Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Consumerist Blogging: A Thing to Love, A Thing to Scorn

I adore Guinness, really I do. But with all due love for Guinness, I think Guinness is really trying to be Rogue Brewery Shakespeare Stout.

All stouts deserving of the classification are going to be similar in flavor, so when I liken it to Guinness with less water and yet without the bitterness you'd expect from dehydrated Guinness, it's not a matter of merely saying "it tastes a lot like Guinness." It does taste a lot like Guinness, but it tastes noticeably better.

Damn it's good. It's strong and thick -- almost ready to be eaten with a fork rather than drunk from a glass. Get some if you can. Get some even if you can't.

And then there's this, the Cuisinart Grind-and-Brew machine (the DGB-900BC model if you're Cuisinart-geeking at home). The thermal carafe is excellent -- the coffee seems to stay warm for absurd lengths of time, longer than anyone really deserves when you get right down to it. And just try spilling coffee when pouring from this carafe, I dare you. You will fail.

But the good news ends there. There are two gigantic design flaws that make this machine worth considerably less than its current or any asking price:

  • The water intake is far too small. Why do Cuisinart's engineers expect people to wake up at the crack of dawn and find a way to thread 12 cups of water into such a small hole?
  • Worse, the grinder thingy. The grinder thingy's tendency to clog with grounds. The grinder thingy's maddening, infuriating, it's-fucking-two-fucking-hours-before-sunrise-and-it's-cold-and-I-need-caffeine-comma-so-why-isn't-this-goddamn-machine-grinding-beans-as-it-should tendency. I do not accept this tendency. I do not accept the concomitant injunction to clean the complex chute mechanism regularly as a condition of getting morning coffee. No. The game is not worth the candle.
Let me close my review by stating a general principle that I think will stand through the ages: a coffee maker that comes with an instructional DVD should not exist. Coffee makers -- we're talking coffee makers here, nothing more, not particle accelerators, not even espresso makers -- should never require that degree of visual aid. Something is cracked at the foundation of that undertaking.

It was a gift, and I appreciate the spirit of the gift. That said, don't give this as a gift. And don't get it for yourself.

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