Hamilton Beach 49980A Drip Coffee Maker Review
We all think the best coffee is the way we prefer to drink it. Everyone else likes it too strong or too weak. Or decaf.
But what if there was a way for everybody to have the coffee they wanted? And no, I’m not suggesting you go out and buy a variety pack of K-Cups!
The Hamilton Beach 49980A Two-Way Brewer offers the ability to prepare either an entire carafe or just a single serving using your favorite ground coffee. Does it deliver on its promise of allowing everyone to have their coffee the way they like? Read on to find out!
Summary: The Hamilton Beach 49980A
- Unique dual size brewing ability
- Convenient mesh filter/scoop for single serve brewer
- Can only brew coffee on one side at a time
The 2-Way Brewer doubles as a compact single-serve coffeemaker for everyday personal enjoyment and a full 12-cup pot machine.– Hamilton Beach
The Hamilton Beach 49980A Coffee Maker Review
This Hamilton Beach coffee maker offers the flexibility to brew a full pot or a single serve. It also lets you choose your brew strength and program it to brew coffee before you wake up. Let’s find out if the “2-way brewer” actually delivers on its promise.
Design – 3/5
The Hamilton Beach 2-Way Coffee Maker is not a stunning looking piece of equipment. It has the sort of chic utilitarian vibe pervasive to the Hamilton Beach line of products. Sure, it is not as chic and colorful as Smeg machines (you can read our Smeg coffee maker review here), but the brushed stainless steel and black plastic make for a look that matches a variety of decors. We also appreciate the pleasantly minimal interface that features just a handful of buttons and a nice, bright digital display.
From a size perspective, this Hamilton Beach is not as svelte as other single serve coffee makers or traditional 12-cup drip coffee makers. However, compared to having one of each, the space-saving is notable.
Features – 3/5
What makes this brewer special is that it can either brew a 12-cup coffee pot or a single cup (up to 14-oz) of coffee. Hamilton Beach’s ‘cup’ measurement is 5-oz, so the 12-cup glass carafe is capable of holding a fairly generous 60-oz / 1.7 liters of coffee.
Despite a travel mug appearing on pretty much all of this machine’s marketing images, it is sold without one. This isn’t much of a loss as the formerly included mug had a plastic interior and was quite flimsy. Just be aware that you’ll have to provide your own cup!
The dual-brew feature is handy if you are in a household where one person drinks decaf or a particular blend while the rest of the family (or one very thirsty person) drinks the pot of regular. This feature is also great if you are the kind of person who finds themselves wanting just one cup of coffee in the middle of the day. Rather than brew a whole pot, this coffee machine lets you brew a single cup whenever you please.
The single serving side has a nifty little base that allows you to position coffee mugs closer to the spout as well as accommodating taller cups and travel mugs.
Beyond its dual-brew ability, the Hamilton Beach Two-Way brewer is a typical programmable drip coffee maker. You are limited to two strength settings: regular and bold.
The “bold” setting simply slows down the rate that the hot water poured over the coffee grounds. This option doesn’t always produce a better cup, so experiment.
The 12-cup glass carafe is uninsulated but rests atop a hot-plate that can keep your coffee warm for up to 2 hours. We prefer to see an insulated carafe, as hot plates sometimes tend to give the coffee a scorched or burnt taste.
One neat feature that this Hamilton Beach brewer has is the ability to use Senseo coffee pods on the single serve coffee maker side. While not as ubiquitous as K-cups, Senseo coffee pods are available at most major grocery stores. As a bonus, Senseo pods are compostable! (1)
Ease Of Use – 4/5
The Hamilton Beach 49980A is generally easy to use, although there are some nuances to its operation.
You cannot brew a single serving and a carafe of coffee simultaneously.
Despite the dual-brew feature, you can only brew on one side at a time. Not only that, but the carafe’s hot plate will turn off if you switch to a single serve brew after brewing a pot of coffee. Be sure to plan accordingly!
The single serve brew basket uses a permanent metal-mesh filter while the carafe side requires you to provide your own flat-bottom filters. It means that the single serving side and the carafe side will always brew slightly different cups of coffee even if you use the same beans and coffee grounds to hot water ratio. (2)
A steel filter… gives a more flavoursome coffee [than paper], since steel doesn’t absorb the coffee’s oils as it passes through, whilst paper does.
While Hamilton Beach does not sell metal mesh filters for the carafe side brew basket, you may be able to find a third party mesh filter basket that fits.
One feature that makes the single serving side super convenient to use is its built-in minimum and maximum fill lines in the water reservoir. We’re sure there have been plenty of times when a measuring scoop was unavailable, and you had to guesstimate. With fill lines, you always know you’re in the ballpark. Additionally, the metal-mesh filter doubles as a scoop, eliminating the need for secondary utensils altogether!
