Are you a fan of brewing coffee at home? Looking for an affordable machine that gives you all the bang for your buck? We’ve found a worthy machine to give you just what you’re looking for.
Meet the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2-Way Coffee Maker. This tiny machine is not only powerful, but its also efficient, easy to operate, and produces some delicious cups of joe. Read on to get the full run-down on this remarkable FlexBrew system by Hamilton.
The History of Hamilton
Specializing in making a variety of household appliances, Hamilton Beach has been around since 1910. That being said, they don’t specialize in making coffee makers specifically (like Mr. Coffee or Keurig). However, that doesn’t disqualify Hamilton Beach from making some pretty impressive coffee making machinery.
Hamilton Beach was created in 1904 by L.H. Hamilton and Chester Beach while employed at the U.S. Standard Electrical Works in Racine, Wisconsin. Up until the early 1900s, most electric motors were primarily for commercial use only, until the company began to make smaller engines for household appliances. Beach was a leader in this movement as he developed a universal motor to be used in household appliances.
After this, the pair of colleagues teamed up together to begin Hamilton Beach. The new company began manufacturing appliances like food mixers, pop-up toasters, irons, and of course, electric coffee makers. Primarily based in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, the company now sells around 34 million appliances per year.
Say “Hello” to the Hamilton
Hamilton Beach’s FlexBrew Two Way coffee maker is one of the more higher-end coffee appliances that the company makes. However, the great news is that though this machine is definitely made for the dedicated home coffee lover, it’s affordable for almost everyone.
The main perk of this machine is versatility. With two automatic brewing options, two water reservoirs, and the ability to brew both coffee grounds and K-cups and pods, this machine is basically unstoppable.
Carafe vs. Cup: A Rundown
Since this machine performs both brewing options, it’s nice to know what the differences are between these two brewing methods, and why having both options in one machine is so beneficial.
Carafes/Traditional Coffee Makers
Traditional drip coffee makers normally use carafes and are able to brew large quantities of coffee at a time. These coffee making machines have been around since the early-mid 1900s, and have found their way into many American homes.
A few downsides to traditional coffee makers is that you have to purchase paper filters or a reusable filter to brew coffee with. Likewise, most ground coffee comes in various sized bags that you might be stuck with if you accidentally buy a blend of coffee that you don’t really like. If you enjoy making a large batch of coffee all in one brew cycle to sip on throughout the day, then traditional drip coffee will become your best friend.
Comparatively, traditional coffee will save you more bang for your buck in the long run. Buying affordable items to brew in bulk will save you more money over a long period of time than K-cups or pods.
However, those who prefer the K-cup brewing method argue that where they don’t pay off in long-term affordability, they pay off with their efficiency. K-cups normally take around 1-2 minutes to brew, giving you a delicious cup of coffee in almost no time at all.
Not only are they helpful by brewing quickly, but they are also beneficial as far as allowing you to experience a wide variety of blends and flavors. Likewise, if you encounter a blend you don’t like, you only have one serving size of coffee that you lose. For those who enjoy a quick flavorful cup of coffee, K-cup servings would do perfectly.
Basic Accessories of the Hamilton
Before you buy, it’s nice to know exactly what you’re paying for–and all of the parts that come along with it. The FlexBrew comes with a carafe, a black funnel, a single-serve basket, and a K-cup basket.
Made of glass, the carafe is able to hold an impressive 12 cups of coffee. It has a sturdy, smooth handle that’s dependable enough to support the brewing the weight of so much coffee. The lid also flips upward, allowing you easy access to pour and refill the carafe. Not to mention it’s dishwasher safe.
The black funnel is placed in the single-serve side and should be used to brew every single-serve batch of coffee. This helps with the filtration process while brewing, and helps ensure that no loose coffee grounds accidentally slip into your final brew.
Single Serve Basket
This little basket is brownish-tan in color and is a permanent basket to place ground coffee in to brew a single-serve size cup of coffee. The basket should be placed inside of the black funnel in order to start the brewing process. If you want to use disposable K-cup blends, then you can simply remove this basket and use a K-cup instead.
This little grey basket is ideal for brewing K-cups. The basket will fit almost any K-cup size and make a delicious, strong cup of brew. It’ll also keep each cup steady and secure as the brewing process is taking place.
Hamilton Button How-To
With so much versatility in such a small frame, there’s a LOT that you can do with this machine. This can be a great thing, as it gives you several brewing options to choose between, but it can also be overwhelming when looking at all of the different selections to choose from. Here’s a quick run-down on the buttons that cover the face of the FlexBrew and what they do.
This button is as simple as it sounds. If you want a delicious cup of coffee to sip on, you can select “brew now” to get the brewing process started. This will notify the FlexBrew to go ahead and begin brewing a cup/carafe of coffee immediately, and will also automatically turn on the “keep warm” setting to keep your coffee nice and hot for up to two hours.
When you select “brew strength,” there are a few options that you can select from. There are two main brewing strength options: bold and regular. We’ll discuss the differences between the two a little later.
“Prog,” if you weren’t aware of it already, is short for “program.” This button allows you to select a future brewing time up to 24 hours in advance. However, this feature only works for the carafe side, not the single-serve side. Once you hit the “Prog” button, keep holding it down and push “set time” in order to program what time you’d like your carafe of coffee to brew.
This button allows you to select the current time to display on the FlexBrew’s screen. Selecting the time may not look like much, but programing the time will help the machine better perform brewing cycles that you’ve programmed several hours in advance.
If you’re looking for a full carafe of coffee, a whole whopping 12-cups worth, then this will be your favorite button. Pushing this button brews a large pot of coffee which is perfect if you’re got a long day ahead of you or if you have a large number of guests who are craving a cup of joe.
