What I'm saying here doesn't just apply to coffee maker reviews. But since I'm here to help you in your search for a good coffee maker then I'll focus on them mainly.
People write reviews on Amazon and other such sites for all kinds of reasons. Many reviewers genuinely intend to help others considering the purchase of the product reviewed or one like it. Others may have ulterior motives.
It's always fascinating to read the reviews of any given product and find that there are many 4 and 5 star reviews from enthusiastic owners who are delighted with their coffee maker (or whatever it is) and absolutely love it, while at the same time there are several negative reviews giving one or two stars from owners who make the product sound as if it's little short of shoddy rubbish that should never have been allowed on sale.
So how come there can be such divergent views on the same product?
Coffee Maker Reviews – Quite An Equation
In the case of coffee makers, you have special considerations. There are many differing views as to what constitutes a perfect cup of coffee (or tea or hot chocolate for that matter). Then bring into the equation the fact that coffeemakers and espressos have to deal with water. Water is a surprisingly corrosive substance over the long term (even if filtered). Then there are your coffee granules, tea leaves, chocolate powder, and a variety of other beverage related substances.
The whole process of making your favorite brew can be surprisingly messy. This means cleaning up afterward. Some people don't mind that aspect, and take it in their stride. Others expect not to have to bother with it and blame the product for causing the mess. They are more likely to leave a one- or two-star review.
Economy versus Deluxe
Some coffee machines are economy models, and don't do much more than make your coffee to a standard size, with not much if any variation in strength, and not particularly quickly. There's nothing wrong with that. Some people only want a basic machine, or can only afford something that does the bare essentials.
Look out for any such model, and read the coffee maker reviews. It's almost certain there'll be at least one review, giving one or two stars, from someone complaining that the machine doesn't do things that only products in a higher price bracket do.
It's also amazing how many reviewers will point out that their coffee maker can't do A, B and C, when the product description just a few paragraphs above on the page states specifically that the product doesn't do those things. Often there will be comments on the review pointing that out.
For example, one of the reviewers of the BUNN MCU coffee maker complained that it was very difficult to clean. In fact it was so bad that it negated any good points about it. If you click through to the replies you'll see that several people have responded to challenge this. Apparently the cleaning process is actually quite easy if you just follow a few simple, common sense rules.
Skewing the Results
But the trouble is that these unfair one- and two-star reviews are still taken into account when the average rating of the product is calculated.
And what about the time when the review is posted? Some reviewers post five-star reviews while excited about their new coffeemaker and not having found any faults in it yet. Other owners can post negative reviews in the immediate aftermath of an unfortunate experience with the product and when, up to that time, they were quite likely very satisfied with it.
No product, no matter how good and how much it gives great value for money, will have all four or five star reviews. There'll always be someone who'll post a negative.
Look A Little Deeper
But before crossing the product off your list just for that one bad review, look a little deeper at it. Are the criticisms justified? Do these people complain about something that the product description never included anyway? Are there any responses to that post that may cast a different light on the situation? Did they buy the product new or used? Sadly, you seldom see this information in the review.
There will always be cases where some negative reviews are justified, and if the product has enough of them then its average rating will be well down to around two or three stars, and the chances are that, with many such reviews, that score will be a fair one.
But, provided you stick with products that have a rating of, say, 3.8 or higher out of at least 70 or 80 reviews then you are probably safe in purchasing it. By all means read the negative coffee maker reviews, but always cross reference what the reviewer says against the product description and any replies to the post.