Russell Hobbs 20680 Buckingham Coffee Maker full review
Waking up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee is one of the little pleasures in life. Well, you can give yourself this gift every morning with the affordable Buckingham Coffee Maker from Russell Hobbs. This filter machine is part of the limited Buckingham range, which also includes a stainless steel Quiet Boil kettle and either 2 or 4-slice stainless steel toasters.
I set the timer to see if the Buckingham Coffee Maker really provides a good way to start the day.
Design and build quality
This is a smart looking coffee maker whose chassis is mainly black plastic, embellished with stainless steel sections along the top and bottom of the area that houses the carafe. Front and centre, you’ll also find the various controls that allow you to set the timer, as well as adjust the strength of the brew.
Clear plastic plates on either side of the body let you see how much water is currently in the reservoir, along with markings for how many cups this will deliver. If, like me, you prefer to use mugs for your morning pick-me-up, then you’ll want to halve the numbers as the cups Russell Hobbs use are obviously a bit small. The markers suggest you can make ten cups at any one time, which I found to equal around five mugs.
The 1.25 litre glass carafe can be a little fiddly to remove from the hot plate, due to the spring-loaded filter tip that ensures no leaks, so you’ll need to angle the pot slightly as you remove or replace it. After a few days it will seem like second nature.
Russell Hobbs also provides a coffee scoop whose base slides into a space on the left side of the chassis, so it doesn’t get lost. Nice touch.
Showered in coffee
Popping open the lid reveals the removable filter housing and coffee basket. The latter is great as it gives you the option to either use the basket as a reusable filter or stick with filter papers if you prefer them. Holding the lid open is a red shower-arm with four holes to spread water out evenly over the coffee grounds. Russell Hobbs claims that this means all of the coffee is used during the brewing process, which seems fair enough.
In truth, I’ve not found an abundance of unused coffee grounds in my older, traditional drip feed filter machine, but whether this means that the Buckingham is slightly over-engineered or not, it does indeed make a tasty cup of coffee.
One thing to note is that the shower-arm is entirely made of plastic, which could mean a shorter lifespan than a metal design, but as long as you’re not slamming the lid open and shut with unconstrained fury, I think it will keep going for a fair length of time.
Features and performance
The real selling point of the Buckingham is its timer feature. This is accessible through a 24-hour clock that’s easy to program thanks to the dedicated hour and minutes button. Once set, and filled with coffee and water, you can look forward to multiple hot cups of bean-fuelled beverage when you arise in the morning or get home from work.
If you’re not intending to use the entire 1.25 litres, there's also a button marked 1-4 Cups which will slow down the brewing process and ensure you get the same strength as you would from a full carafe.
As you’d expect, you don’t have to use the timer, as the Buckingham will instantly begin brewing your coffee if you press the button marked by a coffee cup with an arrow above it.
Filling the carafe takes the Buckingham about ten minutes. Once the process is finished, the hotplate will stay on for forty minutes before automatically switching off. This can be quite annoying, as if you get up late or forget to drink the coffee for a while, you’ll find it’s gone cold, which happened several times during my time with the appliance. This could be due to the habits I've formed previously using a machine that would remain on until manually switched off, which does have its own issues in terms of energy use.
I’d recommend making only what you intend to drink over the course of an hour, rather than a big pot in the morning that you’ll periodically sip across the day. For ultimate convenience and energy efficiency, you could buy a flask then fill it with the coffee once it's brewed. That way you don’t waste money on your electricity bill or end up with a tepid brew.
The carafe and filter housing can go in the dishwasher, so keeping them in pristine condition is an easy affair, plus there’s also the self-clean feature that Russell Hobbs recommends you use once a month. This involves making a mixture of 6 cups of white vinegar and 4 cups of water, which you pour into the reservoir. Then press the button with a water drop icon and let the machine handle the rest. It takes about 40 minutes to complete the cycle.
One important thing to remember is that you’ll want to run a full carafe of water through the brewing cycle a couple of times afterwards until the smell of vinegar disappears.
Price and availability
The Buckingham has been out for a while now, so you can find it on the shelves of most electrical retailers. Buying directly from Russell Hobbs will set you back £54.99 in the UK. It doesn’t seem to be available in the USA or Australia, although you can buy it from Amazon Australia for $85.47.
The Buckingham is a well-priced filter coffee machine that makes a decent brew and is easy to maintain. The addition of the timer is a real plus, making it simple to have a fresh cup of coffee or two when you get up or arrive home from work. The markings for cup sizes are a bit confusing and the 40-minute hot-plate limit is not great, but if you want a new coffee machine and don’t want to spend too much, this is well worth a look.
Russell Hobbs 20680 Buckingham Coffee Maker: Specs
- 1.25 litre carafe
- 24 hr programmable timer
- Showerhead technology for water distribution
- Removable coffee basket and filter holder
- Stainless steel / plastic construction
- 40-minute hotplate timer
- Auto-clean feature
- Size H32.5, W23, D20.5cm
- Power output 1000 watts
- Manufacturer's 2 year guarantee
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