279 of 295 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2012
The more I look at their products, the more I think Breville is trying to be the Apple of small appliances. They clearly research how products are actually used, and then try to improve. The YouBrew has some innovations that I really like - and then I must ask: why are they the only ones who seem to care.
Here are the features I like best:
#1: Useful LCD display. Every other coffee machine I have tried has - at best - a couple of flashing lights and a simple clock display. The Breville has an backlit LCD display that actually tells me something beyond a flashing '12:00' !!! At first, the display seems overly complicated. You quickly discover that the information is useful and logically presented. I personally would have programmed the buttons a bit more consistently and would have used the up and down buttons with more functions (like setting carafe size) Self-clean mode could also be easier to set. With that said, the Breville's user interface is still 10 years ahead of everything else. When making coffee in the morning, I press one button and I am done. The Breville is even nice enough to tell how me how much time is remaining until my coffee is ready. BTW: The Breville clock does NOT flash 12:00 or show the wrong time when you don't set the clock after a power failure or if - like me- you rarely use the timed brewing functions. Very thoughtful.
#2: No plastic smell. I didn't care about this until I recently bought (and then returned) a Mr. Coffee and a Cuisinart maker. Both had terrible plastic smells that you taste even after rinsing the machine several times with vinegar, soap and water. I understand that the smell and taste will diminish over time. I just don't know how safe it is to drink even small amounts of liquid that has been contaminated in this way.
#3 Smart brewing. Being able to control the coffee to water ratio and then the steeping time for any size cup or carafe is absolutely brilliant. It allows me to make coffee the way I like it and I can consistently reproduce my results, time after time. I can also switch from single cup to 12 cups and get exactly what I expect. Outstanding!
The features I like the least:
#1 Height. At 16 3/4" tall, this coffee machine will have trouble fitting under some kitchen cabinets.
#2 Grinder Noise (minor concern): Using my trusty dB A meter I measured it at 80 db. Not a big deal since it runs for only a few seconds. To put this in perspective, it is quieter than a Starbucks store grinder (92 dB) or even my Dyson handheld vacuum (88 db).
Summary: The Breville is what I wanted in a drip coffee maker including many things I didn't know I wanted.
======= Two year Update =======
I have owned the Breville BDC600XL for almost two years now. Here is my review update:
Things I still like:
1. Convenience. I add beans about twice a week and water daily. I add a new paper filter and rinse the holder. That's all I do to get my coffee every day. I recognize that there are potentially better methods but they require more work. I remain happy with the Breville's automatic results.
2. Coffee Temperature. Controversial for sure. I believe there are 2 camps: Coffee must be near boiling temperature or hot is good enough. I am in the latter camp because I will often let my coffee sit in the thermo carafe before getting to it. Fine for me. For those who need hotter, then a heated glass carafe is the only way to go. I believe Breville now makes such a model but I'm not interested. I am likely to leave my coffee sitting on most days. The thermo carafe remains my preferred solution.
3. Timed Operation. I never used the timer functions very much in the past. Too error prone and annoying. Setting up the Breville to run the next morning is fast and easy. I now find myself doing it on most weekdays.
4. Coffee Strength and Flavor: I am still very happy. I typically brew a six cup carafe at strength level of 3. I understand personal preferences apply here. I continue to look forward to my morning cup.
Things that could be improved:
1. Fine versus coarse grind - I also own a Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder. Its grind coarseness setting is much appreciated.
2. Software bugs - Mostly amusing but that's what we get with 'smarter' appliances. Bug #1 is: The Breville thinks 12 noon is 12 AM. In other words, the clock and wake up timer go 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 AM. Of course it should go 10 AM, 11 AM, 12 PM. Bug #2: After you add water, the Breville selects the number of cups you last used for timed operation UNLESS the number of cups of water in the reservoir is higher. If so, it now selects the higher number but does NOT update the display. You might now be getting 9 cups instead of the 6 cups shown. This can cause overflows if you fill the reservoir to full.
3. Customer Support - I have had no failures but when I informed Breville about the two software bugs described above, the support person on the phone basically said "That's life". I think they can do better than that.
Still five stars and I would buy again. I have not found anything better that meets my desire for flexible control, decent automation and good taste. I suspect I will keep this coffeemaker until we get useful WiFi capable appliances in a few years.
