117 of 118 people found the following review helpful
Review revised on April 24, 2002
My initial review:
My wife and I have been using this machine for several months now, and we have become familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly, as these terms relate to this worthwhile but flawed innovation by Cuisinart.
The good: the coffee made by the machine is wonderful, IF you have the common sense to adjust the amount of beans you use in accordance with how strong you like your coffee. The people who complain that the coffee is "weak" need to put on their proverbial thinking caps and simply ADD MORE BEANS! Yup, once you get the right ratio of beans to water the coffee is plenty strong, and since it's freshly ground, the flavor is terrific. The automatic brewing features are reasonably easy to set and use, and these make it possible to wake up in the morning to freshly brewed coffee, a terrific start to any day. Complaints about how hard it is to clean the machine are also kind of silly; have we gotten so spoiled as a culture that we can't stand to routinely remove and rinse out the necessary parts of a kitchen appliance after every use? Cleaning the removable parts takes a couple of minutes, true, but it's definitely not such an odious task that it should discourage potential purchasers.
The bad: the construction of the unit itself needs some improvement; after two months of routine, reasonably careful use, the top of the machine broke off, due mainly to what seems to be a flimsy hinge design. Fortunately, it was still possible to affix the top to the unit during the time we waited for a replacement part.
The ugly: possibly the most annoying feature of this machine is that normal cleaning of the unit caused the lettering that labels the various buttons to disappear. We now have memorized the function of each button, but it would have been nice and probably not difficult for the engineers at Cuisinart to design more permanently affixed labels.
It's likely that over time, new versions of this machine will be marketed that improve on this one. In the meantime, this is a good, affordable, and reasonably reliable unit that exhibits how clever engineering can help to move us ever closer to that "perfect home-brewed cup of coffee."
Added April 24, 2002:
I feel compelled to inform those few readers who will ever come across this revised review that my initial commentary on this Cuisinart grind and brew unit was overly generous. No, it wasn't the cleaning process that got to me; I was always willing to accept a little routine maintenance in order to end up with great coffee. The problem is that this unit simply isn't designed to stand up to everyday use over any extended period of time. I've already mentioned the disappearing labels for the various buttons. But after ten months or so of daily use, the machine stopped doing a trustworthy job of sending the ground coffee on to the brewing basket. No matter how thoroughly we cleaned and prepared the unit, every morning we would find a large percentage of the ground coffee still stuck in the grinder. The result was weak coffee and frayed tempers. We still use the machine, but only for brewing already-ground coffee, and there certainly are cheaper machines that will perform this task adequately.
Also, I should explain to people that whereas you can get adequately strong coffee by using more than one measure of beans per cup, this essentially transforms the "ten cup" machine into a four or five cup unit.
I hope that the folks at Cuisinart will take all of this customer feedback and commentary and put it to good use, i.e., a renewed effort to redesign this machine so that it is more reliable, durable, and flexible in terms of brew strength.
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2000
Frankly, I'm a little surprised at the wide range of reviews here for this coffeemaker.
Yes, the coffeemaker does have to be cleaned after every brewing. No, it doesn't make bad coffee. No, you can't just dump coffee beans or ground coffee into the coffeemaker and make good coffee automatically.
The Coffee Bar, as Cuisinart likes to call it, does have several internal parts which must all be in place before you can brew coffee. You can use ground coffee, but you're defeating the purpose of the Coffee Bar by doing so. The grinder compartment can hold enough beans to make 10 strong 6-oz cups of coffee which is what "10-cup" usually means with appliances. I like my coffee very strong and I've been able to load more than enough beans into the coffeemaker to get the strength of coffee I want.
Between the grinder and the attached drain basket is an attached screen through which the ground beans goes through and an inserted gold basket filter which must be in place in order to make coffee. On top of all of this is a cover which fits over the basket into which hot water is pumped up over the grounds and then drips down into your fresh grounds.
On this cover, there is a dial setting which you must set each and ever time depending on the amount (and what I've discovered -- strength) of the coffee you want to have. Finally, this entire assembly is covered by a lid attached to the rear of the coffeemaker and latches in front.
