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Hamilton Beach BrewStation Review: Does Reasonable Price Mean Mediocre Coffee?

Coffee Geek Lab / Hamilton Beach BrewStation Review: Does Reasonable Price Mean Mediocre Coffee?

Hamilton Beach is probably one of the most famous kitchen equipment brands in the US. And, of course, it makes coffee machines. Today, we are going to take a close look at one particular model, the BrewStation 12-cup programmable coffee maker. This is the most popular machine in the BrewStation line. Let’s see whether this affordably priced coffee machine can deliver good quality and flavorful beverages. Or is it just a waste of money? Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Brewstation Review
A Quick Preview Now, technical specs don’t always give us the full picture of what a certain coffee maker can offer. Still, let’s take a quick look at the main features of the Hamilton Beach BrewStation coffee machine to get an idea of what we are dealing with:
  • brews up to 12 cups of coffee;
  • works with ground coffee;
  • enclosed brewing system with an internal heater;
  • keeps coffee hot for up to 4 hours;
  • programmable;
  • dispenses one cup at a time;
  • simple button controls;
  • bright LED display;
  • removable internal tank;
  • multiple brewing options;
  • dimensions: 15.16 x 11.03 x 8.19 inches.

What’s cool about the BrewStation is that it works just like an automatic drip coffee maker. However, with this model, you don’t have to deal with a carafe, which oftentimes results in spills and cool coffee. Instead, you can dispense one cup at a time straight into your favorite mug (or a travel one if you are on the go)

Design and Appearance

Now, I want to start my Hamilton Beach BrewStation review with its design (and I mean both internal and external).

When it comes to the appearance of this coffee maker, there’s not much going on. Which is a good thing, in my opinion. The BrewStation looks simple and minimalistic, with calm colors and clean lines. I feel like this coffee maker could fit into any kitchen interior without a problem.

The stainless steel details make it look a bit more expensive than it really is, which is a nice touch. There are six buttons on the front panel. This is enough to control your beverages but not enough to overwhelm you with countless knobs. And the large LED display could serve as a kitchen clock, which is quite practical.

Now, design-wise, this machine is quite smartly made. It has an insulated coffee tank instead of a carafe, which does a couple of things. Firstly, it eliminates the need for a hot plate. Secondly, you don’t have to deal with a carafe, which means no spills and no extra parts to clean. The internal reservoir works with brewer’s gentle heat, which keeps coffee warm for up to 4 hours. And yes, I am saying “warm” and not “hot” (despite what the manufacturer promises), but we will get to that later. There are see-through sections on both sides of the reservoir, so you will be able to see how much coffee you have left.

This model works with ground coffee and paper filters. It dispenses the brewed beverage straight into your cup or travel mug. Because there’s no carafe, there isn’t a hot plate either. The distance between the dispenser and the cup tray is enough for you to fit even taller cups (or glasses, in case you are making iced coffee).

Performance and Functionality

The next part of my Hamilton Beach BrewStation review is dedicated to its performance and operation. Here’s the deal:

This model comes without any bells and whistles. But it packs a nice set of features and combines all the necessary functions for a smooth coffee brewing process.

Now, you already know that it can brew 12 cups of coffee at a time. Yet, there’s also a “one to four cups” option allowing users to brew smaller quantities of coffee. You can control the brew strength (to a certain extent only, as there are two options). And you can adjust for how long you want the machine to keep your coffee warm in the reservoir.

Hamilton Beach BrewStation Functionality

Keep in mind that this model is quite tall. So, before buying it, make sure you have enough counter space (especially if you plan to place it under a cupboard or something like that). Also, you should know that this coffee maker has rubber feet. This means it will not be easy to move it over the counter without actually picking it up. So, it’s probably best to place it somewhere where you would always have access to it.

And while we’re on a subject of coffee temperature, let me share with you how the machine performs in this regard. The manufacturer promises that it will keep your beverage hot for up to 4 hours. Sounds impressive, right? Well, the reality is a bit different, though. I didn’t feel like my coffee was hot enough (even after just an hour). Yes, it remains warm and doesn’t cool completely, but it isn’t hot.

At the same time, there are some users who claim that their coffee gets boiled in the reservoir. I guess this happens when you program the coffee maker to keep the beverage hot for 4 hours. It simply heats it up too much.

So, it seems like you only have two options with the BrewStation: either a warm cup of coffee or a beverage that boils again and again (and loses its flavor, naturally).

What’s really great about this coffee maker is its programmable function. You can set it 24 hours in advance and get a freshly brewed beverage whenever you want. This is an ideal option for those who cannot even wake up properly without a cup of coffee. You can simply set the machine the night before and wake up to a freshly brewed beverage.

