Attractive stainless steel design
Programmable 24-hour brew start
Thermal carafe keeps coffee hot
Unreliable hot water system
Clock is hard to read
We purchased the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
If you’re shopping for a coffee maker that does more than just brew caffeine-packed beverages, the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker may have caught your eye. Not only does this appliance earn praise for making a piping hot pot of coffee, it also includes a built-in hot water dispenser for other beverages.
To see if this multi-tasking gadget is worth the price, we put it to the test in our home, thoroughly assessing the coffee maker, as well as its hot water system. Here’s what we found.
Setup Process: Some prep required
It took us about 25 minutes to get the Cuisinart 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker ready for our first pot of coffee. We thought the instructions were extremely detailed and easy to follow—there are diagrams included to help you identify each piece and set the machine up accordingly.
The machine comes with two charcoal filters—one for the coffee maker and one for the hot water system—that are supposed to eliminate chlorine, odors, and bad tastes from tap water. As directed, we soaked the filters in cold tap water for 15 minutes before inserting them into the appropriate compartments. Once we inserted the filters into their holders, we ran cold tap water over them for 10 seconds, let them drain, and slid them into the water reservoirs. The manufacturer recommends replacing the water filters every 60 days or after 60 uses.
The machine comes with two charcoal filters—one for the coffee maker and one for the hot water system—that are supposed to eliminate chlorine, odors, and bad tastes from tap water.
Finally, the manufacturer recommends flushing the system before using it, and to do that, we ran the coffee maker through the brewing cycle with just water, which took about five minutes.
Design: Lots of great features with one major flaw
The Cuisinart 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker offers plenty of convenient features to enhance your coffee-making experience, such as a self-cleaning function and automatic shut-off. One feature we really liked is the “Brew Pause,” which allows you to grab a cup of coffee before the brewing cycle is finished—perfect if you’re making a full pot but don’t want to wait for a jolt of caffeine. Further, the water level indicator window is prominently displayed on the side and easy to read.
We thought the machine’s control panel was simple to use, as most of its features can be activated with the push of a button. We would have appreciated a larger clock—preferably with a blue backlit display—as the numbers are small and difficult to see unless you’re standing right by it.
We loved the appliance’s programmable start feature, which you can set up to 24 hours in advance. We added water and coffee the night before and scheduled our coffee to brew the following morning. It was great to wake up and have coffee ready and waiting for us! Plus, the insulated thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for about an hour, so you don’t have to worry about getting a lukewarm drink if you hit snooze a few times.
We thought the machine’s signature hot water system would be a nice perk, as it claims to dispense hot water with the push of a lever, but we actually had a lot of trouble with this feature. On our first attempt, we added around six ounces of water—it’s difficult to gauge exactly how much you’re putting in since there’s no water level window for the hot water system. However, the “Add Water” indicator kept flashing red, even when we added more water. We turned the coffee maker off and on again, hoping that might resolve the problem, and that seemed to work.
Finally, the blue “Water Ready” light lit up, indicating that the water had been heated and was ready to be dispensed. We pressed on the lever and water came out, but we were surprised to find it was lukewarm. Since it was our first time using the machine, we thought it might take a bit of trial and error to get the hang of it, but we still had issues on subsequent uses.
Performance: Delicious coffee
When we brewed our first pot of coffee, we made about six cups, and the coffee was ready in around eight minutes. The machine beeps five times to alert you that the coffee is ready. We really appreciated this feature, but if you find it intrusive, there’s also an option to turn it off.
The coffee tasted exceptionally good—it was bold, flavorful, and piping hot. About an hour later, we went back for a second cup, and the coffee was still fairly warm. We did end up popping it in the microwave for about 15 seconds to get it a little hotter, though.
Since we loved the performance of the coffee maker, we decided to have another go with the hot water dispenser. We poured a mug full of water into the reservoir, and the “Water Ready” light came on almost immediately, indicating that the water was heated and was ready to be dispensed.
Unfortunately, the machine fails to indicate the correct stage of the heating cycle. The “Water Ready” indicator stays on continuously, even while the water is being heated and as it starts to cool off.
We released a little water into our mug, which we had placed on the drip tray, and once again, we were surprised to find it was lukewarm rather than hot. A few minutes later, the machine started to make a loud bubbling noise. It sounded like it was heating up the water, even though the “Water Ready” light remained illuminated the entire time. Once the machine quieted down, we pressed the lever and boiling hot water finally came out.
It seems as though the hot water system heats the water up at intervals—every few minutes or so—until it runs out. Unfortunately, the machine fails to indicate the correct stage of the heating cycle. The “Water Ready” indicator stays on continuously, even while the water is being heated and as it starts to cool off, making it a bit of a guessing game to know whether you’re going to have piping hot water.
After using it several times, here are our tips to figure out when the water is ready. First, if you stand by the machine, you can hear it heat up, or you can test the water temperature by dispensing a small amount of water into a cup. If it’s not warm enough, wait a few minutes for the machine to heat it up again. However, we have to admit it’s incredibly inconvenient—considering the expensive price tag of this machine, we expected a more accurate notification system.
Care: Removable parts are dishwasher safe
The carafe, lid, and filter basket of this coffee maker are dishwasher safe, so cleanup couldn’t be easier. Just be sure to place all of the parts on the top rack of your dishwasher. You can also wash the pieces by hand using warm, soapy water.
To remove calcium deposits that build up over time, you should clean the system periodically using a vinegar-water solution, and what’s nice is that the machine’s “Clean” light will flash to indicate when the unit needs maintenance.
Price: On the steep side
At around $130, the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker is fairly expensive, but it has plenty of convenient features to justify its high price tag. However, we weren’t thrilled with the performance of the hot water dispenser, so we can’t say the coffee maker is worth the splurge.
Cuisinart Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker vs. Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Thermal Coffee Maker
Retailing around the same price of $130, the Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Thermal Coffee Maker has all of the same features as the Cuisinart 10-Cup Thermal Programmable Coffeemaker—minus the hot water system. Plus, as its name suggests, it also has a slightly larger capacity. Unless you’re married to the idea of a hot water dispenser, the 12-cup model is probably a better use of your money.
The hot water system is disappointing.
We loved all of the features that came with the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker but ultimately, its hot water system might be a dealbreaker, as it's unreliable and confusing to operate.
- Product Name Coffee Plus 10-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- Price $129.95
- Weight 9.25 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 10.25 x 14.3 x 9.5 in.
- Color Aluminum
- Model Number CHW-14
- Material Stainless steel and plastic
- Warranty 3-year limited warranty