How to Select the Best Coffee Maker for Your Home or Office

Americans purchase over 14 million coffee makers each year. Since the population of our country is not growing that quickly, nor is the rate of coffee drinkers increasing by that number of people, that figure would seem to indicate that quite a few coffee makers break or are discarded every year. There’s a reason for this. The lion’s share of coffee makers in the US are cheap, plastic appliances that are not designed or manufactured to make great coffee and last a long time. The internal heating element is typically constructed of thin aluminum, which cannot withstand frequent use, and eventually it will fail to heat the water high enough (if at all). First, a brief discussion on what’s required to make great coffee. Temperature and freshness of the coffee are the two most important factors. Stale coffee that was roasted more than 30 days ago is not likely to make the same quality of coffee that you are used to drinking in some of the better coffee shop. This is an easy thing to fix. Buy your coffee in small enough quantities that you go through it within two weeks. Don’t freeze it, but keep it away from air and light, the two enemies of coffee beans. Oxidation sets in quickly, which will make the coffee taste stale and flat. Keep your beans in an airtight container in your cupboard, and grind right before brewing if at all possible.

That being said, let’s isolate this discussion to the actual machine. In order to brew coffee according to standards set by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), the water temperature must remain between 195 and 205 degrees and the brew cycle must conclude within 6 minutes. Most coffee makers are powered with around 900 watts, and the thin aluminum heating element takes a while to heat up. Meanwhile, the water is already flowing over the coffee grounds. As the heating element slowly heats the water, the temperature will rise from approximetely 160 degrees and will gain all the way to a near boiling point (212 degrees at most elevations). The trouble with this method is that coffee has thousands of volatile compounds that will dramatically affect the flavor of the coffee. Water that is either too cold or too hot will bring out bitter tasting compounds. The 160 degree water will negatively affect the flavor, then it will be compounded by water that is too hot at the end of the cycle.

The other problem is length of time. If you’ve ever left a bag of tea sitting in your cup for too long, you won’t appreciate the result – bitter, astringent tasting tea. The same is with coffee. Most coffee makers take from 10-12 minutes to complete the brew cycle. After six minutes of brewing, the water starts to pull bitter tasting compounds out of the ground coffee.

And that is why most home coffee makers make terrible tasting coffee.

Fortunately, there are few machines that are designed to brew coffee that way it should be. Here are two choices:

Those Dutch know their coffee:

Technivorm is a Dutch company that has been manufacturing coffee makers since 1964. They design and manufacture coffee makers that fulfill all of the requirements set out by the SCAA for good coffee, plus they design their machines with a playful juxtaposition of retro with modern styling.

Their flagship machine is the Technivorm KBT-741, which retails for $265. It boasts a copper heating element instead of aluminum and is powered by 1475 watts instead of the typical 900. The water is heated up quickly in the internal copper tubing, then is quickly pushed through a glass tube and over a metal spray arm to evenly saturate the coffee grinds. It does not have a hot plate so that the coffee will not be baked as it sits on the element. Instead, a high quality vacuum thermos ensures that the coffee will stay hot for hours. The Technivorm KBT741 is designed to withstand years of constant use, and should perform for many years without needing anything besides routine cleaning. It includes a 1 year warranty, and a brief perusal around the internet will show positive reviews of the Thebestcoffeemachinereviews.

Brews up to 8 Cups (43 oz.)
1475 Watts
15″H x 12″W x 7″D

The Technivorm is available at:

Clive Coffee with free shipping
Boyd Coffee with discounted shipping

Go bigand bold:

If you’re willing to spend a little more on a coffee maker, the Aqua Brew Express TE-216 makes hot, rich coffee and is designed to withstand constant use from an office or small restaurant. It is not for every kitchen, but for those that want a high quality machine with distinctive looks, the Aqua Brew is a good option. This machine uses advanced solid-state electronics and has a high quality, easy to maintain and clean exterior body that will last for many years.