The entire internal assembly MUST be cleaned after each and every brewing. So, yes, if you make multiple pots, you need to clean it each time. (However, is this any different than any other coffee appliance?)
There are additional settings on the front of the coffeemaker that also affect the quality of the coffee; so, basically, the coffeemaker is NOT intuitive and you have to read the instruction manual before you start brewing coffee with this appliance.
All of that said, this coffeemaker makes EXCELLENT coffee. I own two of them, because I originally purchased the version in white, because it was all that was available. When the version in black became available, I bought a second one. Both are still in excellent working condition and I haven't had any problem with either.
The Cuisinart Coffee Bar is a little pricey, but it does make great coffee and I heartily recommend it.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2002
I live on coffee and six months ago my wife purchased this coffee grinder/maker for my birthday. I can't tell you how excited I was. Nothing beats fresh grind coffee, and this machine does the job well!
A few things that I really like about the coffee maker are:
- Fresh grind is great.
- Comes with a high quality metal filter.
- Coffee still tastes great when brewing only a few cups.
- The machine doesn't cook/burn the coffee as it sits in the pot for some time.
I have two complaints with this machine, which prevented me from giving it 5 stars. First, there are several parts to clean and dry, which means that I often put off cleaning the coffee maker. I find that cleaning in the dishwasher frequently leaves debris in some of the parts; hence, hand cleaning is a must. Second, I found that filling the pot was hard to do, and removing the lid on the coffeepot was even more difficult. I accidentally broke the lid the second time I used it. I had to order another coffeepot lid.
In all, I think that this coffee maker brews great coffee, but not without some tradeoffs. Recommended, but be prepared for additional cleaning.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2000
I bought a Cuisinart Grind N' Brew (DGB-300BK) for my wife for Xmas. We are thoroughly disapponted with it. It has two basic design flaws. First, it is a pain to clean. There are four parts that get caked with wet coffee grounds every-time you use the machine. They need to be cleaned after every usage. Much worse, they must be cleaned and thoroughly dried before you can make a second pot. Therefore you can't simply brew a second pot without first doing the dishes. Secondly, it makes...[bad] coffee. There is a small knob inside that you can turn to adjust the brew strength. It goes from watery to ridiculously watery. Maybe our particular unit is flawed. For Cuisinart's sake I hope so. I even wrote to the company complaining about this thing and so far have recieved no serious reply from them only a form letter. I've gone back to my old coffee maker and a "hand" electric mill. It's much better, even if the grounds sit in the basket overnight before brewing. Save your money and don't buy the Cuisinart.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2000
My husband and I are coffee snobs. We are very particular about the coffee that we buy and we will only use freshly ground beans to make our coffee with. We thought the Cuisinart would be perfect for us. Our first disappointment was how the interior of the unit had to be dismantled and cleaned after every single pot of coffee, but it made pretty good coffee, so we thought we could overlook that inconvenience. The unit worked for approximately one month and then just stopped working - as if it wasn't plugged into a power source. We contacted Cuisinart and they instructed us to return the product to them (at our expense, of course) and they would send us a replacement. It took approximately one month to receive our replacement, which was broken. The latch that closes the top cover on the unit is plastic and doesn't hold up well and the unit will not work without being properly latched. We called Cuisinart again and opted to have them send us only the top cover with the latch. This time we received our shipment in about three weeks and as bad luck would have it - it was broken again. By this time we were pretty disgusted with Cuisinart, so they sent the UPS man to pick up our sorry coffeemaker and again shipped us an entire new unit. We waited another month and again received one that had a broken latch. You have to wonder if they have anyone at all working in their quality control department. So, after all of this, Cuisinart agreed to again send UPS to pick up the piece of junk, which included a copy of our original receipt, and they said they would send us a check for the refund. It took six weeks to get the check from them, but I think we have learned our lesson. The moral of the story is "don't buy one of these coffeemakers!"
