I’m a geek, if you’ve looked around the site very much you know that. But I’m a special kind of geek, I love coffee and I like shiny things, so when word got out that there was a voice responsive coffee maker coming to the marker I reported on it on my podcast. I would never guess that I would later get a chance to review the very same item.
Primula Products was nice enough to send me a a Primula Speak n’ Brew voice activated coffee maker. The idea behind this is that you press a button and speak the time and AM or PM when you would like your coffee. It also allows you to set the time on the clock without playing with any buttons or dials.
No matter what product comes out there is always a target audience. A group of people who the product is meant to appeal to. Who would be the target audience for this coffee maker? Well anyone who isn’t too technically inclined and still loves good coffee. There are a good number of people out there who at one point or another had a flashing 12 on their VCR’s and this product is marketed directly to them. Beyond the voice recognition aspects I wondered how the coffee coming out of the machine would taste, because no matter how awesome the features, if it doesn’t brew good coffee there is no point.
I like simple and easily provable claims to judge products on. Most companies that make simple statements don’t have anything to hide, which is what I like. Cut the buzzwords give me the facts.
- Claim #1: Voice Programming for your coffee pot and time
- Claim #2: Brews good coffee
Research is the part of the job. I love it the most, it means drinking coffee in industry terms, and when I’m reviewing a coffee pot it means drinking a lot of coffee, so it better be good.
Plug it in press a button and it asks you to set the time, speak clearly and it works like a charm. Mumble and your mileage may vary. I found it to be pretty good no matter the accent as long as you enunciate it works very well.
The primary selling feature of this coffee pot is the voice controls. They work exactly as advertised, and are nothing if not simple. Every Single time you press the button you get a voice prompt asking you if you would like to set the time or set the coffee brewing time. Most times, just saying coffee is enough to get it into the scheduling section. There is also a very simple button to start brewing coffee if words escape you.
A coffee maker and a small instruction booklet. The unit is well packed and secure. I was surprised by the build quality of the unit. Simple drip brew coffee makers no matter the fun gadgetry attached don’t have good track records with overall build quality. This unit is solid and very well done. I’d buy this even if there wasn’t a spiffy voice activated system running my coffee scheduling, the fact that there is makes the decision that much easier.
Without getting into too many details there are two very important parts of every drip brew system, the first of which being the heating coil to warm up the water to make your coffee, and the second being the heating element in the warming pad, too hot and it singes the coffee. Both of these heating elements are tuned right, the water brews great coffee and the warming pad doesn’t heat too hot or too quickly.
This coffee maker costs 80 dollars, which for a well made programmable coffee pot is right about what you would expect to pay, but for one you can talk to and ask it to brew your coffee for you I’d say its a great price. It stands up in build quality to a Cuisinart, which we own the grind and brew. I’d love to see a grind and brew version of the Speak n’ Brew down the line.
Every version of any product has design features which could be made better. I would love to see a third option on the voice activation button which enables coffee brewing immediately, by simple saying now for when you would like coffee. That change alone would be awesome. Also if there was a way to turn off the set the time prompt that would be great. in the week and a half since putting the Primula Speak n’ Brew into heavy rotation it gets a little old asking me if i’d like to set the time, but not enough to stop me from brewing good coffee, again and again
Lastly and this is a small item i would change the spring in the basket to a slightly heavier grade, it doesn’t always put a good seal on it when you pull the coffee pot out in the middle of brewing. a slightly heavier duty spring would probably fix this.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this coffee maker. Not only is ist exactly as easy to use as the packaging and marketing materials suggested but it brewed a nice cup of coffee as well, and in the end thats all that really matters. It was very easy to, and brewed good coffee. Thanks to Primula for sending me a great new coffee pot.
:: Disclosure: I was sent the Primula Speak n’ Brew at no cost for the purpose of reviewing it ::