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VINE VOICEon August 5, 2003
I finally convinced my wife to replace the old but still functional single switch rice cooker I'd owned for about 10 years. I have longed for something with an off switch so rice doesn't burn to the bottom when I forget to unplug it. This guy was the ticket.

It seems like a fairly complex machine but its really easy to use once you understand the setup. Its well designed. The pot is easy to clean and the inner lid snaps off for easy cleaning as well.

I have to say the rice it produces is some of the best I have had. I did a side by side cookoff with the old and the new rice cookers. The same rice just seemed to have more consistant texture and better strong flavor. Definatley worth the upgrade since we do lots of rice.

The one drawback I found is with the somewhat misleading specifications. They say this is a "5 cup" rice cooker. So I'm thinking 5 cups=40oz. Plenty big enough for a family of 4. Well its not quite that much. It seems in Asia (on the metric system) their idea of a cup is a teacup. If you look at the picture and see the two little cups next to the machine, it will hold 5 of THOSE cups. Those cups are approximatley 6oz each. So really it is a 4 (American) cup rice cooker, not 5. Of course 3/4 of a cup is about how much rice you'll eat in a meal so one run of this machine should be able to produce rice for 5. If you need more that that consider the NS-ZAC18 10 cup (8 cup) model.

The trick to the machine is to use the little cups that come with it. You measure out a few "cups" of rice and dump it into the pot. Then you add water and fill it up to the graduated mark on the inside of the pot. So if you toss in 2 cups you add water until you hit the 2 cup mark. It has different markings for Brown, White and Sushi rice.

Before discovering the proper way of using the smaller "cups" I used a regular 8oz cup on some Jasmine rice (then filled it to the designated level). It still came out way better than my rice cooker. It was firm but not hard and full of flavor. So if you screw up or loose your little "cup" you can still get great rice as long as the stickness is not absolutely critical to the receipe.

The manual makes a huge deal out of its ability to handle some "no rinse" rice who's milling technology was proudly developed in Japan. They devote pages to the setting and cooking it, but actually its pretty similar to the regular rice, you just use the green cup instead of the clear cup.

All in all this is a great little machine. If you want the best and are willing to pay the bucks this is the one to get. You will not feel your money is wasted.

Update:
Its now 6 years later and countless batches of rice and this little thing is still going strong. The pot has a few scratches from years of continous daily use but its holding up.

We expanded our use of this little gem. I've learned not to think of it as just a rice producing device but as a rice cooker + modified crock pot. My wife started using it to produce porriage and then later soup. She'll pour the ingredients in the night before, set the timer and her breakfast is ready 30 minutes before she wakes up. You can use it for grain soups, porriage, oatmeal and more. We buy packs of Thai flavored rice that say were supposed to cook on the stove. We dump the stuff in and hit go. They come out plenty tastey.

There is a quick cooking cycle that we use a lot. Shaves about 20 minutes off the cook time. Flavor suffers a little (though its still great) but when your in a rush...

Perhaps the most amazing thing however is what it does to brown rice. As a kid I was never fond of brown rice. Too hard and crunch and I was never that big on bran flavor. We got some brown rice and started cooking it in this thing and it was a whole new world. I don't know how it did it but it came out soft, a little chewey and decent tasting. Brown rice was now something worth eating vs avoiding.

So if for whatever reason you are looking to switch to brown rice but not thrilled with the flavor do yourself a favor and get one of these units. It makes it a whole new experience.

We haven't tried steaming anything yet. Maybe when our steamer breaks..

