Pros: Hot, strong coffee (Before it started malfunctioning)
No fancy parts to break
Cons: *UPDATE* No longer making strong coffee. Coffee is weak like tea.
Coffee grounds spill sometimes
**UPDATE** I used to LOVE my Farberware percolater. But, lately it has stopped making delicious, strong coffee and has been brewing very weak coffee with the strength of weak tea. I am so disappointed! I will be returning my darling percolator and starting from scratch. My original review appears below, and you can see I was very happy with the percolator for about the first six months of use. I'm not sure why it has stopped performing well. I suspect that the spring-loaded tube is no longer keeping the filter basket fitting tightly inside the carafe, which is causing the water to drip through faster and not percolate long enough through the grounds. When I pour the weak coffee from the first brewing back through the filter, the second brewing is much darker, so I know I'm using enough grounds. **END UPDATE**
I've had a love-hate relationship with coffee makers since I moved to the Rocky Mountains. Hot coffee is an anomaly at altitude ~ because water boils at a lower temperature than it does at sea level, I haven't experienced the total pleasure of truly HOT coffee that I loved as a flat-lander. Freshly brewed coffee in the Rockies is at best, fairly hot, and at worst, lukewarm. There are so many factors that work against the goal temperature ~ cold coffee mugs, frigid carafes, and brewing cycles that heat the water inadequately. I tried the expensive Cuisinart Grind & Brew Coffee Maker. I could find at my local housewares mega mart, and the coffee it brewed was cold and insipid tasting. I even bought a Senseo pod coffeemaker, but got fed-up with buying the pods and trying to keep them fresh. I began drinking instant coffee each morning, so at least my coffee would be hot, as I prepared it with boiling water.
One of the "perks" of being an Advisor on Epinions is that I read many, many reviews of appliances like coffee makers. As soon as I read a review of the Farberware Percolator, I knew I had to try it! Oh, the joy I can now report since purchasing this gem of a coffee maker! Finally, after a life devoid of tasty, freshly- brewed Joe, I am now able to make a fresh, strong and tasty cup of coffee with very little fuss. And, the great part ~ my percolator cost about $50, has no moving parts, and brews a mean cup of Java in literally three to four minutes!
Now, percolators are nothing new under the sun. In the fifties, percolators were popular; some featured a see-through top that exposed the drip, drop, plip sound of brewing coffee. Farberware offers two percolator sizes: a 2-4 cup model (FCP240) and a 4-12 cup model (FCP280). Since I really just need fresh coffee for myself and my hubbie each morning, I chose the smaller model. This required some restraint on my part, as I usually can't resist buying the biggest and fanciest of anything! ** A note about cups: Farberware considers a cup to be 5 ounces, which is fairly standard in coffee lingo. Therefore, an average sized mug holds about two 5-oz. cups, and two mugs about 4 5-oz cups. So, I get about two mugs worth of coffee from the percolator. Just thought you'd like to know! **
Let's review what you get with the FCP240 (4-cup) model. (Scroll down to the featured product listings to see a good picture). The vessel is charming to behold. Its shiny, stainless body flares out at the bottom, has a well designed pouring spout and curvaceous black resin handle. The coffee pot is relatively light, and is designed with an electric base that plugs into an outlet via a removable plug. The carafe features brushed stainless inside, and markings for "2" and "4" cup measurement are visible from the inside and outside near the handle. Three stainless parts are required for percolation: a small filter basket with a filter lid, and a spring-loaded pump tube that fits into the bottom of the carafe and holds the coffee basket. Finally, the carafe has a retro-looking lid that fits snugly over the top.
Brewing coffee couldn't be easier in my Farberware Percolator, although it does require a little getting used to the set-up process. First, I add filtered water into the carafe. Then, I measure out ground coffee into the filter basket and cover the basket with the filter lid. Finally, I insert the tube into the filter basket and place the whole thing into the pot and place the cover on top. The whole process takes about three minutes to set up properly. My only complaint is that it's a little messy filling the filter basket with coffee, and some coffee grounds tend to spill somewhat during the setup.
We're ready to brew! Just plug her in and listen for the sound of boiling water and blip, blop, perk as water gets sucked up through the tube and flows slowly through the filter basket and back down into the carafe. A few minutes later, voila! I am not exaggerating when I say the coffee coming from this device is some of the hottest, smoothest and strongest tasting coffee I have drunk, including coffee from Starbucks! Why is it so tasty? Farberware says:
* Multi-flow system brews deliciously rich and flavorful coffee.
* Coffee stays good and hot.
* Great coffee aroma.
Are these claims by Farberware accurate? Check, Check, and CHECK!
I like strong coffee, so I use at least two tablespoons for every cup I brew. The resulting flavor is full-bodied, and as you get to the bottom of the mug, you can see very fine hints of coffee grounds. The slight hint of grounds isn't bothersome for me, and almost reminds me of the Turkish coffee I drank years ago when visiting Israel, but much less intense. I don't detect any bitterness or off-flavors with my Farberware percolator, and I love how easy it is to brew a single cup for my afternoon wake-up call. After the brewing cycle is complete, the coffee maker goes into a warming mode and keeps it pretty hot. Just remember to unplug it as soon as you've emptied the carafe. I don't think it would be good for the coffee maker to be plugged in when empty.
Clean-up is a breeze with my Farberware percolator. I just remove the lid, carefully extract the brewing basket, lid and tube (which may still be hot), dump the grounds, and stick them into the dishwasher. I carefully wash the pot by hand, making sure not to immerse the bottom in water. Sometimes, I just wash all the parts by hand so that I can brew another pot in-between dishwasher cycles. I love that this percolator has no computerized screens, fancy buttons or moving, motorized parts that can clog or break. The FCP240 has a one year warranty, although I'm counting on it to last many years beyond that.
Are there any downsides? Besides the filter basket being a little cumbersome to fill, the only other design issue I have is that when you pop off the lid after brewing, sometimes the filter basket lid pops out too, and grounds can scatter onto the counter. Also, the lack of an automatic shut-off is a drawback, at least for absent-minded types. It's best to unplug it as soon as you've poured your coffee to ensure that you don't forget. These drawbacks aren't deal-breakers for me, though, and hardly matter when I consider the joy this coffee maker has brought to my life!
My new motto is: the best coffeemaker doesn't have to be the most hi-tech, fanciest, largest or most expensive. My Farberware Percolator is none of these things, yet it brews absolutely the best coffee I have ever made at home. My next purchase? The 12 cup model... for guests, of course!
Thanks for reading my review :)
Tags: Farberware, percolator, FCP240, coffee maker, review
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