Time to put the kettle on

By Mir
August 31, 2006

Have I mentioned that the kids are back to school? Have you noticed how serene I am, sitting here at my desk, sipping my coffee which is still warm and enjoying the peace and quiet?


Heather is not sipping her coffee. Because a terrible tragedy has befallen her:

So, my parents were visiting this weekend and broke my coffee pot. (Don’t ask.) It was one of those nice thermal-carafe ones that we got as a wedding gift. I’m thinking about upgrading, though, since it’s now kaput. I was looking at those models that grind the beans and brew the coffee (and if there’s a thermal carafe thingie, so much the better). So, I come to you, oh pretty one, to see if you have any coffee pot-buying mojo … Help!

No one should be coffeeless. It’s too tragic!

The first thing I did was to mail Heather back immediately and tell her not to buy a combo machine. I know that at first blush it seems like such a good idea, to have your grinder and brewer all part of the same thing. I understand the lure of it, I do. But for the most part the reviews of such machines are overwhelmingly mediocre, for one thing. For another, if the grinder part dies you now need a new grinder (but still have a huge unit sitting on your counter) and if the brewing part dies you now have the world’s largest grinder. Plus, they’re harder to clean.

Just say no to the all-in-one, kids.

The next thing I did was to go online and look for the current Gevalia offers, because my last 2 coffeemakers have been the free ones from Gevalia and I’ve loved them both.

Okay; they’re not really free. But they are a very cheap way to get a mid-level machine. You join their coffee club with your special code, and for just $14.95 (that includes shipping) you get a pound of their coffee (and I happen to like their coffee) and a coffeemaker. After you receive your package, cancel out of the club unless you want automatic monthly shipments of coffee.

Imagine my joy upon discovering that the More Stuff 4 Less Bargain Blog has the big ol’ list of Gevalia codes up. (Don’t go abandoning Want Not for them, though. They don’t know how to spell Gevalia, and I’m prettier.) Anyway, pick your code from their list, and then go plug it in here.

[I’m currently using the thermal carafe model featured in offer 112714, and it keeps the coffee hot all day long. Love it. It also appears to be available for just $10 right now. If you’re not looking for thermal, their current default offer features a nice stainless programmable model.]

But what if you really want some specific, expensive machine? Hey, I’m not gonna stop you. Just look for it on clearance. But unless you’re a real coffee snob—not that there’s anything wrong with that—I say go for one of the Gevalia deals.

Now. About a grinder. If you don’t already know this, get a burr grinder. You can pay big bucks for a grinder, but as long as it’s a burr rather than a blade, that’s not necessary, really. Standard bargain sleuth rules then apply: Read the reviews, look for the best price, and get a unit you’ll be happy with for the long haul. (Don’t get the cheap one that you think is ugly; likewise, don’t get the good-looking one with the lousy reviews.)

[I own a Melitta burr grinder that was reviewed as being sufficient but requiring frequent cleaning. I picked it up on clearance for $5. Cleaning it moderately often hasn’t bothered me any.]

I hope this helps, and that you’ll be enjoying some fresh coffee again very soon. Heather? Heather! Wake up!!


  1. I need to give a hearty second to the DON’T BUY a combo machine. My landlords left theirs in my house as a “Welcome to our Home/We forgot to pack/we hated it and you’ll see why” Gift. I used it for a few months, until I pull my old pot out of storage. I have two (personal use) reasons not to bother.
    1. They SUCK to clean. I so don’t like pulling the thing apart DAILY to clean it out. The steam from the hot coffee turnes the grinds not fully shot into the basket into concrete. You have to clean at least 3 parts daily and that didn’t include the permenant basket.
    2. If you don’t get it put back together right EXACTLY, you will have coffee grounds EVERYWHERE. See point the first.

    So, I now go with the grinder and separate pot solution. And it works very well.

