The Hamilton Beach Flexbrew coffee maker is an interesting – yet bold – concept that aims to combine the two most popular kinds of coffee makers into one affordable system.
How well does it do the job? In this review of the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew, that’s exactly what we’ll be looking at.
- Two brewing options: filter and pods
- Selectable coffee strength
- Easy to clean
Hamilton Beach’s Two way brewing
Given the current trends in coffee and coffeemakers, there seems to be a split between single serve, pod based coffee makers like Keurig and Nespresso, and traditional drip/filter/press coffeemakers.
- TWO WAYS TO BREW: Brew a full pot using your favorite grounds on the carafe side, or make a cup for yourself using a K Cup* pod or grounds on the single serve side with this 2 in 1 coffee maker
- SINGLE-SERVE: BREW WITH K Cup* PODS OR WITHOUT. Pod holder and single serve grounds basket are included. Features cup rest that adjusts to fit tall mugs and doubles as storage. pod piercing needle removes for easy cleaning to prevent clogging
- 12 CUP CARAFE SIDE. Features programmable timer, auto pause and serve and 2 hour auto shutoff
- SEPARATE WATER RESERVOIRS. Each brewer has its own water reservoir that’s easy to fill and features a water window, so you always know which brewer has how much water
- BREWING FLEXIBILITY. The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2 Way Coffee Maker has the option to please fans of all types of coffees and quantities, making it the perfect gift for a home with multiple coffee drinkers
Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, which we can get into more detail for:
Pros of pod based coffee makers
- fast brewing – usually one or two minutes
- wide variety of flavors to choose from
- some machines have very small footprints
Cons of pod based coffee makers
- costs of pods can add up quickly
- pods are usually single-use so they generate a lot of trash
Pros of traditional coffee makers
- Dripped/filtered coffee has a unique taste
- Much more budget-friendly than buying pods
- Machines are also much cheaper
Con of traditional coffee makers
- Difficult to enjoy variety without having to buy large packs of different coffees
- Takes its sweet time in brewing
Hamilton Beach – a company quite well known in the kitchenware space – was apparently debating between developing a pod machine or a drip machine, and some designer or executive must have said “why not both?”
And so the FlexBrew came about – a machine capable of brewing drip coffee(up to 12 cups at a time) and coffee and beverages from K-cups – which will be 10 oz or 14 oz single servings.
About Hamilton Beach
Hamilton Beach is quite a household name in America and Canada. They’ve been around for a long time, too – the company was founded over 100 years ago back in 1910.
They make a wide variety of kitchen appliances, everything from toasters to electric knives to coffeemakers to food processors.
As such, you can suppose they are not a specialty coffee brand like DeLonghi or Keurig – and their coffee makers are just one offering out of many.
Does that mean their machines are any worse than others? I don’t think so, but it certainly does mean that there will be a lot more heart and soul in other coffee makers built by specialty brands.
However, I think Hamilton Beach are onto something with the FlexBrew system…
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew system: Overall Features
The highlight, of course, of the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew is that it can brew filtered drip coffee as well as single serve coffee from K-Cups.
This opens up a whole new world of choice for you – if you like to enjoy some variety in your coffee. It serves as a single-cup machine for when you’re brewing for yourself, and can also brew up to 12 cups of coffee through the filter if you’re brewing for a party.
Of course, you can all just line up and use the pods one by one, too!
Either side has it’s own reservoir of water, so there’s no confusion as to which side you’re brewing from – you don’t want to end up pouring too much or too little water, after all, one side takes 12 ounces and the other side takes 12 cups! There is also a water window on either side that indicates how much water has been poured in.
You have the option of selecting between bold and regular strength – and you can do this by the push of a button. This is nice – and a feature present in most coffee machines, so it is something that manufacturers should certainly not miss out on.
Brewing a single cup
To brew a single cup, you can either use a pod or grounds. This is really neat – you’re not limited to a pod if you just want a single cup – and you can use your favorite grounds instead.
Press the single serve button and raise the lid until you hear a click. Fill the brew basket with your favorite grounds, close the lid, and let it do its magic!
You’ll need to fill up to 14 oz of water for a single cup from grounds.
If you’d like to use a pod instead, press the single serve button, lift the lid, and place a pod into the pod holder. Then close the lid.
Be sure to fill up to 10 ounces of water for a single cup from a pod.
Brewing a full pot
To brew a full pot, you press the carafe button, and open the filter holder and place a paper filter in the netting. Put your favorite ground coffee in.
Fill the reservoir with your desired amount of coffee, and place the carafe on the warming plate.
If you’d like to change the strength of your brew, you can press the brew strength button to get a bolder cup of coffee.
Then press the BREW NOW button to get started!
You can also set a timer 24 hours in advance to make sure you have freshly brewed coffee whenever you want it.
The dual water reservoirs is both a blessing and a potential problem area because you have two water reservoirs to keep clean and descale every now and then.
You can very easily forget that you had filled water in one reservoir, use the other one for the longest time and realize that you’ve got nasty salt deposits and calcification on the other side.
Another issue I can see with two different brewing mechanisms is there are two things you need to maintain instead of just one. Filter coffee is fairly simple to maintain but the needle system used to brew Keurig cups is sometimes a little delicate and fiddly.
This machine is also very tall, so if you’re fitting it under a cabinet, you’ll have to pull it out quite a ways before you can fill it with water.
Another issue – and this is solely with the pod side – is that you can only fill enough water for one cup at a time. Most Keurig machines have large reservoirs where you can fill in a lot of water and it will brew a perfectly measured cup every time.
With this machine, you’ll brew exactly as much coffee as the amount of water you pour in. So if you pour less, you’ll get less coffee, and if you pour more, you’ll get more.
That’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something you should be aware of.
Value for money and conclusion
For the price, you’re getting a really sweet deal, I think. You have the flexibility of pods and a drip machine, and you’re getting it all for a really competitive price.
However if you’re primarily a pod coffee drinker, I think you’d prefer sticking to regular Keurig machines instead of this one – but if you normally drink dripped coffee and would like to occasionally enjoy a pod, this machine is a great pick.
You can also check out Cuisinart’s 2 way machine.
Last update on 2020-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API