Usability Lessons from a Coffee Maker

I accidentally broke the coffee pot from my trusty coffee maker. I don’t know how long we’ve had it, but I know the Braun KF-187 coffee maker is a rare breed. We have an older KF-140 Braun coffee maker that we’re using as its replacement. It took only one use for me to see how the little things make a difference.

  • Filter basket handle: Makes it easier to open and close basket.
  • Green light: Alerts us when the coffee is ready.
  • 1 – 3 cup button: I only make one cup of coffee and this button prevents burning when there is not much coffee in the pot.
  • “Right feel” carafe: The pot felt nicer to hold, the lid was easy to get on and off, and it was just the right shape. The one I’m using now feels square and clunky, and it’s tricky to get its lid back on.
  • Water level indicator shows small water amounts: When I made the first couple of cups using the KF-140, the ball indicator didn’t budge. So I thought I didn’t have enough water when I did. I rarely made too much coffee with the KF-187 as its indicator was reliable.

It also has an auto-on feature, but I haven’t used it for over two years since I wake up at different times. The lesson here is that the little things make a difference.

I’ve been looking at current coffee makers and think many of them have too many features and their bodies feel like cheap plastic. I opened the lid to the water reservoir to see how they feel. A couple of them didn’t open and close smoothly and some felt like lightweight cheap plastic.

I love geeky and techie things, but a coffee maker doesn’t need most of those useless features. It’s a shame Braun didn’t keep making more FlavorSelect models since they were popular.

Older gadgets like VCRs lasted longer than the new ones. As companies find ways to make things cheaper, they also sacrifice quality. We had an older VCR that outlasted two or three newer ones. When a VCR lasted over a year, it was a miracle.

While I can order a replacement carafe, I decided it’s time to let the coffee maker go. It was getting worn out from so much use.

6 thoughts on “Usability Lessons from a Coffee Maker”

  1. I agree with you completely about this issue and the coffee maker! My KF-187 finally is dying after 15 years of great coffee. Every time I’ve looked at possible replacements I’ve seen the same problems that you cite here. I’m very bummed, and I depend on coffee being “just right” each morning to get my day going.
    What did you finally do for a replacement?

  2. We received a new coffee pot for Christmas and decided to try it. We were not happy with it so we went back to our Braun, I don’t know if it was insulted or not, but now it won’t work. What could be the problem? I thank you for any help.

  3. Do you still have your KF187?? Mine lasted more than a decade, I went through 3 replacement carafes but the maker was sturdy as a tank. Finally stopped heating/brewing. I’ve moved on to a highly rated KitchenAid, but it’s a pale shadow to the superb Braun.
    Some of the design ingenuity of the Braun is still superior to other makers, e.g. space-saving design, huge water tank opening, reliable drip stop mechanism, brilliant filter basket overflow holes (in case the drain hole is plugged, fluid will drain down the sides of the basket into the carafe). Adjustable keep-hot timer, and adjustable hot plate temp, are features I can’t seem to find elsewhere. I even found the KF187 could be disassembled somewhat (remove filter basket hinge, water tank lid) for yearly deep cleaning.
    Tl;dr: I miss my KF187 terribly. If anyone has a working one they’d like to discard…. 😉

    • Don’t have mine anymore. Watch for them on eBay. I have a highly rated coffeemaker now … and already I’m having it replaced as it died before warranty was up. Don’t know why Braun didn’t keep the KF187 as it seems like it has a lot of passionate fans like us!


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