Update – 2015
After 12 years of service one of the boards went out on the cooker. It took some digging but there was a place in Fort Worth that I sent it off for a repair. The fix cost around $80. Still works great. Still used 1-2 times a day.
4747 comments|1,169 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 5, 2003
This rice cooker makes the best rice we have ever had - at least since our travels to Southeast Asia. And despite the fact that this machine *seems* smarter than it's user, it is remarkably simple to operate. The instruction book lacks a little bit in terms of recipes and creativity - but it does a good job giving you the basic idea of how to use this machine. This space age looking rice cooker is a little pricey, so it may be overkill for some - but I love all the features this offers and consider it well worth the price (which is a hundred less than what it is offered for here at Amazon). We eat a lot of brown rice, which is not something that other rice cookers handle well. This one has a setting for brown rice, and cooks it to perfection. Also has a setting for semi-brown rice, sushi rice, porridge & more. You get to pick how soft or hard you want the rice to turn out by using the control panel. Being able to set a timer for having rice ready when we get home from work is handy. This thing also cooks complete meals - definitely get a good cookbook for rice cooker cooking :-) We are expirimenting with many varieties of rice that I normally would have shyed away from, since I could not seem to cook even plain old brown rice properly until now.

It took me 6 months to decide to buy this thing. We were originally contemplating the MYC10 series, but the specific settings for brown rice became important to us. And this one takes up less space on the countertop than the MYC10. We will be eating rice nearly every day now thanks to this machine! I am definitely glad we chose the ZAC10, and would recommend this product. It's a keeper!

UPDATED JUNE 12, 2004: We have now had this rice cooker for nearly a year, and have used it at least 3 times a week. It has held up to regular use quite well, we have not had a single problem with it. If anything, we are eating at home more than ever because of the simplicity of planning meals ahead of time. One thing that we have learned is that the 5 cup capacity is for using the cooker for white rice. Brown rice capacity is about 3 cups. So if you anticipate using this for more than 3 6 oz. cups of dry brown rice, you might consider steppig up to the 10 cup capacity model ZAC18. One tip for making very tasty rice, use a broth instead of water (or 1/2 and 1/2). If you are on fence about this cooker go ahead and take the leap - it is fantastic! No regrets!

UPDATED April 18, 2008: Well, the "Brown Rice" setting finally died this week after nearly five (yes FIVE!) faithful years of weekly use. We remain very pleased with this product, and plan to upgrade to the newest model in a 10 cup capacity.
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on October 15, 2006
Excellent rice cooker. So far, I've used it for white and brown rice with and without the automatic timer and it works great. I'll use it for shushi next week. With the automatic timer feature you set up the machine and then tell the rice cooker the time of day when you want your rice to be ready. After that time it switches automatically into 'keep warm' mode so your rice is ready to eat in case you're delayed. This is one of the main reasons I bought this specific model.

A few things to note so you can make a more informed purchase.

1- Cup size is different. I guess a japanese cup is different than those used in the US. Therefore, 10 cups in this case actually translates to 7.5 US-sized cups of rice.

2- Cooking time is longer than 'normal'. I included the estimates for some types of rice straight from the manual. The zojirushi website also has estimates.

a- Quick cooking (only white rice): 35-45 min

b- White Rice: 51-60 min

c- Sushi rice: 47-58 mn

d- Brown rice: 82-108

3- The minimum amount of rice you can make with the 10 cup model is 1 cup except for sweet, mixed, and brown rice where the minimum is 2 cups. Mixed rice is one where you ad a few other ingredients that will cook together with the rice 9eg. soup stock, soy sauce). For the 5 cup the minimum you can make is 1 cup for all types of rice except porridge where you can make 0.5 cups. Again, these are the smaller cup sizes.

4- For those with small kitchens, the 10 cup machine has the following dims (WxDxH in inches): 11x14.2x9.4. The 5 cup is 10x13x8.1

Enjoy perfect rice every time. Spend your time preparing other parts of your meal.
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on February 8, 2006
For starter I have no complaints about the quality of the rice this machine makes but I am sure there are many other machines that make very good rice in the same price category. I am giving it a mediocre review because of the process and expense you have to go through to change the battery (even though it is only every 4 years or so). You cannot do it. The machine must be taken (or sent at additonal expense) to an authorized dealer who will have to desolder the battery from the circuit board for replacement. The charge for this work is around $20 or more plus $7+ for the battery. This process annoys me because I am sure other rice machines have a simple and inexpensive way to replace the battery (and it must be changed at some point, it won't work without it). Just something to be aware of.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2006
My wife said I was crazy to spend so much just to cook rice. That was until she tried the rice! When she tried the oatmeal, she started telling all of our friends and family about how incredible it is. We've had this machine for 4 months and use it several times per week for both rice and oatmeal.

