Top critical review
HB knocked this one out of the park!
September 7, 2015
UPDATE: May 17, 2016
After ~8 months of daily use, we've discovered that somewhere along the design chain something was either overlooked or ignored. As I said in my first review, there's a lot to love about the redesign of this unit. But something's not right. About 6 months in, the reservoir that holds the brewed coffee began to leak. I contacted HB and was told I had to pay $5.99 shipping and they would send a replacement. Fine. The new reservoir works fine. No leaks since. At least no brewed coffee leaks. (BTW, turns out, bleach is the culprit for that. Simply put, DON'T use bleach at all, to remove coffee residue inside the filter rack or the hot beverage reservoir. Not even just a tiny amount.
But for the next issue, almost from the start, we started noticing a large amount of condensation on the lid that covers the coffee filter assembly. Since there's nowhere for the water to really go, it just pools into the two channels on either side of the hotplate underneath the coffee reservoir (Photos A & C). There are only two ways to remove that water. 1) Take the BrewStation apart, flip it over & dump out the water, or 2) much more simply, use a turkey baster to suction out the water. Repeat at least every other day because there's up to 1/2 cup of condensation created every day (B). If you don't get rid of the excess water, one fine morning, you'll be greeted by a thin layer of water all over your counter.
This problem was completely absent in the first unit we purchased. Other than this nuisance, the Brewstation is a great alternative for keeping coffee hot without burning it as do traditional coffee makers. As I mentioned in my original post, this design is convenient for those confined to wheelchairs to be able to get their own coffee themselves.
Our first Brewstation lasted about 6 years, so buying another didn't require much thought. Consumer Reports pooh-poohed this line because its brewing temperature is about 10° higher than the "optimal" 185°, but I don't really care.
We live & care for my wife's invalid mother, who is confined to a wheelchair. Since there's no decanter, she can get her own coffee easily by herself. Plus, because of the machine's unique design, the coffee will hold for the full four hours without tasting like the gear oil from a poorly maintained, 1967 model dump truck.
Versus the old model, I love the removable water reservoir and the light on the display is much brighter. While we seldom make iced coffee on purpose, it's nice that the feature is built in. Also, this one is about$15 cheaper than the original we bought in 2009. My only negative is that the front panel of the coffee reservoir gets *extremely* ' HOT! Ordinarily, it's not a problem. But if, for example, you're cleaning the machine and run consecutive brew cycles, the "chrome" plate on the front, even though it's plastic, will scorch your bare skin. You've been warned!
Otherwise, this coffee maker is a winner! Hamilton Beach knocked this one out of the park.