Brew Express - BEC-110 Countertop Automatic Filling Coffee System
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- BEC-110 COUNTER-TOP BREW EXPRESS
- AUTOMATICALLY SELF-FILLS - HOOKED UP TO YOUR WATER LINE
- BREWS BY THE CUP OR CARAFE
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|Item Dimensions||12.25 x 7.5 x 13.35 inches||7.75 x 9 x 14 inches||12.4 x 6.8 x 12.2 inches||10.25 x 9.5 x 14.3 inches|
|Item Weight||18.00 lbs||8.75 lbs||6.13 lbs||10.00 lbs|
|Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
Designed to fit in your life, the revolutionary design of the Brew Express blends performance, contemporary style and convenience into an easy-to-use appliance that makes brewing coffee and hot beverages a pleasure instead of a burden. Brew Express easily connects to your waterline just like your icemaker so you can enjoy a fool-proof and convenient brewing experience, all without spilling a drop of water.
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Build quality is excellent. Really feels (as the ad says) like commercial quality The plumbed-in feature was perfect for our needs since we had a tight little bit of unused counter space exactly the width of this thing that it fit into perfectly, but where it would have been a real pain to pull a conventional coffee maker in and out to constantly refill with water. Even better, that space happened to be next to the refrigerator which allowed us to easily tap into its water line AND it happened that there was an unused counter outlet right there. Your results will vary,
Plus, it's simply a beautiful, professional looking appliance with what appears to be real stainless on the front. Perfect . . . life is good . . . Uhhhh, except . . .
Besides the mega bucks for a category of device that can otherwise be purchased at a drug store for $20 (i.e., a basic drip coffee maker), the plumbed-in feature means that you can't easily (or at all) run a descaler through it - so you'd better have an in-line water filter AND a water softener if your water is hard (ours is and we do, so we never had a problem).
You really can't use standard 8-12 cup grocery-store filters since they're too short and they'll overflow, releasing grounds into the coffee pot. I'm using Bunn 10-12 cup filters that are 1/4 inch taller that work fine (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E2PUMS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). A workaround for the shorter grocery-store filters is to load the filter with 10 cups worth of coffee, then run two 5-cup cycles back to back with about 10-15 minutes between each cycle to allow all of the water from the first 5-cup cycle to filter through before adding the second 5-cup cycle. A pain, but it works.
And come on folks, for this kind of money you can't put in a battery backup for the display? Really? Our power will flicker on and off momentarily maybe once a month or so giving me the classic VCR flashing numbers, necessitating a full reset of the time and timer. Eventually we gave up and just quit resetting the thing.
Now, here's a somewhat bigger down-side to this unit: it quit. First purchased in April, 2014 for $250. Worked faultlessly for 3 1/2 years. Then it simply died mid-brew a few days before I wrote this review. Lights out. Nuttin. Gone. Dead. And this isn't the only one to just up and quit for no apparent reason, as attested to by other reviewers. For this kind of money, it should have lasted a bit longer. Like forever! (In fact, I have a 30+ year old Mr. Coffee in my workshop that I originally paid $15 for - that STILL works just fine!) Nevertheless, we loved this thing so much that we've gambled and ordered and received another one that is, again, now working perfectly - for the last 5 days anyhow. We'll see long-term.
Now here's a weird little side note, more related to Amazon pricing schemes - In 2014 we paid a pretty hefty $250 (which, by the way, works out to about $0.20 a day "owner fee” over the life of the product by the time it died). This time we paid $225, making my investment in this product thus far $475. However, and here's the weird part, a couple of days after purchasing and receiving this new one, we rechecked the price at Amazon just for fun and found it to be $270 (!) Then a couple of days after that (now, as I write this) we see the price wildly inflated up to $299.99! That's an over 30% increase from $225 in just a few days (search google for "amazon dynamic pricing" - you probably won't like what you learn). And that before I found it elsewhere on Amazon for a somewhat astounding $350 (Take a moment to ponder a home drip coffee maker for $350.) While I'm happy to have gotten what appears to be a good deal, this sudden inflation pretty much guarantees that I'll not get another one if this new one also quits (which, if I were to, would push my coffee maker investment for this one single product to nearly $800!).
Bottom line: if quality coffee is paramount to you, and money is no object (and your name is D. Trump), then this coffee maker is for you. On the other hand, if the idea of choking up $300 or more for a home drip coffee maker with a limited life span makes you LITERALLY choke, you'll probably want to take a pass. 5 stars for quality of its brew; 5 stars for ease of use; 5 stars for APPARENT build quality; 5 stars for appearance; 1 star for price; 1 star for reliability (and remember, I'm not the only one who has had one of these things quit for no reason).
