COFFEEMAKERS SIMMER WITH NEW APPEAL

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Coffeemakers are becoming more intricate than automobiles as appliance manufacturers cater to increasingly aristocratic tastes.

New brewers displayed this month at the International Housewares Show in Chicago put the traditional office coffeepot to shame.

Now one machine can purify water, brew coffee directly into a mug or thermal carafe, operate on time-delay, and can hold up to 24 cups at a time.

Coffee consumption hit its highest level in nine years in 1993, up 7% to 1.87 cups daily per person, according to the National Coffee Association. But sales of coffeemakers rose a modest 4% in 1994, to roughly $300 million, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Appliance makers now are trying to carve new markets with home brewers designed to emulate coffeeshop quality.

"We're seeing most of our growth from value-added makers," said Becky Bunnel, director of marketing communications at Black & Decker Corp.

Black & Decker's new Spacemaker Optima machine uses two heaters to ensure a smoother brew, Ms. Bunnel said. Using a similar machine from Braun, coffee drinkers can select the intensity of their coffee, from mild to robust. Savvy marketers are selling coffee-related products for use with the more advanced brewers. Krups, for instance, is introducing four varieties of flavored syrups to specialty retailers and department stores this spring. And through its integrated "Coffee Perfection" campaign from new agency McAdams, Richman & Ong, Bala-Cynwyd, Pa., Melitta North America encourages consumers to buy Melitta ground coffee and filters for use with Melitta appliances.

Black & Decker next month launches an eight-page magazine insert from Source Marketing, Westport, Conn., to target consumers who are remodeling their kitchens.

Braun, the No. 1 marketer of coffeemakers sold through department stores, is focusing current in-store marketing programs on a new line of espresso makers.

Even Mr. Coffee, the top coffeemaker dealer through mass merchandise stores, is tailoring its products to a more discerning customer. The Details by Mr. Coffee line includes steam and pump espresso machines, a combination coffee/espresso maker, and a French-style coffee press.

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