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Low Price, Few Bells & Whistles, Good Coffee
Apr 15, 2009 (Updated Apr 15, 2009)
Review by kenprospero
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Price, Easy to Use, Easy to Pour Pitcher, Good Coffee
Cons:Placement of Controls, Water Temperature.
The Bottom Line: Fairly priced for the features. Makes a good cup of coffee.
Drip coffee-makers. When you get down to it, the basic technology of all of them is the same. You heat water, pour it through a coffee-filled filter, and coffee drips into the carafe.
Recommend this product?
How good the coffee will be depends on the temperature of the water, (I suppose) the shape of the filter, but most importantly, the quality of the coffee and whether you use the right amount.
This being said, I've tried a number of 'higher priced' coffee makers. Cuisinart, Mr.Coffee (high end), the one-cup pod machines, etc. There are certain bells and whistles (which I'll get to below), but have not noticed a discernable difference in the taste of the coffee with any of them.
Further -- IMO, coffeemakers have a life of 3-5 years. Even if you clean them regularly, I've found that after 3-5 years either the heating element begins to go, some line gets clogged (so more water is lost to steam), it gets calcified, so the coffee taste is a bit off, etc.
So, when my last coffeemaker began to die, I decided not to spend $80-100 for features I wouldn't use, which brings us to the DCM-2500
Makes a nice cup of coffee, no real taste difference from more expensive models. It is programmable (the coffee pot has a timer). The wide lip on the carafe makes spills less likely, and because of the price, I won't be upset when it breaks.
This is the epitome of a 3 star rating. It does the job. Nothing fancy. There are other coffee-makers in the same price range. To be honest, as I said above, I think most coffee makers work the same, so, you're paying for features. Without a lot of features, I suspect they're all 3 Star products.
Out of Box Experience
Very easy to set up and use. Essentially, you plug it in, run a pot or two of water through the machine before making coffee, and you're ready to go.
Water goes in through the top. You put coffee in the filter, and put the filter in the filter basket. Put the Carafe in the machine, push a button, and you get coffee. The machine takes either paper filters or a metal filter basket (though the manual doesn't mention the metal basket). In my case, I saw that Amazon had a bundle that included a filter basket that looked remarkably similar to the one I was using with my old machine, so I assumed it would be ok. It is.
Controls are on the front of the machine (next to the carafe). Only a few buttons. Turn the machine on, set the clock/timer. Turn the timer on. These are easy to use and intuitive.
What is a Cup/How Much Coffee to Use?
The manual says to use 1-2 tablespoons of coffee per cup you're brewing. The actual amount will depend on how strong you like your coffee and how many cups you are making (the fewer cups you're making, the more you need per cup, with any machine, you have to learn the adjustment by trial and error).
We use about 1 1/4 through 1 1/2 spoonfuls per 'cup'.
A 'cup' is defined here as 5 oz. This is a small cup. However, this is how the machine is calibrated. In general, we figure that 1 1/2 'machine cups' equals 1 real person cup.
Putting this together -- My wife and I want two cups of coffee each, so we fill the water to 6, and use 7 or 8 teaspoons of coffee.
Coffee machines have many features: Timer, sneak a cup, separate settings if you want to make only one or two cups, strength of coffee, grinders, etc.
The only three that this machine has are the Timer, Sneak a Cup and a warming plate.
Advantage of timer -- you can set the timer so that the coffee will be ready when you get up in the morning. With out this, you'd have to get up, get out of bed, flick the switch and wait a few minutes for the coffee to be made. This feature adds $10 or so to the price of a basic coffeemaker. If you want it, it's nice to have. My wife wanted it, so here we are.
Sneak a Cup -- If you can't wait those few minutes for the coffee, you only have to wait for the first cup to filter through. Then when you remove the carafe, the water temporarily stops flowing, so you can grab that cup early. I never use this feature. I find with coffeemakers, the first cup of coffee in the pot is the 'strongest' and the flow of coffee gets weaker and weaker (think about it it makes sense). The trick is, therefore, to get the right amount of coffee in the filter so that the pot of coffee is the right strength. So, I find that 'sneaking a cup' ruins the rest of the pot. Just my opinion, but people who sneak a cup regularly are probably consigned to the third circle of hell. This being said, if you want the feature, it's there.
Warming Plate -- It almost goes without saying that the carafe rests on a heated plate, which will keep the coffee warm (I think they all have these). The warming feature shuts off automatically after two hours (a good safety feature). This works adequately -- I find a therrmos carafe works better with any coffee machine.
Other features -- I've had coffee machines that have other features. Once I thought that these were useful, for example, what if I wanted to only make 2 cups of coffee, wouldn't it be nice to just push a button. Over time, I've found that I almost never use these features, and if I really want to make less coffee, I can achieve the same result by just increasing or decreasing the amount of coffee in the filter. Since these features can make a $30 machine cost $100 with no difference in the taste of the coffee, I figure I can buy a whole lot of extra coffee before I hit break even.
Also, remember, the more features you have, the more things that there are to break.
We clean our machines by running a diluted vinigar solution through the system every few months. There may be more to do, and this may be why our machines only last 3-5 years. For us, this should take no more time than any other machine. No evaluation is offered for more extensive home maintenance.
Placement of Control Buttons. The buttons (electronics of the machine) are right in front of the carafe. I am concerned that an accidental spill could short out the machine.
Water Temperature. I don't think the coffee comes out as hot as in previous machines I have owned. Not major, but worth noting.
Construction. The machine looks 'flimsier' than say the Cuisinart or the high end Mr. Coffee. These machines look great and sturdy, even after they stop working properly. Assuming I don't spill water and short the machine out, I don't expect this to be a problem in the 3-5 years I ezpect to own the machine.
I expect 3-5 years use of the machine, and I expect the coffee will be exactly as good as with any other drip coffee-maker I've owned. There are similar products on the market for similar prices. Call this three stars with a recommendation to buy if there is no significantly cheaper, similarly featured product.
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