152 of 159 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2012
UPDATE March 2015. Not much of an update really - this coffee maker still rocks my mornings. I can't imagine how I got along with mediocre coffee for so many years before I got this. I take care of it, descale it when it says to, clean out the grinding burrs now and then, and that's really it. One thing I have been doing for the descale that I don't know if it helps or not, but it makes sense (to me) - I put the vinegar in the water hopper, add the remaining water, start the brew cycle, and about half way through the cycle I turn off the coffee maker. I let it sit with the vinegar/water in the lines for about 20 minutes, then turn it on and resume the remainder of the brew cycle. I figured letting the heated vinegar/water solution sit in the lines would give it time to soften any stubborn lime deposits (I have really hard water, even when it is softened). So for what it's worth, I'm still enjoying good coffee from this maker, going on 2.5 years.
UPDATE December 2013: I still love my Coffee Maker! Yes, I think it uses more beans than it should. Yes it is loud. But it makes coffee that I look forward to - Every. Single. Morning.
Not only that, but Breville Customer Service is the best I have ever experienced. My first unit had a slight issue where the clock would lose a couple minutes a week - irritating, but not a showstopper. Nonetheless, I contacted Breville, who acknowledged the issue, and put me on a waitlist for a replacement when the software fix was finalized. Sure enough, they called me (albeit several months later) to inform me the new/improved maker was available, and arranged for a swap. So that was great.
Then came my issue 3 weeks ago. I accidentally dropped my thermal carafe while transporting the coffee maker to work to show it off to some co-workers. The plastic rim/pour spout shattered. I was very angry (at myself). When I got home, I started shopping for a replacement carafe - they want $60 JUST FOR THE CARAFE!!! I could not see shelling out more than the cost of an average coffee maker just for a carafe. I decided to contact Breville, and see if they had a used carafe from one of their warranty returns - a long shot, but what did I have to lose? Breville wrote me back within a couple minutes asking for proof of ownership (serial # of my unit, and copy of receipt). I asked why, since this was not a warranty issue - it was an issue of my own doing. They wrote back again within one minute confirming that the issue was my doing, but they needed to confirm my ownership so they could ship me a BRAND NEW CARAFE!! I just received the new carafe in the mail, and am very happy. Thank you Breville!
I read every review on this and other combination Grinder/Brewers. This one had what I was looking for - a burr grinder (instead of the inferior blade), and decent reviews. Although the YouBrew is almost twice the price of some of the competition, I saw a recurring theme across all the reviews - You get what you pay for.
So I took the leap, and spent more on this coffee maker than I have spent on all my previous coffee makers and grinders combined,times about 4. And I'm glad I did.
Here are my thoughts after using it for a couple weeks:
It is big. It is a beast. It weighs a ton. But it is sure a conversation starter sitting there on my counter top.
The stainless steel does show fingerprints. So I wipe it down to keep it looking nice. We'll see how long that lasts...
Previous reviews talk about how loud the grinder is - and they aren't kidding. It sounds like I did something terrible when I push the start button and this very loud grinding noise starts up. But I'm getting used to it. Plus, I've been using it in program mode, where it grinds beans and brews before I get up, and apparently the grinder noise is not loud enough to carry up the stairs and wake anybody up.
I tried the gold-tone filter it came with - Meh. It made a decent enough cup of coffee, but what a mess to clean up afterward. I made a full carafe using the gold-tone filter, and the grounds completely filled the filter basket, and overflowed some into the removable housing. Then I had to wait until the thing cooled down so I could dig around in the grinds for the little handle on the gold-tone filter, and then I had to dump it upside down to empty it into the kitchen garbage, making a hell of a mess. So I switched to paper filters, and it's back to simply upending the housing and discarding the filter full of grounds into the garbage, then giving the housing a rinse.
This thing make the most awesome cup of coffee I've ever made! I've been roasting my own coffee for a while now, so I really enjoy fresh roasted beans. This maker really does a beautiful job of grinding and extracting the coffee-goodness out of my beans.
You can make a single cup (in something like 8 different sizes, from 7.5oz up to a healthy 21oz bladder buster.
You can program the strength (amount of coffee used) and flavor (amount of time the ground beans steep in the water). Or you can program to make a carafe of between 2 and 12 cups (of course, a "cup" is really small. 2 cups = one normal mug of coffee)
The LCD screen really is easy to understand. It's well laid out, and very intuitive.
You can turn it completely off when it's not in use (so no little LEDs lighting up the kitchen in the dark)
It holds 60oz of water and a half pound of beans, so you can go a day or 2 without reloading (at least I can...)
