Gasoline is cheaper than coffee. An ounce of espresso goes for a couple of bucks, right? That's $256 a gallon. It would cost over $3,000 to fill up your car with espresso, which of course no one does, because you hate it when you get that dashboard light that indicates you're low on steamed milk. If you used your grocery-store rewards card it would only be $2,956, but that's still a lot.

C'mon, you say, that's too much money. Just make your coffee at home. I do. That's the problem. Last year I bought a Hamilton Beach machine that made amazing coffee. People would take a sip and say, "I detect notes of melted Tupperware and Valvoline, with a distinct finish of moist rubber." When I took it out of the box it smelled like a fire in a wig factory. It was supposed to use K-cups as well, but I failed to read the instructions. Apparently there was a line that said "CAUTION: UNIT WILL BREAK IF USED."

There was a number to call for questions and complaints, and upon hearing that the appliance stunk, made coffee suitable for marketing under the brand name "Hitler Sweat" AND broke right away, they said they would send a box and I could mail it in for repairs. When the box arrived it contained another coffeemaker, as if I was supposed to use it until the other one was fixed, and then I'd mail back the loaner — oh, never mind. I put it in the closet and got out the old Cuisinart coffeemaker I'd dumped because I wanted to enter the new, exciting, expensive world of K-cups.

The Cuisinart fell ill a month ago. It would turn off in the middle of making a pot. The off-on switch worked, then it didn't. It made this thick, wet gurgle, like someone was trying to flush a pound of Jell-O. I conceded that it was time to start looking for a replacement model. Which brand hasn't disappointed me yet?

Let's check the Amazon reviews:


"I love my new KafeeKing 9000!!! It makes hot coffee I can drink, and when it's empty I add water and grounds and it makes MORE coffee!!! The burner keeps the coffee warm, and if I press my palm on the hot metal, the pain reminds me that I am alive. I really like the attached long, flat rope-type thing with two metal prongs — it plugs right in the wall!! That's what makes the coffee magic happen!!! Would buy again"

Then there's the next review:


"OK, I got the KafeeKing 9000, figuring it was a bargain product, and you get what you pay for. I mostly drink Folgers, so I'm not a snob. The first few pots were OK, but then the timer started blinking 6:66, which the manual said was a code indicating demonic possession. I unplugged it, but it still blinks. We have moved three times, and every time it shows up in the kitchen. We fear for our immortal souls."

If all the reviews are five or four stars, and there are just a few malcontents, you trust the wisdom of the crowd.

By now some of you are tut-tutting: Really, a drip coffeemaker? In 2016? If you want a really good cup of coffee, you need a cold French press and Jamaican beans individually washed in melted glacier runoff and hand-ground by pressing them between pieces of Icelandic volcano pumice. If you are that person, I like to imagine you've been kidnapped and trussed by Liam Neeson, who sits across from you, straddling a chair and saying, "I'm going to sit here with this 24-ounce of SuperAmerica coffee until you beg for it. The longer you wait, the colder it gets. Did I mention it's that nasty hazelnut blend?"

Really, you're a tiresome, pretentious scold, and if someone poured you the last inch from a carafe that's been sitting on a hot plate in an auto-parts warehouse for six hours and said it was Turkish Hardcore, you'd pronounce it delicious.

Anyway. I ordered a Kitchen Aid. It looked compact in the picture. When I got it out of the box, it was like Darth Vader's helmet. I inserted the water filter, knowing that this needs to be done every six months and that I will never do it again, and made a cup. Verdict: Coffee! Hurrah! How about that. Who'd have guessed. The box went in the trash, holding the remains of the Cuisinart.

Approximately 47 minutes after the box was carried off, the new unit's LED display malfunctioned. It's not mission-critical, but it's annoying. It flutters, like your eyelid when you've had a stressful month. I'd take it back, but there's no "back" to take it to and no box to put it in. This is why online sales will never replace traditional stores. Because I am lazy and don't want to go to FedEx to ship it back, I'm stuck with a twitchy readout.

It does make good coffee. And I do like the "Starbucks Simulation" feature: Just press a button and $3 is deducted from your bank account. That works. So far.