Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Conair Cuisinart DTC-975BKN 12 Cup Programmable Thermal Brewer (Black)
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on April 23, 2005
Fussy Lid, but the Best Coffee Maker Ever!, April 23, 2005

Reviewer: R. Wilner (Metro Detroit) - See all my reviews

I wish Amazon had 1/2 stars, because I would have given 4 1/2. I almost gave it a 5 star rating, but the lid may bug some people. I will admit that the lid MUST be placed in a perfect position, but how to do it is no mystery. Clearly etched in the top of the lid are the words "Open" "Close" and "Pour." If you put the lid on so that the word "Pour" is directly over the spout, it's no problem. When you go to screw on the lid, just make sure that the word "Pour" starts out over the spout and when it's closed, it will end up there. No big deal. My guess is, the people who have given negative reviews about the lid were impatient with it.

My reason for buying this coffee-maker was the 12-OUNCE thermal carafe. This was one of the only coffee-makers I saw with a 12oz carafe as opposed to an 8 or 10 ounce. This was a huge selling point for me. As someone who nurses a whole pot a coffee a day, I also was attracted to the fact that I read it keeps coffee hot for so long.

I have had the coffee-maker for over a month now, and I am NOT disappointed! I have not had one single overflow incident and I have had no problems. I suspect that those with overflow problems overfilled the reservoir or didn't pay attention to how they put the lid on.

One thing I must share with those of you considering this coffee-maker. One day I made a pot of coffee and I forgot about it. The next day, approximately 36 hours later, I remembered I had made coffee the previous day, so I figured I'd pour a cup and microwave it. Microwaving was unnecessary. The coffee came out STEAMING hot. As if I had just made it! I'm sure the more coffee that is in it the hotter it will keep but this was over a day later!

I HIGHLY recommend this product!

PROS

-No heating mechanism. No burnt tasting coffee!

-Once coffee is brewed, the coffee-maker shuts off.

-Coffee stays warm for much longer than the description states

-The carafe stays cool on the outside. I make a pot and just bring it into the living room with me, or to my desk.

-Very aesthetically pleasing design. Looks great in my kitchen.

-A full 12 cup coffee-maker. A rare thing amoung thermal carafe coffee-makers

-LED Clock/Programmable Timer. Auto Seal. Brew Pause Feature. Automatic Shutoff. Available in different colors

-The water level indicator is easy to see

-The beep letting you know the coffee is done is loud (I like that)

CONS

-You do need to pay attention to how to put the lid on, but it isn't exactly rocket science.

-The digital clock area is tiny. But read the directions and using the timer is a breeze.

-The stainless steel fingerprints easily, but that's not unusual in a stainless steel appliance.

-The beep letting you know the coffee is done is loud (Some may not like that)
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on July 5, 2010
My beloved 25 year-old Rowenta finally died, so I started looking for a new pot with a vacuum carafe and a cone filter. That narrowed the prospects quite a bit, and I bought the Cuisinart because it was easily available and (relatively) inexpensive compared to others with the same features. I read the numerous poor reviews but figured it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to make it work, so I pressed on.

Sure enough, the pot was defective in a couple of ways.

1. The instruction booklet says to _fill_ the carafe and pour it into the reservoir. The carafe holds twelve cups and the reservoir holds the same before the small hole in back below the hinge dumps any excess on your counter, so in theory it's impossible to over fill. So far, so good - but the guy at Cuisinart who designed this pot apparently skipped his junior high science class the day they described how water expands when it is heated.

Twelve cups of cold tap water expands to about twelve and a half cups when it is raised to boiling. So, if you fill the reservoir according to instructions and heat the water, the carafe will overflow onto your counter every single time. Only fill it to the top of the stainless part.

2. There's another reason that it randomly barfs hot coffee all over your counter that is not related to the problem related above. I spent a few hours testing my pot with just water (no coffee) to figure out what was going on. It worked perfectly twice, and put hot water on the counter about a dozen times, starting anywhere from when the carafe was half full to almost full. Suddenly the water would stop running into the carafe as though it was plugged up and start spilling over the side. I took the (patent pending!) lid completely apart to see if something might be getting jammed. It's pretty clever - there are two plastic and one metal ball to act as valves to let the coffee in and out while blocking steam and heat from escaping. Everything's a pretty loose fit and not likely to jam - but I finally found the problem (with mine, at least).

