Mr. Coffee goes snooty with $170 brewer
It remains to be seen whether the king of lowbrow coffee will be able to win over java snobs.
Apparently, even Mr. Coffee is becoming a coffee snob.
The venerable brand, known for its budget-priced automatic drip coffee makers, is getting ready to launch its most expensive model to date: the sleek-looking $170 Optimal Brew machine that's "designed from the inside out" to make premium joe, according to the company.
The new coffee maker, which will be available in late 2014, incorporates features that have been associated with European brands aimed at Java-loving sophisticates -- notably, the ability to heat water to a near-boiling 205 degrees Fahrenheit. By contrast, most of Mr. Coffee's current models, typically priced under $50, heat water to just 185 degrees. Coffee experts say higher temperatures result in more flavor being extracted from the coffee grounds.
Mr. Coffee also has plans to introduce a French press-style coffee maker in 2014. This brewing method, which involves plunging grounds in water that's ideally been heated close to that 205-degree mark, is popular with the coffee-geek crowd, since it's also known to result in a more robust cup of coffee. Mr. Coffee's $70 version will differ from traditional presses in that it will incorporate the water-heating element into the beaker itself.
Add it all up and it's clear that Mr. Coffee, which is part of the consumer products conglomerate Jarden (JAH) , aims to appeal to the Starbucks (SBUX) set that has embraced gourmet Java as an everyday pleasure. The National Coffee Association reports that a growing percentage of Americans are drinking gourmet coffee – 31 percent in 2013, up from 24 percent in 2010. Additionally, Americans are showing interest in those specialty European coffee makers that deliver the super-high temperatures.
A decade ago, even the most discerning of coffee drinkers had probably not heard of Moccamaster , a Dutch brand known for its odd-looking Technivorm brewer. Today, its $300 machines, which indeed heat water to 205 degrees, are sold everywhere from Williams-Sonoma to, yes, Starbucks.
The bottom line, says Jarden vice president Matt Ragland, is that the Mr. Coffee brand is evolving with the times: "We see consumers looking for a better-tasting cup of coffee." Ragland adds that the push into the gourmet segment started last year when the brand launched a high-end espresso maker.
In all, it's a far cry from the days when Mr. Coffee was best known for its ads with New York Yankees great Joe DiMaggio. The baseball legend promised his fans "there's only one Mr. Coffee." (The brand, which launched in 1972, was the first mainstream automatic drip coffee maker, but others eventually followed in its path.)
Coffee industry professionals generally applaud Mr. Coffee's move into the upscale side of the business. "I think they're addressing the market realities," says Joseph DeRupo, a spokesman for the National Coffee Association.
At the same time, others question whether a brand with such a mainstream reputation can really convince coffee snobs of its ability to deliver a high-end product. Food writer Allen Salkin , author of the recently published "From Scratch: Inside the Food Network," calls Mr. Coffee "the king of the lowbrow coffee makers" and doubts the brand will be able to rebrand itself any other way. "Unless they start calling it Monsieur Coffee," he says.
In any case, a high-end coffee maker may not even be the way to go. Coffee purists swear by the pour-over method, which involves relatively few tools -- say, a cone-shaped brewing gizmo and a filter. The initial cost involved? Well under $50, though the method does involve a considerable investment of time -- as in a few minutes per cup. Still, Specialty Coffee Association of America senior director Peter Giuliano insists it's worth it if you truly care about the final product.
"I've never had a coffee brewing machine," he says.
More from MarketWatch
Take the new single serve Kurig coffee makers. Each serving averages between .51 and .68 cents per cup. That's crazy for home brewed coffee.
But are these expensive Coffee Machines necessary?
I don't think or believe so and I am a coffee drinker who still uses her old Mr. Coffee without gadgets!
And a friend got me a new one for the Holidays and it cost her under $30. It is downstairs in my office!
I did tons of research and ended up spending about $140 on my machine, and I know some people are gonna gripe about the price ( I realize it's a lot), but there's not one day that goes by that I'm not totally happy with the purchase. It's low profile, no fancy digital screens or dials, just on/off, but brews a perfect pot of coffee every time.
I use a 4-cup Mr. Coffee drip machine, grind my own beans just before brewing, and the tap water at my house is excellently soft. I get excellent coffee as good as at Starbucks, etc. using Starbuck's "Caffe Verona" or "House Blend," or Peet's "Major Dickason's Blend" or "Cafe Domingo" (winner of the coffee taste test at "America's Test Kitchen"). Two of Cameron's flavored coffees, "Chocolate Caramel Brownie" and "Toasted Southern Pecan" are "to die for" dripping out of the Mr. Coffee machine. Even half-as-expensive cheaper beans like Eight O'Clock's "Columbian" make good coffee with the Mr. Coffee maker.
I keep several different beans, with varying brightness (acidity) and fullness and each morning pick what suits me that morning. Sometimes it's Eight O'Clock Columbian, $4.96 for 12 oz. of whole beans, cheaper in a larger bag, at Walmart!
Who is doing all the thumbs down? I think these people just do it without even reading!
I have Keurig and I bought the k cup that you can fill with your own coffee saved a ton and it still tastes great!
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