There is an automated "door" that rotates closed after grinding, to keep steam and moisture from entering the grinding chamber. Great idea.
It is solid. It has a nice fit and finish to it. There is nothing cheap about it. It has a satisfying click when you shut the filter door.
One point I found to be helpful - I put little felt discs on the bottom - it comes with a rubber non-skid bottom, so it stays put. But I like being able to slide it out from under the cabinet when I am filling it, or to let steam vent while it is brewing, and then sliding it back when it's not in use. The felt pads definitely help from marking up the counter top, and makes the sliding smoother.
In summary, as I mentioned at the start - you get what you pay for. And I'm happy.
Update - February 2013: I have had my YouBrew for 6 months. I have read the growing number of reviews (both good and bad) and have come to this conclusion: when the YouBrew works, it works very well. Unfortunately, it appears, Breville does not turn out 100% good product, thus the bad reviews. My advice for anyone who has had a unit that does not work (i.e. does not make hot coffee, grinder breaks, water stops pumping, whatever), contact Breville and get a new one. It's unfortunate that their output of good units is less than 100%, but it's got to be above 90%, so your odds of getting back-to-back defective units is slim. After 6 months, I can state that I have a unit that operates as it should. I have hot coffee. The carafe keeps the coffee hot for several hours - it keeps it warm for more than 12 hours. Yes it's awkward to get that last 1/2 cup out, but I don't dwell on it. The loud grinding doesn't bother me - it's kind of like an alarm clock - it goes off at 5:45am, and I know I will have amazing coffee in about 12 minutes. The only minor irritation I have with my unit is that it loses about 1 minute a day on the clock - So I have to reset the clock a couple times a month. No big deal, it takes all of 10 seconds. Breville has stated they are aware of this issue and are working to correct it. All in all, the YouBrew remains one of my favorite appliances, and I really enjoy great coffee now.
146 of 159 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
This is a beautiful machine. Breville combines thoughtful industrial design and engineering together in a really nice balance of form and function in all of their products and this is no exception.
Now that I've used this machine for a while, I'm confounded by the other reviews that claim the coffee to be too weak or too cold. I have to think maybe they got bad products.
There really aren't that many other product options out there for a combo grind and brew machine. We previously had a Cuisenart grind and brew, but pitched it when we remodeled our kitchen replacing it with this Breville. The Cuisinart made decent coffee, but it was loud, and horrible to clean. This Breville is leagues ahead in terms of flavor. It's probably a little quieter because it's a bur grinder, but you also have to set realistic decible expectations and take into account that its only grinding for a short time. In terms of flavour and strength, this is the best coffee I have ever had from a home coffee maker. I'm not even brewing the coffee on the strongest settings, but I'm tasting bold, strong coffee that is every bit as good as a cup of Starbucks. I'm not a super taster, but I am a discerning one and this really does brew an astonishingly good cup/carafe of coffee. As bonus, the machine is easy to clean (a lot easier than the Cuisinart). It is very easy to use, yet offers a lot of custom settings. I love being able to pour a whole bag of coffee beans in the hopper. And make single cups instead of a whole carafe. The carafe keeps the coffee hot for as long as any other thermal carafe I have owned. As far as I can tell, it does not possess any magic thermal dynamic powers. And, as many other reviewers have stated, it's a bit of a trick to get that last bit out of the carafe without tipping the pot almost completely upside down (see 4-star rating vs. 5)
Another great feature is that the machine remembers your last settings, so if you brew the same size pot at the same flavor settings every morning, all you have to do is turn it on and hit the start button. This is also great when you have company over -- you can set it all up the night before and easily show them the button to push to make wonderful coffee.
My 4-star rating is mostly based on the scale of the machine. It's big. We don't have ours under an upper cabinet -- it actually would not even fit. So, measure your space before you buy. Our kitchen is also very big and open so it looks good in terms of proportion. In a smaller, tighter space it might look a little horsey.
