Close your eyes and picture the typical, budget drip coffee maker. Now imagine this humble device honed and crafted with an eye towards extreme artistry to the point where it could almost double as a work of modern sculpture, a la 1960. Next, demand that said gadget be hand-built in the Netherlands. I'll bet what you'd see standing before you when your vision cleared would be very close to the $299 Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741. It's priced in the UK at £200 and AU$379 in Australia.
Technivorm Moccamaster machines meet all of these criteria and are about the furthest thing from a cheap Mr. Coffee contraption as perhaps a fancy Italian espresso maker is to a single-serve, coffee-pod gizmo. You will pay a steep price to enter this world of premium coffee machines. That said, the Moccamaster has the power to make some truly outstanding coffee, especially with more premium beans. You can find more affordable, though still excellent gourmet drip machines, like the. While the Bunn makes coffee extremely quickly, it couldn't match the Moccamaster in terms of brewing a more flavorful brew with the same high-end roast. That alone is why I'd put the pricey machine on top. The Moccamaster KBT 741's intelligent design and artful style are just extra icing on this tasty coffee maker's cake.
Consisting of clean lines, sharp angles, and lots of negative space, to say the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 is attractive feels like an understatement. With its liberal use of metal, clear plastic, and to some extent glass, the Moccamaster is one of the most beautiful automatic coffee machines I've ever used, though I admit the Norwegian-made Wilfa Svart Precision just might be able to upstage it. Of course that appliance is even harder to find in the US than Technivorm gadgets.
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 or 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.
And this carafe isn't conventional either. Instead of the typical spout that graces more traditional coffee pots, the Moccamaster's carafe has a lip like a high-collared metal funnel. It's an odd shape, but there's a good reason for it. The carafe's funneled lip enables you to pour from it in practically any direction or angle; straight on, sideways, you name it. This coffee pot itself rests on a flat plastic pad (not a hot-plate, like numerous glass-carafed cousins Technivorm also sells) and sits inside a curved socket that stabilizes the container. Sliding the carafe into its station properly depresses a white button that acts as an additional safety measure.
For the brewing process to begin, this button must be pressed in conjunction with you flipping the On/Off switch. The idea here is that this setup helps you avoid the situation where scalding fluids start to flow from the machine when you least expect it or when the carafe is absent.
Despite its sleek form and metallic parts, the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT tips the scales at a relatively light 4.8 pounds (minus its 1.7-pound thermal carafe). It is a tall device though, reaching 15.5 inches at its highest point and not small either, spanning 10 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Indeed the Moccamaster is on the same scale as the massive(15 by 7 by 13 inches), though the Bunn's blocky build makes it seem even bigger.
Usability and features
After using the Moccamaster KBT for a little while, it became clear that the folks at Technivorm put a lot of thought into its function. Besides the aforementioned white safety button and funnel-lipped carafe, the coffee machine has other attributes, which makes it a breeze to operate.
The flat cover on its water tank is a cinch to remove and reveals a wide mouth that's easy to pour water into -- critical during those coordination-challenged predawn 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 washing the product's various components in a dishwasher -- especially the thermal carafe -- is verboten.
Preparing the uniquely designed Moccamaster, not to mention watching it run through its brewing process, is a huge part of the fun in using this machine. After filling the water tank, dropping a no. 4 paper filter (along with coffee grounds measured using the included scoop) into its brew-basket, simply swivel the water outlet arm into place (over the basket).