After you tire of spending money at coffee shops, this Cuisinart will deliver you. The Cuisinart Programmable Automatic Brew and Serve is the best of coffee makers in its category. Standout features include a double-walled, insulated, stainless steel carafe with a patented brew-through and pour-through lid. It wins the TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award for coffee makers.
If you are concerned that coffee drinking is not a healthy practice, there have been a lot of studies from respected researchers during the past decade that take the guess work out of understanding the effects. Yes, coffee stains the teeth and causes some people to be jittery and irritable. And for those who don’t understand that caffeine stays active in humans for 12 hours, it causes insomnia. If you want to go to sleep at 10pm, stop coffee after 10am. Your friend who can drink a double espresso before bed without complications is the exception that proves the rule and may just be evidence that caffeine causes narcolepsy in some people (believe it or not).
It has formerly been thought that coffee is a diuretic that leads to dehydration and water-electrolyte imbalance, but this is now challenged by three respected researchers who have demonstrated that coffee contributes to our bodily fluid requirements almost as if it were water. Coffee is certainly damaging to people with ulcers and gastrointestinal problems, and it causes complications in pregnant women who drink it heavily. But the list of benefits is considerable. Coffee drinkers are less likely to die from heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver or various cancers. They are also less likely to succumb to Parkinson’s disease, and they have fewer instances of gallbladder diseases. Coffee drinkers have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease in old age.
The most beguiling quality of coffee is its ability to increase powers of concentration and boost short-term memory, which is probably why the French writer, Honore de Balzac, found it to be the cure for writer’s block: “This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place.”
In a departure from other popular drip coffee makers that brew into a glass carafe kept warm by a hot plate, the Cuisinart brews into an insulated and dishwasher-safe carafe with an ingeniously designed lid. The lid uses a ball-bearing mechanism that allows pouring when the lid is screwed shut. The insulated carafe allows a design that is free of any hot plate. Although coffee gourmands shudder at the idea of drinking coffee that was brewed more than 20 minutes prior to quaffing, it is a common practice. And the argument goes that coffee in a glass carafe on a hot plate will have a burnt taste after a couple of hours, which would not be the case if the coffee were kept hot in an insulated carafe. We wouldn’t know. We leave the tasting of two-hour-old coffee to those with stronger stomachs. When Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his little-known Coffee Cantata, we are pretty sure he was describing fresh brewed: “How sweet coffee tastes! Lovelier than a thousand kisses, sweeter than Muscatel wine!”
The Cuisinart 12-cupper is one of the coffee makers that use paper filters. A permanent gold mesh filter is an available option. Paper filters are preferable to permanent mesh filters, not just because they make sweeter tasting coffee, but because paper removes the molecules contained in coffee that raise cholesterol. These molecules (found only in coffee beans) are cafestol and kahweol, lipid-like compounds that bind to paper coffee filters. Any coffee makers that do not use paper filters fail to remove these molecules that raise LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
As full featured as the Cuisinart is among coffee makers, it lacks a strength setting and a water filter. Without a strength setting, it is not possible to slow down the brew process in order to achieve stronger brews that extract maximum flavor. Without a water filter (depending on where you live),the coffee might not taste the best with tap water and the machine might need more frequent cleaning to eliminate the scale deposits from hard water.
The Cuisinart has every conceivable convenience feature known to coffee makers. A water level indicator makes it easy to fill to the correct number of cups. The clock is fully programmable up to 24 hours in advance of the desired brew time. Once brewing begins, this is one of the coffee makers from which you can sneak a cup without spilling because of the brew pause feature (as long as you don’t take too long). When brewing is complete, there’s an audible beep; three beeps, in fact. If you leave the house without remembering to turn it off, this is one of the coffee makers that automatically power down after two hours. Another risk-reducing feature is that the power-supply cord is short, in order to discourage tripping.
One potentially inconvenient aspect to the product design is that the water reservoir holds more than the carafe. If you don’t use the carafe to fill the reservoir, or you lose track of the number of cups, the carafe is going to overflow if the reservoir has more than 12 cups. This is not a design criticism but a warning to sleepy heads.
Very few competitors in our review of coffee makers can match Cuisinart’s three-year warranty and customer service via telephone or online form.
The Cuisinart Programmable Automatic Brew and Serve could deliver you from your financial servitude to the baristas behind cash registers at public coffee houses. The unit is attractive and well designed. It is straightforward to program, so you will not need to rely on the youngest person in your household to program it correctly. The insulated carafe keeps the contents hot and fresh without creating the burnt flavor associated with glass carafes on hot plates. With a power output of 1,000 watts, it has the electronics to quickly brew hot coffee. Commercial coffee makers have higher power outputs, but the Cuisinart is better than most coffee machines designed for home use. This is the best coffee maker in our lineup.
The Cuisinart has a three-year warranty.
There is no water filter.
The Cuisinart Programmable Automatic Brew and Serve is best in class.