Coffee Maker Review: Hamilton Beach Ensemble 12-Cup
Hamilton Beach Ensemble
Coffee Maker Quality5.0/10
Ease of Use10.0/10
- Easy to clean
- No carafe or reservoir spills
- Easy programmability
- Quiet and fast brew
- Defective auto shut-off in many units
- Timer does not keep an accurate time for very long
- Coffee is not hot enough
For whatever reason, the color red works very well with coffee makers. Well, maybe this isn't entirely true, but Google shows that the search “Red Coffee Maker” is typed in an average of 1,300 times on Google a month. This is approximately 1,000 more searches a month than the next closest color: white.
But we aren't here to talk about statistics…we're here to talk about one red coffeemaker in particular: The Hamilton Beach Ensemble.
Hamilton Beach is already establishing itself as one of the leader in home coffee making appliances, and the Ensemble is just another reason why. At the time of writing, the HB Ensemble has more than 180 reviews on Amazon with an average review score of 4.
So what do coffee drinkers love about this auto drip coffee maker aside from its color? Let's start with the pros and cons to find out.
Please note: Although I am reviewing this top rated coffee maker, I have no experience using it. Instead, I summarize all of the most helpful reviews on this coffee maker from around the web. I do my best to make the reviews completely unbiased, making sure to cover both the positives and negatives of every coffee maker I review. Visit the about page to learn more…or feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.
The defective auto shut-off
One of the most frequently cited comments in the negative reviews is that the hot plate does not shut-off automatically, even when the indicator light says the machine is off. Clearly disconcerting given the fact that this presents itself as a major fire hazard.
Keep in mind however, this is only for those consumers who keep their appliances plugged in at all times and require programmability. If you merely keep your coffee maker plugged in for the exact period you need it, the auto shut-off issue shouldn't be one that presents itself.
Hamilton Beach does offer a 1 year warranty for this unit, but you should be aware that this is a pretty common defect with this particular coffee maker.
If you're still reading this review I will assume that you are willing to take the gamble on the auto shut-off defect. Let's take a look at the scores across each of the rating categories.
At $33 at the time of writing, the Hamilton Beach Ensemble is very affordable. It appears that the trend amongst many coffee makers is low-cost manufacturing for a poorer quality product. I hope that's not where Hamilton Beach is heading with their coffee makers…but in any case, this is a very good price.
Score: 4.5 stars
The Coffee Quality
There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus as far as the HB Ensemble's coffee goes. Some say it's great and comes out at the right temperature, while others seem to think the coffee is weak even at its boldest setting.
A couple of things that lead me to believe the coffee is barely above average would be the lack of a conical filter and built-in water filter for those with “hard water.” Also, the quick brew time and reportedly low coffee temperatures detract from the overall score here.
Score: 3.5 stars
The Coffee Maker Quality
Eek. The hot plate defect is making it difficult for me go above 2 stars here. It just seems like a crapshoot to end up with a unit that will not have this defect given the number of reviews that openly state the problem. Other noted issues such as coffee evaporation before brewing and coffee that doesn't brew hot enough make it difficult for me to give very high marks here.
Score: 2.5 stars
Ease of Use
There were very few (if any) comments about the Hamilton Beach Ensemble being difficult to use. Many reviewers also explicitly said that the HB Ensemble is easy to use. This warrants a perfect score in my book.
Score: 5 stars
While many have pointed out how easy the Ensemble is to clean, there were a few reviewers who didn't seem to think so. Almost a perfect score, but not quite.
Score: 4 stars
The poor durability largely ties in with the coffee maker's overall quality score. Many users experienced the defect of this coffee maker after very short periods. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have too much confidence in this coffee maker lasting longer than 2 years.
Score: 2.5 stars
It's red color is definitely the main draw and something that makes it unique. However, there is a bit more plastic than most would like to set their gaze on…definitely not the best-looking coffee maker out there in my opinion.
Score: 4 stars
There weren't an overwhelming number of reviews commenting on the brew speed, but for those that did the consensus seems to be that this is a quick brew. It seems as if 5-10 minutes is the average brew speed.
Score: 4 stars
Auto shut-off (albeit seemingly dysfunctional), programmability, serving-size selector, and a strength-selector are just some of the features this coffee maker includes. Yet there is really nothing that makes it stand out as perfect in this category.
Score: 4 stars
I had high hopes for this coffee maker given its average review score of 4. But once I saw how many reviewers were pointing out a potentially hazardous defect, I couldn't ultimately see the value in this coffee maker.
I'd recommend it only to the riskier consumer who doesn't mind the prospect of potentially returning their unit. It is also a good find for someone looking for a red coffee maker on a somewhat lower budget.
For the risk averse who must have a tip-top performing programmable coffee maker, I can't say that I recommend the Hamilton Beach Ensemble.
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