Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra Coffee Maker

Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit UltraMy kitchen coffee bar is sporting a new accessory this morning -- a Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit Ultra automatic drip coffee machine. Doesn't it look cozy next to the Espressione coffee grinder? I ordered this baby on ROASTe last week and it arrrived Tuesday, so I've had a couple of days to play with it and check it out. Here's the scoop on it.

A Little History

I'm not a great fan of coffee made in an ADC generally.I tend to like my coffee stronger and bolder than most auto drip makers can handle. In fact, when the drip coffee maker is my only choice for brewing coffee, I'll skim off the first cup as soon as there's enough to fill one... which, of course, shorts the rest of the pot of flavor. But hey, all's fair in love and coffee, right? The rest of the house is quite happy drinking weak coffee.

Before the BrewStation arrived, our drip coffeemaker was an 8-year old grind-and-brew model from Melitta. It was not a bad option in its early days -- but it's definitely seen better days. These days, the screen of the permanent filter basket has started pulling away from the plastic frame. The grinder stopped working after my roommate broke the latch on the showerhead lid and managed to strip the mechanics so the grinder doesn't work. In other words -- it was tired and needed replacing. The new drip coffee maker went on the back burner for a while, though, because I'm quite happy with my moka pot and the roomie just drinks brown water. However, I finally broke down and decided to replace it when the only way we could brew coffee in the ADC was to put a 5-pound bag of sugar on top of the lid to keep it closed and keep the brewer engaged.

My criteria was pretty simple. I wanted a drip coffee machine that was easy to use, made decent coffee and could make small pots as well as big ones. I also wanted one that would look good on the counter with the rest of my black and silver stuff. As you can see... it does do that.

The Hamilton Beach BrewStation Summit

So. The BrewStation arrived nicely packaged from Englewood Marketing Group just about 9 days after I ordered it. It's easy to put together and set up and we had a pot of coffee brewing just about 15 minutes after the UPS truck pulled away. Can you tell I'm a fan of instant gratification? After weeks of drinking nothing but moka pot coffee, the drip coffee took a little getting used to... but it was a decent cup of coffee. I didn't get the particulars at that point -- the roommate was standing there with his cup in hand -- but I whipped out the thermometer and stopwatch the next morning. The particulars for a 12-cup pot (that's 12 8-oz cups, of course):

8 minutes from pushing start to dispensing a cup of coffee

First cup of coffee dispensed at 192 F.

Second cup about 30 minutes later was 190 F.

I haven't bothered with a repeat performance, but those strike me as pretty good numbers for a fairly inexpensive drip coffeemaker.

The Pros

  • Consistent temperature
  • One-handed dispensing -- no carafe, no spilling. That's a major plus around here where I end up wiping up coffee spills off the coffee counter several times a day
  • Warmer keeps the coffe warm without burning it -- nice trick!
  • Brews over ice, regular or bold profile
  • Bold profile. You can press the bold button to brew your coffee stronger -- longer brew time.

The Cons

  • Filters. Le sigh. I'll pick up a permanent one for it eventually.
  • The coffee tank is a big plastic bucket. It lifts out so you can empty it, rinse it and fill it at the sink. The shape of it is awkward and it's almost impossible to pour water into the boiler tank without spilling it everywhere. It's a whole lot easier to fill the tank from a regular pitcher.

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