    But I noticed that Mir didn’t mention my other big issue on coffee pots. Own a back-up. Yes, I upgraded my pot a few years back to a thermal with a clock, but I store the old Mr. Coffee I had for years. Reason? PARTIES. Yes, when you need to make 14 cups of coffee quickly, you need two pots — or you have a ‘half caf’ crowd. Plus, if one of them breaks, I don’t have an emergency on my hands and thus could potentially avoid buying full price. (See, I may buy new cars — but dangit if I’m going to pay full price for my coffee pot.)

  2. I second the backup! But I’ve also managed with a second pot with a warmer and one coffee maker. I could invest in a carafe though, and make the coffee ahead of time.

  3. My husband is the coffee guru in our house and loves his Gevalia pot, he also has the separate grinder so that he only really has to clean that out daily but the pot can go every couple of days. We have his old pot in the garage as back up because there is no way I’m living with him without his coffee in the am! I am a tea drinker and therefore much easier to live with 🙂

  4. This is Heather, of broken coffee pot fame. Just wanted to say thanks for the tips. I hadn’t thought of going the Gevalia route. That’s a wonderful idea (that’s why I like you so much). Since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house, I’ve just been using my little one-cup Melita filter-holder thingie. But I think I’m going to look into the Gevalia deal soon. (It’s a pain to use that one-cup brewer with company).

    Thanks again!


  5. Another tip for those of us who like espresso…

    The cheap way to make a very decent cup of java is to get one of those stovetop metal jobbies. Mine’s aluminum, but some also make them out of stainless. Even better, go to a Hispanic store, and get it dirt cheap. The same unit that goes for $40 at Williams-Sonoma I got for $7. NOT on clearance. Just at the right place.

    Cavet: The stovetop unit is good for 1-2 people, since they are not very big. You’d still need something else for parties, etc.

    Italians (and Puerto Ricans!) have been using the stovetop system for years. It works great, with little fuss.

    Also, our local BigLots has cans of Melitta ground coffee for $2.75. IMHO, it’s as good as premium coffee at $14/can or higher. And I’m an admitted coffee snob.

    Starbucks baristas, eat your heart out. My latte costs me about $0.25/cup.

  6. OK, I guess I am a coffee snob.

    1st of course, is another no vote for the combo machines, but I will add my additional snobby reason. If you are going to make the effort for good coffee and buy beans, why would you leave them “out” in an unsealed container, atop the coffee machine? Quite impractical.

    For me however, I despise Gevalia. For a number of reasons. First they are about as close to spammers as a “real” company can get. Second, the coffee pot I got from them (granted this was some years ago, so perhaps they have improved) was junk. And last, I found their coffee to be overpriced (for what it is), and just not all that good to begin with.

    Shop the sales. There is ALWAYS some coffee maker on sale, and you will be able to find a model you are satisfied with at a decent price (all the standard wantnot.com rules of course apply 😉

  7. I”m not a coffee snob, I’m a lazy (er, sleep deprived) person. and I usually prefer cold caffeine to hot. But my husband likes hot coffee. He prefers french presses, but I’ve broken all of ours (the kitchen floor is tile).

    We found a lovely programmable coffeemaker at Target for around $25 – I love the programmable feature. Love it. It is wonderful to set it up the night before and it just magically makes the coffee the next morning. Given how many mornings I made the coffee wrong (forgot filters, counted wrong, whatever), it has paid for itself.

  8. I am all about a TODDY: coffee concentrate. I have used and loved it for about 5 years now.

  9. We use a larger version of the filter-holder thingie & it makes great coffee. You can order it from the Melitta website for cheap. We have an electric tea kettle which boils water in no time flat and let the coffee drip into a thermal carafe so it stays hot a long time. Quick, easy, cheap & we don’t have to keep a coffeemaker on the counter.

  10. 8c thermal pot plus 2 bags of coffee for 8 bucks?! I rarely drink coffee, but that’s the same price as 2 or 3 lattes at Starbucks. How could I pass up a deal like that?

  11. Hey I know how to spell Gevalia but by spelling it wrong in just the url (that most folks don’t notice) I get all the bad spellers at my site (and might I say thats alot) as well. And how do you know your prettier? I would say thats highly subjective!

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