Cuisinart Brew Central Coffee Maker ? Out Performs, Out Lasts
Reliability! Good coffee taste, simple cleaning, affordable
Cost of water filters, could be a challenge to fill
The Bottom Line:
Reliability is top notch, coffee taste easily within my morning requirements, cleaning simple, and it is affordable
Classic stainless steel design, programmable features, charcoal water filter, adjustable carafe temperature control, and reliability made the Cuisinart Brew Central my hands down choice.
All The Features
The Cuisinart Brew Central DCC-1200 12 Cup Coffee Maker reflects the height of stainless steel style sought after for modern kitchens. But good looks are not all you get. This 11 x 14 inch, 9 pound, black and stainless steel coffee maker does make an elegant statement, and adding 24 hour programmable brewing, programmable 0 to 4 hour automatic shutoff, 1-4 cup brewing, time-to-clean indicator, paper and cleanable filters, adjustable carafe temperature hold, brew pause, and even an included coffee measuring scoop, makes it a formidable competitor on the store shelves.
As Seen On TV!
There is a lot of coffee drank in our house, and our history with coffee makers has been dismal at best. Rarely surviving a single year, it had gotten to the place where we would go ahead and pick up a backup whenever a big sale showed up. Our record stood somewhere around a year for coffee maker life. So it came as no big surprise that when we started seeing them in the background on the counters during television sitcoms (that “product placement” stuff) they stuck in our minds. When our current coffee maker “died” a couple of months later we tracked down a Cuisinart on the internet. That was almost three years ago and it is still brewing! It has instilled so much confidence that our “stand-by” coffee maker went to the thrift shop rather than into the moving van, rather than accompanying us to our new home.
Making Coffee, That’s What It’s All About!
Set up consisted of installing the water filter, deciding which coffee filter to use, cleaning the unit, then making that first pot. Up until that point there did not appear to be much difference from what we were used to. Having a scoop included was kind of a nice touch, and not having had that favorable opinion of “permanent” filters, the starter package of 4 paper filters eased our transition. Interestingly enough, pouring the water into the top of the unit is not as easy as I would have thought. Since that first time when I spilled water all over the kitchen counter, I now either fill it using the sink spray attachment or hold a sponge under the carafe lip. That first pot turned out to be just a little too strong even for my taste, so I have started to use a bit less coffee each time. While it does take a little over five minutes to brew, the pause brew feature (shutting off the flow of coffee into the carafe whenever it is removed) allows you to get that first cup as soon as there is enough in the pot.
Setting the time and timers is covered in very good detail in the included instruction manual. I found it much easier than any microwave I have run into, and all VCR/DVR’s I have ever seen.
Another good thing is the programmable warmer. Workday mornings only require about an hour of hot coffee, but on weekends we expect up to 4 hours worth. Having the ability to keep the coffee warm for the entire wake up period, and at the temperature we want so as to not “burn” the coffee, is a definite plus that rivals the value of the programmable brew time. Having a memory somewhat shorter than an elephant, the time-to-clean indicator has helped keep me on my toes and the coffee maker much happier. Cleaning is simple, using common vinegar as a cleaning agent. Keeping the coffee maker clean inside and changing the charcoal water filters regularly does make for much better tasting coffee.
For some it could be an issue that it does not have integrated coffee grinder. But since I do have a standalone grinder for when I have to have the “expensive” stuff, and Folgers comes already ground, I am satisfied not to complicate things. Already covering the difficulty of filling it with water, the only other issue could be the “dark” background behind where the carafe goes. There have been a couple of times when our schedules were so hectic that we left home in the morning with about half a pot left. Getting home very late that night, the chore of making coffee was left for morning. Then during the morning “mind haze” I filled the unit without empting the carafe (because it is not all that easy to see if it is empty or not at 4:30 in the morning). Yes, in a scene you might expect from I Love Lucy, six cups of hot coffee spread over the counter and onto the floor! I know everyone reading this has better attention to detail that I do, but it is an issue for me.
All Cuisinart coffee makers come with a 3 year limited warranty that I have thankfully not had to take advantage of.
Ah, now for the second most important part. I have seen this coffee maker normally running somewhere between $50 and $90 on the internet, and replacement carafes are available from Cuisinart for around $20. The heavy hitter is the $5 for replacement charcoal water filters! I only change mine about once a year (the same time as the one for the ice maker on our refrigerator). I do believe that it is well worth it, but it can be an issue for some.
All In All
Outlasting every other coffee maker every brought into our house, I cannot imagine going with another one. Reliability is top notch, coffee taste easily within my morning requirements, cleaning simple, and affordable.