Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2019
All right, so basically my disappointment in the Cuisinart Coffee Center lies in what you get for the money you pay. I have a lot to say here. I’ve had this for a week now, and I’m not new to the Cuisinart brand, but I’ve gotta say I am really disappointed in this. This was purchased to replace two coffee makers and save counter space. It is replacing a small one cup Keurig and a Cuisinart Grind & Brew.
First off, I want to clarify what I bought verses what you will see in my pictures. I bought the black SS-15 Cuisinart Coffee Center which comes with the glass coffee pot, NOT the thermal carafe. However, you will see a stainless steel thermal carafe in my photos because I am successfully using the thermal carafe from my old Cuisinart Grind & Brew with this new coffee center! That’s a plus, gotta say that saved me some serious cash. I found a review from another customer who said that their old Cuisinart carafe worked, and just to make sure, I actually took mine to a Target store, and with the help/supervision of an employee, checked to see if it would fit. Of course, it was still a risk, you never really know until you try it, right? So I ordered the center with the glass coffee pot, and now I can confirm that it functions perfectly fine with the Cuisinart Coffee Center. I can also say it’s a plus that the lid the water comes out of with the coffee center is full of holes so the water is properly dispersed across your grounds rather than just flowing from a center hole like my old Cuisinart Grind & Brew. The lid also seals nicely when shut, and the permanent filter is a cone shape too. Although I knew this coffee center didn’t have it when I ordered it, I also really wish they’d have kept the built in grinder design that my Grind & Brew had, I really miss it. I enjoyed that feature, and it would’ve worked well with this new coffee center machine design. They should’ve at least offered it as an option in another upgraded machine, in my opinion.
My biggest complaint from the coffee pot side is a common one. There are only two small spaces where you can pour the water into the machine with one of them being on the single brewer side, which is the middle of the machine, and although the other is on the outside on the other side, it has the removable filter for the water. Unless you have awesome aim, you’ll need to remove that water filter to avoid splashing when you pour water into the machine when using that side, which does seem to be the best place to add water. Regardless of which side you pour the water in, you need the lid up all the way to do so. Not a lot of us have a lot of space between countertops and cupboards, and I’m talking like 2 or more feet here. You can see in the photos that raising the lid up all the way will require at least 8 inches if you want it to stay open on its own, not to mention, the space needed for your hands and whatever container you’re pouring water from, PLUS a very slow and accurate pour. Don’t know about you, but even when we’re at our best, that ain’t easy. I really feel like there is a need for, and plenty of space to add a water reservoir along the back for the coffee pot side of the machine too.
Other reviewers sighted spitting from the single cup feature, and sadly, I can confirm that. Furthermore, it doesn’t just spit when using regular size coffee cups, but also the taller ones just like you see in my photos, AND it’s not just a little spitting off to one side either. You can see in the photos of the counter it’s a good 7 inches out in front, it’s to the side of the machine, and the carafe on the other side too. Guess what? Those pics are taken when brewing with a TALL cup. You can also see how little space there is between the top of the tall cup used, and the brewer too. Yea, it’s not the end of the world and I’d expect some with a shorter cup because that makes sense considering the height the coffee is falling, but I do not find this result with a tall cup at all acceptable. I shouldn’t have to find the perfect size block to put a smaller coffee cup on top of, but if I don’t, that means I will ALWAYS need to use a taller cup, AND be prepared to clean up. I had placed a paper towel around the area when I brewed to see how much spitting I’d get, and I removed it halfway through the brewing thinking it was done, but then had more show up on the counter so that’s when and why I chose to take that particular photo. I never had this problem brewing with my single cup Keurig.
Speaking of Keurig, their single cup filter adapter is much better design than the one which comes with the coffee center from Cuisinart. If my Keurig adapter worked with this new Cuisinart coffee center like my old thermal carafe does, I’d use that instead, but it doesn’t. Ok so the Cuisinart adapter, or pod as they call it, needs to be aligned correctly, yet does not actually snap or lock into position in the machine, which is stupid. The pod lid also does not cover the permanent filter around the sides; it doesn’t completely seal. Maybe that’s part of why it still spits with a tall cup? Took a photo of the pod, but the only way to really show you how loose it is when inside the machine, and that it can be totally turned around, would be with a video. I chose more pics over one video. I’m also not fond of the attached lid on the pod, or the plastic used for to make the pod. You can see in the photo it’s not very sturdy. I’m sure it’ll get broken easily during jostling if put in the dishwasher, and even during hand washing if you’re not really careful, not to mention normal use on a regular basis. For us, that’ll be every day. I would very much prefer it was made with much more durable plastic and a screw on lid that seals the pod like the Keurig one I have does. There is one plus with the Cuisinart pod over Keurig’s, and it’s the permanent filter that it comes with, also shown in my photo. It has an open bottom to allow for better water dispersement so at least there’s that. The water reservoir on the single brewer side is nice, however, the handle detaches way too easily, and doesn’t lock in. It needs to be more secure than it is, in my opinion, in order to avoid detaching while you’re trying to put the full reservoir back on the machine. I’m not even sure it’s supposed to detach! If it’s broken, it’s still functional, but I will need to watch it. Ugh. Furthermore, the single cup side has a drip try which only holds 3 ounces of liquid. If you forget to put a cup underneath to catch your coffee because you’re having a human moment, then it’s a huge mess to clean up.
As far as cleaning goes, the parts that come off for washing clean up easily enough by hand, and I am not putting them into the dishwasher regardless of the fact that they say you can do it on the top rack. I don’t see that resulting in long life. I also don’t see how they can tout this machine as being self cleaning when all it does is blink lights to notify you that it requires a descaling cycle, and it requires more than pushing a single button to do it on the single serve side. There’s a CLEAN button on the coffee pot side so why not on the other side too? The instructions are very specific about how much vinegar to use, and exactly what you need to do for descaling along with what each step looks like with regard to the lights on both sides of the machine. I just think it could be a lot simpler overall if we had a single separate button to push for this process on the single serve side as well.
So I’m keeping it, but I’m really glad I ordered it on sale and used gift cards, otherwise I probably would’ve suffered and not purchased it.