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Black & Decker HCC100

The Black & Decker HCC100 (www.blackanddeckerappliances.com) is a member of the Home Café family of pod brewers and beverage pods that includes the Krups 1010 and Mr. Coffee AT13, together with compatible pods produced by Procter & Gamble under its Folgers and Millstone brands. The HCC100 comes in either black or white, has a suggested retail price of $59.95, and can be purchased at retailers such as Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid Drug. It can also be found online at modest discounts from the list price.

Serving Size and Reservoir Capacity

Removable 34 oz. water reservoir with no water filter option. Brews three serving sizes: 7 oz., 9 oz. and 14 oz.

Coffee-Pod Size and Format

Of the 44, 55 and 62mm-sized filter paper pod formats currently available in the single-serve market, the Black & Decker HCC100 brews 62-mm sized pods with a coffee weight of 8 to 10 grams each. The HCC100 comes with three pod holders, one for single pods, one for loading two pods to produce taller or stronger drinks, and one for proprietary Home Café specialty drink pods that produce pod interpretations of with-milk drinks like cappuccino. Machine Quality and Ease of Use

The most distinguishing feature of the HCC100 is the three-inch handle for opening and closing the lid that secures the pod holders. It sticks out at a right angle from the top of the machine like the handle of a motorcycle.

Another distinguishing feature of the Black & Decker HCC100 is plastic - lots of it. I am sure that there are non-plastic components inside, but the only external metal components are the drip guard and rather flimsy-looking wire mesh filters in the pod holders. Like several of the other pod brewers reviewed by Coffee Review, the HCC100 requires the use of two hands to open and close before brewing, but for a somewhat different reason: The flimsy look and feel of the device had me worried that I might snap the handle or inadvertently tear it out of the machine.

Nor is the fit of the pod holders reassuring. They require some jiggling and twisting to fit into place, and still look a bit loose and not securely set in the brewer. And the specialty drink pod holder was a complete failure: I couldn't close the lid when it was in place.

Finally, the HCC100 makes a mess when brewing coffee. The coffee is dispensed from the pod holder at a height of over 5 ½ inches from the bottom brew plate and a regular sized coffee mug allows just enough space for coffee to splatter the counter around the base of the machine. The spattering was particularly intense towards the end of the brewing process. The last sputtering of brewing coffee may be a sound that brings coffee lovers running, but with the HCC100 it's also a call for the clean-up crew.

Range and Availability of Coffees

Like other Home Café brewers, the Black & Decker HCC100 is specifically marketed for use with Folgers and Millstone coffee pods: Classic Roast, Classic Decaf and 100% Colombian from Folgers, and Colombian Supremo and French Roast from Millstone, plus four flavored coffees. Certainly a limited menu for the aficionado, but it will brew other filter-paper formatted coffee pods of similar size, including those sold for the Senseo brewer and those produced by third-party providers like www.podhead.com. Home Café brand coffee pods range from around $0.24 to $0.28 per pod. Other Beverages

The Black & Decker HCC100 currently produces (if you can get the lid closed on the pod holder) two specialty drinks using Home Café proprietary plastic pods: a cappuccino and a "Skinny Vanilla Latte." No teas are listed on the Home Café website.

Dimension and Style

The Black & Decker HCC100 weighs 3.6 lbs. and stands about 12 inches high, 7 inches wide and about 11 inches deep. The protruding lid handle may make this brewer difficult to tuck away in tight quarters.

Notes and Other Features

Its modest price may make it attractive, but the HCC100 is messy to use, rather difficult to use, and flimsy in construction.



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