Curiously, Hamilton Beach advises that you use less ground coffee when brewing decaf or flavored coffees. While the standard ratio is 1 tablespoon of ground coffee per cup, the recommendation is 25% less when brewing decaf or flavored coffee. (3)
Brewing is straightforward: fill the tank with as much water as you want to be used in the brewing process, ensure the selector switch matches the batch size you want to brew, and then press the power button.
When brewing into a cup, we recommend that you fill the reservoir from the cup you’re going to use. Otherwise, you risk your cup overflowing.
One thing to note is that the single serving side’s brewing time is longer than a Keurig or other single serve coffee makers.
The programmable start timer is easy to use, as well. To set the programmed start time, hold the program button down and use the hour and minute buttons to adjust the time. A green LED will illuminate to verify that the program has been set.
Note: The coffee maker will brew in whatever mode it was left in. Be sure that the single-serve/carafe setting matches your desired batch size when setting your program the night before!
Cleanup is about as easy as it gets: all removable parts are dishwasher safe. The rest can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Value For Money – 4.5/5
The Hamilton Beach 49980A Two-Way Coffee Brewer represents great value. Buying a single-serve machine, and a 12-cup coffee maker separately will almost certainly cost you more, not to mention take up more of your counter space.
Despite being relatively simple, this coffee maker still comes with a lot of useful features like programmability, strength control, and Senseo pod compatibility, just to name a few.
There are certain areas where cost-cutting has resulted in a less than perfect coffee maker. First, and perhaps most obvious: Why does the batch brewing side not have a reusable mesh filter like some of the best single serve coffee makers on the market? Second, and perhaps the bigger problem: Why provide a glass carafe with a hot-plate instead of an insulated carafe? At least, they could have made a model with an insulated thermal carafe, just like they do with the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew coffee makers.
While the inclusion of these two features would have elevated this machine to value perfection, even without them, this drip coffee maker makes a compelling case.
Things we liked:
- Can brew a full pot or a single serving
- Can be programmed to brew on a timer
- Can opt for regular or bold strength
- Great value for money
Things we didn’t like:
- No insulated carafe
- No reusable filter basket for the batch brewing side
Do Not Buy The Hamilton Beach 49980A If…
You only want to brew large batches of coffee – Take a look at the Cuisinart DCC-3200 14 cup programmable coffee maker. Just like the Hamilton Beach, you can adjust the brew strength and program it to start brewing automatically in the morning. It even offers you the ability to adjust the warming plate temperature to prevent your brewed coffee from getting stewed. Read this to find out if the Cuisinart is a better fit for your needs.
You want the best drip coffee money can buy – By all accounts, this drip coffee machine makes a great cup of coffee. However, if you want the absolute best, then you’re looking for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) certification. The SCAA assesses coffee makers on a variety of criteria and ensures that they deliver consistently amazing coffee. (4)
The Moccamaster KBT 741 from Technivorm is quite expensive for home coffee machine, but it is the absolute best drip coffee maker on the market. All Technivorm machines are SCAA certified, and the KBT 741 is no exception. Our glowing review speaks volumes about its brewing capabilities.
The Bonavita BV1900TS is another SCAA certified brewer, and much more affordable than the Moccamaster. It costs more than the Hamilton Beach coffee maker, but we believe the price difference is justified by the outstanding quality of coffee the Bonavita brews.
The Verdict On The Hamilton Beach 49980A
The Hamilton Beach 49980A offers a unique set of features that could make it the perfect coffee maker for your office or household. Capable of brewing up to a 12-cup carafe, it can caffeinate a crowd. But, if you’re interested in drinking a single serving of coffee and prefer to use your own ground coffee instead of K-Cups, then this coffee brewer still has you covered.
This coffee maker also offers you the convenience of a programmable timer, so your coffee will be ready when you wake up. We would have loved to see an insulated carafe variant of this model, but at this price, glass carafes are the norm. Ultimately, the Hamilton Beach 49980A is a good drip coffee maker that offers uncommon features at a great price.
- (n.d.). FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.senseo.us/faq/
- Pearson, D. (2018, May 31). Which Filter Brew Method Is Best for You? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/which-filter-brew-method-is-best-for-you/
- (n.d.). (2014). Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer: Instruction Manual. Retrieved from https://useandcares.hamiltonbeach.com/files/840199604.pdf
- (n.d.). Certified Home Brewer Program: Minimum Certification Requirements. Retrieved from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/584f6bbef5e23149e5522201/t/5a60fd1024a694c931e79a8d/1516305684789/2017+SCA+CHB+Program+Requirements.pdf