Finally, to address the grind, and the complaints that the grind is not fine enough: With this machine, if you look at the ground coffee, you will notice that it might appear to a coarser ground, than say, store bought ground coffee -- that is true in first appearance. But if you look even closer at the grounds, you'll notice that although they are a bit larger, they are also very thin -- more closely resembling very thin shavings. So, you need to approach this in terms of surface area. The more surface area, the greater the ability for the hot water to extract all the good stuff out of the coffee. This type of thinner shaved grind is actually going to give you a lot of surface area and thus greater extraction, and it's going to stay in the filter and not form a bitter sludge in the bottom of your cup. A blade grinder (like in the Cuisinart) will inevitably produce a fair amount of powder (also lots of surface area) but the blades whirring around like an airplane engine get pretty hot in the process and can burn the grounds before water even has a chance to get to them... and then there's that nice powder sludge in the bottom of your cup....
But really the proof is in the flavour, so I would recommend that you put away your coffee-grind-micro-calipers and instant read water temperature thermometers and just trust your built-in olfactory and taste sensors. And if the coffee really does come out cold and weak, then you probably have a dud machine that should be returned.
482 of 559 people found the following review helpful
We can all agree on what's really lousy coffee (from army mess to a couple of high-end places where servers are called "baristas"), but what's really a great cup of coffee is a matter of conjecture, the qualioty of the beans, and what we're accustomed to. I'm no connoisseur: I know what I like; rich, a little strong, and with cream.
The Breville You Brew is nicely designed, takes a little thought, and makes a decent cup of coffee, but nothing comparable to that really good coffee one gets at a FINE restaurant (the Ritz-Carlton comes to mind). After playing with it and making everything from one cup to a travel mug to a full carafe, the end product is no better than what my Cuisinart and *premium* [Dillanos]coffee puts out.
I think what this boils down to - to use a very appropriate phrase - is the coffee. My wife and I think Caribou and Starbucks are bitter even though the pres. of Starbucks says that there's no bitterness in coffee, period. Still, I think it's important that the reader knows this because it will give a point of reference. Knowing that, here are the pros and cons as I see them in the Breville YouBrew.
Design and Pros:
Easy to Use - Don't let the "panel" with all the options put you off. The You Brew is well designed, actually very easy to use, and does everything but drink the coffee for you.
Make a Mug or a Carafe Full - You can make a mug or carafe-full.
Use Ground or Beans - You can grind your own beans or use pre-ground.
Fill the Reservoir with Water, and It Knows How Much to Use, and Pre-Heats before it brews - You can fill the reservoir with water the night before and have the thing go off at 6 AM, and it will pre-heat the water before it starts brewing. The folks at Breville even thought of making sure that the steam that's generated during the making of the coffee doesn't go back into the bean reservoir.
The machine will use just the water it needs for whatever you tell it to brew, and you can fill it more easily than many machines because the water reservoir is in the middle top of the machine, though the machine is quite tall.
Insulated Carafe - The carafe is heated and keeps the coffee at a decent temperature for several hours, but not the whole day as some have said. You can indeed take the carafe out and pour yourself a cup while it's brewing without any leakage (our Cuisinart leaks badly when you try that).
Good Coffee By The Mug - Disregarding making a carafe-full for the time being, individual cups and travel mugs produce the most uniform and best coffee. The water to grounds ratio seems to be best for the mug.
Easy to Clean - Last, it's easy to clean.
Neither Pro Nor Con or Both: I loved the fact that this is an insulated carafe, and that it does keep the coffee warm for several hours. However, I prefer a glass carafe because I want to know how much coffee is left without having to guess. It's too bad that there isn't a see-thru level on the side.
It's Huge and DOES Make a Difference (See Uploaded Photos Out of the Box) - Again, this thing is huge, and at 16 inches is 3 inches taller than our old Cuisinart. My wife who is just a tad under 5 feet, has to stand on a step stool to fill it with water. Counter height is normally around 36" which makes the reservoir 52" off the ground, and don't forget that the brewer is not at the edge of the counter, but pushed back. I'm 6'2" (yeah, you should see our wedding pictures), and even I have some difficulty in reaching up and over.
Can't See If Any Coffee Is Left (a BIG deal) - The carafe has no indicator to tell you how much coffee is left. This has become a much bigger issue after using it for several weeks. Just when you want a cup, it turns out that somebody's left it empty ... again. Glass carafes might not keep coffee warm for as long a period, but I MUCH prefer glass.
Noisy - The grinder is REALLY noisy, and that's important if one person is up at 5 or 6 and the other still in bed. And yes, it is loud enough to wake somebody up!
