The most affordable coffee maker in our 2016 top ten was the Andrew James Premium Chrome Filter Coffee Maker (with integrated bean grinder). Priced at less than 10% of the most expensive machine, this makes the rest of the budget bean to cup coffee machines featured on the site look decidedly expensive.
But what is the trade off when buying such a low priced unit? In this review, we’ll take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of this Andrew James maker.
Key Features Of The Premium Chrome Filter Coffee Maker
As you might expect from a machine at this price point, the Premium Chrome isn’t blessed with every last function that the mid and premium range machines have on offer, but that’s not to say it’s lacking. Let’s take a look in more detail at what you do get from this bean to cup maker, for the particularly affordable price…
Of course, to be a bean to cup coffee machine you have to start with coffee beans. While some makers get around this with separate grinders, the Andrew James doesn’t shirk its responsibilities. You can load the beans into the top mounted vessel and the unit will grind away for a freshly ground aroma.
Up To Twelve Cup Capacity
Starting at a couple of cups per brew, this machine is capable of using enough water in one cycle to fill anything up to twelve cups in the provided serving jug. You can monitor the progress by reading the water level on the side of the machine as the water is heated and passes through your freshly ground coffee beans en route to the jug.
No Paper Filters Required
There’s a mesh filter rather than relying on the older style paper disposable versions that you may be used to with older models. Today this is an almost standard feature, due to the cost savings and environmental benefits of reusable filters over single use alternatives discarded after each cycle.
Hot Plate With Fast Access Anti Drip Mechanism
While there’s been a trend in recent years to assume that coffee will be consumed as soon as it’s ready, this Andrew James model includes a hot plate to keep the coffee hot.
Also, if you’re in a rush, the flow of coffee into the jug (or carafe as they like to call it) stops when it’s removed, so that you can make a start on your drink as soon as you have enough coffee.
To Bean To Cup, Or Not To Bean To Cup, That Is The Question
This is a feature we really like, you can use pre-ground coffee as well as coffee beans.
This might be a winning option for some buyers, who prefer not to drink instant, but don’t want the expense of a premium coffee maker. It allows you to use beans when you feel like pushing the boat out, and filter coffee the rest of the time.
What The Customers Say
Next, we’ll put our own observations to one side, and have a look a the common comments made by customers who have taken the Andrew James machine for a test drive…
Light And Good Size
The customer measurements describe the machine as light in comparison to other models, and measuring in at approximately 38cm tall (15 inches), 15cm wide (6 inches) and 25cm deep (10 inches). This should fit comfortably into most kitchens without being too overbearing.
We see this complaint regularly about bean to cup machines, but the fact is that if you’re going to grind beans at home, its unlikely that you’ll find a quiet machine. Of course, you can opt for filter coffee for this unit, if you’re up early and don’t want to wake the kids!
Easy To Switch Off Grinder
Something we’d not considered that’s a great point is that for pre-ground filter coffee you can just disable the grinder (with the cleverly marked ‘Grinder Off’ button).
There’s no need to put up with the noise of the grinder springing into life unless you actually need it for bean grinding.
No Measuring Required
For those customers that are new to the bean to cup world, you don’t need to worry about how many beans to use, just fill up the coffee compartment with beans, and the machine will take care of the rest based on the amount of cups of coffee you’ve chosen to make.
You can configure the amount of effort the machine goes to in grinding, ranging from a minimal grind for a coarse result to a comprehensive grind for a very smooth coffee.
How Long Can The Coffee Stay Fresh?
The hot plate is probably the biggest factor here, and contrary to popular belief, they’re not going to keep your coffee hot and fresh all day.
Generally speaking it’s good to allow a maximum of 30 minutes after the machine finishes making the coffee to serve. This is due to an auto time-out (so you don’t forget it’s switched on and leave it for days on end), and you can then switch the plate back on. However, the freshly brewed taste has definitely dwindled beyond 30 minutes standing.
Timer Facility For Delayed Operation
The final common point made in reviews is that the machine includes a timer function, so you can program it to come on at a later time. For example, if you want your coffee ready in the morning, you can do exactly that!
The Last Word
The Andrew James Premium Programmable Chrome Filter Coffee Maker is a good, yet basic all rounder which will certainly fulfil the need of many who like to drink coffee that’s fuller and richer than the instant varieties on sale.
It probably won’t suit coffee lovers that are really enthusiastic about brewing their own coffee, but if you’re on a tight budget and want a coffee machine this could be for you. If, on the other hand, you can afford to spend more, be sure to consider something in the mid range market too.