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Breville Hot Cup VKJ318 with Variable Dispenser Review

One cup kettles are become increasingly popular these days. Not only does boiling just enough for your cuppa save on your electricity bill, it’s more eco-friendly too. With that in mind Breville developed the Hot Cup VKJ318 hot water dispenser. It’s sold like hotcakes, but is it any good? Let’s take a look.

If you’re constantly boiling the kettle for just one cup of tea, then this machine promises to be the solution. It’ll boil you one cups worth of water from start to finish in about 40 seconds! That’s fast to say the least!

If you want more than one cup, the tank holds 2 litres of water which is enough for around 8 cups of tea or coffee.

It has a variable dispense feature with 9 different settings. Select the size of your cup, hit the button, and the machine will automatically dispense the selected amount of water. If you need to stop the flow for any reason, there’s a manual stop button.

Underneath the tap is a drip tray, so there won’t be any mess either. Keeping things nice and tidy too is built-in cable storage, into which you can feed unused power cable.

One cool thing about this machine is the stylish blue illumination that lights up inside the water tank while boiling, giving the water a blue hue. There’s a large viewing window in the tank so you can see the effect, and the result is a nice modern looking device. It’s finished in black with a stainless steel trim, and is going to look pretty swish in any kitchen.

We found that most kettles were cheapest at Amazon.co.uk, including the Breville Hot Cup which is currently available for 35% off.

Breville VKJ318 Hot Cup Features and Specifications

  • Boils one cup of water in just 40 seconds!
  • 2 litre tank can hold water for up to 8 cups
  • Variable dispense feature – select your cup size and the right amount of water will automatically be dispensed
  • Drip tray – no mess
  • Stylish blue illumination – sleek and modern

Customer Feedback and Reviews

The VKJ318 has sold really well since Breville introduced it back in 2009, and as such we’ve had no problem collecting together hundreds of customer comments and reviews. We found that the majority of customers were happy; 85% gave the machine 3 stars or above. This sounds great, but these figures don’t reveal the whole story so do read on!

So what does the Hot Cup do well? Well, in short, it boils a cup of water incredibly quickly! Whilst Breville say that it will have your water ready in 40 seconds, several customers pointed out that they found it quicker than that! It seems that you can have a cup of boiling water ready in around 33 to 35 seconds – a new record perhaps?!

If you do make a lot of single cups of tea or coffee, it’s a great idea and is going to save you time and money for electricity. People generally absolutely loved the machine, at first. However, there’s a big but coming, I’m afraid!

Unfortunately, on reading customer comments there seem to be big problems with reliability. It wasn’t uncommon to read comments from customers who’d been through 2 or 3 different machines. In fact, we even noticed favourable reviews that had been through several machines.

We noticed two common problems which people seemed to be experiencing time and time again.

The most common problem by far seems to affect the lid. Customers reported that it either gets jammed shut after a certain amount of use, or else it begins to pop open of its own accord (even in the middle of boiling the water).

The Hot Cup has been out on the market for some time now, and we thought that maybe this was an early issue that Breville have since ironed out. On closer inspection, though, we’ve seen comments from customers still experiencing this problem in February 2012.

Another problem was less common, but still reported often enough that it quickly made its way onto our radar. Again, after some time and use, it seems that the dispensing control begins to become quite erratic.

People who experienced this fault said that sometimes the machine dispenses a full cup, and sometimes half a cup. One person said that sometimes her machine dispenses what amounts to a teaspoon sized drip of water!

Another issue, which admittedly depends on your circumstances, is that people forgot to consider what they’d need to use the hot cup for. Since there’s no way to constantly tap out the water, filling up saucepans for cooking can become a bit of laborious chore!

You need to fill up your saucepans a cup at a time, which is frustrating and takes more time than simply using the kettle. Of course, if you only want water for tea or coffee, then this isn’t going to be an issue.

Now, the majority of customers rated this machine very highly and were very happy. However since we’ve found even happy customers that have been through 2 or 3 machines, we’re going to have to take a pass on this one.

With widespread complaints of unreliability, and the practical issues involved in using the Breville VKJ318 for cooking, we’ll stick with the good old kettle, thanks! If you do want save energy by only boiling your water a cup at a time, you might want to take a look at the Philips HD4671 kettle instead.

  • Score: 1 stars

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