Hamilton Beach 2-Way Review
Pros: Easy cleaning, simple design, can use pods
Cons: Small water tank opening, fill to brew volume
Manufacturer: Hamilton Beach
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|Pros||Easy cleaning, simple design, can use pods||Large brew capacity range, good water distribution, coffee filter included||Inexpensive, automatic brew feature||Simplistic interface, easy to clean||Built-in grinder, easy to fill water tank|
|Cons||Small water tank opening, fill to brew volume||Bulky, confusing interface||Hard to fill, bulky||Poor brew quality, no automatic shut off, short carafe handle||Inconsistent grind size, condensation builds in grinder, difficult to brew|
|Bottom Line||The combination of features and affordability make this a great budget option||A great option for coffee drinkers looking to brew larger batches of coffee||The most affordable and straightforward coffee maker that consistently brews decent coffee||A decent budget option if you like the simplicity of a single-button brewer||This machine combines two appliances into one convenient and stylish coffee maker|
|Rating Categories||Hamilton Beach 2-Way||Cuisinart 14-Cup Pr...||Black+Decker 12-Cup...||Mr. Simple Brew 12-...||Cuisinart Grind & B...|
|Brew Quality (30%)|
|User Friendliness (35%)|
|Ease of Cleaning (20%)|
|Specs||Hamilton Beach 2-Way||Cuisinart 14-Cup Pr...||Black+Decker 12-Cup...||Mr. Simple Brew 12-...||Cuisinart Grind & B...|
|Brew Temp (°F)||166.14||176.94||161.98||160.36||165.44|
|Energy Usage||950 watts||1050 watts||975 watts||975 watts||1025 watts|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||13.9" x 12.2" x 11.1"||14" x 8" x 9"||8.2" x 12.2" x 11"||12.3" x 9.3" x 13.8"||15.5" x 8.1" x 12.6"|
|Weight||5.0 lbs||9.5 lbs||4.75 lbs||2.8 lbs||10.9 lbs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Hamilton Beach 2-Way offers a convenient single-serve setting that brews coffee directly into your favorite cup. Use the other side of the brewer to make an entire 12-cup pot of coffee. This coffee maker comes with all the accessories you need, including reusable filters. You can start brewing right away if you already have the coffee beans and a grinder. And when brewing is finished, clean-up is a breeze. The Hamilton Beach 2-Way is a convertible brewer. This coffee maker can either brew a single cup or an entire pot of coffee. The affordable 2-Way brewer gives an all-around average brewing performance but exceeds in cleanliness.
The 2-Way brewer tested slightly above average in cup quality. We did not notice much of a taste difference between the coffee made from the single-cup option and the traditional full pot setting. The flavor profiles between these two cups were almost identical. Swap out the reusable filters for paper filters and increase the cup quality. Paper disposable filters create more waste but do a better job of filtering out coffee oils. The result is a much brighter cup, both in appearance and flavor. Using filtered water will also yield better-tasting coffee.
Unfortunately, the 2-way brewer does not come with a pre-infusion setting. It did pretty standard in terms of water distribution. After the 2-Way completed its brew cycle, we examined the spent grounds in the brew basket. The center of the brew bed was significantly lighter than the rest of the grounds, suggesting an uneven distribution of water from the spray head. This also suggests poor extraction quality.
Hamilton Beach offers a variety of brew features in the 2-Way coffee maker. More importantly, the 2-Way gives you the flexibility to brew a single cup or a full pot. Depending on brew strength preference on the single-cup brewing side, you can brew with one or two Senseo pods. There is also a bold button brewing option.
2-Way vs. Keurig and Nespresso
The 2-Way looks like an attractive alternative to the somewhat wasteful single-serving pod systems available, so how does its brew quality stack up against the Keurig and Nespresso? We found the 2-Way cup quality was superior to pod brewing. Overall the 2-Way isn't as convenient as pod machines, but it eliminates the extra cost and waste of single-serving pods.
The user manual for the 2-Way provides a helpful visual guide to brewing with this coffee maker. Hamilton Beach provides everything you need to start brewing right away. Cut down on brewing waste with the provided reusable filters. This coffee maker's interface is simple and easy to understand. The prominent toggle switch allows for simplicity in switching between brew methods.
This brewer is programmable, featuring single-serve brewing, sneak-a-cup, and automatic brewing. Waking up to a fresh pot of coffee is always a convenient feature. And for anyone who has a hard time waiting for their morning coffee, the sneak-a-cup setting allows you to pull a cup before the entire pot brews.
The single-cup brewing allows for brewing up to 14 ounces. Adjustable trays are included for adjustability to your cup size. Single-serve brewing uses regular ground coffee or Senseo pods. Hamilton Beach provides reusable filters for both sides of this machine. The Kalita filter also fits perfectly on the single brew side if you prefer using paper filters.
The cup measurements on the outside of the tank are easy to read. However, the water reservoir is surprisingly difficult to fill because of a very small opening in the tank. Both brewing options on the 2-Way pull from the same water reservoir.
Ease of Cleaning
Brewing with virtually no backsplash, the 2-Way brewer takes the lead in our easy cleaning metric. This coffee maker is quite easy to clean and keep clean. Entirely skip the need to clean a carafe with the single brew feature, which allows coffee to brew directly into your cup.
Understandably, the 2-Way comes with many components for its' two ways of brewing. All the components are dishwasher safe; this includes the reusable filters, brew baskets, single-serve tray, and carafe. The carafe is also easy to clean by hand, with an opening big enough to get into and scrub. Switch to paper filters to make removing and disposing of old grinds even easier.
The 2-Way has a much shorter descaling process than Keurig's convertible brewer. The 2-Way descaling process ran for 30 minutes, while the Keurig K-Duo descaling cycle took 75 minutes. Descaling is a long-term cleaning task performed every few months to reduce the build-up of mineral deposits that can collect in a coffee maker due to hard water.
The Hamilton Beach 2-Way held its own for the most part when facing our strenuous consistency tests. To test the differences in acidity, temperature, and the time it took for the 2-Way to brew — we made five pots of coffee back and measured each metric repeatedly to find the deviation.
The results were quite skewed with the 2-Way. It seemed to retain its flavor quite poorly. The pH jumped drastically from 5.6 to 4.95 in just two hours, making the coffee much more acidic. However, when it came to brewing time and temperature, the 2-Way excelled. This brewer took around seven minutes to brew and lagged only seconds behind between each pot. It also maintained a fairly consistent temperature with a difference of just 1.17 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 2-Way offers a great value in that it mimics most of the convenience offered by pod-style machines without the extra cost or waste. It is also less of an initial investment when compared to other pod brewers. We felt that because it was super simple to clean, consistent, and overall quite user-friendly — this is a great value for a well-performing product. If you are looking for a brewer with a better cup quality at a comparable price, the Bunn Heat N' Brew Programmable reaches higher brewing temperatures. Brewing at industry-recommended temperatures can produce a more flavorful cup; however, you lose the flexibility of customizing your brew sizes with the Bunn over the 2-Way.
The Hamilton Beach 2-Way is a great and convenient coffee maker. This brewer stands out with the flexibility to brew either a single cup or a full batch brew. The 2-Way comes with two different size brew baskets and usable filters for the two sides of the machine. Hamilton Beach also includes an adapter for pod brewing for the single-cup brew side. If you have brewing needs that require brewing different amounts of coffee throughout the week, the 2-Way is one of the best coffee makers that provide this kind of flexibility at a great price.
— Liz Nelson
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