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Juan Valdez JVPM1B and JVPM1W

Built by Salton Appliances, the Juan Valdez (www.esalton.com) closely resembles the Melitta One:One in look and design. The brewer has a suggested retail price of $85.99, but currently can be found on the Internet for around $55 to $65. It comes in black or white and incorporates an adjustable spout to accommodate both short and tall coffee mugs. In terms of business model the Juan Valdez is unusual, in that it is co-branded and marketed by the Colombian Coffee Federation, the world's largest and most influential coffee cooperative. Reservoir Capacity and Serving Size

Removable 40 oz. water reservoir without water filter option. Brews coffee at two settings: 5 oz. and 8 oz.

Capsule/Pod Format

Of the 44mm, 55mm and 62mm diameter filter-paper pod formats currently available in the single-serve pod brewer market, the Juan Valdez takes the middle 55-mm size. This mid-sized pod holder option apparently is intended to make the Juan Valdez brewer more universally compatible with 44mm and 62mm formatted pods. We were able to brew one of the more widely available 62mm pods in the Juan Valdez with as good a result as we obtained using other machines specifically designed for the 62mm size.

Machine Quality and Ease of Use

The brewer is easy to prime, but use is complicated not only by the need to have pods, regardless of size, completely inserted (stuffed) into the pod holder, but also by difficulties with closing its tricky, omni-directional-moving top lid. The lid must be held completely flat when securing it. However, when open it moves both forward and back, as well as up and down, on hinged springs, making the closing operation tricky (especially in the morning before breakfast).

Another problem: After brewing, the coffee pod was sopping wet and made what should be a quick and easy clean up a messy and time-consuming activity. Using the larger, third-party 62mm-sized pods made the wet-coffee-pod cleanup even more difficult.

Finally, the brewer gives a general impression of fragility, perhaps owing to the tricky lid and the prevalence of plastic in its construction. Nothing broke when we used it, however. The Juan Valdez is ready for brewing within 2-3 minutes and takes about 30-45 seconds to brew a cup.

Range and Availability of Coffees

Juan Valdez offers four choices of coffee pod, all, of course, consisting of coffee from Colombia: Colombia Light, Medium, and Dark roast, as well as one decaf. The brewer also can be used with the 62mm-size pods offered by Internet third party coffee-pod providers, which would permit the Juan Valdez owner to roam beyond the borders of Colombia when choosing pods and coffees. Juan Valdez pods currently cost roughly $0.28 to $0.44 per pod.

Other Beverages

The Juan Valdez is not designed to brew teas or other specialty drinks.

Dimension and Style

The brewer stands 14 inches high, 14 inches wide and 14 inches deep and weighs 6.7 lbs. The brewer's shape and size make it taller than it is wide, so it should fit easily on most kitchen countertops.

Notes and Other Features

Its potential versatility in accepting a variety of pod sizes plus its modest price makes the Juan Valdez an attractive budget single-serve option, although the clean-up issue may be a deterrent.



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