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Sick of going to Starbucks and Costa for a good quality coffee, we went in search of a filter coffee maker. We had only a few essential features; washable filter, timer, and looks good. Oh, and cheap.
After hunting high and low, online and in the high street, we came across the Morphy Richards Café Mattino 47070 filter coffee maker. Did it match our requirements?
Washable filter? Check Timer? Check Looks good? Check Cheap? Yip, but more of that later
The machine is made of high quality black and silver plastic, not cheap looking plastic, but a good quality plastic that looks like it will still be looking good after many months of use. The machine itself is quite compact, so it's perfect for our small kitchen.
The carafe holds enough water for 12 cups, or 6 mugs, so it's a good size and perfect if you have friends round. Of course you can also make small quantities of coffee. The carafe has a cup indicator on the handle so you can use this to judge how much water to add. There is also an indicator on the front of the machine showing the amount of water in the tank.
One small design fault is that condensation forms on the lid covering the water tank and coffee filter, so when you lift the lid to pour water in or change the coffee, the condensation drips down the back of the machine, and can leave quite a puddle. Granted this only happens when the lid is opened within a few hours of the machine being used, but if you make the coffee too strong and want to add more water to weaken the taste, you will need to wipe up after yourself.
Lift the lid, fill the water compartment with water, and fill the filter with ground coffee. Press the power button and it's a done deal!
Unlike most filter coffee makers I've had in the past, the jug is very well designed to stop any drips. It pours perfectly, right down to the last drop, so no need to wipe the worktop every time you pour a coffee.
Another good thing about this particular machine is that the coffee is very warm, and the thermostatic hotplate keeps it very hot, unlike some where the coffee is best described as lukewarm.
The Café Mattino brews coffee quite quickly, roughly about 5 minutes for 6 cups, and does so without much noise. It certainly won't wake you if you have the timer set for first thing in the morning. And of course if you don't have the patience to wait a few minutes for the full pot to brew, you can pour yourself a cup at any stage during the brewing process and the non drip feature of this machine means that not a single drop will land on the hotplate whilst the carafe is removed.
One point to note is that the machine has an automatic cut off after two hours, so any coffee left in the carafe will start to turn cold. This is a useful feature, as I often tend to empty the carafe and forget to switch the machine off, but can be a bit annoying when you go for a refill and find yourself with a cup of cold coffee.
This was the feature that we wanted most in our coffee maker. We love the smell of freshly brewed coffee and what better time to have it than in the morning? This machine features a simple to use timer, simply press 'Program', then 'Hour' and 'Minute' to set the time when you want fresh coffee brewed and finally press 'Auto On' to set the timer, remembering of course to fill the water tank with the required amount of fresh water and put ground coffee into the filter.
As the Café Mattino features a washable filter, it is a simple case of lifting the filter out of the top of the machine, emptying the used ground coffee into the bin and giving the filter a wash under running water. No complaints here, though a tip is to clean the filter shortly after the coffee has brewed, or else the ground coffee will dry out which makes it harder to remove.
The glass jug is easy to clean by lifting the lid, leaving plenty of room to get a cloth inside the jug to give it a good clean. The lid doesn't seem to come off, so be careful not to lift it too much, or it may break, although it does seem to be very solidly built, but better safe than sorry.
Other than that there doesn't seem to be any other removable components, so I just give the rest of the machine a wipe with a wet cloth over the outside of the machine and the warm plate to keep it clean.
THE ALL IMPORTANT TASTE TEST
Obviously the taste is dependent upon the type of coffee used; however I do think that a good coffee maker can help improve the taste. Coffee from this filter machine is very smooth, and I have never had any ground coffee in my cup.
THE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT PRICE
This machine currently (25 Jan 2009) retails in Argos for £48.89, the top end of our budget. However we found an ex-display model on sale in Tesco for £20, where I believe that new models are reduced to £25. We went for the ex-display model, which came without a box, instructions or a measuring spoon. However full instructions are available online at Morphy Richards website.
I think this is a very well designed machine, which makes good coffee, and keeps the coffee very warm. The machine looks good, is easy to use and clean and is not overly noisy. Overall, I would give this machine 4.5 stars out of 5, mainly losing half a star because of the poor design of the lid meaning that condensation formed and drips down the back of the machine when the lid is opened.
One small point to note however if you have poor co-ordination is that the water tank is quite narrow so if you struggle to pour things accurately you could end up making quite a mess. A funnel would help get the water in the right place, but its worth noting.