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2001
We received the first as a wedding gift, 1998. The coffee was very good, the noise was tolerable (the noise acted as a back up alarm, as I get up at 3:45 am). This first unit failed in less than two weeks, flooding the basket and getting coffee everywhere but in the carafe. Returned to store. Second unit did better, (1 year) but the grinder motor finally froze up. Had to send back to Cuisinart (we paid postage). Third unit has lasted 1 year, but only the on/off button works, no response from the others, and the bottom half of the clock display has disappeared. Called Cuisinart; supplied serial # of current unit. We were told it was a 1997 model, (this is the one sent by Cuisinart to replace the second unit)and therefore not warrantable. We reminded them this particular unit was sent by them as a replacement. Obviously had sat on the shelf for some time. Cuisinart reluctantly agreed to replace it. We shipped it back, and are still waiting for replacement. I expect it will be a "refurbished" unit. The product is warrantied 3 years. Note that 4 units have not lasted 3 years. Cleaning is a pain.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2000
I purchased this coffee maker for my husband just over a year ago. The grinder gets damp so it needs to be cleanded and dried between uses, which can be a problem if you are serving a lot of guests. also no one can manage to pour from the pot without dripping on the counter. then finally the heater element gave out. I am shopping today for a new brand. I'm giving it 3 stars because the flavor of the coffee is excellent.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2004
I owned a Cuisinart Grind and Brew for a few years. It worked pretty well but I never got over wondering if washing and drying five different parts each day was really worth it. Well, in the end I had no choice but to get rid of it, because the rubber tube inside the machine that brought the heated water from below the burner plate to the top of the unit developed a crack and leaked water onto an interior electrical connection, which caused the wire to the burner plate to overheat and burn out. When this happened the machine made a loud "pop" noise, which was followed by this awful metallic burned smell that one always associates with electrical fires. I went out to the kitchen to find my counter flooded with warm water (not hot, mind you: the machine never got the water hot enough), and the plastic around the hot plate melted to the point that the hot plate was sinking. I called Cuisinart to report the problem as a concerned consumer and all the company seemed to care about was whether the machine was under warranty, which of course it wasn't. The rep said she would tell her supervisor but I doubt she ever said anything. She never ever took the model or serial numbers. These companies love to blame consumers for stupidity or negligence, but this is how they respond when you report a problem out of common courtesy!
Learn from me and do not buy this machine! I subsequently purchased a Melitta Mill & Brew, which costs a little more but is far superior in quality and design. Cuisinart should stick with making its food processors and get out of the coffeemaker business.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2002
The romantic ideal: "Ahh, I'll just set up the machine at night, and have delicious coffee waiting for me in the morning."
The nightmarish reality: "Oh, no! I have to CLEAN and DRY not only the filter basket, but also the grinder, the grinder cover, and a cover piece that directs coffee and hot water into the filter basket! I'm now 10 minutes FURTHER BEHIND than I was with my old coffeemaker!"
Here are the main problems with this model:
1. It's too hard to clean.
2. The grinder and water reservoir are too close, so the reservoir ends up with lots of coffee beans and grounds in it.
3. Because the filter basket is hidden under a cover, it is possible to brew a pot while forgetting to put the filter basket in. The result is a big mess, with brewed coffee backing up into the grinder.
4. If you do not put the carafe in just right, the coffee does not flow down into the carafe, and the result is a big mess, with brewed coffee backing up into the grinder.
5. If you start it with some piece in wrong, it beeps until you unplug it.
6. It's too tall to fit under your cabinets, so you are forced to put it out in the open. It is an alpha appliance, taking over the kitchen, and your life.
There are other minor annoyances, like the noisy grinder, oversensitive buttons, and difficult programming. Now, the grinder parts are getting difficult to remove. Overall, this was a terrible purchase of a product that is designed more for aesthetic appeal than for ease of use.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2005
Call me a slow learner, I bought two of these within 3 years. The first one had the grinder motor quit. The second one started leaking "sludge" after about 6 months. Yes it had cleaning problems, but I was willing to put up with those because the coffee it made was pretty good. However, I can't keep buying a new one every 14 months (on average) because they fall apart. Learn from me, don't buy this coffee maker.