Toast and Coffee 

It is time for a breakfast break as I indulge in a heavy session of consuming toast and coffee.

panasonic NT ZP1VXC toaster
click image to enlarge

Up until recently I had no idea that Panasonic has a division that dealt with home appliances.  I had always regarded Panasonic as a company that concentrated its energies on the development and manufacture of televisions, cameras and similar products such as the DECT phone currently sitting on my right hand side waiting to choose the opportune moment to interrupt my chain of thought with an incoming telephone call.  I expect your view of the company is similar to that which I held until now.

We will now have to adjust our conception of Panasonic as the company introduces to the UK a range of products designed specifically for the kitchen.  Vying for space on retailers’ shelves, and in your kitchen, will be the Panasonic kitchen set which consists of a kettle, coffee maker and toaster.  There is also an iron but usually this device will be used in rooms other than the kitchen.  My original intension for this review was to include the three kitchen elements but due to circumstances outside my control, the kettle has been replaced by a second toaster model.

There are two models in the Panasonic Coffee Maker range.  These models are the NC-ZF1 and the NC-DF1 with the review sample being of the latter variety.  Both models offer basic coffee making facilities rather than those you will find in Espresso and latte machines.  This coffee maker consists of three main elements.  A brushed metallic silver and lacquered black coloured water tower is positioned at the black of the unit.  Unlike the other Panasonic model, the NC-DF1 water tower does not possess an indicator for the water level.

Stacked on top of each other at the front of the unit are the filter/basket element and a glass jug for holding the coffee once it has been percolated.  This glass jug does possess level indicators.  Both the jug and water tower elements have flip up lids that provide access for filling these containers.  The level indicator on the water jug can help when adding the correct amount of water to the tower.  In order to add the ground coffee to the filter/basket you will need to swing this element to the left.  I found it far easier to replace the empty jug on its platform before returning the filter/bucket to its original position.

Due to the rather short length of the permanently attached power lead (90cm), you will need to position this coffee maker in close proximity to a power socket.  An on/off switch is located at the rear of the water tower.  The percolated coffee will be deposited in the water jug.  If, like the songs says, “You like your coffee hot” then you could well be disappointed with this Panasonic coffee maker.  I was able to drink my black coffee almost immediately after it was poured.   By leaving the jug on the coffee maker, it should retain its heat.

panasonic NC ZF1VXC coffee machine
click image to enlarge

While it makes a reasonable tasting cup of coffee and it certainly looks more stylish than my rather ancient device that I have been using for a number of years, I found the Panasonic model to be fiddly to set up and the first cup it produced was not hot enough for my taste although subsequent cups were more to my taste apart from the last cup which was rather bitter.  The model under review is priced at £69.99.

As with the coffee maker, there are two basic models of Panasonic toaster.  You can select from the NT-DP1, with a choice of high gloss white or black or the NT-ZP1 which comes in a grey or violet glass finish.  In generally appearance both models look similar although the NT-ZP1 is slight deeper and about 30% heavier.  Both models give you two-slice toasting with a built-in warming rack.  This rack consists of a couple of bars that can be raised above the toasting slots. These slots are wide enough so that bread and buns can be roasted without problems

There are levers at each end of these toasters.  One of the levers is used to raise the warm bars while the other level is used to lower the bread into the slots for toasting.  It is easy to identify which lever is which as the one used to lower the bread is at the end that features the browning level controls.  In the case of the NT-DP1 you get five levels while the NT-ZP1 increases the levels up to seven.   There are also buttons for defrosting, reheating and stopping the current process.  The NT-ZP1 also features a column of LED lights running down the front of the toaster.  These lights provide you will a clear indication as to the current stage reached by the toaster in its procedure.

It was noticeable that when you needed to toast another batch of bread immediately after the first lot then any subsequent bread was underdone and would require being re-inserted in the toaster.  A removable tray at the base of these toasters can be used to clear any crumbs that might be deposited.  Neither model is particularly generous with regards the length of power lead as you get a 92cm length.  Panasonic has priced the NT-DP1 at £69.99 and the NT-ZP1 at £119.99 which does seem a lot for a toasting device.

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