Having had a series of inexpensive, bottom-of-the-line coffee makers, my wife and I decided a couple of years ago that we wanted something a little better. Specifically, we were looking for something that could have the coffee ready in the morning when we woke up, so we needed a programmable model. After viewing several coffee makers in several stores, we saw the Mr. Coffee URX20. It appeared to meet our needs, plus it had a feature my wife liked - a removable water reservoir that could be filled in the sink, and then put in place. So, we made our choice and brought it home.
The URX20 is fairly large, compared to some coffee makers. It is fairly easy to set up, requiring the clock to be set to the correct time when plugged in, using buttons for Hour and Min. The brew time is set by pressing and holding the Set Delay button, then using the Hour and Min buttons. The Delay Brew button is pressed to activate the cycle (or press the Brew Now button to start brewing immediately). The clock does not retain the time when unplugged, so if you are one of those people who have many appliances and not enough outlets, you will have to do this often. The time display is clear, a green LED on a black background (a red LED to the side of the clock specifies PM), and can be seen several feet away. The control panel is on the front of the unit and is easily accessible; however, over time, coffee dripping onto the buttons caused them to stick or become difficult to press.
The removable filter insert is accessible from the front by lifting the hinged brew basket cover, and can be set flat on the countertop for filling. Standard coffee filters are used. It is a bit tricky to get the filter insert in exactly the right position when replacing it in the brew basket, as it is flat on one side. Also, the filter insert has several channels on the inside, making it very difficult to clean (you will need some sort of brush to do this, or it can be placed in the dishwasher). The carafe has a hinged cover that is removable for cleaning, and does not drip after pouring.
The removable water reservoir lifts off of the back of the unit, and easily fits into the sink to be filled under the faucet. However, it is at the back of the unit, and since we had it underneath a cabinet, we had to pull it a few inches from the wall, so that the reservoir could be lifted, then moved back far enough so that it could be pulled to the side - a minor inconvenience. There is a water level indicator on the side of the water reservoir; I'm not sure why, since it was designed to be filled under the sink. It is possible to fill the reservoir without removing it, using the spray hose on the sink, but given the height of the unit (13 1/2"), there was not enough clearance under the kitchen cabinet to do so, which would require pulling the unit to the edge of the counter. A small hole at the back of the reservoir is designed to keep you from overfilling it. Placing the full reservoir onto the unit is not easy with one hand, and is a bit cumbersome. And, if you tilt the reservoir toward the back, water invariably comes out of the overflow hole onto the countertop.
One of the things I noticed after using this coffee maker for a few days, was that water tended to accumulate in the recess beneath the water reservoir. There is a rubber gasket where the reservoir connects to the coffee maker, but it evidently is not enough to keep water from seeping into the recess. It is not enough water to be a concern, but the area is never dry, unless you take a paper towel and remove the excess water. Water also tends to accumulate in the crevices underneath the brew basket (probably condensation during the brew process), and is not easily removed. After cleaning the brew basket each day, I leave the hinged cover open so that this area will dry out. The recessed warmer plate is more difficult to clean than some; ours also developed a crack along the edge after about a year.
Another, and more serious, problem is that the Pause 'n Serve mechanism (which allows you to remove the carafe while the coffee is brewing) utilizes a lever at the back of the coffee maker, requiring that the carafe be placed all the way to the back of the unit, and oriented with the handle out (there are markings to indicate the correct position of the handle). This is extremely important. On more than one occasion, I did not have the handle oriented correctly, which resulted in the coffee overflowing from the brew basket, all over the kitchen counter and the floor. This also can happen if the carafe is not seated perfectly into the recessed warmer plate. This seems easy enough to do, but believe me, it's also easy enough to make a mistake. Now, I check it several times before going to sleep at night, because a mess like that is not something you want to wake up to in the morning!
All in all, the URX20 does make a good cup of coffee; but then, so do several other coffee makers. It is a bit slow to make 12 cups of coffee, taking about 10 minutes to complete the cycle. Functionally, it works well, and we have been using it for two years now, but we will definitely consider something else when it is time to replace it. For the money spent, we could have done better.
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Amount Paid (US$): 45.00