Food

This $30 coffee maker has thousands of 5-star reviews — but is it worth it?

We love a good deal, especially when it comes to coffee. After all, aren't money experts always telling us how we can all retire early if we make our own?

So when TODAY Food spotted this $30 coffee maker with more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon recently, we just knew we had to try it out.

The Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-cup Percolator is a classic design. You know, those shiny, metal coffee pots that go on the stove, with the clear knobs on top where you can actually see the coffee perking up?

TODAY
Waiting for coffee to start perking up into the clear knob of a percolator is always the fun part.

As a coffee nerd, I was excited to try it — I haven't had percolated coffee in years and remember how it filled my grandparents' kitchen with the smell of fresh coffee.

I'll cut to the chase here. I wanted to like it. I really did. I followed the directions to-a-T, watched online tutorials, ground my beans on all the various percolator settings of my burr grinder ... all of it. But no matter what I tried, the coffee's taste fell flat and was bitter at the same time.

Despite the many, many positive reviews, to my relief, I wasn't alone. "Brewing coffee using a stovetop percolator doesn’t have the best reputation these days. Many so-called coffee experts believe this is one of the worst ways to make coffee," according to the coffee-tip site Roasty (motto: "Brew coffee so good, it will make a hipster cry"), which offers a tutorial for making percolator coffee.

Even if you do make the best percolator cup possible, though, there's still the issue of all the parts. The percolator pot comes with a basket, pump base, spreader and a little spring, which I kept fearing I'd lose it down the kitchen sink. The parts are dishwasher safe, but again, annoying to load, with all the little parts plus a giant pot.

TODAY
So many parts--even if a percolator's parts are dishwasher safe, there can be a lot of them to keep track of, like that pesky little spring.

Before you pour the coffee, it's also recommended that you take all that apparatus out — while it's still screaming-hot.

Why do people like this again? Well, to be fair, according to online reviews, some people love how hot the coffee gets in a percolator (it burnt my tongue). Others use it for camping (which I could totally see and recommend). And others just seem to have a nostalgia for the taste (which is totally fine, but if it's not your thing, it's not your thing).

Only 3 percent of reviewers gave it one star, but of course, the people reviewing it are mainly fans of percolated coffee — a good reminder to not just look at the star rating but the context.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite Percolator, 8-cup, Amazon

Amazon

Verdict: If you love the taste of stove-top coffee, this is for you. If not, check out some other reasonably priced recs below:

Another coffeemaker that spans a few generations now is the Chemex. What sets the pour-over glass coffeemaker apart are its thick, cone-shaped filters, which strain out bitter compounds and oils.

Chemex Classic Series Drip Glass Coffee Maker, 6-cup, $44, Sur La Table

Sur La Table

_______________________________________________________________________________

If you've given up on French presses because of that fine silt you get at the bottom of your cup, check out this solid newcomer — it has a patented double micro-filtering system, with an optional third, paper filter for those oils.

Espro P3 French Press Coffee Maker, 18 ounce, $40, Sur La Table

Sur La Table

_______________________________________________________________________________

Looking for a more of a programmable option? Hamilton Beach's came in on par with $100 models in a recent Consumer Reports test.

Hamilton Beach 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker, $35, Amazon

Amazon

_______________________________________________________________________________

Fan of the classic Mr. Coffee? This handsome chrome model also did well in Consumer Reports' recent test and has a solid rating with a whopping 7,245 reviews and counting.

Mr. Coffee 12-cup Programmable Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe, $30, Amazon

Amazon
TOP