I’m very fussy about my coffee maker. If it’s too expensive, too bulky, too complicated, too messy to clean, or too whatever, it doesn’t stand a chance in my three-cup-a-day kitchen. About a week ago, my sister-in-law visited and her son knocked my old coffee maker to the floor and broke it. She gave me the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew as a replacement and I’ve been very impressed so far! It’s one of the best coffee makers available and it’s perfect for anyone who wants a single serve coffee maker with the occasional K-Cup use.
I never considered buying a Keurig because of the high cost of the product, the cost per cup of the coffee, and especially the mixed reviews on the flavor. So when I received this Hamilton Beach coffee maker, I really wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised when I started using it. There are three ways to make your favorite coffee: by using regular ground which goes into the basket (no filters needed), by using a soft pod, or by using a K-Cup pack which can be easily inserted into the removable slide-in tray. To allow for different cup sizes, the lower portion of the unit lets you place either a large (travel) mug or you can flip it over to convert it into a taller ledge where you can then place a smaller mug.
The brew time is noticeably fast using this small coffee maker. Actually, it takes a little longer to start brewing but once it starts going, it flows faster than any other brewing machine I’ve ever owned (about three minutes on average)! Despite maxing out the water capacity at around 10 ounces, the coffee was not weak and did not taste odd. The water goes into the back of the machine and then you press a button and within minutes you’re drinking a nice hot cup o’Joe.
On the first day that I got the FlexBrew, I went out and found my favorite brand of Eight O’Clock coffee in K-Cups and on sale at a local supermarket. Setting up and using this machine was simple and fast and my first cup came out perfectly! The next day, I tested it with a Starbucks K-Cup and it made a nice full-bodied coffee which was perfect especially after adding some steamed milk. It came out hot, but not too hot, which was originally a concern of mine since there was no warming plate on the device. I also tested it using two tablespoons of loose grounds. Just drinking it black though was a bit too strong for my liking so I added some steamed milk again and this time it tasted sooooo good! I would recommend using one and a half tablespoons if you like to drink your coffee black.
Cleaning this single cup coffee maker is very fast and easy — just toss the used K-Cup in the trash, rinse the holder, pop it back in, and you’re done! If you’re using loose grounds, dump the grounds out first, rinse the holder, and put it back into the machine. One important note — after brewing ground coffee, you need to properly clean the scoop filter to prevent any unwanted build-up. The bottom of the scoop snaps open so all you have to do is run some warm water through it after every cup to prevent any possible clogging. By the way, the holder comes with a gold filter built right in so you don’t need disposable filters. However, the instructions do mention about running a solution of half a cup of white vinegar and water through the unit every month or so to further clean it out.
- Excellent tasting coffee using only one rounded scoop
- Less than half the price of an average Keurig machine
- Compatible with coffee grounds, K-Cup packs, or soft pods
- Easy-to-use and easy-to-clean (dishwasher-safe)
- Saves money on filters since you don’t need one
- Turns itself off automatically so you won’t leave it on by accident
- No need to boil water separately
- K-Cup packs cost per cup
- Coffee doesn’t come out piping out due to the time it takes to fully drip (about 4 minutes on average)
- 10-oz maximum brewing capacity
- Needs about 2 minutes of downtime between brews
- No warming plate
- No travel mug included
In all, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is an impressive machine at a very good price. The only downside is that it’s only a one cup coffee maker so don’t expect to use it when you have more than a handful of guests over. But for daily cups, there is nothing better. For a budget-minded person who wants a single brew machine that can handle any sized mug, this is the perfect option. The FlexBrew is great for the office too since using K-Cups mean easy clean-up and it’s also great for those mornings when you’re running late for a full pot of coffee. It’s a tall and thin machine so you can easily hide it behind other kitchen appliances without taking up too much counter space. The black stainless steel finish goes very well with the design and gives the unit an ultra-sleek modern look. I have other Hamilton Beach appliances and not been disappointed yet. I highly recommend this one!