Flavia Fusion Drink Station
Flavia, a brand of the Mars Corporation, recently introduced the Flavia Drink Station (www.myflavia.com), a consumer-oriented offspring of the well-established Flavia office-service hot beverage systems. It can be purchased in black, red or ice blue for at Sharper Image stores at a suggested retail price of $119.95 or online for (currently) around $100.00.
Serving Size and Reservoir Capacity
Removable 52 oz. water reservoir with activated charcoal filter. Five brew settings: 3.0 oz, 4.3 oz, 5.7 oz, 7 oz, and 8.3 oz serving sizes.
Coffee-Pod Size and Format
The Drink Station uses a proprietary filterpack specific to its design. Shaped like a small envelope with a plastic strip affixed to the top, this pack also contains a filter that opens automatically when hot water is pumped through the pack into the cup. Flavia filterpacks contain about 5.5 grams of finely ground coffee and cost around $0.42 to $0.47 per filterpack.
Machine Quality and Ease of Use
The Drink Station has a convincingly futuristic look to it and seems durable, if rather heavy. The brew head is on the front of the water reservoir and can be adjusted in height to accommodate cups of varying shape and size. Priming the machine and its first use is simple. The filterpacks snap easily into place, though it takes two hands to secure the sliding filterpack door - one to steady the machine and the other to close the door. The drink size selection control is intuitive once you know the available drink sizes, as they are not listed by number but by sequentially sized marks.
The first drink is ready for brewing about 90 seconds after the machine has been turned on, and subsequent drinks can be made at intervals of about 35 seconds.
Range and Availability of Coffees
Since the Drink Station uses a proprietary design for its filterpacks, the user is limited to the sixteen coffees offered by Flavia: Sumatra, Italian Roast, French Roast, Colombia, Costa Rican, Sidamo Gold, House Blend, Breakfast Blend, Roasted Safari Nut, Hazelnut Noisettes, French Vanilla, Irish Crème, French Roast Decaf, House Blend Decaf, and Hazelnut Decaf. It seems unlikely that Flavia will expand this selection, given that it has not changed substantially since Coffee Review last reviewed a Flavia single-serve device in 2003.
Flavia offers a relatively large assortment of other hot beverages in filterpack format, including four teas, five "Wellbeing" drinks, four "indulgence" (with-milk) coffee and chai drinks, and two chocolates.
Dimension and Style
The Flavia Drink Station stands 13 inches high, 9 inches wide and 14 inches deep and weighs about 8 lbs. empty. The machine is constructed primarily of plastic with some metal parts, and looks sleekly and rather originally modern. The control panel is located on the flat top of its height-adjustable brew head.
Notes and Other Features
Small point, but the Drink Station's water reservoir fits almost too snugly into its base and requires a strong pull to remove it for filling.
In the larger picture, Flavia has gone out of its way to not only come up with a unique design for its brewer, but also to provide a rather robust selection of drink choices. Unfortunately, the coffee lover interested in quality and variety will be frustrated by the limited and rather drab coffee choice part of that selection and those concerned with value may be put off by the rather stiff per-serving cost of the filterpacks.