When you fill a container with water, you must let the air out as you do it, so there is also a small vent passage without any ball valves that goes from the inside of the lid to the threaded area on the side of the lid that's near the carafe handle when the lid is properly tightened. The vent is quite small and exits the lid in a strange way to create a sort of labyrinth to reduce the amount of heat loss. I blew it out with some compressed air and saw something that was plugging it fly out, likely some plastic that fallen in during manufacturing. The vent also seemed somewhat obstructed where it ended, so I cleaned it up a bit with an Xacto knife.

The coffee maker now works perfectly - apparently the vent was not always letting air escape quickly enough to let the coffee flow in.

I'm also going to put a few small self-adhesive cork glides from the hardware store under the carafe to boost it up a little and make sure the valve in the bottom of the filter stays open properly, as it seems a little dicey.

All in all, I like the pot, but for $80, I shouldn't have to do Cuisinart's quality control for them. The problems that so many people are complaining about were easy to recreate and repair - it's really inexcusable that Cuisinart hasn't taken care of them by now.
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on November 19, 2010
I have had this coffee maker for about 3 weeks now. I read all these reviews before I purchased, and almost didn't because of some of them, so I thought I'd let you know how it worked out for me since you are probably having the same concerns.

The short version: I am very pleased with this coffee maker and am happy I purchased it. There are a couple of minor concerns, but with a bit of knowledge you can safely purchase this coffee maker.

Pros:
- Very solid construction and carafe. Good overall look and feel.
- The carafe keeps coffee hot all day. A huge plus. I only get carafe style (no warmer) coffee makers, and this is one of the best I've used.
- Simple and easy programmable auto-brew functionality.
- The fill container has a very easy to read measuring line, making filling it to a desired level very easy and convenient. A bonus I didn't know I was missing until I got this machine.

Cons:
- Pretty slow brewing. Takes 15-20 minutes to brew a full pot.
- Does not come with the filter basket. Make sure you purchase one when you order. It is well worth it, and way better than paper filters.
- It is a slow pourer. You may think "well come on, how much of a hurry are you in?" But when you fill travel size mugs, you really notice how slow it is. It is not a deal breaker, just letting you know.
- The big one: SPILLAGE! Yes, this happened, but it can be avoided.

The Spillage: I'd read all about the complaints - "It overflowed all over my counter", "made a huge mess", "worst coffee maker ever", and so I was concerned. At first some people were chalking it up to not putting the lid of the carafe on properly. While this is slightly trickier than it could be, it is still very obvious if you have it threaded wrong and is not the problem. However, I did experience the spill-over, huge mess, grinds and coffee all over my kitchen. But I investigated this thoroughly and found out the problem was due to the very finely ground coffee. When ground to almost a powder texture, the coffee passes through the filter and into the carafe's unique brew-top lid. This lid has a separate compartment with a ball inside that allows it to brew through, and not spill when pouring. However, that area filled with the fine grounds and created a solid barrier that didn't allow coffee to go into the carafe anymore.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT OVER GRIND YOUR BEANS. This brewer seems to brew it at above normal strength anyway, so you do not need to grind your beans too much. Most pre-ground coffees are fine; it's just the custom grinders who can overdo it. Be careful, and you won't have this problem.

So, I set my timer up for 30 minutes before I need it, don't over-grind, and am very happy with this coffee maker. Hope this helps!
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on January 23, 2006
I've owned two of these machines. Here are the details:

First, the carafe is great. I've come home after a 10 hour day to find the morning coffee still warm enough and very drinkable. The cap alignment is a bit awkward, but it keeps the coffee hot and fresh. I now have two of them and have used them for this year's Christmas/New Years gatherings. They kept regular and decaf coffee hot and fresh throughout the evening. I used my replacement "Barista Aroma Grande" machine to brew the coffee then put it into the superior Cuisinart carafes. That is why I gave the product one star.

The downsides include almost everything else:

As a previous reviewer noted, if the carafe is not seated properly, you wake up to a puddle of coffee on your kitchen counter and floor. This happened to me twice.

Consequently, if any of that puddle seeps into the machine from underneath or drips into it from the LED display window, the machine is kaput. This is why out first machine failed.

The water reservoir requires filling the machine from the top. My replacement has a separate container that is easier to manipulate. It is a much neater way to fill the machine.

The red indicator ball on the side of the Cuisinart machine stopped working.

