Presto Scandinavian Coffee Maker – Review
October 10, 2005
The Presto Scandinavian Coffee Maker falls right smack into the middle of this definition. It’s not fancy, and it doesn’t have a lot of features, but it brews coffee well, and the price (under $50, most places) is tough to beat.
Temperature – The Presto Scandinavian is one of the very few consumer coffee makers that actually brews at the right temperature. At a measured 200 degrees F, the Presto extracts coffee from the grinds without the bitter burnt taste of overcooked coffee, or the sour acidic taste produced by brewing at too low a temperature.
Maintaining the proper temperature is accomplished by using a second heater just before the water enters the grounds (to counteract the effects of cool water in the reservoir). This also means that you can brew less than the full ten cups without having the wild brew temperature swing you find when making a partial pot with most coffee makers.
Brew Chamber – The brew chamber accomodates a standard #4 filter (use a metal filter like a SwissGold to get the best from your coffee), and enough grounds to brew 10 cups of coffee at the proper dosing level (22 tablespoons).
Hotplate – Face it, leaving coffee on a hotplate is going to ruin it. The Presto has a relatively low-powered hotplate, however — your coffee is liable to get too cold to drink before it gets burnt. Do yourself a favor and pour it into a thermal carafe anyway.
Construction – You don’t find a lot of heavy duty stainless steel construction on low priced coffee makers, and the Presto is no exception. The brew basket in particular seems rather flimsy, although it appears to work well enough.
Hard-to-Clean Carafe – The narrow opening at the top of the carafe makes it more difficult to clean then it probably needs to be.
Missing Features – There are a lot of features that I really appreciate on a coffee maker that aren’t present on the Presto (or most other low priced coffee makers). Chief among these are a thermal carafe, a removable reservoir, a water filter and an included permanent metal filter.
If you’re looking for a low-cost coffee maker that actually makes good coffee, give the Presto a close look. It might not be built to last forever (what coffee maker is?), but it makes a great cup. To get the most out of it, you might want to consider also buying a permanent metal filter (such as a SwissGold) and a thermal carafe to keep the coffee warm after it’s done brewing. With a little judicious shopping, you can buy both of these plus the Presto, and still come out money ahead.