Brews up to 14 Cups (74 oz.)
Plumbing Required
Shown with Professional and Ultimate Servers
120 Volts, 1715 Watts, 15 Amps
16″H x 9″W x 14″D

Steel Series 4D Professional Gaming Mousepad Review

If you are serious about Online Gaming, then some products become necessities. A good mouse, keyboard, mouse skates, video cards, and yes – even your mouse pad.
Paying more than $10 for a mouse pad sounds absolutely ridiculous to most normal people, and I admit, it took quite a bit of work to rationalize a reason to spend $20 on a new mouse pad. After buying my Razer Death Adder, I decided that such an awesome mouse deserved a good surface to be placed upon. I was pretty skeptical as to just what sort of benefits it could possibly provide, but I decided to bite the bullet and go out and buy one.

So I ran out to Micro Center to pick one up.. I get it home and open the packaging. I pulled out a super thin piece of plastic, put it to the side, and looked inside the box to find a little rubber textured sheet, and a small ziplock back including some instructions and mouse skates. I started to wonder if they forgot to add the mouse pad in the package, then I looked over at the piece of plastic I first pulled out of the package and took a look at it… WHOA.. THIS IS THE MOUSE PAD? I couldn’t help but think I was a huge sucker for paying $20 for an ultra thin piece of plastic.

After examining the mouse pad, you will see that it has 2 different sides. One side is a plastic textured surface. The other side is an ultra smooth, shiny, softer feeling surface. At first I had intended on using the smooth surface, as I figured it would offer the least friction between the mouse and the pad. So I grabbed the little rubber sheet that comes with the pad and placed it on the table, (it is placed under the pad to prevent it from sliding around your desk) placed the mouse pad on top of it smooth side up.

I place my mouse on it, excited to see how my mouse feels against it. I am stunned to find out that my infrared mouse makes absolutely NO movement against this surface.. The pointer on my screen was basically paralyzed against this surface. Now I’m feeling even more upset with myself.. What was I thinking? I start to wonder how I fell for this “professional gaming mouse” crap.

Alright… So I flipped the mouse pad over, hoping that the textured surface would work.. Luckily, it did.. I must say, it felt REALLY strange. I had been so used to the feel of a cloth mouse pad, that using the textured side of the pad almost felt like a slippery sandpaper. I was feeling a bit disappointed still, but I decided since I bought it, I might as well give it a chance.

After a good 15 minutes using the pad, it starts to become pretty apparent at just how superior this surface is.. Initially the texture feels strange, but that is simply because it isn’t what you are used to. My mouse would glide effortlessly over this surface, and I started to become pretty damn addicted to it.. I pulled out my cloth pad again just to see how it felt now, and it was HORRIBLE. The cloth pad feels smooth when it’s all you know, but when you switch to a surface like this, you start to see just how much friction there is with a cloth pad.

I loaded up counter-strike and I must say – I did see a noticeable difference at how much easier it was to precisely target someone’s head when you don’t have your pad creating drag on your mouse. When you are trying to move your mouse in very small increments on a cloth pad, that drag can be detrimental to your aim – but when you can effortlessly slide your mouse across a small section of the pad, aiming becomes noticeably easier.

I had never used mouse skates before, and I wondered if they would even make a difference on my mouse.. My Death Adder has Teflon Feet, and mouse skates are made of teflon.. But out of curiosity I stuck them on the bottom of my mouse feet anyway – deciding if anything, it would preserve the condition of my mouse’s feet.

Now I didn’t get to test this before I put the mouse skates on the mouse, because I just didn’t know.. But a few times I would bump my mouse with my hand, and it would literally slide from one side of the pad to the other with barely any force. I had to recreate this a few times, because I was just surprised that the surface, and teflon skates were so slick. It literally looks like a hockey puck sliding across ice.

Embarrassingly, I actually managed to bump my mouse with my arm a few times while typing to have my mouse slide completely off my table and fall onto my hardwood floor…

With all being said, I would definitely recommend the Steel Series 4D Professional Gaming Surface if you are looking to give yourself a bit more precision in your gaming. I’ve heard a lot of people saying good things about the Steel Series Ice Mat, and I would love to try one out some day. But in the end, I’m perfectly happy with this surface, and don’t see myself shelling out any more cash for a new pad. Give it a try


Turns out the smooth surface was created for ball mice. But lets be serious – what sort of gamer still uses ball mice? I didn’t have the chance to test it out. Just a little F.Y.I.