, as it’s not needed. The cofee stays hot in the thermal carafe for many hours.
The other main feature that sets the Capresso 455 apart from other cofeemakers is it’s easy to use interface. You can program 4, 6, 8, or 10 cups at a time, and you can keep a separate setting for “Grind Now” versus a scheduled grind time. Once you have that set, you simply pour in your water as you’re going to sleep, and press the big “A” (for Auto) button, and then you have a pot of freshly ground and brewed coffee at the ready in the morning.
The one (easily fixable) flaw – a super small bean basket
The one major issue I had with this coffeemaker when I got it is that the bean basket is very small, so if you drink as much coffee as I do, you end up having to fill the basket pretty much every other day. Capresso sells a larger basket (Part 4455.7) , and I’d recommend it to anyone that bought this coffeemaker. Once I put the larger bean container on, I’ve never had an issue with the coffeemaker, other than ID10T errors.
It’s not totally idiot proof
There are a couple gotchas with the device which can still result in a big mess if you’re careless: leaving the lid up, and not having the carafe seated. If you leave the lid up, it will spray water all over the room, and if you don’t have the carafe seated, the auto-stop pour-while-brewing mechanism will cause the water to back up and overflow, resulting in a huge coffee mess all over the counter. However, those two things exist on pretty much every coffeemaker ever built, so I’m not counting that as a flaw of the product.
All in all, I feel this is probably one of the best investments I’ve made in kitchen. Sure, $168 (my original refurb unit’s purchase price) is a lot to spend on a coffeemaker, but it’s paid for itself several times over in the amount of use it’s received.
So where can I get one?
For some reason, Capresso doesn’t actively advertise this coffeemaker any more, so it’s hard to find on their website without a direct link, athough I’m not sure why. The direct link on their website has a purchase link at the bottom for $200, but you can also find refurb units quite a bit cheaper at Amazon ($119 when I last checked).
If you decide to buy one, or already have one, let me know what you think!