REVIEW – Our kids are in college now, but one day they’ll graduate—or so we hope—and they’ll head out on their own. They’ll get a job, get a car, and get an apartment. As a parent, I’m always trying to look ahead and help my kids to figure out what they’ll need to kit out their first domicile. In this review, I’ll be looking at the Grind & Brew Coffee Maker by Hauswrit.
What is it?
The Grind & Brew (G&B) is a combination coffee grinder and drip brewer for making coffee. It comes in a small form-factor that can serve up to six cups of coffee, and it can also be used to brew a pot of tea. The G&B is made by Hauswirt, a brand of Qingdao Harmony International Trade, a Chinese company.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x coffee pot
- 1 x coffee scoop
- 1 x small brush
- 1 x manual with nine pages of English instructions
- Grind sizes: Coarse, medium, fine
- Warming plate: 2 hours
- Carafe size: 6 cups max
- Brew source: whole bean coffee, ground coffee, loose-leaf tea
- Water temperature: 197 degrees Fahrenheit
- Dimensions: 8 W x 9.5 D x 11.25 H inches
Design and features
The G&B is a compact coffee maker designed for apartments or smaller homes where kitchen counter space is at a premium. It has a retro sort of look to it. The top and sides are made from a matte white plastic, while the front sports a brushed aluminum control panel with five buttons, a digital display framed by black plastic and the Hauswirt logo, and a small coffee pot. The top has a small grille for steam to escape and a button to pop open the top. Overall, it’s a very pleasing aesthetic that will look good in almost every kitchen.
Installation and setup
The G&B arrived very well protected, a box within a box and surrounded by foam inserts. I pulled it out of the box and removed the packaging. I read through the manual and found it to be poorly written, having both confusing directions and very bad English. Even so, I was able to figure out the gist of how to use the G&B.
The next step was to wash all the parts where the coffee and the water would go, namely the coffee pot, the water tank, the filter cartridge, the filter bucket, and the shower. I used hot water and soap and washed everything, so now it’s ready to make coffee!
For my first test, I decided to make a full pot of coffee using ground coffee. I filled the tank to the six cups line. I then poured that water into the coffee pot, just to verify that that would make a full pot, and it nearly did. I poured the water back into the tank and put it into the G&B. One corner of the tank has a notch in it such that it can only fit one way. I put the filter cartridge into the G&B and the bucket into the cartridge.
I closed the lid, used the digital display to select 6 cups of ground coffee, and pressed the start button. (In this photo, you can see how the plastic around the display was all scratched up.) When it was done brewing, the coffee pot was only half full. Where was the rest? One cup was still in the bottom of the tank, and two cups were still in the filter. Though these last two cups would eventually drain into the pot, if I drank my first cup of coffee as soon as it was done brewing, the second cup would be a lot stronger. The filter appears to be too fine, or perhaps it would work better with coarser grains.
I experimented with the R&B for the next three days and learned a few tricks. One, if I’m looking to get the max amount of coffee into my pot, I have to fill the water to max, not to 6. Two, I can’t select 6 cups of coffee; instead, I need to select F. (What exactly does F stand for? According to the manual, it stands for “high-end player mode.” What?! Is this coffee maker also video gaming console? I’m just going to pretend like I didn’t read that. F stands for “full.”) Three, after it brews, I have wait at least five more minutes for coffee to finish draining before getting my first cup. The Hauswrit page on Amazon brags that the coffee will be ready in just five minutes, but that’s not really true. It takes about nine minutes to brew a full pot of coffee, and by the time I wait for it to finish draining from the filter, the total time is closer to 15 minutes. Four, once I empty the pot, I need to press and hold the start button for a couple seconds, which turns off the warmer. If I press and hold it again, it will turn off the coffee pot.
Once I learned these trips, I could brew six cups of coffee, enough fill two of my coffee mugs with just a little bit leftover. Delicious!
For my second test, I decided to try it with coffee beans. The R&B has a grinder built into the filter bucket that can grind beans using the coarse, medium, or fine settings. To test this, I ground beans with each of the three settings, but then stopped the R&B before it could brew. The result? The grinder works, but there’s absolutely no visual difference between the results. All three piles of ground beans, coarse, medium, and fine (from left to right), look the same. If you’re the kind of person who needs his coffee ground to a very specific granularity, you’ll want to use a different grinder. R&B’s failure isn’t really a problem for me. I only need medium-ground beans in order to enjoy a good cup of joe, and the R&B does that well enough.
Grinding the beans only adds about 20 seconds to the process, so there’s no reason not to let the R&B do it for me. I found that if I used 1/3 of a cup of beans, that was just enough to brew it the way I like my coffee.
For my third and final test, I tried it with loose-leaf tea. I poured two tablespoons of blueberry black tea that I had purchased from The Spice & Tea Exchange. It took about eight minutes to brew, and unlike the coffee, all the water had drained from the filter, so we didn’t have to wait any longer. My wife and I enjoyed a couple mugs of nice hot tea.
Because the R&B doesn’t use a paper filter, cleanup involves taking the filter cartridge and bucket to the sink and washing them (or at least rinsing them good). I had to pour the coffee grounds down the sink rather than dumping them into the trash. Sometimes grinds splash on the shower, and I have to wash it, too. Overall, it’s not too much work to do. One thing to keep in mind if you use the R&B for both coffee and tea: cross contamination. Coffee has a strong, acidic taste to it, so before I brewed the tea, I made sure that I had washed everything well to remove the coffee taste.
What I like
- Retro look
- Small size
- Built-in grinder (even if it only does one granularity)
What I’d change
- Have someone re-write the manual
The Hauswirt Grind & Brew Coffee Maker is both a coffee grinder and a drip brewer. It has retro look, takes up a small space on the counter, and works equally well with coffee and tea. It makes six cups of coffee, about two average coffee mugs. This coffee maker isn’t perfect. The manual is poor, the grinder can only grind with one level of coarseness, and the filter takes a while to finish draining when used with coffee. Despite these problems, the Grind & Brew makes a good pot of coffee, and I think it would be a welcome addition to a dorm room, an apartment, or a house with a small kitchen.