How does iCoffee compare to your favorite coffee shop?

iCoffee Maker Review

by Paige Estigarribia

The Dollar Stretcher was sent an iCoffee coffee brewer to facilitate this review. The Dollar Stretcher received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are those of the author.

A Cup of Coffee can be sheer bliss. First thing in the morning. Right after lunch for an afternoon pick-me-up. A tasty treat with a group of friends...there's just something about coffee that can bring a smile to the face. But the morning coffee commute can also put a big dent in your budget. So when iCoffee sent us one of their fantastic new brewers to try out, we were thrilled to give it a go. So far, we are definitely impressed! Here's the lowdown:

A Little Bit about the iCoffee

The iCoffee brewer is different than a usual drip coffee pot. Similar to a typical coffee pot, you fill the water reservoir and the coffee filter with your desired amounts of coffee and water. But instead of water dripping through the grounds to produce the coffee, the iCoffee uses steam brew technology to actually release all the flavor from the coffee. The brewing process involves patented SteamBrew technology, where steam jets, (rather than the typical drip-through method) pre-steam the coffee, and then stir and suspend it in the water at a high temperature. The result? A really good cup of coffee!

How Did We Test it Out?

When we first received the brewer, we experimented making different pots of coffee with different amounts of grounds. For us here at TDS, we found that we need less grounds in an iCoffee than you need in a normal brewer, but keep in mind that coffee strength is definitely a matter of personal taste. Then, we actually went out to our local coffee shop and bought some regular coffees already brewed. We brewed a few pots of different coffees to compare them against the coffee shop cups we bought. We ground Gevalia(r) beans, brewed them, and then tested them. Then we brewed a few pots of both inexpensive (Walmart generic brand) and moderately priced (Maxwell House) coffees, and we tested them out. We compared them all to see what we liked and didn't like.

Is it Too Expensive?

The iCoffee retails for $169.99, which, depending on your budget, can be be a lot for a coffee brewer. But take a good look at your much are you actually spending buying your coffee on the way to work every day? Even if you are only spending $1.00 per week day ($260.00 per year), you can recoup your money spent. Plus, an iCoffee will give you a delicious cup of coffee that you can vary according to your own individual tastes and preferences for flavor and strength.

What We Love About the iCoffee - The Taste

With all the pots of the different coffees we brewed, we found that the iCoffee consistently produced a delicious, flavorful, smooth, and less bitter cup of coffee. The brewer truly does bring out a great flavor in the coffee! From freshly ground coffee, to the coffee bought already ground, the flavor was delightful and not bitter at all. Three out of four of us here at TDS headquarters (and depending on the pot brewed, sometimes even all of us here) preferred the iCoffee cup to the purchased cup of regular coffee.

The Cost To Buying it Everyday

Which brings me to the second point...the cost of buying it on the way to work versus brewing it at home. We bought three different kinds of coffees here to brew: a 12 oz. bag of beans at $5.48, a 36.8 oz large canister at $6.68, and a 10.5 oz smaller canister at $1.98. Purchasing the coffee maker is a fixed cost, but after the brewer purchase and depending on your taste in coffee, you would only be spending about:
With the beans: about $.06 per 6 oz. serving
With the moderate price large canister of grounds: about about $.02 per 6 oz. serving
With the smaller generic canister: about $.02 per 6 oz. serving
You know how much you are paying when you buy that cup of coffee every day. Think about how much you can save brewing at home! And even though the iCoffee is a little more expensive than a typical brewer, you can recoup the cost in coffee savings by brewing at home.

Things to Think about Before You Invest in an iCoffee Brewer

May Have to Adjust your Grounds
We had to experiment a bit to get the right amount of grounds to our liking - here at TDS we needed less grounds than we would normally use. So give yourself a few pots to get the grounds right for your taste preferences.

Watch the Temperature
The coffee brewed in the iCoffee comes out very hot, so be aware as you take that first sip!

Use the Auto-Brew Function if you Are Short on Time
If you are short on time in the morning, think about preparing the water and the coffee grounds the night before, and using the Auto Start function so that the coffee is ready when you want it in the mornings.

And that's it! The iCoffee produces a wonderful and flavorful cup of coffee, perfect for a busy morning or an afternoon pick-me-up.

Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.

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