The Elite Cuisine Dual Cup Pod Brewer EHC-233, $35, is claimed by manufacturer Maxi-Matic to be “perfect for tea, coffee, or pod coffee.” Among other touted benefits of this diminutive red machine are the ability to dispense into two 8-ounce ceramic mugs and that, for safety, there’s overheat protection. But in our testing, we found less than meets the eye.
One of four pod and drip coffeemakers we’ve just added to our Ratings, the Elite Cuisine can conveniently take tea bags, Senseo-type soft coffee pods, or loose coffee. And the machine’s ability to fill one or two coffee mugs initially seemed helpful. The machine scored well for serving-size consistency.
Closer examination, however, raised our eyebrows. For one, the two 8-ounce ceramic mugs are in reality 6-ounce mugs. And presuming you obey the manual’s explicit instructions not to add water above the reservoir’s max-fill line, you’ve only poured in about 10.5 ounces of water—which in our tests yielded about 9½ ounces of coffee. That means a maximum 4 3/4 ounces per cup.
If that serving size is okay with you but you prefer it all in one cup, the machine will dispense into a single cup. But that cup can’t be taller than 3½ inches. (Most machines we’ve tested allow for about 5 to 7 inches clearance.) This leaves out the usual 12-ounce ceramic coffee mug and, because it would spill, even the common size of polystyrene cups. The cups that come with the machine are adequate to start with, but what if you drop one? Slim 6-ounce mugs aren’t a common size and shape to replace.
You might also be waiting longer than you like for that serving. The Elite Cuisine Dual Cup Pod Brewer EHC-233 was slower than the norm at delivering the first serving. But the machine’s own overheat protection keeps you from quickly initiating a second brew—either for someone else or, if you’ll settle for nothing less than a travel mug, yourself. We waited about two minutes of cool-down before the on/off switch would reengage and let us start brewing again.
You might ask what we expect in such a bargain-priced machine. Besides usefulness, how about honest marketing? If you want a low-cost machine that offers lots of flexibility in coffee preferences, consider the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 49995. It costs a bit more at $50 and wasn't any faster for brewing, among other cons. But you can fill anything up to a travel mug.
Besides this machine, we tested the $180 Keurig K75 Platinum Brewing System, a K-cup coffeemaker, and two drip models: the $50 Kenmore Programmable 367101 and the $40 Oster Stainless Steel Programmable BVST-JBXSS41. Whichever strikes your fancy, check out our buying guide for coffeemakers before viewing our Ratings of more than 110 models.
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