Thursday, December 15, 2005

The little engine that could

I live on coffee.

It's not a lifestyle undertaken lightly; for years, my coffee fix consisted only of a few small cups in the morning. But, given what my life has become , eventually the habit grew in proportion. First came the larger cups - glass canning jars, actually. The big ones.

Next came a parade of coffemakers that did everything but tap dance. Electronic timers that wake before you do. Pause 'n serve. Pause 'n Serve and turn-off by themselves. Coffeemakers with built-in grinders (messy beasts not recommended for the fainthearted.)

Mr. Coffee, Proctor Silex, Sunbeam...

I'm a coffeemaker slut and I've had you all.

Alas, the Mr. Coffee Thermal Carafe monstrosity, this huge, imposing beast my oldest used to refer to as "sexy", passed on Monday morning after only six months. I didn't position it correctly, causing a counter full of coffee and burned out electronics.

Being Christmas time with little frivolous income, another $60.00 coffee machine was not in the immediate future. So I did a little research and found this:

Not so sexy, huh? Hardly an adequate replacement for the gleaming stainless steel uber java machine, right?

Well, looks, and price, are deceiving.

The Braun Aromaster, at approximately $19.99, makes coffee unlike any I've ever tasted. It's fabulous - better than any in Arabica. Seriously. I'm taking a mug of it to my dad when we bring them dinner tonight.

Not sure what it is, but the Aromaster consistently rated highest in blind taste tests among consumers, according to this Consumer Reports article.

The Aromaster bested six other coffee machines priced between $100 and $300. And while I don't know why it's so good, after buying one I now understand why it won raves.

It has no electronics. No buzzers, bells or whistles. If you don't turn it off, it's not going to shut off.

But. . .

Maybe it's the gold filter, the temperate at which it brews, the water dispersal system that provides "fast, uniform saturation of coffee" or the alleged self-sealing carafe.

I seldom provide even verbal product endorsements, let alone write about products. So whatever the reason, Braun has really impressed me. The Mr. Coffee might look better, but it's bilge water compared to what the Braun creates.

It has but one downside - if one considers such things a downside - and that's an excess of caffeine. I feel like I'm 20 again, taking over-the-counter caffeine pills the night before a big exam. Maybe there's something in those gold filters?

The kids are spending the night away from home for the first time since October 2004, tomorrow night. Better lay off the coffee before then, or I'll be up all night dancing around the house.

Well, maybe I will be anyway, with or without coffee.
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