Is Not Uniformly Hot - The coffee isn't uniformly hot, and seem to be cooler than what our other pots have produced. That can be an issue if you do use cream/milk which will make it even cooler. It's not important to me during my "ice coffee season" which is about ... always, but I do like a hot cup of coffee at breakfast. YouBrew is best for the first few cups while our Krups and Cuisinart were much too strong until the carafe was half full.
Pricey - Even at this hefty price, I'm not sure that Breville uses copper heating coils. (I think that Technivorm is the only one that does.)
Consistency - Because it's freshly ground coffee, one would think it would be stronger, but it isn't and I haven't found a way to override the amount of water or coffee that's used. I have found that pre-ground coffee is stronger which is a surprise.
Summary: I do like the design, but at times I wonder why I would want to go through the decision-making and choice selection process. I've been making coffee by the pot for over 50 years: maybe I'm just not enough of a snob. I have wondered if Green Mountain - those folk that bring you the one-cup serving container at a high profit margin - isn't talking many people into the cup-at-a-time rather than the carafe because that's where the money is (and I see that Gevalia and Starbucks are joining forces).
I like the design, but more from an engineering point of view much more than aesthetically. It's really too big to be beautiful ... even in the largest kitchen. That it's stainless is only a concern when you have stainless appliances.
The coffee is good, but not fantastic. Again, I emphasize that it's still a matter of taste. On the one hand, you can't go wrong. On the other, there are French drip pots for a quarter the price that can produce some really great cups of coffee. America's Test Kitchen still prefers the French drip, but then, who's to say they have the same criteria and taste buds as mine.
While many would say that, for a good cup of coffee, price shouldn't be a consideration. Who are these people??? This is a very expensive brewer, and for this kind of money, I really would expect the best cup of coffee.
[I used to teach management principles and psychology, and everyone whose ever been in my seminars knows that one of my two principles is, Satisfaction is a function of Rewards Over Expectations. For the price, I think that most would EXPECT a great cup of coffee. If this was $79, the coffee might be thought to be better. Subjectivity does indeed play a role. The other principle...well, I'll save that for another review unless you want to email me.]
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
My 3 year old Cuisinart DGB-700 coffee maker just died this weekend, and although we loved the coffee that the machine produced, we wanted to give another brand a try. After reading reviews on this and other sites for the Breville, I was skeptical that this machine would be a good replacement, but my wife fell in love with it at one of the local stores so we took the plunge and purchased it.
And I am happy we did! This machine is a fantastic coffee maker that seems to have thought of everything!
Here's some highlights--
The water resevoir can be kept full, because the machine will only use the amount of water that is necessary to brew.
The machine alerts you when the filter needs to be changed (very useful when my wife makes coffee in the morning for work, but she doesn't dump the filter).
You can manually adjust the strength and flavor of the coffee independently for the perfect cup. The strength setting controls the amount of coffee used, and the flavor setting adjusts the amount of steeping of the grind.
There are multiple single cup settings to get the perfect amount of coffee for your cup.
It is a big machine, and my wife who is 5'2 has to stand on her toes to see the amount of beans left in the hopper.
The setting to adjust the single cup size, is a scale that goes from 1-9, but that scale corresponds to different fluid levels. For example, level 1 is 7.5 oz and level 4 is 12.5oz. We have to refer to the chart in the manual to make the conversion. It would have been easier if the machine spoke in ounces instead of an arbitrary scale.
Oh, a few reviews mentioned that the coffee was not hot. Well that is not the case at all.
I brewed a batch into the thermal carafe, and the temp in the carafe was 181 degrees, and that was without warming the carafe first. When I brewed the coffee into a ceramic mug (also not pre-heated), the brew was 162 degrees in the cup and it was plenty hot and not bitter.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2012
I do not drink a lot of coffee but it is the quality I'm concerned with, not the quantity. My main coffee maker which is a Kalorik magic bean ccg24104 needs to be descaled, so while waiting on the descaler product, I purchased this coffee maker. I am a typical gadget nut, so it's no wonder that the backlit panel caught my eye. I couldn't justify the price though, without a cause. So when my Kalorik stopped working correctly (at least until it's descaled) I bought this. I believe this will go down the same way the Kalorik Magic Bean as being a high cost beast. Not so if you really read the manual...same problem people had with the Magic Bean...consumer ignorance. Once I understood the controls, set it, it was a very good cup of coffee. Comparable to my beloved Magic Bean.
