Little red coffeemaker makes tiny cups of coffee

The Elite Cuisine Dual Cup Pod Brewer EHC-233, $35, is “perfect for tea, coffee, or pod coffee,” the manufacturer Maxi-Matic says. Among the claims made for this diminutive red machine are its ability to dispense into two 8-ounce ceramic mugs at once and its overheat protection. But in our coffeemaker tests, we found both claims wanting.

For starters, the two 8-ounce ceramic mugs that come with the coffeemaker are actually only 6 ounces. And presuming you follow the manual’s explicit instructions not to add water above the reservoir’s maximum-fill line, you can only add about 10.5 ounces of water—which in our tests yielded about 9.5 ounces of coffee. That means each serving is less than 5 ounces.

If that serving size is okay with you but you prefer it all in one cup, the machine can dispense into a single cup. But that cup can be no taller than 3½ inches. (Most machines we’ve tested allow about 5 to 7 inches of clearance.) This eliminates the usual 12-ounce ceramic coffee mug and even the most common size of polystyrene cups. And what if you break one of the cups that come with the coffeemaker? Slim 6-ounce mugs aren’t a common size and may be difficult to replace.

When it came to dispensing coffee, the Elite Cuisine Dual Cup Pod Brewer EHC-233 was slower than normal at delivering the first serving. And the machine’s own overheat protection keeps you from quickly initiating a second brew if you want to add more coffee to your travel mug. We waited about two minutes of cool-down time before the on/off switch would reengage and let us start brewing again.

You might say we're expecting too much from a bargain-priced machine and it's true that the coffeemaker can conveniently accommodate tea bags, Senseo-type soft coffee pods, and loose coffee. If you want a low-cost machine that offers lots of choices in coffee preferences, consider the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 49995. At $50 it costs a bit more and wasn't any faster for brewing but you can fill cups up to the size of a travel mug.

In addition to the Elite Cuisine, 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 type of coffeemaker strikes your fancy, check out our buying guide for coffeemakers before viewing our Ratings of more than 110 models.

—Ed Perratore

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