Coffee Taste

This might be the most important part of my Hamilton Beach BrewStation review. That’s what we buy coffee machines for in the first place, right? The way your beverage tastes can either ruin or save the “reputation” of any coffee maker. So, let’s talk about how this particular 12-cup model manages the task of brewing good coffee.

Here’s what you need to know:

As long as you use good quality coffee (and I suggest buying fresh beans and grinding them at home), your coffee will taste good. This BrewStation model works just like any dripping machine, so don’t expect your beverage to taste like a coffee shop quality one. Still, don’t expect your coffee to taste like trash either. This model delivers more than satisfactory flavor and taste, which is great for such a price.

There’s one more important factor you should keep in mind. Because this is a machine that brews coffee in large quantities, your beverage will lose its flavor gradually when being stored in the insulated reservoir. The longer it stays there, the weaker its flavor will be. This should be taken into consideration if you appreciate the freshness of your beverages. In this case, you should probably use the “one to four cups” function instead of the 12-cup brewing quantity.

Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Coffee Taste

Cleaning and Maintenance

If you are serious about your equipment, you definitely need to know how to clean this coffee maker. Thankfully, it isn’t that hard to do. For a simple maintenance, it’s enough to wipe the exterior using a damp cloth. The coffee reservoir is removable, so you can easily rinse it. Just don’t put it in a dishwasher, it’s not suitable for this kind of cleaning. Now, once in a while (depending on your water), you will need to descale the machine. The process is not complicated but does require some time. You will also need to buy a special descaling solution, which can be found online or in supermarkets.

Even though this coffee machine can brew up to 12 cups at a time, there’s also a “1 to 4 cups” option in case you need a smaller serving on any given day.

To descale your machine, you simply need to use your descaling solution instead of water and run a brewing cycle (without adding coffee grounds, of course). You will also need a few more hot water cycles to rinse the system thoroughly. It’s super easy to do but will require your presence. You will need to place mugs or containers to catch the water and control the cycles. So, prepare to spend around an hour every 3-6 months on descaling your machine.

Another thing you should know is that the removable reservoir might make a bigger mess since it tends to leak condensate every time it’s out of the machine. This isn’t such a huge issue (you will just need to wipe the condensate water off). However, I realize that when dealing with it constantly, this problem can be quite annoying for some users.

Hamilton Beach BrewStation Pros and Cons

Now, this coffee maker isn’t perfect. It does have some flaws, just like it has a ton of advantages. So, by looking at them side-by-side, you can probably form a picture of what this BrewStation coffee maker really is. So, let’s start with its strong sides. Here’s what this coffee machine has to offer:
  • affordable price;
  • sleek and clean design;
  • beverage customization and versatility in use;
  • 24-hour programmability;
  • good coffee quality;
  • can accommodate taller mugs;
  • keeps coffee warm for a few hours;
  • easy to clean;
  • user-friendly and easy to operate;
  • no carafe means no extra cleaning;
  • automatic shut-off for energy saving;
  • large and handy display.

This model is ideal for large households where coffee is the favorite beverage. It’s also a great option for people who drink coffee multiple times a day. So, even if you are a solo coffee lover, this machine would be suitable for you since it will keep you going through the day.

Now, moving on to the drawbacks:
  • quite tall, which means it may not be suitable for smaller spaces (keep in mind that if you want to place your machine under a cabinet, you will also need some extra space for the opening lid);
  • occasional leakage when taking the reservoir out;
  • the coffee tank is made of plastic;
  • the rubber feet make this machine stable but aren’t really great when it comes to moving it;
  • doesn’t actually keep your coffee hot, just warm;
  • may boil your beverage, which can compromise the flavor (although this doesn’t happen with all models, which means it can be an occasional manufacturing defect).

For Whom Is It the Best Coffee Maker?

Obviously, some users will love this machine, while others might hate it. So, which group do you belong to? Let’s see. You are going to love this BrewStation coffee maker if you:
  • have a tight budget and want something affordable;
  • want good coffee quality for a small price;
  • have a large family who loves coffee (or drink a lot of it during the day) and needs large batches of it;
  • have enough counter space and don’t mind using a tall machine;
  • want something simple and basic;
  • appreciate simple interface and a user-friendly design;
  • don’t mind occasional leaking when refilling the reservoir;
  • don’t worry about the plastic parts;
  • want large coffee quantities without a carafe;
  • appreciate customization, want to be in control of your beverages, and prefer having different options.

This model gives you the freedom to control your beverages, which is always a good thing. You can pick two strength levels (bold and regular) and even an iced coffee option. So, this means you can experiment with your drinks and adjust them according to your current mood and preferences.

So, how do you like this BrewStation coffee maker? Let us know if you have tried it and enjoyed it.

Julie Lambert

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