I purchase my coffee from a distributor in N.J. It is the same coffee that casinos around the U.S. use. It is excellent. The coffee is the key to a great cup of coffee. So if you can relate to the old computer phrase "garbage in, garbage out" you will understand that this coffee maker is capable of making an excellent cup of coffee, just by using a great coffee. I don't consider Starbucks a great coffee even though this is what most of America judge coffee by.
This one takes longer to brew than my Magic Bean, but it uses less coffee per cup just by adjusting the "steep" cycle, i.e. read the manual. I disagree with the reviewer that compared this to the Cuisinart. I have one of those for company.....a simple machine they can't mess up. A high priced drip maker with a burr grinder. It can't produce a good cup of coffee no matter what coffee you use simply because while the grounds may be measured, the amount of water is NEVER the same, therefore the coffee is never the same. Both the Breville and the Magic Bean "measure" the water as well as the amount of coffee it grinds, making a perfect cup all of the time. The one feature I like the best about the Breville is the "ONE CUP" feature. You have a multitude of choices. You can choose from a 5oz to a huge travel cup and everything in between. So much better than even the Keorig that I own and retired long ago. Is this worth the price? I would say yes. Costly but think of it as cheaper than a year of "Starbucks" (YUK). I don't think this is any noisier than any other brewer with a grinder. Grinding beans is always noisier than scooping stale, dry grounds from a can, but if that's what you like, this also has a pre-ground setting for that too!
One amendment: The only time this uses the "steeping" cycle is if you choose the single cup feature. The "flavor" and the "strength" setting are confusing if you don't read the book. Flavor is how it's going to brew...Strength is the amount of coffee it will grind. I don't agree with many of the moaners reviewing this product. It is a complicated machine, not some cheap brew & pour machine. A lot of thought went into the engineering of this. Clean up is easy, I don't think the machine is any noisier than any other grind & brew out there, the coffee is not scalding nor should it be, and THE CARAFE DOES NEED A MAKEOVER if you have the thermal unit. Had Breville used a glass lined carafe, the coffee left inside wouldn't be a problem, but would cause much banter with the moaners out there. I'm very used to coffee being left inside the carafe as I do have a Kalorik Magic Bean which does the exact same thing. Other than that, this machine is great and I hope mine lasts a long time. Upon trying the Carafe setting, I found that I don't have to wait on my cup selection as I do when I choose the single cup feature, however, I will continue to use the single cup feature as I only like a fresh cup of coffee and don't like left overs.
102 of 121 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2011
One area of ongoing controversy in our 28-year marriage has followed from one partner's periodic practice of helping himself (mea culpa) to more than his expected allotment of coffee, emptying the carafe before his spouse has had her fill. This was never intentionally selfish - just an unfortunate outcome of the early morning fog and semi conscious efforts to medicate it with caffeine. But each occurrence was a test of the relationship, as the injured party, deprived of sufficient Joe, could not help but lashing out in response.
Thanks to the YouBrew, which we've been harmoniously using for about a month, these squabbles are now a matter of the past. When an infraction occurs, it's a simple matter to brew an additional cup to make up the shortfall.
Breville has designed a very versatile and capable machine. It combines an integrated burr grinder with clever electronics to streamline the process of coffee production. No more need to measure the amount of water and coffee. Simply refill the reservoir and top up the bean bin as needed, and the YouBrew figures out the rest. It has the intelligence to grind the right amount of beans and release the correct volume of water to complete your order just right every time.
You provide the necessary parameters through an intuitive and user-friendly display. The YouBrew needs to know if you're making an individual cup and if so what size it is. If it's a carafe it will want to know how many cups you need. You'll also be prompted to characterize the strength and flavor profile of your beverage. The option exists to bypass the grinder and use pre ground coffee, but I'm not sure why you'd want to do that.
What about the results?
For our taste they're excellent. We like strong coffee, and leave the strength settings at maximum. The resulting brew is just right for us, and is consistent regardless of serving size.
Is this a perfect solution for everyone?
Good as the YouBrew is for us, I'm sure it won't measure up to everybody's concept of the ideal. Coffee is an emotional subject, and people feel strongly about their individual preferences. But here's how I'd respond to some of the criticisms that might be raised:
* The unit is big - True, but when you look at all the functionality that's crammed into it, it's not so big after all. And like all Breville appliances it's an attractive design.
* The maximum strength of the coffee still isn't strong enough - Maybe for some, but you can compensate with more intense beans.
* The grounds are too coarse - Who cares if the coffee tastes good?