The second machine just stopped working. Like another reviewer noted, when you hit the "on" button, the machine beeped after a minute or so without producing any coffee. This was not a result from an overflow condition, nor a result of a user error - it just stopped working.

Bottom line: look elsewhere for a reliable machine.
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on December 23, 2005
Folks, Let me tell you.... I read all the reviews on this coffee maker before my wife and I decided that; Oh, come on! They must be goofy. How hard can it be to set this coffee pot up correctly to work without spillage; we bought it anyway.

It worked for a week or so and then dumped the coffee all over the counter and on the kitchen floor.

"I must have done something wrong", said the lady of the house. Ok, I'll try it, said the man of the house.

It worked... See, all you have to do is.. place the carafe in correctly. Well, I did it for three days and again all over the floor.

I called the company and a sweetie pie with the "Have a nice day" mentality helped me to calm down and told me that perhaps the cover was defective. They will send me another if I would return mine.

Wife said no.... order a whole carafe so we will have two when we get company. So 50 dollars later, I have two carafes.

Wonderful! Now either one will dump the coffee onto the counter after a week or ten days of lulling me into a state of confidence by working fine for 10 days.

We have a great deal of patience, and we also feel that we are smart enough to find the problem. So we stuck with it trying different filter baskets, and soaking the lids before using...

It was many months now, and it decided to dump this morning; all over the counter; all over the floor; grinds and coffee.

The carafe was half filled indicating that it did start out ok and I didn't misalign anything; but with a mind of its own, it decided that it hated us again today.

So folks, we got two green garbage bags, one inside the other, and dumped that 99.00 + 50.00 more coffee pot in the trash.

It isn't worth the aggravation.

I tried to find a website for their corporate office, but they haven't the guts to show any, so this is the only place I could tell you our story.

I kid you not. We should have believed all the negatives in this product review section.

I would have loved to return it to Amazon, but after so much elapsed time, it would not have been fair.

Thank you for listening.

Fred Auerbach

email: fred.auerbach@gmail.com
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on July 22, 2014
Have had this coffee pot for over 10 years. Buying another for our camper and to have as a back up if the one I have ever decides to die. Also. They are discontinued in the stores and my first one cost me $130.00 10 years ago from Hudsons. Maybe I'm just super lucky but this pot has lived longer than any coffee pot I've ever owned. The carafe keeps coffee hot throughout the morning and its still warm at night when I dump it to set up for next morning.

Hoping the issues im reading in some reviews are a hit or miss kind of thing (see EDIT below). This is the same model number for the one I have on my counter right now. Mine gets used every day at least once a day. I'll update if needed after I try the new one but for now this pot is 10 out of 10 for me.

EDIT: Something is going on with the lid... I received the new one a few hours ago, filled it up and just like others are saying it leaked everywhere. SO since I have my old pot sitting here I decided to try a few things.

1. I took the OLD (10 yr old) lid and put it on the NEW carafe and ran it though again. NO LEAKS.

2. I put the new lid back on and ran it again to see if I could get an idea of what's happening, It leaked again but as I was pulling the carafe out I happen to notice the ball inside the lid at the top had floated all the way to the top blocking the holes where the water enters from the filter(kind of like a carpet cleaners dirty water tank has a float in it and when its full it floats all the way to the top stopping anymore water from entering) It only floated til I tipped the pot a little and then it went down. I checked the small hole in the lid and its clear and air flows through just fine WEIRD. SO..

3. On top of the lid where water goes in from the filter you can see the little ball inside there, if you turn HARD that very top screws off (counter clockwise)and you can access that ball inside. It looks like they tack melted (is that a term?) plastic inside to keep that top on but it does screw off and back on, you just have to break those little tacked spots (very small)it didn't hurt the new lid and ive been taking my old lid off for YEARS to clean that ball. Anyway, I TOOK THE BALL OUT and ran another pot without anything in there at all. NO LEAKS, ran another, NO LEAKS. Seems the ball may be part of the problem.

4. I had the ball from my OLD pot SO I took the OLD ball and put it in the NEW LID.. Ran it through and NO LEAKS!! ugh.. Did they change the ball?? Maybe there is an air bubble inside the ball causing it to float too much? I'm a little sad but at the same time if this is just that stupid little ball on the top and using my old parts makes it work I'm still happy but if you do NOT have this same pot for parts the easy fix is to just take that ball out of the top and that should fix it if none of the other suggestions are working. I will continue to mess with it and try some of these other suggestions in the reviews.

