Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker Reviews

Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker

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Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker: No Pods for Me Thank You ...

Apr 6, 2013 (Updated Jan 17, 2014)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: OK

  • Ease of Use:
  • Durability:
  • Ease of Cleaning:
  • Style:

Pros:Drip method coffee maker, easy to use for morning caffeine ignition/cognition

Cons:No automatic shut off for people without cognition skills, made in China

The Bottom Line: The Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker is an OK machine, fairly easy to use, and makes a decent cup of JOE in the morning. See Cons.


When it comes to coffee, it’s a mandatory thing for me. No way am I getting up for my morning 2 hour-plus door to door commute without some grade A caffeine coursing through my veins if not my central cortex. Cognition does not happen without ignition. Coffee is my on switch. 

That said, coffee makers are kind of a useful conundrum to me. I am not especially sold on any one brand or brewing system. I am not a pod person as those people remind me of new religious converts or replicants of some kind. The French Press does not seem like a good choice at 5:30 in the morning.  I like the Drip-set-the-coffee-and-go method. 

So when our 12-cup Cuisinart started to fail in both quality (heating pad was pretty worn out) and quantity (coffee not staying hot for long) around Holiday time, I went ahead and bought a new coffee maker. No research. No nothing. My only noticeable impulse was that the design would look nice in our kitchen because it had a red accent color. And it had a simple, no programmable system. And it was under 40 bucks as opposed to all the coffee makers priced at $75 and up. 

No pods also means no pod people in my morning’s future. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEStsLJZhzo.) 

The coffee maker I purchased was the Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker at a local Target for 35 bucks. The coffee maker is red, no frills, and fits the cheap caffeine machine budget. There are a bunch of other colors available as well. 

Specifications.  The coffee maker is about 14 inches high, 7 inches across, with a 9 inch depth, so it should fit comfortably under most counters/cabinets. It comes with a short cord that stored in the back of the machine. It has a glass carafe with attached lid (metal band around carafe), and a permanent filter. There is a removable filter holder that the basket sits in.  It has a manual that's actually informative.

The “Dots” design is a pressed tin effect on the sides of the outer face of the machine with some red/metal trim. It's kind of retro/modern for people who like that look. The bulk of the machine is plastic, made in China. 

The brew button is centered right in the front panel of the machine with big letters BREW (lights up).  You can't miss it.
 
PROs
The Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker is fairly easy to use, nicely designed (looks good on counter), and makes a decent cup of JOE in the morning. I have not had any major issues with it (see Cons).

CONs
After 6-plus months of everyday use I’ve noted the following:

1. The carafe can be hard to keep spotless and seems a bit flimsy. Too much pressure and this thing will break I’m sure (manual warns about this as well). Clean the pot carefully with no abrasive cleansers. 

2. The carafe does not  pour well into the resevoir for making coffee. You will have some spillage, mostly because like many coffee makers, the resevoir area is not especially well designed and accessible to caffeine deprived human life forms in the dark light of morning.

3. I’ve noticed that making a full pot tends to launch grounds all over the place. I unplug the maker and rinse it out in the sink in order to get the grounds out of the nooks and crannies of the machine when this happens.

4.The machine does get exceptionally hot (does not seem to be a lot of extra heat absorbing material) so don't leave it 'on' on the counter for too long. 

5. The BREW lettering has mostly worn off already. (Stills lights up.)

6. No automatic shutoff is definitely a pain in the keister, especially on busy morning when you have to get out the door in a hurry.

 7. Heat pad is showing signs of wear after a year of use.

Filter. I did not like the quality of the enclosed permanent filter and bought a replacement higher quality one immediately. I think this is mandatory. 

On and Off Switch.  The Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker does not turn off by itself.  Commit that fact  to memory now and remember to turn it off when you’re finished with the day’s pot of caffeine comprehension. (I think coffee made in a drip machine tends to degrade taste-wise within about 90 minutes after making anyway.) 
 
Some people on the Internets seem especially perturbed that their thirty-five-dollar Chinese-made mostly plastic coffee maker does not automatically shut off. These are people who would never spend the 70+ dollars for an American made plastic coffee maker with automatic shut off because of  . . . unions or freedom … something.  They seemingly glossed over the word "Manual" somewhere on the box.

That said, they have a point. Not having an automatic shutoff is an example of especially poor design and a real problem if you run out the door in the morning. So yes, this is a reason NOT to buy the machine.

Maintenance Note.  This is also mandatory. Descale the machine at least once a month with a white vinegar or other cleaning solution for best results. (The manual says to do it every two weeks, but I usually fail to remember (not enough coffee). I also use Brew-Rite powder to clean instead of vinegar or cream of tartar.)

Recommendation. I'm satisfied with the purchase of the coffee maker.  I'm not sure how it will hold up over long-term use; it has a one-year warranty.  

I would nominally recommend the Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker for seekers of budget drip coffee makers (i.e., cheap China-made). On that note, I think it compares favorably with Mr. Coffee/Proctor Silex products the most (I think it falls short of the base models of the  Kitchen Aid/Cuisinart brands, even though their quality is falling as well.)

The Bella is a more stylish product, but Mr. Coffee has some features (programmability and automatic shutoff) that the basic Bella model does not.

Target seems to have the lowest price for the Bella Dots 12-Cup Coffee Maker, but not the best in-store selection (I would not buy a white coffee maker).


****************************   

  Note: I initially gave this purchase three stars but after a year of everyday use, I have to put it down to two stars only. It's an OK machine but I would have bought  another if I thought about it longer.
 
****************************

Achieving Morning Caffeine Nirvana (Brewing) for those poor souls clueless about the magical elixir of the coffee bean.  Open lid.  Pour fresh cold water to the water reservoir at back/sides (water level indictor goes up to 12 cups*). Add proper amount of ground coffee (to taste**) to coffee filter basket which sits in filter holder. Close lid. Press brew button. Do calisthenics, let dogs out, or other morning routine. 

Coffee can be poured at the 2 cup mark with a pause option. Be quick about it and replace carafe. The manual mentions that one should wait 15 minutes between coffee pots for the machine to cool down.  
 
* Based on 5 ounce cup serving, which is ridiculous. Using normal sized mugs, you’ll get about 5-6 cups out of full pot. 

** I prefer a fine ground (powder) coffee (like Melitta Breakfast Blend or Dunkin Donuts).  I add one heaping tablespoon of coffee for every two lines of water with an extra tablespoon for good measure. When I buy a whole bean coffee (such as Starbucks’ Breakfast Blend, Medium) I grind it to a powder and store it in a air tight container for use. (If I were to grind coffee beans at 5:30 a.m., there would be an incident at my house.)
 
Sources
www.sensioinc.com
(Sensio is a Canadian home products marketer under a number of brand names, private labels, and celebrity partners. They seem to going for a modern design look (retro-chic in some cases). Their products are generally competitively priced over higher-end models/manufacturers.)


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 35.00

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