* Individual cups take too long to brew - If the seven minutes (on strong setting) were four or five it would be better. But waiting a bit is a small price to pay for that extra cup.
* The coffee isn't hot enough - You're less likely to scorch your tongue in the event that you gulp it right away.
* The carafe dissipates heat too quickly - Pre warming it minimizes this problem, and since you can always conjure up an extra cup there's no need to make more than you want immediately and keep it around all morning.
* It's expensive - True, but as far as I'm concerned, in this case you get what you paid for. As is always the case with Breville, build quality is top notch.
If I were rating the YouBrew in meeting our requirements only, I'd give it five stars. In a review for the entire coffee consuming population, I'll concede that, versatile as it is, it may not measure up to everyone's expectations and give it a four. Either way, it's a great appliance, and Breville should be commended for taking drip coffee making to a new level.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2012
I've been using the youbrew for about 3 weeks, and it has made the best coffee I've ever made at home everyday without a hitch. The strength setting took a couple of runs to find the sweet spot, but this was because when it says 'strong', it means REALLY strong. Coffee at coffee shops is never strong enough to my taste, but this goes far beyond standard drip coffee in this regard. On maximum it is so dense milk disappears as though into a black hole. I found that right under the strong bar is perfect. It is fast and efficient, easy to clean (it has little "please clean me" signs at key places), is wonderfully built, and looks great. You can pour coffee while it is brewing without a single spilled drop and the filter unit is trivially easy to clean- in fact, amazingly so. The swing out filter has been wonderfully designed and is an amazing piece of engineering. The stainless steel pot keeps coffee hot for hours without requiring heating, which ruins the taste of coffee after about 30 minutes on other machines. It is not scalding hot it is true, but more than hot enough.
When thinking about dropping $300 on a coffee machine I of course read the amazon reviews. It is possible there are some quality control issues with the number of negative reviews, though I find that electronics are pretty indestructable these days. Comments that coffee is not hot enough, or too weak are simply not true and must be due to some very unusual personal tastes. The claim that it is particularly tall also seems unfounded- the grinder needs a path for the beans so it is obviously a little taller than a machine that doesn't grind. It does use a lot of beans when you select a strong setting, but I don't see that as avoidable- strong coffee takes beans! The hopper holds enough beans for three days brewing. About the only negative I do agree with is the pricing. It does seem too expensive, even including the integrated grinder. Still, I don't know of any other machine of the same quality that can make such great coffee and is so easy to look after. I'd happily recommend this machine to friends and family.
Extra comments after owning for a year... All the above holds true, but one cleaning quirk and a solution are worth mentioning. The grinder sends the coffee to the filter basket through a fairly narrow shoot. This shoot will become clogged once every month of so due to build-up, and as I use dark roast beans, which are oily, maybe every 2 weeks. This will happen and the instructions for cleaning the shoot are complex and a pain- but I have found an easier system. Remove the pot and the basket tray as per daily cleaning. Rather than emptying and removing the coffee bean reservoir, leave it in place. WIth the power on, turn the locking knob in the coffee bean reservoir to unlocked, leaving the whole thing in place. Once you do this you will hear the motor open the shoot- which is easy to clean out with a wooden ice cream stick, or a stiff brush (or a test tube cleaner etc.). It is a small window in the stainless steel disc you can see in the upper rear of the basket area. Once you have cleared the shoot simply turn the locking knob back to locked, put back the basket and pot and brew.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
I bought my first Breville YouBrew 2 years ago and loved it. After time the water stopped being drawn into brewing system (hard water build up in tubing?), so I decided to buy another as it had been a wonderful investment and loved by my whole family. In May of this year I bought it's replacement, the exact same coffee maker. Things have changed! There is a caustic type smell and taste in this one. I was told by the company the smell and taste was probably due to something in production (made in China), possible some kind of residue on the parts made it's way into the brewing process...blah, blah, blah and must have been a fluke. They told me to use a vinegar and water solution and run several pots thru to clean out the smell and taste. This did help some so I decided to keep it. One thing after the next kept going wrong over the last 2 months. The little metal push lid (that you put your water into) wouldn't open properly and had to be pried each time, the machine wouldn't automatically turn off like it once had and the metal carafe spills water all over machine when you fill it (it also doesn't completely empty). Because I had previously loved this product so much, I decide it must be a lemon and maybe the "metallic" taste was due to the metal carafe vs. the glass one I had originally had. The company agreed to send me a exchange, this time with the glass carafe. Same horrible metallic taste and turpentine type smell, even after I, once again, ran the water/vinegar mixture through it and rinsing with 5 cycles of clear water. I have concluded that they changed something in production to cut costs and now I feel they have ruined the product ...and China may in fact be trying to kill us-lol (kinda)! Regardless, it's not worth putting my family at risk. I'm going with a TechniVorm Brew Master or Bonavita instead. I will say the Breville customer service was exceptional!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2012
We have been using a Krups Aromacontrol insulated thermal carafe coffee maker for years. The screw-in lid on the carafe was failing and we have never been too happy with how long the carafe kept the coffee hot. There aren't a lot of high quality options for a thermal carafe 12 cup machine and so we looked long and hard at the Breville. The price was a bit off-putting, but we took the leap with a Breville "lift and look" toaster, which we love, and decided to trust Breville and Amazon to make things right.
