Editor's note, September 30, 2014: This review shares many sections with the.
With a brand name like Moccamaster so highly regarded in coffee appreciation circles, it's hard to go wrong with any drip brewer hand-crafted by Technivorm. Even so, while the $330 Technivorm Moccamaster KBG 741 AO gets plenty right it fails to stand up against competition. Also sold in the UK at £150 and AU$380 in Australia, the KBG 741 AO boasts some laudable features such as a hotplate which is smart enough not to scald what it brews. The machine uses an automatic drip stop that cuts down on unwanted mess and the likelihood of nasty overflows.
That said the simple reality is this gadget doesn't make coffee as superbly as its less expensive sibling the. It also comes with a cheap, and frail-feeling glass carafe which is harder to decant than the KBT's sturdier thermal vessel. All of this makes the Moccamaster KBT 741 a wiser choice. For more options take a look at other we've reviewed.
The Moccamaster KBG 741 AO certainly doesn't fall far from in the Technivorm design tree. Just like its cousin the, or almost all of the company's premium Moccamaster devices for that matter, the 741 AO flaunts clean lines, sharp angles, and lots of negative space. With liberal use of metal, clear plastic, and to some extent glass, Moccamaster products are some of the most beautiful automatic coffee machines I've ever used.
The 741 AO is no exception and my particular test model pushes the design envelope even further by adding a splash of color. Indeed my review machine is a glossy pink reminiscent of a 1960's Cadillac. Driving home the retro look is text on the appliance's front face which spells out the word "clubline" in elegant cursive script. Thankfully this writing along with Technivorm and Moccamaster logos are small enough to remain discreet, even tasteful. Pink wouldn't necessarily be my first choice, but the 741 AO's pastel hue quickly grew on me since its color tone is restrained, not garish.
If brighter shades are what you're after Technivorm has you covered. The 741 AO comes in five more striking hues of "Red Metallic", "Fresh Green", "Grape", "Yellow Pepper" and "Red". Of course for those with a conservative bent will appreciate the machine's nine other color variations of silver, black, white not to mention something called "Satin" and "Anthracite".
Sprouting from the Moccamaster's flat, rectangular base is a trim, tall tower topped by a trapezoidal water tank. To the right of this clear enclosure sits a hard-plastic funnel that houses standard Type 4 paper filters and also accepts permanent gold filters. This brew basket rests on an a thin, black plastic platform which gives the distinct impression that the filter is floating above its tall stainless steel thermal carafe.
Unlike the, however, the KBG 741 AO's brew basket is equipped with an automatic drip stop mechanism. That means you don't have to remember to adjust the basket's drip aperture manually (open, ½ open, closed) as you do with the KBT 741. And while it offers less control, the AO's basket features a spring-loaded lever which closes when you remove the coffee maker's carafe.
There are other notable differences between the two models. First is that the 741 AO comes with a glass carafe (though with the same 10 cup capacity) as opposed to the KBT 741's thermal coffee pot which is crafted from sturdy stainless steel. Secondly, instead of a flat plastic footplate this AO Moccamaster boasts a genuine hotplate which is a feature quickly becoming a rarity among premium drip machines at least in the US.
Technivorm stressed to me though that average coffee machines rely on a single heating element to heat both water and warm their hotplates. This approach a Moccamaster rep explained is misguided since water heaters are way overpowered for this auxiliary job and tend to scorch coffee pots in no time. To this end the Moccamaster 741 AO flaunts two, a main copper heating element which jacks up the water temp to 200 degrees ASAP. The second heater actively works to keep your brew good and piping once it's made, but not so hot as to turn it to sludge.
Thanks to its sophisticated warming platform the 741 AO has two switches (instead of a solitary button), one for power and another to toggle the hotplate between "Hi" and "Low" settings. Selecting "Hi" or "Low" tells the hotplate's electric heater to flip between 45- and 65-watt modes for coffee at either 175 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 85 Celsius). And if you forget to switch the heater off, the Moccamaster 741 AO will automatically do so for you after 100 minutes.
Despite its sleek form and metallic parts, the Technivorm Moccamaster 741 AO weighs in at a manageable 5.7 pounds (2.6kg) and its glass carafe tips the scales at a negligible 13.6 ounces (385g). That said it's almost a pound (0.45kg) heavier than the Moccamaster 741 KBT (which is 4.8 pounds or 2.1kg minus its 1.7-pound, or 0.8kg, thermal carafe). Measuring 14.3 inches tall by 12.9 inches wide by 6 inches deep (36x33x15cm), however, the AO is a hair more compact and shorter than its thermal carafe-packing sibling (which is 15.5 by 10 by 6 inches; 40x25x15cm). Regardless both the Moccamasters are on the same scale as the massive(15x7x13 inches; 38x18x33cm), though the Bunn's blocky build makes it seem even bigger.
Usability and features
Thanks to its extremely similar design the Technivorm Moccamaster KBG 741 is almost as easy to use as the larger Moccamaster 741 KBT. For example the flat cover on its water tank is a snap to remove and boasts a wide mouth that's easy to pour water into -- a welcome asset in the pre-caffeinated, groggy morning hours. The same goes for the tank's clearly labeled water markings (written in both units of liters and cups).
And because most of the coffee machine's removable parts are large and modular, and they merely rest in place thanks to gravity, cleaning the Moccamaster by hand is pretty painless. Be advised, though, that Technivorm recommends against washing the product's various components in a dishwasher.