A general rule of thumb is that quality coffee makers don't come cheap. Electrolux hopes its new $150 (AU$215, £105) Expressionist Thermal Coffee Maker will buck the trend by brewing drip java well at a reasonable price. Disclosing plans to bring the small appliance to US shores at KBIS 2016, Electrolux equipped the Expressionist with hardware and thoughtful design touches typically reserved for premium coffee machines. These attributes include a big shower head for fast extraction, removable water tank, plus a thermal carafe.
I've encountered only a handful of automatic drip coffee makers under $200 that were worth the money. Specific examples are the extremely flexible Ninja Coffee Bar ($149, AU$210, £105) , the no-frills and speedy Bunn Velocity Brew BT ($170, AU$240, £120), and our Editor's' Choice award winning Bonavita BV1900TS ($190, AU$270, £130).
Enter the $150 Expressionist Thermal Coffee Maker. Its creator Electrolux claims it's every bit of a drip coffee brewing champ as other top performers in its price class. In fact, company representatives told me at KBIS 2016 that Expressionist will likely receive SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) approval. If so, the machine will join an exclusive group of crack coffee pots, such as the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 ($299, AU$425, £210), Bonavita BV1900TS ($190, AU$270, £130), and Oxo Barista Brain 12-cup Brewing System.
On the surface, the Expressionist Thermal Coffee Maker certainly looks like a worthwhile countertop brewer. Wearing a handsome skin of shiny stainless steel and packed into a compact, eye-catching trapezoidal shape, this device is distinctive. It features a double-walled thermal carafe as well to keep brewed java nice and hot for hours. Around back of the unit, however, is a true design oddity -- a removable water tank (10 cups). Constructed from clear plastic, detachable chambers like this usually reside inside fancy espresso machines like the Philips Saeco GranBaristo Avanti ($3,000, AU$4,275, £2,100) and Krups EA9010 ($2,500, AU$3,550, £1,750).
Like the Bonavita BV1900 and Oxo Barista Brain 12-cup, the Expressionist uses a big shower head (not a tiny dripper) to saturate its supply of coffee grounds quickly and evenly. Thoroughly and swiftly flushing water through grounds is essential for brewing delicious java. Another key factor is having H2O that's correctly heated. According to Electrolux, the Expressionist won't disappoint here either as the 1000 Watt machine supposedly has enough power to bring its water up to ideal temp (199.4 F, 93 C).
On sale now in the US for $150, the Electrolux Expressionist Thermal Coffee Maker is also available for purchase globally with approximately equivalent pricing.
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