The Cuisinart's Burr Grind & Brew DGB-900BC was the only machine we tested that offered a built-in grinder. We loved the freshness of our coffee grinds but thought that the machine had a lot of moving parts that made it more complicated to use and clean. The carafe was hard to get the last bit of water or coffee out of, and the brew temperature we recorded was lower than the 195°-205°F range recommended by the SCAA. That being said, this is convenient if you want coffee brewed from freshly ground beans and a unit that is highly programmable. For $200, though, we think other options give you a better tasting cup of coffee.
The Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brewer utilizes automatic drip brewing technology. It delivers freshly ground coffee directly into the brew basket. However, if you prefer to use pre-ground coffee, you can select the "Grind-Off" option. During our test, we let the machine grind our beans and set the quantity for a full 12-cup carafe. The grinding lasted 40 seconds and is noisy enough to wake you up. Although it was hard to assess the brew temperature, we found that the coffee decanting from the brew basket mid-cycle was 175°F. The coffee flows through the lid directly into the stainless steel thermal carafe. The brew time was about 9 minutes and there was a low tone to indicate when the brew cycle finished. The temperature of the coffee in the carafe immediately after brewing was 168°F, and after an hour of sitting was 163°.
The Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew ranked 8th out of 10 machines in our blind coffee taste test. We asked 31 coffee drinkers to rate samples of black coffee on overall taste, flavor, body, acidity, and color. The DGB-900BC was not a standout, and performed poorly in the overall taste category. Its highest marks were for flavor, body, and color. To learn more about how we tested the Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew against other coffee makers, please read our How We Test section.
Overall, we thought that the Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew was well designed and constructed with high quality materials. We liked the thermal carafe design, but found the carafe was hard to empty completely when we were filling up the water tank and pouring the last bits of coffee.
Once you get the hang of programming the Cuisinart, all you have to do is pour in some beans and you are ready to start brewing. As easy as it was to use, this machine was more difficult to clean because of the built-in bean storage and Burr grinder. With that said, the brew basket is upper-rack dishwasher-safe.Bonus Features
The Cuisinart DGB-900BC is a self-contained brewer that boasts all the bells and whistles any coffee enthusiast could hope for. With a capacity of 2 - 12 cups (10oz - 60oz), it can be programmed to begin brewing at a specific time using the digital clock on the LCD display screen, and it features an automatic off as well. You can also adjust the "Grind Control" knob to select the amount of coffee you want to grind, and the "Strength Control" button to select the brew strength (mild, medium, or strong). Though not recommended, the Cuisinart offers a "brew pause" feature for those who can't wait to pour that first cup of coffee. It is suggested that the brew stop be engaged for no more than 20 seconds to avoid overflow from the brew basket.
In terms of filters, you can either use the commercial-grade, Gold Tone flat bottom filter that comes with your machine or a disposable #4 basket-style paper filter. The water reservoir is easily accessible for refilling and has a clear water level window for accurate measuring. Within the reservoir is a replaceable charcoal water filter that removes chlorine, odors, and other impurities from the water.
The Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew Thermal is best if you like your beans ground just before your coffee is brewed. In addition, all the programming options are a nice bonus.Value
At $200, this Cuisinart is expensive. You do get a 3-year limited warranty attached to the product, which helps with the value, but we think a few other options that we tested give you more bang for your buck.Conclusion
The Cuisinart DGB-900BC delivers a really fresh cup of coffee, however, it comes with drawbacks. Our taste testers weren't impressed with the actual taste of the coffee, and the machine is very loud and difficult to clean. Frankly, we felt like for $200, you could do better for your money. That being said, we love the option of freshly ground beans, the highly programmable settings, and all of the other bells and whistles. For more information about our award winners, please visit our Coffee Maker Overview.
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