Update 4/20/2019: I should have done this update much earlier. Sorry. Fact is, I had contacted the mfg, and they said to send it in to them so they could take a look at it (this was after I had already ordered the 2nd one). For this kind of money I did just that, not really expecting anything positive (I lean toward the cynical). Lo' and Behold - couple of weeks later a new one showed up at my door. So now I'm still using the 2nd one I had bought (couple of years now - and still works great MOST OF THE TIME: sometimes, rarely, it quits mid cycle with a EEEE msg. Simply restarting it seems to fix it. Doesn't happen often but enough to get my attention ) and now I have a backup unit (the replacement they sent me), so they get another star for customer service. Sorry Brew Express that I took so long to credit your service (but it's still stupid expensive for what is really a simple drip coffee maker!)
Update 5/18/2020: Well, the EEEE thing finally won. Won't cycle any more, just gives the error msg after a minute or two accompanied by a huge puff of steam and a lot of LOUD gurgling/bubbling. Note that this is not at all like the first failure where it simply died flat-out dead.
Did some research. Turns out it's probably 100% user error. Yeah. Found that that EEEE error msg almost always means just one of two things: clogged/scaled up, or a kink in the water line. Swapped out the unit with my "backup" unit and started to examine the failed unit carefully, and what did I find? Two things: clogged/scaled up, AND a kink in the water line. Kinda' textbook. So we've installed a small dedicated inline water filter designed for coffee filters and refrigerators that's supposed to eliminate this kind of thing (even tho we have whole-house filtration and a softener). We'll see. These little things are not expensive (complete kits run around $40 and up and are all over Amazon), and are easy to install so, even if you have filters / softeners in your water system, this provides a low-cost kind of back up (in case you happen to sometimes forget to put salt in the softener, hmmmmm . . . ) and I strongly recommend that you follow the mfg's recommendation to install such a dedicated filter just to be sure. Final related note, in my research I discovered HOW to clean/descale these things even tho they don't have a reservoir or any obvious way to even get the cleaner into the thing. That info is available on the Brew Express help website at http://www.brewexpressdirect.com/service-options/pdfs/110-blockage.pdf . Kind of a pain, but it works and it beats another 3 Benjamins for another coffee maker. So my earlier concern about an inability to clean these is resolved. Also, regarding the need for oversized filters, I learned that the duration of flow can be controlled (turns out it's right there in the manual, but, well, you know . . .) so I'm going to just set the full-carafe flow duration shorter and see if that takes care of overflow issue with "standard" paper filter. We'll see.
And that kinda leaves me with nothing to complain about! (Except for maybe the $300 price tag thingy that, as I pointed out earlier, as a basic gizmo could be bought at a drug store for $20 - but I'm really starting to think it actually IS worth it. . . so I'll stop complaining - but, really, come on people, give us a battery backup for the flashy clock thing - I can't be the only person out there who suffers occasional power "flickers" . . . or am I . . .?)
We still love the coffee it brews and the faults we're experiencing are mostly due to lack of proper maintenance on my part. The one time that the unit did have a non-user induced internal problem, they immediately fixed it at no charge. My rating remains the same: 5 stars. If you really appreciate good coffee (first and foremost - and I know, that's a subjective thing - I really don't like Starbucks and apparently everyone in the known universe does), and you appreciate a quality-made, commercial-grade product with solid corporate support, then, after 6 years living with these things on an almost daily basis, I can fully recommend this coffee maker, cost notwithstanding (assuming, of course, that you like a rich, smooth, non-bitter cup of coffee rather than the smash-your-mouth, brand-your-tongue, bitter, burnt brutality that is Starbucks. Just sayin' . . . personal opinion). My final comment is: Forget the cost. It's likely only a one-time cost. It's not like you're buying one a week, so just get it. It's worth it (but . . . still, $300 for a home drip coffee maker . . . ? There is kind of a wow factor there - just try not to think too hard about it!). Just make sure you take care of the thing once you get it! (Oh, and, yeah, go ahead and actually READ the manual!)
The coffee maker works well. Way less expensive than wasteful Keurig pods.
I don't understand why this is almost the only coffee maker out there that can be plumbed into your icemaker line. But it works.
It's simple to install. Just push the 1/4" plastic line into the slip-fit fitting. I already had a valve installed so i could turn the system off if necessary.
The coffee maker can be programmed to start at any time. It can also be programmed to brew a full pot, a half pot or a single cup.
Keep your instruction manual handy. You'll need to reference it occasionally for programming instructions. .
Also, lay in a supply of genuine Bunn filters. They are taller than regular Mr. Coffee flat-bottom type filters.
If you want to brew a single cup or mug, you need to use the separate filter holder that uses a number 4 cone filter.
We use both. But you can brew a full pot, a half pot (both use a Bunn filter) or a single cup, using a cone filter.
The coffee is fine. Stays hot in the insulated carafe for hours.
The coffee flows into the carafe easily and pours out accurately without spilling.
Overall, we really like the device.
There are no instructions for cleaning, however. I don't know how to descale the device if that is ever required.
My wife is actually the coffeeholic. She really likes the machine.
Update! The second repair says the Kcups are overfilled! And how am I to regulate this?! Sad excuse! Garbage don’t buy!