Viking Coffee Makers
A few years ago, Viking coffee makers were a popular choice for anyone wanting a professional looking and performing machine for home use. However these days the company has moved away from making smaller kitchen appliances, instead choosing to put their focus on larger home appliances. With their line of coffee makers now discontinued, is it still worth buying one if you come across some older stock for sale? In this article we are going to take a look at one of their most popular coffee makers, and you can skip onto that section over here. First though we are going to be talking about Viking as a brand, so read on to find out more.
Is Viking a trustworthy brand?
Viking is a relatively new company, which was started by a man called Fred Carl in 1980. He had moved into a new home, and was looking for a range of upmarket appliances to furnish his kitchen with. Having found none that really fitted what he wanted, he decided to start making his own. Working with a local company, he spent 7 years refining the products which were eventually released under the Viking brand in 1987. And this is how the Viking Range brand was born. Over the years their reputation began to rise, as they catered for a rather niche gap in the market. Fast forward a few years, and their products were in hot demand.
However the company did have a major setback towards the later part of the 2000’s though, as they produced some refrigerators between 1999 and 2006 which were deemed “unsafe” by the CPSC. A recall for these products was finally started by the company in 2009, but it had done some serious damage to the reputation of the company. Many questions arose about the company, as some speculated that Viking were aware of these issues but chose to ignore them. Sales soon begun to decline, and the future of the company looked to be in doubt.
In 2013 the company was taken over by The Middleby Corporation, which is the largest manufacturer of kitchen products in the USA. The company was reorganised and relaunched, and they honoured the warranties of older products in order to show that the company was committed to customers who had previously trusted the brand. This has clawed back some of the public trust issues which had hounded the company the past few years, and the company seems to be on the rise again. The reorganisation of the company reduced their smaller appliance product range, and unfortunately their coffee makers were some of the products which were discontinued.
So now the big question is whether or not these coffee makers are high quality like some of their earlier products, or whether they suffer from some of the much publicised quality control issues which plagued them a few years ago. Lets have a look at one of their most popular model to see how it has held up.
Viking VCCM12 Coffee Maker
One of the most popular Viking products in the past few years has been the VCCM12 coffee maker. This is a rather generously sized 12 cup coffee maker, which still seems quite relevant today. You will need a bit of counter size to house this model, with dimensions of 9″W x 11.5″D x 15″H. It comes in a metallic silver, or a black and silver finish. Both of these finishes are very stylish, but it does seem like the metallic silver finish is the favourite amongst consumers. When it was first released in 2010 it was priced around the $250 mark, but this dropped to nearer $180 by the time it was discontinued in 2013. So aside from a visually appealing product, what else did that get you? This model can make up to 12 cups, and you can brew 4 as a minimum. Like most other upper end models, this one has a programmable clock which helps to ensure you can always wake up or come home to a fresh cup of coffee.
If you often find yourself in a hurry, or simply can’t wait to get your coffee, then the “Brew Break” feature will be ideal for you. This means you can pour the first cup of coffee as soon as it is ready, instead of having to wait for the whole batch to finish.
The carafe is made out of stainless steel, and helps to keep your coffee warm for many hours.
So how easy is it to operate the machine? There are two pull out containers on the right hand side of the machine, which are accessed using the recessed handle. One is filled with water, and the other one is filled with coffee. All you need to do is fill up either with the desired quantity, and you are ready to go. It comes with a built in stainless steel filter, so no need to worry about having to spend extra money on filters over the years. Lastly there is a tea basket included, so you can also use this to make tea, or even plain old hot water!
But is it as good buy?
With all those nice features and extras, it does sound quite enticing to buy doesn’t it? However…There have been some complaints about this model, so it seems fair that we should mention those too. The first and foremost issue seem to be the dreaded flashing “DCL” message which gets displayed on the machine, essentially rendering it virtually useless. The flashing DCL message on the lcd means it is time to descale the machine. The problem many folks face is that even after performing the descaling and clearing the message, it returns after a few hours or days. This can be a huge nuisance, as the descaling procedure can take a while to perform. For anyone that has a machine that displays the DCL message, the way to get rid of it is to press the On button, and then hold down the Brew button for a few seconds. This should get rid of it, but make sure you descale the machine first if you haven’t already done this. If you are one of the unlucky ones who can’t seem to get rid of this error message even after descaling, then there doesn’t seem to be another obvious fix unfortunately.
Something else to worry about is the machine overflowing. A common issue is that the filter and intake pipe can get gummed up, which makes the unit overflow. A suggested solution to this is to avoid finely ground coffee, and only use medium and above sized ground coffee. There have also been some reports of the unit leaking where the water tank connects to the machine. However there is no clear reason for why this happens.
Another common complaint about this model is it tends to be a bit noisy. This is only during the brewing phase however, but we see this as only a minor issue as all coffee makers tend to make some noise.
So that is a look at the VCCM12 coffee maker. As you can see it has a number of good feature, but there have also been quite a few complaints and issues with this particular model. Looking at the Amazon product page, the current user rating is a rather unappealing 2.6 stars, so clearly these issues are quite common if you read some of the user reviews. For that reason alone, it is hard to really recommend this model at the full retail price as it seems like a bit of a hit and miss as to whether you get a “good” model or not. If you see a cheap second hand model, then it’s certainly worth a look if you aren’t spending too much cash. This is one of the last coffee makers that Viking made, and perhaps that is for the best.