Rice:
It makes the ultimate rice every time. The best feature is that it keeps the rice warm and perfect for up to 8 hours. It does this by having an excellent seal between the lid and the bowl, plus very accurate temperature control. We picked up a 25 lb. bag of Kokuho Rose pre-washed rice at Costco for something like $0.50 per lb. My family loves it!

Rice Pudding:
Italian rice or Arborio rice - We made this over the Christmas holidays. Just follow the recipe on the bag using the white rice cycle. Serve with a little butter, sugar, and cinnamon, it's heaven.

Oatmeal:
This is my personal favorite. I always wanted to try Irish oats but was put off by the time consuming process of cooking and stirring. This cooker makes oats effortlessly. (By the way, from [...] steel-cut oats = Irish oats = Scotch oats = pinhead oats = coarse-cut oats = steel-cut oatmeal = Irish oatmeal = Scotch oatmeal = pinhead oatmeal = coarse-cut oatmeal = porridge oats = porridge oatmeal. These are whole oat grains chopped into small pieces. They're a little bit chewier than rolled oats, grain aficionados often prefer them for hot oatmeal cereals and muesli.)

To make oatmeal, put the cooker on the porridge cycle. You should only cook 1 to 1.25 cups of Irish oats per batch, more than this (or less) have caused my batches to boil, which puts oats in the steam vent. To prevent this, I use the porridge cycle combined with the pre-washed rice setting, this gives the oats a few extra minutes to soak. That seems to minimize the tendency of the oats to boil over. Another option is to let the oats soak overnight, then there's a lot less "free" water to boil over. My last choice for preventing boilover is to stir the mixture halfway through the cycle. Guaranteed to work but I usually forget. When it does boil over, it's not impossible to clean the oats out of the steam vent. But it is a pain.

1 cup of dry oats makes 2 to 3 servings;
add 2 cups +3 oz of water = 19 ozs

1.25 cups of dry oats makes 3 to 4 servings;
add 3 cups of water = 24 ozs.

If you don't get to the porridge as soon as the cycle is complete, it is still great to eat for an hour or so, you'll just have to mix some milk into the result. Add pure maple syrup for a taste that is pure luxury.

We get steel-cut oats in a 70 oz. can from store.honeyvillegrain.com. Six cans cost $34.50 delivered. The cans are hermetically sealed and advertised to last for years, but we're already into the third can.