I'm interested in knowing what they changed in the lid (if anything other than that ball) I will be switching over to this new maker and pot with my old ball and using the new maker every day so I can determine if its going to live as long as my old maker did.. Hopefully the "maker" itself will live as long as my old one. I seriously still LOVE my old, same model number, Cuisinart I'll return with any new developments.

7-24-14 Still cant find any other issues with the lid and other fixes found here didnt work so I called Cuisinart just to inquire about any changes they may have made to the lid, they told me that they are showing nothing about any changes being made to this pot at all and they agreed to send me a replacement lid.

7-29-14 Received the new lid and everything is working perfectly! I'm back to loving this coffee pot. I will revisit if necessary. Posted pictures of my lid and the ball that you need to remove to stop overflow if you cant get a new lid.
review image
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on February 10, 2012
At first blush this is a fantastic machine. The carafe is large and keeps your coffee hot for hours and hours. You will love your new machine. Before long you will have a mishap and awaken to coffee that has brewed all over your counter and floor. You will blame yourself. You will rationalize that you must not have nestled the lovely carafe into exactly the correct spot on the base. You will be more careful in the future. Things will be fine for another week or two, but it will happen again. Another huge mess that you must clean without any caffeine in your system. You will still blame yourself (sort of) but there is a kernel of dread that the machine that you love does not love you back. After another incident or two the LCD does not work properly and the TIMER STOPS WORKING altogether. The last straw comes when the ENTIRE TOP OF THE CARAFE DISCONNECTS FROM THE BODY OF THE CARAFE WHILE YOU ARE POURING a cup of coffee. The half dozen or so times that coffee has brewed all over and down the carafe has disolved any adhesive that held the thing together. What a piece of garbage. I would give it zero stars if I could.
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on April 1, 2007
Okay... Not only do I feel the need to comment on this coffee maker, but I also have to respond to all these negative comments that I read, prior to buying this machine.

Like many others, our old coffee maker (which happened to be an older model, glass carafe Cuisinart), needed a replacement carafe. I had already bought a replacement carafe once before and wasn't going to spend another $25.00 to replace it with yet another one. Enough was enough. It was time to go for a metal pot.

My first instinct was to stick with what I already knew... Cuisinart. And it just so happened that Cuisinart had a coffee maker with all the requirements I was looking for... A metal (unbreakable) pot, makes 12 cups of coffee, is programmable and stylish.
What Cuisinart offers in their selection, as of April 1st, 2007, is model number DTC-975BKN (black). They also have a white one, but white shows all the coffee stains and makes a new machine look old, I think.

So please let me further clarify this...

If you're looking at these Amazon reviews, that are older than six months ago, then you're looking at Cuisinart's OLD design!

If you're reading the reviews that are older than six months ago, then you're reading the reviews of a coffee maker that Cuisinart DOESN'T MAKE ANYMORE! THEY CHANGED THE DESIGN! SO DON'T GIVE ANY REGARD TO THOSE REVIEWS!

I'm VERY thankful that I realized that Cuisinart redesigned this coffee maker and that I DIDN'T listen to what people had to say about it. I almost didn't buy it and I almost missed out on the best coffee maker on the market!

I'm not kidding. The coffee maker ROCKS!

There's no way on the planet Earth that you could POSSIBLY cause it to spill over. Well... Short of forgetting to place the carafe under the filter.

It's NO different than anything else I've ever seen in your average, run-of-the-mill glass pot coffee maker. You fill the reservoir, scoop in the coffee, screw the top on the pot and stick it under the spring mechanism where the coffee comes out.

Duh.

I mean... On one of the earlier reviews, there was one brain surgeon who even complained that the heated base crapped out after a year of use... NONE of these metal carafe machines EVER HAD a heated base in the first place! EVER! The point of this machine is to keep the coffee hot, WITHOUT means of heating the coffee continuously throughout the day!

****sigh****

I've gotten into the habit of pre-heating the carafe with hot water that I re-use daily. I just keep reheating water from our tea kettle, on the stove, and pour it into the coffee maker's carafe and let it sit for about five minutes while I feed the cat or brush my teeth in the morning. After that five minutes, I just pour the water back into the tea kettle for the next morning. Doing this, allows the carafe to keep the coffee warmer for a much longer period.

