Gevalia: The World's Best Coffee Machine?

Gevalia, a subsidiary of Kraft Foods, is America's premier coffee mail order service. Members are recruited by either e-mail or snail mail, and an attractive part of the package deal is the promise of a free 12-cup, Gevalia branded coffee maker. But is it really the best coffee machine out there? Or would you be better off shelling out over a thousand dollars for a coffee roasting machine or automatic coffee center? Obviously, if you don't actually have the money to spare, the question will be a no-brainer. But even if you do, you may still be wondering if a Gevalia machine is the best coffee machine for you.

What Others Said

The review website actually does list the Gevalia XCC-12 as its best rated coffee machine. Seven reviewers gave it an average of 4 stars out of a possible 5. They praised its sleek design and its fast, efficient brewing of a perfect cup of coffee with no grounds mixed in. There were some reservations about the size of the water reservoir and the lack of a timer, but the most common reaction was "hey, it's free, what are you complaining about?"

Controversy About Gevalia's Marketing Methods

Gevalia is known for marketing its coffee machines very aggressively, either through traditional methods or online. In 2005, Kraft Foods was sued by a California internet service provider, Hypertouch, for spamming its customers, thus violating California's strict anti-spam laws. Some 8500 e-mails were sent to Hypertouch customers, some of them claiming to be from non-existent people, extolling the virtues of Gevalia coffee and their coffee machines, which they claimed were the best coffee machines on the market. Hypertouch and Kraft Foods eventually settled out of court.

How the Gevalia Coffee Club Works

So what do you need to do to get this free coffee machine? Here's how it works. You join the Gevalia coffee club for a fee of $22.95 and agree to purchase at least one item from their range of over 40 coffees every two months. Gevalia then sends you your free coffee maker. You can cancel the order at any time (and still get to keep your coffee maker), though some users complain that Gevalia continued to send them coffee even after they had canceled.

Of course the "free" coffee maker isn't really free, as it is paid for by the joining fee. But considering that a coffee making machine can cost anything up to $3000, it still represents a substantial bargain. And the people that have joined genuinely do seem to like it, if comments on the Internet are any indication (though bear in mind that a company that has been sued for sending out spam e-mails under false names probably wouldn't have any scruples about paying people to post positive comments on Internet forums).