Build quality on this machine is number 1. The bowl is the best too, rice almost never sticks to it. If it does, just soak it in warm water for a while and it will dissolve. Oatmeal literally falls out of the bowl after it cools off.
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on March 29, 2005
This ZCC-10 just came out in March 2005 and replaces the ZAC-10. NOTE: All reviews prior to this one are actually for the older model. While I was researching rice cookers recently, I called Zojirushi to ask about the altitude issue that had been mentioned as a problem to fuzzy logic type cookers. At that time, they told me this new ZCC model was about to be released which fixed that and would work accurately at higher altitudes. I waited to order it, and it works GREAT. I live at 4,000 ft. elevation and both Basmati rice and brown rice turn out better than any I've ever made before--absolutely perfect. I had dinner guests gushing about the wonderful rice without having any idea I had this cooker! It literally takes about 2 minutes to figure out how to use the ZCC-10. You can choose white rice with sub-settings of sushi, soft or hard. There is also a quick cook cycle, one for mixed grains, plus sweet, semi-brown and brown rice, plus a cycle for pre-washed rice (probably only available in Japan). After cooking is done, the machine plays its little tune and shifts into a warm cycle (up to 12 hrs) and if you want to go beyond that, there is an extended warm cycle, plus a reheat setting. While in warm, you can open it up at any time, get some rice, and close the lid again and the warm cycle continues until you unplug it. Cleaning is quick and simple...in fact, although I removed the inner lid to clean (it easily snaps in and out) there was actually not much more than a few drops of condensation on it. The rice bowl cleans up with no effort, nothing sticks. The rice produced by the ZCC-10 is a gazillion times better than my previous little Hitachi cooker (switch type). The little melody is amusing...Twinkle Twinkle Little Star plays when you start the cook cycle, and Amaryllis plays at the end. You even have a choice of switching between high melody, low melody or beep. The buttons on the front are large and very easy to read. The unit looks like a cute little space ship with a handle--so very Japanese! I previously heard some complaints about not all Zoji cookers coming from Japan, but this one was definitely made in Japan, for what that's worth. SIZE: This is called a 5.5-cup model. The most I have made was 3 Zoji cups (be sure to measure using their little cups, not your usual measuring cup!), which didn't entirely fill the bowl and which was plenty for 7 people to have quite a lot. I probably could have done 4 cups, maybe more. They call it a 5.5 cup cooker, which must mean 5.5 of THEIR measuring cups. That would be a fair amount of rice. As a complement to this cooker, I also recommend the "Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook", sold right here on Amazon. Great stuff in it to use in this cooker and lots of rice/rice prep/rice cooker information! Many or maybe even most recipes require fuzzy logic type cookers, by the way. I discovered you can use a rice cooker to make all sorts of surprising things, such as oatmeal and other grain cereals, rice pudding (and other puddings), a really amazing variety of different things! I was hesitant to spend this much on a rice cooker and thought about it for months, but I can enthusiastically say it's worth it, especially if you plan to use it for more than just cooking plain old rice. Everyone I spoke to in kitchen type stores unanimously said Zojirushi was the absolute best, and now I know why!
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VINE VOICEon January 9, 2006
My wife said I was crazy to spend so much just to cook rice. That was until she tried the rice! When she tried the oatmeal, she started telling all of our friends and family about how incredible it is. We've had this machine for 4 months and use it several times per week for both rice and oatmeal.

Rice:
It makes the ultimate rice every time. The best feature is that it keeps the rice warm and perfect for up to 8 hours. It does this by having an excellent seal between the lid and the bowl, plus very accurate temperature control. We picked up a 25 lb. bag of Kokuho Rose pre-washed rice at Costco for something like $0.50 per lb. My family loves it!

Rice Pudding:
Italian rice or Arborio rice - We made this over the Christmas holidays. Just follow the recipe on the bag using the white rice cycle. Serve with a little butter, sugar, and cinnamon, it's heaven.

Oatmeal:
This is my personal favorite. I always wanted to try Irish oats but was put off by the time consuming process of cooking and stirring. This cooker makes oats effortlessly. (By the way, from [...] steel-cut oats = Irish oats = Scotch oats = pinhead oats = coarse-cut oats = steel-cut oatmeal = Irish oatmeal = Scotch oatmeal = pinhead oatmeal = coarse-cut oatmeal = porridge oats = porridge oatmeal. These are whole oat grains chopped into small pieces. They're a little bit chewier than rolled oats, grain aficionados often prefer them for hot oatmeal cereals and muesli.)

To make oatmeal, put the cooker on the porridge cycle. You should only cook 1 to 1.25 cups of Irish oats per batch, more than this (or less) have caused my batches to boil, which puts oats in the steam vent. To prevent this, I use the porridge cycle combined with the pre-washed rice setting, this gives the oats a few extra minutes to soak. That seems to minimize the tendency of the oats to boil over. Another option is to let the oats soak overnight, then there's a lot less "free" water to boil over. My last choice for preventing boilover is to stir the mixture halfway through the cycle. Guaranteed to work but I usually forget. When it does boil over, it's not impossible to clean the oats out of the steam vent. But it is a pain.

1 cup of dry oats makes 2 to 3 servings;
add 2 cups +3 oz of water = 19 ozs

1.25 cups of dry oats makes 3 to 4 servings;
add 3 cups of water = 24 ozs.

If you don't get to the porridge as soon as the cycle is complete, it is still great to eat for an hour or so, you'll just have to mix some milk into the result. Add pure maple syrup for a taste that is pure luxury.

