Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee Maker Review

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Review
  • Price
  • Coffee Quality
  • Brew Speed
  • Warm-Up time
  • Water Reservoir
  • Ease-of-Use
  • Options
  • Noise
  • Appearance
  • Size/Weight
3.7

Summary

The best thing about this coffee maker is that you can brew K-cups or your own coffee grounds.

It's also very reasonably priced and is tall enough to accommodate travel mugs.

Buy-On-Amazon1

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Coffee MakerIn preparation for reviewing single cup brewers, I went out and purchased more than 10 coffee makers.  The was one of them I wanted to test and try in our series of reviews.

Buying this machine couldn’t be more fortuitous.  About 1 week after getting this coffee maker, our traditional drip brewer died.  The pump just stopped working.  Therefore, the Hamilton Beach, which does both single serve and brews pots of coffee secured a permanent spot in our fleet of kitchen appliances.

I’m actually really happy about this because my wife and I decided to use the (read why here) as our main single serve coffee maker.  Now that we’ll be also using this Hamilton Beach coffee maker, we can also use K-Cups (the Tassimo T55 uses T-Discs).

Review Summary

For the money, the Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew is a decent machine.  I’m not sure how long it will last.  It’s definitely not as solidly built as a Tassimo or Nespresso machine… but I put it through the ringer brewing every type of coffee it can and it did just fine.  I’ll be brewing a lot more with it.

However, while it’s a decent machine (it costs well under $100), I have some serious complaints about it (see the “Cons” section below).

  • The K-Cup coffee is decent.
  • The pot coffee is decent.
  • The single-serve reusable filter wasn’t so great.

Is it worth it?  Yes, only if you need a drip pot coffee maker and want the flexibility to make K-Cup coffee all in one machine.  One nice benefit is it saves counter space by doing it all in one appliance.  It’s also an excellent option to find out if K-Cup coffee is for you.

Seriously for something like $65, it’s pretty inexpensive compared to higher end single serve brewers. If anything, it’s a great coffee maker to see if you’ll actually stick with K-Cups or stick with a traditional drip brew.  If you end up loving the K-Cup coffee, you can always upgrade to a higher end single serve coffee maker.

Key Features:

1.  Brews up to 12 cup pot of coffee with ground coffee.

2.  Brews single serve coffee with the included reusable filter.

3.  Brews K-Cup coffee.

4.  You can adjust the strength (2 settings) for the ground coffee brew.

Numeric Ratings Breakdown

The following is an explanation for the numeric ratings I gave the Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew coffee maker (see chart to the right).

1.  Price:  It’s hard to argue with the price of this machine.  It’s under $75 USD and you can brew a full pot, brew with a reusable filter (filter included) and brew K-Cups.  For the money, it’s a good buy if you’ll use 2 out of 3 features.

2.  Coffee Quality:  The pot brew is good.  The K-Cup brew is good.  The reusable filter brew is not so good.  For brews using ground coffee, you can adjust the strength selecting either bold or regular strength.

3.  Brew Speed:  It took 2 minutes and 30 seconds to brew a K-Cup coffee.  This is pretty slow for K-Cup coffee.

4.  Warm-Up time:  You don’t need to let the machine warm up.  Turn it on and start brewing.

5.  Water Reservoir:  It’s not detachable.  It does have a transparent market so you can see how much water is in the machine (this is good).

The disappointing aspect of the reservoir is you can only brew single serve if you pour just the amount of water needed for the single serve.  This is not convenient.  Therefore, if you have 8 cups of water in it, you must either pour it out or run it through the pot brew first.

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Operating Controls and Buttons
This is the control panel. It’s fairly basic and easy to use. I like the easy dial to switch between brewing a pot and single serve coffee.

6.  Easy-to-Use:  It’s very simple to use.  For ground coffee, choose your brew strength, select whether you’re brewing single serve or a pot and press the brew button.

As for switching between the reusable filter and K-Cup coffee, this too is very simple.  The K-Cup holder easily slides out and you easily insert the reusable filter.

7.  Options:  Obviously this machine offers many coffee options (that’s what it’s designed for) and so we scored it high for this category.  You can brew a pot, ground coffee single-serve and K-Cup coffee.  You can also brew bold or regular strenght.

8.  Noise:  Like most pump-style coffee makers, it makes that gurgling pump sound.

9.  Appearance:  It’s not a bad looking machine given all the components.

10.  Size/Weight:  It’s not the most compact, but for having a pot brewer and single serve brewer it’s a good size.  If you’re looking for just a single serve coffee maker, it’s fairly large.

Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Reusable Filter and K-Cup Holder
Top: K-Cup Holder. Bottom: Reusable Ground Coffee Filter.

The dimensions are:

  • Height: 13.5″ (keep in mind you must pour water into the reservoir so you’ll need some overhead space).
  • Width: 10.25″
  • Depth: 9.5″
  • Cord Length: 25″ (pretty short)
  • Cup Height:  7″

Pros

1.  Great Transition Coffee Maker:  If you typically drink drip brew coffee in larger pots and need a new drip brewer but also want to try a K-Cup brewer, this is a fantastic machine to see if you’ll use K-Cups regularly.

2.  Price:  It costs less than $75 USD, which is a pretty good deal for all of the features.

3.  Saves Space:  This is a huge benefit.  You don’t need a separate drip brewer and K-Cup brewer.  Kitchen counter space is often a premium, so having a 2-in-1 coffee machine like this is great.

4.  Flexibility:  Brew whatever you like.  If you need a full pot, you can do so.  If you need a single cup, you can do it.  If you want to try have a variety of coffee on hand, buy a K-Cup variety pack and brew whatever you want when you want.  Options are good to have.

5.  Cup Height:  I love how this machine can accommodate a cup up to 7″ for single serve brew.

Cons

Hamilton Beach Water Reservoir Diagram1.  For single brew, you can only add sufficient water for that single brew:  This is my biggest complaint with this machine.  If you pour 12 cups of water in the water reservoir, you will NOT  be able to brew a K-Cup coffee or single serve coffee with the reusable filter.  In order to brew a single-serve coffee, you must only pour the amount of water needed for a single serve coffee.  See the water reservoir water markings image to the right.

2.  The coffee through reusable filter wasn’t all that great:  I prefer the coffee brewed with a paper filter.  The reusable filter coffee for a single brew didn’t taste all that good.

3.  It’s messy – it drips:  When you remove the reusable coffee filter, it’s messy.  Same thing with the K-Cups… it drips.  I have to have a rag on hand when using the single-brew options.  The 12 cup brew filter is great.  I’m able to remove it without spillage.

4.  It’s not as solidly built as other brewers:  Who knows, maybe I’ll have this machine for years.  All I can say is it doesn’t feel as solidly built as other coffee makers (especially higher end single serve coffee makers).  This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s poorer quality, but it’s worth mentioning.  That said, this machine costs less than $75 USD, while high end coffee makers cost $300.

Hamilton Beach 2-Way FlexBrew Water Reservoir and Coffee Filter Area - Top View5.  Water Reservoir:  It’s not detachable so you must ensure you have overhead space sufficient to pour water into the machine.

FAQ

1.  Does it brew K-Cups?  Yes.

2.  Does it brew Tassimo T-Discs?  No.

3.  Does it come with a reusable filter for single-brew?  Yes.

4.  Can you adjust the strength of the brew?  Yes.  There are 2 strengths – bold and regular.

5.  How big is this coffee maker?

  • Height: 13.5″ (keep in mind you must pour water into the reservoir so you’ll need some overhead space).
  • Width: 10.25″
  • Depth: 9.5″
  • Cord Length: 25″ (pretty short)
  • Cup Height:  7″

Conclusion

It’s worth buying in certain situations.  Buy it if:

1.  You typically drink drip brew coffee and wish to try K-Cups to see if you’ll regularly drink K-Cup coffee.  This is especially the case if you’re in the market for a new drip brew coffee maker.

2.  You’re in the market for a K-Cup brewer as well as a traditional pot brewer.

3.  You don’t want to spend more than $70 for a K-Cup brewer.

It’s not worth it if you’re looking only for a single serve coffee machine.  There are better options… namely coffee makers that only brew single serve coffee.

My wife’s and my preferred single serve brewing system (for the price and coffee quality) is the (read our in-depth Tassimo T55 review here).

Buy-On-Amazon1

A brief comment about price:

It’s not the price of a machine you should be concerned about when buying a single serve brewer because in the long run, it’s the coffee that will cost a great deal of money.  Typically K-Cups and Tassimo T-Discs are comparable in price.  Nespresso capsules cost more.  While you don’t need to spend $300 on a machine, keep in mind that in the long run, coffee will be the big expense.

More Reviews…

(c) 2015

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1 Comment
  1. Jennifer says

    My coffee has a bad plastic taste it’s horrible don’t know what to do about the tasted

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