Features several convenient features
Drip coffee is average
Cleanup is a hassle
Grinder and safety beepers are loud
We purchased the Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker so our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Keep reading for our full product review.
Because drip coffee makers come in many shapes and sizes, finding the ideal coffee machine isn’t the easiest task. Some drip coffee makers are incredibly high-tech, allowing for a lot of control and customization, while others offer simplicity with excellent coffee. The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker is a coffee machine that offers several convenient features to its users. I evaluated its coffee quality, setup, cleanup, ease of use, and price. Read on to see what I found.
Design: Modern look, but feels low in quality
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker sports a modern design with a brushed metal console and black accents. I found that it looked elegant, and it fits in well with my other kitchen appliances. It’s also rather compact, measuring only 7.48 by 11.2 by 15.16 inches. The small size and its internal cord storage compartment (located in the back of the machine) made it easy to store.
The front of the machine has an LED display, which shows the time of day and aids in programming some of its features. The buttons on the front are all clearly labeled. I liked this aspect of the machine because it made it easy to navigate and set up things like the auto-on and warming plate functions. Below the front panel, there is a door that opens to the filter basket holder. This machine also comes equipped with an integrated grinder, which is enclosed behind a door at the top of the machine.
However, overall I wasn't super impressed with the Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker’s craftsmanship. I found that the entire construction of this coffee maker felt low in quality. Besides the blade that grinds the beans and the glass carafe, the grinder and nearly all of the removable parts are made of plastic. This made the coffee machine feel rather un-sturdy and like it wouldn't last very long. There is a limited 3-year warranty, which offers some reaassurance.
Setup Process: Average setup time
Like most coffee machines, the Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker requires you to operate the coffee machine once with only water and a paper filter to remove residue in the system. In addition, all of the removable parts should be washed with warm and soapy water. There is also a charcoal filter that must be soaked in water for about 15 minutes prior to placing it into the water filter holder in the machine. This entire setup process took about 20 minutes or so.
To use this machine, there is the option to use it with the automatic grinder or to go without by pressing the “Grinder Off” button. When using the grinder, I placed my whole beans into the grinder first. I had to measure out exactly how much coffee I was going to make because the grinder grinds all of the beans inside. I closed the grinder lid, followed by the top door.
Despite all of these extra features, I wasn't impressed with the overall quality of the coffee.
Next, I put my filter into the filter basket located at the front of the machine behind the filter door. This machine comes with a gold-tone reusable filter and several #4 basket paper filters. Then, I placed the filter cover on top of the filter basket and closed the front door. The machine is then ready to brew. To start, I pressed the “On” button, and immediately, it began grinding the beans. This machine can brew up to 12 cups. There is also an option to brew a smaller batch (1 to 4 cups) of coffee. To do this, press the “1-4 Cup” button prior to pressing the “On” button.
Performance: Many extra features, but average drip coffee
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker offers several convenient features. One nice extra is the 24-hour automatic brewing feature, which allows users to set the machine up the night before to brew their coffee automatically the following morning. There is a heating plate that can be set to warm the brewed coffee for up to four hours. I liked that it could keep my coffee warm for such a long period of time.
This coffee maker also has a "Brew Pause" feature, which allows the user to interrupt a brewing session to pour a cup of coffee before the entire batch has finished. Perhaps the most unique feature of this coffee maker is its capability to grind beans prior to brewing a batch of coffee.
Despite all of these extra features, I wasn't impressed with the overall quality of the coffee. I found that it was no better than the coffee I've had from other drip coffee machines in the past. The grinder, in particular, was a disappointment because I thought it would make the coffee taste significantly better than drip coffee machines without this feature. However, I didn’t notice a difference. Plus, the grinder is incredibly loud and quite startling; it runs for the full 30 seconds whether or not there are beans to grind. Because it’s so loud, I would not recommend using this machine if someone else in your house is still sleeping.
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker offers a number of extra features, but they don't do much to improve the quality of the drip coffee.
The other downside to this machine is the safety feature. If any of the machine’s parts are not properly installed or the doors are not entirely closed, the machine will beep continuously. While I appreciated this in some respects, it was also frustrating when I couldn’t figure out what piece was not properly installed, and the beeping wouldn’t stop unless I unplugged the machine.
Ease of Cleaning: A hassle to clean the grinder
After each use, the grinder basket and lid, the filter basket, filter basket cover, and the carafe must be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These parts are also dishwasher-safe (top rack only). It doesn't seem that bad, but the cleaning of the grinder basket and lid became quite a hassle. Because the steam from the hot water seeps into the grinder during each brew, any leftover grounds that are in the grinder get wet and then caked onto the grinder. I found this to be a major design flaw.
This residue is not something to leave on; it must be thoroughly washed and dried off after each use. I found this to be a lot of extra work compared with other coffee machines, and it didn’t seem worth it in the end.
Price: You get what you pay for
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker retails for around $100, which is low-priced for a quality coffee machine. However, considering the average-tasting coffee and the lacking design, you get what you pay for in this case.
Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker vs. OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker
OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker: The OXO Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker is a bargain-priced drip coffee machine retailing for around $170. It has a similar compact design with a sleek aesthetic. It brews small batches and large batches of coffee and boasts a simplistic design with only a few buttons. The OXO Brew, though lacking in extra features, excels in brewing excellent drip coffee. It meets the Specialty Coffee Association’s gold cup standards, which brews coffee at just the right temperature and brewing time.
Even though the Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker offers a number of extra features, the OXO Brew wins out by far in terms of coffee quality.
An unimpressive coffee maker.
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker offers a number of extra features, but they do little to improve the overall quality of the drip coffee. Considering there are many similarly priced drip coffee machines that offer better-tasting coffee, I'd say to skip this purchase.
- Product Name 12-Cup Grind & Brew Coffee Maker
- Product Brand Cuisinart
- Price $100
- Weight 10.8 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7.48 x 15.16 x 11.2 in.
- Color Black, silver
- Water Tank Capacity 60 oz.
- Power (Watts) 720
- Voltage 120V
- Warranty 3 year, limited
- What's Included Carafe, carafe lid, measuring scoop, #4 basket paper filters, 2 charcoal water filters, grinder basket, grinder basket lid, filter basket cover, filter basket, and gold tone filter basket