From Sunbeam Products, Inc. (doing business as Jarden Consumer solutions), comes our TopTenREVIEWS Bronze Award winner, the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable, which traces its lineage back to 1972 when Mr. Coffee first started shipping automatic drip coffee makers. If you are remembering a Mr. Coffee-branded appliance in the film Apollo 13 (a story that takes place in 1970), it is just a Hollywood anachronism. This appliance is an excellent drip coffee maker. The only reason that it does not rank more highly in our review of coffee makers is that the power output is merely adequate and the length of warranty is not best in class.
The Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable is one of the coffee makers that brew through paper filters into a glass carafe kept warm by a hot plate. Mr. Coffee sells an optional permanent filter, but we prefer paper filters for two reasons: first, paper filters produce better-tasting coffee; and second, paper filters remove certain biological molecules found in coffee that raise cholesterol. This unit also features a basic water filter to reduce hard water deposits and to prevent chlorine and hard water taste. There is also a brew-strength option that brews more flavor from coffee grounds.
Contemporary drip coffee makers, with all of their electronic conveniences, would have appeared to be pure magic when coffee drinking was first recorded. The first reference (probably apocryphal) is in the 17th century. It describes the story of a 9th-century goatherd, Kaldi, who discovered coffee after witnessing the energizing effect of coffee beans on his flock.
This Mr. Coffee model belongs to the 21st century class of coffee makers, products that are loaded with features that add convenience. It has a water-level indicator, a programmable clock to select brew time, a brew-pause feature, an optional brewing-complete audible beep and automatic shut-off after two hours. This is also one of the few products to feature cord storage, which keeps excess cord off of the counter. A fresh brew timer displays the amount of time elapsed since the unit finished brewing.
Customer service for the Mr. Coffee coffee makers is available by telephone. Length of warranty is one year. Although there are quite a few online complaints from users who report leaks and sudden equipment failure, the unit that we have been using for months has not failed.
Along with Bunn and Melitta, Mr. Coffee is one of the progenitors of the technology used in drip coffee makers that relegated percolators to the sidelines. Its inventor, Vincent Marotta, combined technical invention with marketing savvy when he signed Joe DiMaggio to be the first spokesperson. A string of technical Mr. Coffee innovations have followed its debut, including programmable timers, brew pause feature and water filters.
The machine in our review is competitive today with a strength setting, water-level indicator, brewing-complete beep, automatic shutoff, self-cleaning cycle and programmable clock. Other products in our review have higher power outputs and better warranties. However, the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable strikes a good balance between price and features.
A timer feature displays the elapsed time since brewing was complete.
The warranty period is just one year.
Mr. Coffee is a perfectly serviceable machine at an affordable price.