Donated by EverythingKitchens.com
Reviewed by: Brook Elliott
It was a simple concept. Hot water would slowly ooze through a cone of ground coffee, steeping instead of boiling. This produced a clear, clean brew, with no muddiness or bitter oils.
Until then, most Americans made coffee in a stovetop percolator. A small minority, who’d been exposed to European culture, used presses. Many of them, perhaps as many as half, switched to the drip method. Plus a fair number of former perkers switched as well. And there things sat. Maybe 90% continued with their percolators, and the rest were evenly split using other methods.
Soon enough, however, electric drip machines appeared on the scene. Their number one appeal: Convenience. Fill the reservoir with water, measure the right quantity of coffee, push a button, and walk away. The coffee virtually brewed itself.
Through the years the only thing that changed were the features built-in to the machines. Timers, and automatic shut-offs, and systems that stopped the cycle when the carafe was removed from its base all contributed to the growing popularity of drip coffeemakers. Most recent advance: Programmable coffeemakers that allow various functions and performance levels.
At base, however, the cup you enjoy from today’s sophisticated coffeemakers is no different than the one you made manually pouring water through a filtered cone back in the 1960s.
So, with one exception, having to do with water quality, it’s the features that make a difference, not the brew they produce. And, when it comes to features, the Krups KM 8000 is loaded.
The Krups KM8105 coffee maker is a commercial type coffeemaker, styled for home use. It’s a handsome unit, with a die-cast chassis finished in a brushed-stainless look. The control panel, mounted at the top, slopes backwards, and features a large LCD screen and easy-access, soft-touch control buttons. The coffee drawer, front mounted, under the control panel, has a removable brew basket, a large, soft-touch handle, and a magnetic safety lock. With that last it’s impossible for the machine to cycle if the coffee drawer is not installed properly. Having more than once, in the past, brewed a pot with a coffee filter out of alignment, I really appreciate that feature. Trust me, if you’ve never had it happen, you don’t need that grief first thing in the Aunt Emma.
The mag-lock engages with a very audible sound, so there’s no question about it being properly in place.
The 12-cup (if you consider five ounces a cup) water tank is removable by lifting a large, hinged handle, and includes an integral, replaceable filtration system. Another nice touch! It’s one thing to recommend using distilled water for the best brew. But the reality is, most of us use tap water, and the filter is the next best thing to mineral- and chlorine-free H20. The downside is that the filters (which last 2-4 months, depending on the hardness of your water, with a range of from 80 to 120 uses) are only available from Krups. And, at 15 bucks a throw, they aren’t exactly cheap.
The unit works without the filter, however, so you can opt not to use it if you desire. Although the manual doesn’t say so, I imagine not using the filter means descaling more often.
The tank has a pressure valve, and doesn’t allow water to pass unless fitted precisely into the valve recess. To accomplish this the tank fits against a molded-in slide, which it rides up and down as necessary. In theory, this should line up the two parts of the pressure valve. But, in fact, there is far too much slop, and you have to use both hands to assure they mate properly. This sometimes take a bit of jiggery-pokery to accomplish, and, in my opinion, is a major design flaw. At this price range (the unit lists at about $150) I’d expect closer tolerances.
All of this comes with a relatively large footprint. The base measures 9 x 9 inches, and the unit towers almost 14 inches high. If you have limited counter space, this might not be the best coffeemaker for you. But if space is not at a premium, it fits with almost any modern décor.
A coffeemaker is only as good as its controls. Here the Krups KM8105 coffee maker really shines. For starters, the panel includes a relatively large, high-contrast LCD screen that’s very easy to read. Normally a clock is displayed in the screen, which can be programmed either to AM/PM or 24-hour modes. Flanking the clock on the right is a button used to program various functions, an hour and minute button, and a descaling button, used when that job becomes necessary. No need to keep track, though, because the unit automatically tells you when descaling is due by flashing an icon in the display screen.
On the left is an on-off button, and an auto-on control.
Programming the unit is easy. But there’s a learning curve, because, as seems to be the modern trend, the manual is unclear and ambiguous at times. And there is some contradictory information provided. On the box, for example, it’s claimed there is a dual auto-on ability, which allows you to set different start times for weekday and weekend use. Maybe so? But there is nothing about that in the manual, and there is no way I can figure out to set more than one start time.
There are several programmable functions, though. You can use the on-off button for immediate brewing. Or you can program in a start time. Perfect for mornings, if you ask me. You fill the water tank, load the coffee drawer (which, by the way, can use either disposable or permanent filters), set the machine, and awake to a freshly brewed pot of coffee. If you’re going to sleep in on weekends, don’t forget to reprogram it.
Or maybe not. The unit can be programmed to keep coffee warm for quite some time. It defaults to two hours, before shutting off the hotplate. But you can adjust that, in 30 minute increments, for anything from a half hour to three hours.
As with most modern coffeemakers, if you remove the carafe during the brew cycle, coffee will cease flowing. The Krups system uses another pressure valve to accomplish this. Putting the carafe in place lifts and opens the valve. However, hot water continues entering the coffee cone, and there is a danger of it overflowing if the carafe is out of place for more than 20 seconds. Something to be aware of, particularly when stumbling around in the morning, with your eyes only half-opened. Better to set the auto-start to finish brewing before you pour that first cup.
Speaking of the carafe, it’s glass, with a built-on plastic collar and hinged lid. Friend Wife initially disliked it, because cleaning was awkward as she couldn’t figure how to remove the lid. There are no instructions about this in the manual, other than a recommendation to wash the carafe by hand with mild detergent.
Turns out the lid is attached to a fitting on the collar. Two short pins pop into detents in the lid. A sharp twist and the lid pops off.
I haven’t had the unit long enough for this to become a problem. But, if history is any clue, I have to wonder how many times that can be done before the pins wear down and the lid no longer attaches to the carafe? Near as I can determine, the handle and collar are all of a piece, and not removable. Which means, of course, that sooner or later the carafe will have to be replaced.
Other than that, cleaning is a snap. The removable coffee cone can be washed by hand in warm, soapy water, or cleaned on the top shelf of a dishwasher. For the rest, a wipe-down with a damp cloth or sponge is all it takes.
Despite the identified flaws, I really like this machine. It’s a bit pricey, to be sure. But the features, particularly the built-in filtration system, make it a good value for the bucks.
More Krups Coffee are available at: EverythingKitchens.com