Watch out, the black goods are coming! But isn't the sleek and clean-looking white kitchen supposedly the hottest trend right now? It is, but black kitchen accents in the form of portable appliances are in vogue too and just as sizzling hot. Black has been identified as the strongest color statement for kitchen accessories that will complement the white motif.
Why the rush for black models? "It could be tied to a trend in Italian kitchen designs in which black, white and red colors form a bold, streamlined, professional look," said Julia Stambules, spokesperson for Krups, the manufacturer that pioneered black kitchen products when it introduced its Fast Touch coffee grinder and eight-cup Coffee-Time coffee maker in 1980.
German Products Pioneer
Another leader in establishing black as an important color in kitchen electrics is Braun. Displaying sophisticated styling, the special-edition black Braun Aromaster coffee maker KF80 and the KSM 2 coffee grinder were an instant hit when first introduced to consumers last year. As the holiday season approaches, other major kitchen appliance manufacturers who have followed in Krups' and Braun's footsteps are hoping to ship the following black goods in time to capture the gift market.
Rowenta offers three of their popular electrics in black. Remember their little Espresso/Cappuccino ES-O1 machine ($90) with space-age design? Styled with a whimsical coffee-bean-shaped lid, this compact espresso maker is even more appealing in jet black. Another entry is the Rowenta Instant Hot Water Maker ($25), which dispenses boiling hot water directly into a waiting cup for instant coffee, tea, hot chocolate and soups. Then there's Rowenta's innovative Steam Brush ($40), a handy travel and work garment steamer, which now also comes with a crease attachment.
Brand new from Rowenta are its electronic toasters, which come in a compact two-slice unit ($35) as well as a convenient four-slice model ($45). Microchip technology eliminates the need to reset the toaster during repeated use. Both models are available in black or white.
Some of Oster's upscale Designer Line products are also getting a stunning face lift in black. When asked why they decided to carry the black look, Elizabeth Kathan, public relations representative for Oster, said, "Retailers were asking for it. A lot of people want to make a statement with black. When you walk into the kitchen, your eye is drawn to black."
Now available in black are the Ten-Speed Osterizer Blender with Food Processor ($45), the Oster Espresso/Cappuccino Maker ($105.95)--which includes a unique brew/steam selector knob to allow milk to be frothed with the brewing cycle on or off--and the Oster Cafe Mill ($21.95) with a two-thirds-cup capacity. Forthcoming is the Long Slot Wide Slot Toaster ($45.95), which is great for all-types of breads. The coffee mill and the toaster are also very popular in red, according to Kathan.
Portable Electrics Enter Field
Entering the black field is Black & Decker with its seven new black models of portable kitchen electrics: the FasToast Wide Slot Toaster ($35.98) for golden brown toast in less than a minute; the versatile Compact Oven Broiler ($79.98), which handles a wide range of cooking tasks including baking, broiling, toasting and defrosting; the Cordless Beater ($42.98) with four attachments for mixing, stirring, whipping, beating and blending; the Mincer/Chopper ($31.98); the Coffee Mill ($19.98) with 3-ounce bean capacity; the Cup-At-A-Time Coffeemaker ($29.99), and the Automatic 10-cup Coffeemaker ($38.98).
Black has also invaded microwave paraphernalia, which has always carried the pristine look of white. Nordic Ware will be shipping most of their high-selling microwave accessories in what they call Euro-style classic black. These include the Nordic-Ware Micro-Go-Round portable turntable (from $25), their money-making Tender Cooker ($32)--a small microwave pressure cooker, Microwave Bacon Pan with cover ($16) and the Microwave Bundt Pan (from $8.50).
The company has also recently introduced its Nordic-Ware Micro-Waffler ($32), great for making instant waffles in the microwave, and the Micro-Max Hamburger/Sandwich Maker ($20), which quickly sears and grills an appealing browned surface on hamburgers and grilled-cheese sandwiches, for instance. Both products are available in black or white.
'Make It Black' for Coffee Makers
Not to be outdone, Krups has added the Toastronic I toaster, the 4-cup Brewmaster Jr, the 10-cup Brewmaster, the 10-cup Coffee Aroma and the 10-cup Coffee Time coffee makers to its line of black appliances. The firm's newest entries into the black (and white) market are the 12-cup Coffee Aroma Plus ($85) and the 8-cup ThermAroma Plus, which has a convenient triple-insulated carafe. Finally, one of the best-looking appliances I've seen in black is Krups Cafe Presso ($159). A wonderful holiday gift for that special person, the Cafe Presso offers the best of both worlds with its combination functions of an espresso and cappuccino machine and an automatic drip coffee maker.