My wife surprised me with this gorgeous percolator when we moved into our new house last year. It was a beautiful addition for our morning coffee, and it worked as nice as it looked, that is for 9 months! There is little need to describe the merits of an appliance that does not last, what has happened to quality? When I was a kid these things seemed to last forever. My aunt still has a working electric percolator from the 1960's, but that was a time when most appliances were made in the USA. The sad truth is almost everything we see in our stores today is made in China, including our now defunct percolator.
I did a little research on line, and to my dismay it appears that the short working life of this Cuisinart is what others are experiencing. If that is not bad enough, a little further research reveals that the short life problem is also shared by other brands, you guessed it, all made in China.
When the unit first failed I placed a call to Cuisinart customer service and the gal on the other end on the line didnt seem surprised at all by the early failure. She told me that the percolator was covered by warranty and all I had to do was send it in for a replacement. This was great I thought, until I was instructed to include a check for $10 to cover handling. Handling?? I also had to send it prepaid, and then pay for return postage. Add it all up, probably around $20 to get it fixed, to last another few months? That made no sense at all, so I declined the offer. Before tossing an otherwise beautiful appliance in the trash, I did a few simple continuity checks and sure enough the heating element was burned out. Keep in mind my wife is very careful with cleaning, never immersing the unit in water, never dropped it, and used it only occasionally, maybe 3 or 4 times a week. What a disappointment.
So what to do now? We still like the idea of a percolator for the sounds and smell as it chugs along, but where to get one that will last. I tried looking around thrift stores in hopes of maybe finding a nice used one from the Golden Age of America, when things were made right here and made to last! No luck, but I did find some good reports on the West Bend line, so as I write this we have a 12 cup West Bend percolator on order. I promise to report back on how that works out.
New comments May 20, 2008
As promised I will share my experience with the West Bend brand percolator that was ordered when the above review on the Cusinart was written. Sad to say that the West Bend was returned shortly after we received it. Although it too looked handsome with its gleaming stainless steel, it was very loud in operation. Noisy would be an understatement as when it first started to brew the sounds it made were akin to cracking a bull whip! Seriously, we gave it a good try but in the end just could not stand the clatter it made first thing in the morning. Oh it is also made in China!
The good news is we now have solved the percolator challenge by locating a very nice vintage GE coffee pot made right here in the good 'ol USA. It is a 9 cup model from the 1950's but looks and works like new, with no surprises. Will it last? I can't say, but those units were made to last for generations, so we are hopeful! Our percolator came from e-Bay, but these things can be found at estate sales, etc, it's fun to just look, and when you find a nice one its very rewarding. The solid feel of quality and that familiar GE logo conjures up warm memories of another time, and did I mention it also makes good coffee? I hope my observations were helpful, while certainly not for everyone, a vintage percolator sure fit the bill for us.
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