The machine arrived on time and in pristine condition. The first single cup of coffee was very strong and very hot. The total time to brew a single cup seemed very long, but as I read the manual and understood the brewing process, it became clear what was going on. The idea of "steeping" coffee for a single cup serving is important. When you make a whole carafe, there is a great deal of water spending time with the coffee grounds. When you only make a single cup, however, the small amount of hot water runs through the grounds very quickly and the grounds hardly have a chance to get wet, let alone contribute coffee essence to the water. Having an amount of hot water steeping in the grounds for a couple of minutes before any coffee starts to drip into the cup, get the grounds wet and startsing the process of extracting the coffee, is very important if you really want all the flavor that is there.
I've had the machine for three days now and have made four full carafes (12 cups) of coffee, one four cup carafe, and two large single cups of coffee. I've been thrilled with each and every one.
I must admit, I was confused that I was not able to adjust the "Flavor" setting when using the carafe mode as opposed to the single cup mode. As I read and thought about the process, I came to understand that the "Flavor" setting would have been better labeled as "Steeping" time and this is not an issue when brewing a whole carafe. With a single cup, there is not enough time for the water and the grounds to steep. When making a whole, or even a partial carafe of coffee, there is so much more hot water involved that there is no need to have an extended steeping time and therefore no need for that control. With a carafe of coffee, the last drops going into the carafe are almost clear, the bulk of the essence has been extracted. I remember watching coffee dripping into a glass carafe of Mr. Coffee machines, and the first drops going into the carafe are equally watery. As the brewing process continues, the coffee got much darker and then lightened up. Therefore, the Breville's adjustable steeping setting for single cups and lack of adjustment for carafes now makes sense to me.
The build quality for this machine is impressive. I liked the Krups until I compared it to the Breville. The Breville has a lot of metal. Not so much at all with the Krups. The Breville has a solid "thunk" when closing the door that holds the coffee filter and grounds module. The swinging door on the Krups just closed and there was enough give in the plastic that I sometimes had to play with it to get it to close properly. Both the Krups and the Breville have coffee filter / ground modules that can be taken to the sink and cleaned out. The Breville's is a hinged clam shell with a top and a bottom that easily lifts out and keeps your fingers away from hot coffee grounds. I always had to be careful pulling out the Krups module because it was not so easy to remove and it was open on the top, and if you are not careful, it can become a mess. The Breville's plastic module is solidly build, easily drops into place with a positive and secure fit and is just as easy to remove.
This is the "luxury car" equivalent in the coffee maker world. The heat and the taste of the coffee, the ease of use, the fit and finish, the way the buttons work, the size of the display, the "thunk" as you close the door, these are the things that pleased me. I have no doubt that there are cheaper units that will make good coffee. This is the most luxurious coffee maker I have used and this carafe definitely keeps my coffee hot for hours. (Since I've always finished a carafe before three hours, I can't tell you about longer times, but the last cup from my carafe has always been drinkably hot. I am pleased.)
The machine is very tall, just under 16.5 inches tall. I had to move a shelf up for it to fit. The shelf was not adjustable, so this was a four hour "adjustment". So be aware of this. I also now understand the comments that some have made about getting the last half a cup out of the carafe. That is a bit of a pain, but not enough to knock off a star. These are the only issues that I've run into so far.
So, if some of the negative reviews are scaring you off, remember that you are dealing with Amazon. I am extremely pleased with my purchase and highly recommend this machine to people who love coffee and like well designed and well implemented machines.