I have a very established and predictable morning routine because I'm not awake enough yet to think to differ from it. The first thing I look for at work, with my empty coffee cup already in hand, is the pot of my favorite hot beverage that I know Jim will have ready for me when I arrive to start my shift. But there is no glass carafe that fills with freshly brewed coffee in a Hamilton Beach BrewStation. I looked at my co-workers in genuine concern when they pointed out this new small appliance in our kitchen; our new manager has been a little crazy lately with his ideas of improvements. I could barely choke out my own fears, "Where is the coffeepot?"
My coworkers just lay in wait for the candid camera moments of complete confusion like this one, "Just wait 'til Alex sees this. I want to see her face." Tina was already laughing too hard to speak, so Jim pointed to the foreign black appliance on the counter and gave me the nod, "That's our new coffeepot." I was starting to wake up now, "What the heck did Rick buy? And do we still have our old one?" I looked the BrewStation over, then I looked at Jim, "Where's the coffee?" and then upon finding it, "How do I get it back out of there? Am I supposed to pour the coffee into a pot myself?" I looked at the stove, thinking maybe Jim was keeping my coffee hot in the oven for me, "Where did you put the coffeepot that goes with this machine?"
I don't exactly adapt quickly to new technologies when I've been brewing and dispensing my morning coffee in the exact same way for over 25 years. This new coffeemaker technology was as far as I could comfortably stretch from the familiar to the completely unfamiliar and still be willing to give it a fair trial.
With the Hamilton Beach BrewStation, a double-lined plastic bucket fills with freshly brewed coffee, and I have to push my coffee cup against the plastic soda pop dispenser button beneath the bucket to fill 'er up. The well-illustrated quick start guide calls that plastic bucket a "coffee tank", as Jim thoughtfully pointed out to me, but I don't know how the manufacturer got the idea that a bucket is a tank. If it looks like a bucket, has a handle like a bucket, and can be used to cart liquids around like a bucket, then to me, it's a bucket, something I'm already comfortably familiar with using. I eyed my coworker, "It's a bucket, Jim. I could take this coffee bucket to the beach, and not a single six year old sand castle builder there is going to call this bucket a tank because they all know what a bucket is when they see one, too."
The Hamilton Beach BrewStation doesn't brew or dispense coffee as quickly as our old one. But it's not as messy as our old coffeemaker either. There's a little catch-basin footer for stray drips that reminds me of a soda pop machine, and the black plastic casing won't show dried coffee stains as easily as white does either.
The Hamilton Beach BrewStation is easy to use once you've made coffee with it the first time to understand how the coffee tank and filter basket comes apart and fits back together onto the heating plate again. But the stenciled measurement markings are harder to read on the translucent plastic. The timer allows you to set the clock and program when you would like the coffee to begin brewing, or you can just hit the On button a second time to have it brew immediately. The BrewStation will shut itself off after two hours.
The Hamilton Beach BrewStation is basically shatterproof from accidents, which I do appreciate in this new engineering design because I was the one who broke the last glass carafe at work. But I can't fill up a 2-cup travel mug without dragging the machine to the edge of the countertop or pouring the hot coffee straight out of the coffee tank, and that's just not a safe solution because of where the heating plate is located.
The Hamilton Beach BrewStation has a developed reputation for being a leaker, and after my last three uninformed consumer coffeemaker choices flooded my countertop after just a few months of use, I will never again buy a brand where many different consumers have complained about it leaking, and just a little online research before purchasing solves that problem. Not enough pros to outweigh the cons, and with a $60 price tag, I wouldn't buy the Hamilton Beach BrewStation for myself.