Hamilton Beach Brews Coffee Any Way You Like It
Single-serve coffee makers from Hamilton Beach haven’t typically ranked in the top tier of Consumer Reports' coffee maker tests. But from what we’ve seen so far in our tests of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Generation 2 49997, the manufacturer is clearly raising the bar—at least for single-serve brewing.
At first blush, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Generation 2 49997 looks ordinary with only a brew-strength selector on the exterior. Open the lid, and you see more: a filtered reservoir you can fill to an 8-, 10-, or 14-ounce level, plus a K-Cup holder that lifts out to expose a permanent filter for loose grounds. Each time you brew, the reservoir runs all the water through for that serving. And the drip tray adjusts to a higher height to prevent splashing when using a smaller cup.
Our tests of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Generation 2 49997 won't be complete until we run expert taste tests of the pod coffee that all the most recently tested models brew. But from what we can see, this model looks like a winner. It delivered a first cup as quickly as the trio of top-rated DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto machines with the second cup almost as fast. Temperature and size consistency, were top-notch—something you can’t always say about single-serve coffee makers. Where it fell short was in the convenience store, which took off points for such drawbacks as reservoir markings we thought hard to read.
Since the Hamilton Beach also brews loose grounds—its 14-ounce setting is meant just for that—we also tested it as a “to-go” single-mug coffee maker. As a drip coffeemaker, it scored only fair overall, with mediocre scores for brew performance and convenience.