Incredible Two in One Coffee Maker – Hamilton Beach Flexbrew Review
Flexibility isn’t a word that you often hear when talking about coffee. Most of the brewing tools do one task, focusing on just that. Rarely do they allow you to make vastly different coffee drinks unless we’re talking about the top of the line machines.
The world of coffee isn’t exactly friendly with the concept of flexibility.
The Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is an exception. It is flexible as it doesn’t force you to use a specific method for brewing but offers you two.
In the same machine: filtered drip coffee and single-serve pods.
This opens up a whole new world of choice for you. Single-serve K-cups are the pods used by the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew and are perfect to brew just for you, or a couple. When you are in need of a larger quantity of coffee or you have friends at home, switching to brew with the filter will allow you to brew up to 12 cups of coffee.
Both brewing methods have a designated water reservoir so the two are completely separated and work independently from each other.
What you’re buying when purchasing the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is essentially a double machine packaged into one. With the flexibility to use either at any time, filter, or pods. This not only makes you more flexible in the cup size you can brew but especially in the choice of coffee.
There are hundreds of K-cups available, official, and compatible ones. Plus the possibility to use ground coffee, as found in any supermarket, makes the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew a machine that can use nearly all the types of coffee present on the market.
How to Brew Using Pods
But how does the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew exactly work? Let’s start our review from the pods brewing.
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The brewer doesn’t force you to brew a specific cup size with one of the two systems. You can use either. With that in mind, K-cups are meant for a single cup of coffee, not large mugs. Therefore, the pods system will be most useful to you for a single cup, for a single person.
You’d switch to the filter drip coffee part of the machine for larger amounts. Brewing with K-cup pod is as easy as it gets: press the single-serve button, lift the lid, place a pod inside, and close it.
In 1-2 minutes your coffee will be ready.
That’s the main advantage of pods-based systems, convenience. It doesn’t take long nor does it require any skill to make a pleasant cup of coffee.
How to Brew Using Coffee Pot
Slightly harder, but not difficult, is brewing with the filter system. Place a paper filter in the netting, put your favorite ground coffee in, possibly just ground for the maximum aroma and taste.
Fill the reservoir with the desired amount of coffee. Press the brew strength button to have a stronger cup of coffee. Otherwise, just press the brew now button and wait for the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew to do its job.
With the filter system, a 24-hour timer can be used to have freshly brewed coffee whenever you want. To avoid wasting too much paper, reusable filters are supported by the FlexBrew too.
Be also aware that the carafe that comes with the machine isn’t a thermal one but uses a heating plate underneath it to keep your coffee warm. That can overcook it if you leave the carafe on it for prolonged periods of time.
To avoid it, pour the coffee in your mug and accept it won’t be kept warm for hours.
Unfortunately, there’s no possibility to keep the coffee warm when using the single-serve pods system. That shouldn’t be a big issue though, as that brewing system is meant for smaller cup sizes, that won’t take long for you to drink.
Design and Build Quality
A proper review of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew wouldn’t be complete without citing the actual build quality and design of the machine. A positive aspect is that the machine is quite compact. This is especially surprising considering the double brewing system and water reservoir.
It’s about 13 inches tall and 11 wide. It will fit almost anywhere a normal small kitchen equipment would. Most of the components of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew can be quickly removed.
The carafe, drip tray, K-cups brewing pieces, and water reservoirs are all removable. These pieces can be taken aside and thoroughly cleaned when necessary. All parts are also dishwasher safe.
Most of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is made of hard plastic. Considering the price at which it’s sold, that shouldn’t surprise anybody.
Pros and Cons
You may be wondering why would you choose a Hamilton Beach FlexBrew or the single-serve system vs the filter one? We spoke already about the advantages of the machine, let’s see its disadvantages.
Having separate water reservoirs for the two brewing systems means that they can work independently from each other. If one breaks, the other will keep working. But it’s also a pitfall, as you now need to descale two systems instead of just one.
An increase in maintenance time is thus required. After all the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is two machines in one, it only makes sense that it’d need more maintenance. It is easy to fill both reservoirs.
But it is also easy to use only one system to brew for a long time and forget that molding or even calcification have built up in the less used reservoir.
An unexpected shortcoming of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew can be that the pod side can brew only enough for one cup at a time. Most other Keurig machines have larger reservoirs and can brew as much water as you put in them.
Not so with the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew, in which if you need a flexible, and greater, amount of coffee you need to switch to use the filter coffee system.
Not a big deal for most, but something to be aware of.
As with the increased maintenance time, having two machines in one means also that potentially two machines can break. While you are able to use one machine while the other is not working, double the brewing systems also means double the risks of something breaking down.
Hamilton Beach Flexbrew
How to Clean
In order to avoid any failures, it’s very important to keep your Hamilton Beach FlexBrew as clean as possible. Regular maintenance will make it operate under optimal conditions all the time.
Run a descaling every few months, possibly more often if you use hard water. Professional descaling solutions are available on the market but a combination of simple white vinegar and warm water is effective too. 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water.
You can use this solution in both the carafe and single serve pods sides. Repeatedly brew with this descaling solution until it has all passed through the machine, in both reservoirs.
So the whole process needs to be done twice. After this, run clean, warm water in both reservoirs to remove any vinegar or descaling solution leftovers in the machine.
Don’t forget to regularly, to remove all the detachable parts of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew and clean them under hot water or in the dishwasher. Every month or so would be ideal.
This includes the carafe, the drip tray, the K-cups brewing pieces and both reservoirs. Make sure there are no remains of soap on them before assembling the machine back.
Pod Coffee Makers vs Traditional Coffee Makers
At this point, some may wonder why the hassle of having a double brewing system in a machine. Requiring double the maintenance and risk of failure, if you’re mostly brewing filtered coffee.
The single-serve K-cups system is not for everybody. If you’re going to mostly brew large mugs of coffee, want it warm for up to a couple of hours, and prefer to save money by buying coffee beans yourself, pre-ground or not, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew is more than what you need. A simpler, drip coffee machine will be perfect for you instead.
But if sometimes you like brewing smaller cups of coffee, without having to worry about grinding your coffee. And not worry about buying filters and calculating how much ground coffee you need to brew a coffee that exactly matches your tastes, a pod system machine is a good idea.
You will get extreme convenience, easier maintenance (there’s a carafe and drip trayless to clean). You will have reliability, as your coffee will taste each time exactly the same as the one before.
It is impossible to brew coffee “wrong” with a pod system machine. You’ll get precisely the same taste, each time you brew with the same type of K-cups, no matter what.
Those looking for a simple method to brew smaller amounts of coffee, without having to renounce their favorite ground coffee, will find the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew a fantastic machine.
For a very reasonable price, you’ll get all the flexibility to brew with two systems. Efficiency and versatility are guaranteed with the FlexBrew, producing delicious coffee every time.