We get steel-cut oats in a 70 oz. can from store.honeyvillegrain.com. Six cans cost $34.50 delivered. The cans are hermetically sealed and advertised to last for years, but we're already into the third can.

Build quality on this machine is number 1. The bowl is the best too, rice almost never sticks to it. If it does, just soak it in warm water for a while and it will dissolve. Oatmeal literally falls out of the bowl after it cools off.
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on May 15, 2007
I've made rice all my life. I learned from my first cook book -- Julia Child.

But a few years ago, I moved to a new climate area and it's been hit and miss ever since. I made pots of rice turned to mush and pots of rice so hard and uncooked they were inedible.

In desparation, I read all the descriptions, online reviews, evaluations by "America's Test Kitchen" -- all the resources I could find -- and this 10-cup Neuro Fuzzy seemed to offer the most consistant results to people and testers.

And you know what? They were right.

Every pot of rice since I got this machine over 6 months ago has been perfect. Also perfect with broccoli added on top of the rice in the last 10 minutes. Also perfect in the "mixed" mode with chopped veggies added with the rice and water. Also perfect for rice pudding. Also perfect for breakfast hot cereal.

And the "keep warm" function is sooooooo useful when people are in and out at meal time -- or when folks are sitting up late working and need a second helping of something warm and good.

who knew? Not me. Now I do.
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on May 28, 2006
Just received my Jo Rice Cooker & it is as "advertised" --i.e., works very well. However, I was disappointed to read that the lithium battery will have to be replaced in 4 to 5 years by a service center. There are none here in CT; so that means I will not only have to pay for the service work plus the battery, but also the shipping & insurance as well; which will bring the total out of pocket expense close to $40 or $50. Why couldn't Zojirushi just simply have a little tab where you open it up & install a new battery such as my computer does or any other clock or appliance? Bob in CT
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on March 29, 2004
I admit, first off, that I have never used a rice cooker before. However, we wanted one because we love rice and most of the time when we did it 'by hand' or 'according to instructions' it was really delicious or pretty good, and sometimes 'not quite right'.
We've had this a few months now. Let me tell you this thing makes it 'delicious' every time. It's great.
We love the rice from it (we have tried white, mixed, and brown).
What's more this makes DELICIOUS oatmeal!!!! We tried the 'instant oats' in it, and those are way too mushy for our taste -- very creamy. I suppose if you like it like that, it's OK -- but we don't. At the same time I bought the cooker, I bought a rice cooker cookbook from Amazon, and it said for oatmeal to use 'steel cut oats' (also called pinhead oats) in the rice cooker. My goodness!!! What a difference. The steel cut oats have wonderful flavor, and a much firmer, much more delicious texture. We some cinnamon, brown sugar, maybe some dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, whatever), and maybe a touch of ground nutmeg, and WOW! Wake up in the morning with incredible oatmeal smell in the air - it's heaven. The porridge setting makes the oatmeal virtually perfect every time (You MUST read the instruction book first -- it looks complicated but after you actually use the rice maker a couple times it's really easy!!)
Anyway -- I've never written a review here before, but after buying this rice cooker I just had to. When I ask my wife "Want oatmeal in the morning"? usually I get the response "Yummy! I'd love it."
We both love this rice cooker with it's fuzzy logic that makes porrige and rice taste great. I highly recommend it.
To those (very few) people that don't like it I say "READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL BEFORE USING!!" And to the person that said it's hard to clean - BS. This thing is so easy to clean. Pop the inner lid out and rinse or wash it, and pop the inner bowl in the dishwasher and you're ready to go for the next day.
I just set the rice cooker for oatmeal at 6:30 tomorrow morning. Know what? I'm going to wake up to a delicious, healthful breakfast. My thanks to all the previous reviewers who gave this good reviews.
This thing is great.

Edit (March 3, 2014): Almost 9 years later and this thing is still working perfectly. Only issue so far is that the plastic over the buttons and LCD is a kind of scratched up (it's soft, not hard plastic). LCD is still easily readable though. We still love it.
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