The flavor of the coffee is just as good as any I've ever had. It does what it's supposed to do. It makes great coffee... Period. What more could you ask? The flavor of the coffee never changes as time goes on and the coffee stays HOT, after eight hours. Ten hours is when it starts to get cooler, but it's still warm enough to drink. Twelve hours and it's gotten cool, if you haven't emptied it by then. In our house, 12 cups are usually gone in six hours or less. But one day I experimented and got those results.

I'm happy as a pig in slop to have this coffee maker. To think that I almost didn't get it, because of some of the comments I read, based on earlier models, makes me shake my head.

Yes, it beeps after it's done. So what. Our old Cuisinart did too and we're used to it ourselves. Unless you sleep in the kitchen, it's NOT loud enough to wake you up.

And yes it stands taller than your average machine. So what. The walls of the metal carafe are thicker than glass pots, because of the need to insulate it. If you want a carafe that holds 12 cups of coffee, then you have to have it bigger on the outside. Right? Therefore, it gonna' be a bigger coffee maker.

Do yourselves a favor... Get this machine. It does everything it says it will.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Okay... Here's a follow-up.

It's now July 5th, 2007 and we've had this maker for 6 months now and we still love it.

But, even though I earlier stated that there couldn't possibly be a chance of causing the machine to spill over, short of forgetting to place the carafe under the basket... It turns out that that's pretty much how we did it... From a certain point of view.

Oooof!

I had taken apart the lid of the carafe and set it on the counter to dry. There's a second "top", that's part of the main lid. Inside that "top", there's a little plastic ball, that's used to seal the heat inside the carafe, but floats on top of the coffee, as it drips into the carafe while brewing. It's a cool design, but it does need attention/cleaning every so often.

A half hour after I took it apart, while I was making the kids some pancakes, my wife got out of the shower and made a pot of coffee without re-assembling the lid. She just screwed on the main part of the lid like usual, without realizing that the very top part of the lid was removed for cleaning. And that very top part of the lid, holds the "button" that presses against the spring loaded release under the basket, which tells the coffee to come out of the basket and drip into the carafe.

Well... I turned around to see what was causing the dripping noise and saw coffee flowing out of the basket and all over kingdom come, making a God-awful fu*king mess.

Like an idiot... I grab the sides of the machine and tipped the whole thing over (on purpose), to allow the remaining amount of coffee to pour out in the sink, rather than all over the counter.

What I should have done was simply unplug it.

Now, because of my rash attempt to keep the mess down to a minimum, I suffered second degree burns all around my left wrist and forearm area, because the basket swung open when I tipped it over and the contents of the basket dumped all over me.

Ouch!

So... There's that. : (

Good coffee though. Still love the machine. Just make sure YOU reassemble the lid, if YOU'RE the one cleaning it. It'll save on a massive mess, a LOT OF PAIN and a good argument with your wife, over who caused the whole fiasco in the first place.
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on September 10, 2010
This is the first time I've left a negative review for any product, but I'm so frustrated with this coffee maker, I felt I needed to warn people to stay away. There is a spring valve at the bottom of the filter that is supposed to open and close depending on whether or not the carafe is underneath. In ours, this will jam and water will overflow over the top of the filter and all over the counter. Other times, it will remain open when you pull the carafe out to pour before its done brewing and coffee drips all over the machine. Contrary to some of the positive reviews telling you to ignore bad reviews, this has nothing to do overfilling, just a poorly designed mechanism. Apparently some people get lucky and get a good version, but we weren't lucky. Ours is crap and its time for us to replace this expensive and frustrating coffee maker.
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on December 29, 2004
As a coffee lover since 3rd grade, and an engineer with a low tolerance for flaws, I'd call this coffeemaker near-perfect. I gave it as a gift this Christmas, and our whole extended family was impressed with the unit. The thermos carafe has an ingenious screw-top lid (easily removed for cleaning), with a beautifully clever mechanism that allows coffee to trickle in during brewing, and pour out without opening the top, but still manage to be airtight the rest of the time. I'd like to shake the hand of the guy that designed that simple-but-elegant mechanism. The coffeemaker brews a full 12-cup carafe in just 10 minutes, a real benefit given the effect that brewing time has on the coffee's flavor. And the carafe is insulated enough that the coffee remained drinkable past the 2 hour mark. The only weakness that I saw is that, since the unit shuts off completely once the coffee is brewed, you can't tell at a glance that there is coffee waiting for you (if it started automatically by the timer). But that's pretty minor, and I'm already recommending this machine to friends. Well done, Cuisinart.
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