Pressing this button lets the FlexBrew know to prepare to brew for a single-serve size cup or coffee. You’ll press this button if you’re brewing with a K-cup, pod, or coffee grounds in a reusable K-cup basket.
When it comes to brewing, the FlexBrew is able to put on a pretty impressive performance. While harboring the ability to brew two different ways, it’s able to handle a heavy load when it comes to brewing capability.
Like we mentioned before, the FlexBrew has two main brewing strengths: bold and regular. Depending on how strong of a cup of coffee you’d like, you can choose between these two options to get a brew that’s best suited for you.
The “bold” option gives you a stronger brew to wake up with and kick-start your day. Since it’s primarily focused on flavor and caffeine extraction, it takes a little bit longer to brew. However, those who love a stronger cup of coffee will guarantee that the slightly longer wait is worth it.
There’s also an option for a “regular” brew strength, which takes a little less time and is a little less strong than the “bold” option. This brew is a great choice if you’re wanting to sip on a large amount of coffee in one sitting, or just want a light, quick, cup in the evenings.
Thankfully, both the carafe side and the single-serve side are able to brew with both of these settings. This flexibility is just one of the features that make the FlexBrew as versatile as it claims to be.
Since brew strength already influences timing, it’s helpful to know what to expect for brewing times for both the carafe setting and the single-serve option.
While brewing a carafe, it’ll take a little bit longer since you’re brewing a larger amount of coffee. It takes a little under a minute to brew each cup of coffee, so the maximum amount of time it should take to brew an entire pot should be around 10 minutes.
The single-serve option is beneficial for one main reason: efficiency. It only takes a couple of minutes to brew, so the wait for a flavorful amount of coffee is diminished.
Features We Love
There are SO many features on this machine to enjoy. Though it’s difficult to pick just a handful, here are some of the most efficient, professional, best-improved features on the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew.
The two-way brewing is the primary feature that gives the FlexBrew its name. Automatically having two options for brew sizes makes it more adequate and easier to get your desired amount of caffeine with just the push of a button.
Not only can you brew an impressive 12 cup batch of coffee on one side using the carafe, but you can also use a K-cup or pod to brew a small, single-serving size as well. So if you’re in a rush and need your cup of joe before running out the front door, all you have to do is pop the coffee in, and at the push of a button, your large or small brew is ready to sip on!
Two Water Reservoirs
With two brewing size options, having two water reservoirs makes it super convenient for brewing. Instead of having one large water reservoir, the machine has separate ones to more quickly select the water for the designated brew size it needs.
Each reservoir also has its own “water window” that allows you to keep an eye on how full the tank is. This makes it more efficient to check instead of having to open the top of the coffee maker to check how much water is left inside.
Another thing to love about the Hamilton besides its brewing ability is its compact size. About 13 inches tall and 12 inches wide, this versatile machine will fit on almost any kitchen counter space.
Storage Area In K-Cup Rest
One the single-serve side of the Hamilton, there is a small storage compartment underneath the drip tray to store a K-cup or pod(s) of coffee. And not only is there a small compartment inside the single-serve drip-tray stand, but the entire stand is also completely removable. This makes using the single-serve side easier to brew with a taller travel mug or a thermos.
Since most of the pieces are easily removable, the FlexBrew is super easy to clean. With a removable carafe, removable drip tray, and removable K-cup brewing pieces, not only are they all easy to clean, but all of the pieces are also dishwasher safe.
When it comes to deep cleaning the inside of the FlexBrew, you can rinse it thoroughly with a combination of 1 part white vinegar, 2 parts warm water. You can use this solution in both the carafe side and the single-serve side. After you run it through with this mixture, it’s best to run it through with warm water once or twice to remove any vinegar flavor leftover in the machine.
Features To Improve
Though we love the FlexBrew, there are always ways to improve some of these amazing features. Here are some of the things that we think this already great machine can be better at.
Carafe or Cup Settings
Though this machine is highly versatile already with its dual brewing capabilities, one thing that could make it almost perfect is the ability to brew both brewing methods at the same time. The machine is only able to brew on one side at a time, making it less efficient if you’re wanting to brew one blend of coffee in the carafe, and a different K-cup blend for yourself.
This also can be a slight annoyance with cleaning. When you run a cleaning mixture through the inside of the machine, you’re only able to do one side at a time instead of being able to clean both sides at the same time. If you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit more time, then this shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
No Programmable Single-Serve
Since the time that it takes to brew a single-serve size amount of coffee is only a couple of minutes, the FlexBrew does not have an option to schedule a single-serve brewing cycle. The single-serve option is already fast enough as it is, so the programmable feature if more efficient for the carafe side of the coffee machine.
Start-Up Time for Single Serve
Though the brewing time for the single-serve is shorter than the brewing time for a carafe of coffee, it’s much longer to brew than a regular Keurig. This dilemma is understandable since Keurigs are specifically designed to be able to brew K-cups efficiently and quickly.
For the FlexBrew, since it’s technically operating two different brewing methods, it takes a couple of minutes for the single-serve brewing side to officially begin brewing after you select the “brew now” button. So all in all, the brewing time for the single-serve side is an average of 4-6 minutes total.
Removing the Carafe
One great thing about the FlexBrew is that if you remove the carafe while the coffee is still brewing, the coffee flow will automatically stop, However, the downside of this is that the carafe must be replaced in under 20 seconds for coffee brewing to continue.
The verdict is that we’re pretty amazed by this little machine. If you’re looking for a dependable, sturdy home brewing machine, the FlexBrew is a worthy choice. Qualities like versatility and efficiency are absolutely guaranteed with the FlexBrew, and it’ll produce a delicious carafe or cup of coffee every time.