Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
Works for me
on August 14, 2006
I have this machine, I've used it fairly heavily for a couple of weeks now, and so far, I love it!
Granted, I woudn't replace my high-quality bean grinder and drip coffee maker at home for any pod brewer. However, I have discovered that the single-serve pod brewer, like this Black & Decker, occupies a niche for me--on my desk at work (further discussion on this at the end) For that purpose, this machine has peformed admirably so far, as long as you use the proper pods.
The coffee is reasonably hot; the sizes produced have been consistent; the machine hasn't leaked at all; and it works quickly. It's a teensy bit on the loud side, but since it works for only a minute or so, this hasn't been any problem.
Perhaps one of its greatest bragging points over similar machines is that it's designed to accomodate tall vessels, like travel mugs. This is truly a great feature. Other machines accomodate nothing taller than a standard mug or coffee cup.
There are some general considerations, however about this, and in fact, any, pod brewer. To those who have tried pod machines and soon or immediately dismissed them because of poor coffee quality, I say this: It is possible to get passable, if not even decent, coffee out of these machines, but I have discovered that it takes some experimentation, and it is of the utmost inmportance to find the best pods for your particular brand of machine. Coffee quality varies wildly by the brand of pods/machine model combination, and I think it'e more due to pod and pod holder size/shape/construct than to the actual coffee inside.
Case in point with the Black & Decker GT300 system: I have found that using the Millstone pods, especially the Columbian Supremo Medium roast, Makes a pretty darn good cup of coffee. The Folger's pods work pretty well too, though the Millstone is better.
But I recently tried the Maxwell House Cafe Collection French Roast pods in the machine, and though I used two pods, I got back what looked like slightly tan water, rather than coffee.
I tried again with two pods, same result. Hoping the problem was with the pods and not the machine, I switched back to the Millstone pods, and everyting was great again.
I examined the situation, and came to the conjclusion that the Maxwell house pods are of a mildly different shape, the pouch having a slightly smaller diameter, and at least for this machine, this allows the water to mostly run around the outside of the pod and out, unsteeped, into the cup.
(Therefore I can't comment on the quality of the Maxwell House coffee, since I didn't get a proper brew sample in the first place.)
The Maxwell House pod problem notwithstanding, given the proper pods, and the proper niche, I'm enjoying the heck out of this machine.
More about the niche thing: I am a long-time lover of good coffee, but I don't have many reasonable options at work. We have a coffee club here, with a drip maker, but they always buy the cheapest canned store brand, and they leave it on the burner all day. Plus, there's the usual silent tussle about making the next pot if you finish it. How many coffee clubs have the problem of a half-cup sitting in the pot all day because no one wants to have to make the next pot?
That was one of three options I had available to me. The two were the local restaurant/cafe, which had inconvenient hours and unpredictable coffee quality/availability even when open, or climbing into my car and driving to the local Starbucks (no comments either way on Starbucks here.) Having my own drip machine or French press at my desk is way too much of a hassle and mess.
Given those options, I have found a pod machine, and specifically this Black & Decker, to be a more than satisfactory product for my needs. As long as I have the right pods :-]