“I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but one morning last week I was interested to see a friend of mine struggling with a new coffee maker. It was too hard to use. This Cuisinart model, some sort of all-in-one grinder and percolator, was loaded with high-tech buttons that seemed to do everything except make coffee. My friend — a technologist and veteran coffee drinker — was stumped. Maybe Starbucks sells so much overpriced brew because no one knows *how* to make coffee any more.”
As I spend an inordinate amount of time at the curious intersection of the user experience and specialty coffee, I simply had to write…
“…it’s far worse than you realize. Not only are latter-day coffee makers atrocities of user design, they are examples of utterly failed engineering throughout. Even if you were to successfully articulate the proper sequence of button pressing and clock setting; even if you loaded just-roasted coffee and purified water in their respective reservoirs; even if you follow *every* instruction to seven decimal places, you’ll end up with lousy coffee.
Why? Because there isn’t a single “home-use” auto-drip coffee maker on the U.S. market that meets the essential standards for water temperature, brew-time, turbulence, and extraction rates proscribed by the Specialty Coffee Association of America [the preeminent specialty coffee trade association.] You’ll achieve great coffee only by manually wresting control of one or more of these factors by choosing a comparatively “primitive” brew method: a coffee press, manual vacuum pot, or manual drip filter.”
I don’t think Mark will follow-up on his original article… he’s found that the coffee community can be quite vocal, and apparently the Cuisinart in question has some fierce proponents. Personally, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such mixed reviews for a single product.