Bunn GRX 10 Cups Brewing System Reviews

Bunn GRX 10 Cups Brewing System

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A rough honeymoon eventually smooths out - maybe.

Aug 27, 2009 (Updated May 13, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:FAST, basic design fits with any decor

Cons:Big machine might not fit under some cabinets, might be a maintenance nightmare.

The Bottom Line: I'd recommend this brewer to someone who needs alot of coffee, fast, and on a regular basis.  It might be too much for the casual brewer.


My wife and I both work and are caffeine dependent and a bit snobbish, averaging 2-3 cups apiece in the morning and only using high-quality coffee like Gevalia or Dunkin' Donuts premium grinds.  My typical consumer grade countertop coffee brewers last about 3-4 years before going cold, so I started looking for something with a little commercial quality. 

The literature for the Bunn GRX-B promises "10-cups of perfect coffee in 3 minutes."  "Three minutes?  Are they serious??", I thought.  This had to be put to the test.  I found one in a big name home improvement store and used a 10% coupon to bring it home for under $100, perhaps twice what I would normally spend. 

The unit comes with a glass decanter, a starter pack of paper filters, the filter/coffee basket, a "de-liming tool", and instructions in 12 languages (not really, but you get the idea).  This is a large machine.  It takes up a decent section of real estate on my counter, and just barely squeezes beneath my standard height wall cabinets. There are stickers and warnings all over the place about NOT plugging the device in until you have read the instructions and properly prepped the unit.  Here's why.

The Bunn GRX-B differs from your typical coffee maker in that it pre-heats the water and stores it for immediate use.  You initially pour almost 15-cups of cold water into the unit and must wait about 15-minutes for it to heat up.  At this point the unit is ready for immediate brewing.  The water stays heated 24/7 (unless you unplug the unit or flip the 'vacation' switch), and you will occasionally hear the element heating the water when things are quiet.  I would caution anyone who uses their coffee makers on an infrequent basis (less than 2-3 times a week or so) from considering this unit, as there is a possibility of the unit eventually evaporating itself dry.  This is stated in the product literature, although not so plainly. 

Once my unit was filled and pre-heated I got out my Dunkin' Donuts Bold drip-grind coffee, filled a paper filter with ten scoops, emptied a decanter of cold water into the unit, closed the lid to begin brewing, and flipped on the manual switch for decanter heat.  The brewing began instantly with an impressive flow of coffee filling the decanter, but the coffee appeared to be very weak.  Of course, I was timing it.  Within 1 minute I had a half-pot, about 5 cups.  About 15-seconds later I heard the distinct sizzle of liquid on the heating element.  The coffee basket was overflowing.  I opened the lid for the fill area (which closes water supply to the brewer) and used every dishrag I had to contain the mess of coffee grounds that was now spewing from the brewer. 

I did a post-mortem after I cleaned everything up and discarded my first pot of very weak (although very hot) coffee.  I couldn't figure out why the device had overflowed.  The troubleshooting guide section included a few suggestions for 'overflowing', including using "Decaf" or "Fine Ground" coffee.  Decaf?  Never a problem in any other product I've owned.  I don't have excessively hard or soft water.  I don't live in a high altitude area.  I called Bunn customer service.  The call was answered immediately by a nice lady who was the one I needed to speak to, no transfer or hold time.  I explained what had happened.  The second I said "Dunkin' Donuts" she explained that particular brand of coffee is fine ground and not tolerated well by the brewer.  She offered to send out a "flow restrictor" which would solve the issue.  Concerned that it would slow down my high speed coffee brewer, she replied that the difference is negligible.  She suggested I use a different brand of coffee or make only half-pots until I receive and install the restrictor.

I went back to my brewer and started over, this time making a 5-cup pot.  The brewer finished in about a minute.  To my surprise, the coffee was very weak, even with the "Bold" grind I was using.  At this point I almost repackaged the brewer to return it, but decided to wait for the "restrictor".  The next day I purchased a can of supermarket grade coffee and tried another full pot.  This time the brewer completed its duties in less than three minutes and the coffee was fine, almost very good to my discerning palette. Could it be I had found the right machine and had been wasting money on expensive coffee I did not need?  I continued to use the brewer over the course of the next few days while waiting for the restrictor, amazed at how fast it operated and how decent the coffee was despite its "average-ness".  The decanter cleans easily as does the basket.  I noticed there is usually some condensation under the fill lid after use, attributed to the fact there is always heated water inside the unit. 

The restrictor arrived in a few days and consisted of a replacement sprayer that fits above the filter basket.  I installed it in seconds without tools and immediately went to work brewing a full, 10-cup pot of my beloved Dunkin' Bold.  The brewing completed in just about three minutes (more than before, but still as promised) and the coffee was on par with what I had been getting from my old unit.  A day or so later I tried it again, but this time with the supermarket-grade coffee.  Similar results.  That was about two weeks ago and the brewer has been doing fine.  I even got a couple of back-to-back 10-cup pots out of it during a party. 

Just when I thought everything was going to be fine I set the brewer up for an 8-cup pot and took the dog for a walk.  I got back inside about 10-minutes later and saw that the pot was only half-full and the brewer was still dripping, albeit very slowly.  On a hunch, I unscrewed the restrictor/spray head and found numerous flakes of lime deposits had clogged it.  I tapped it out in the sink and it unit went back to work.

The bottom line - I like it. The GRX-B lives up to the promise of a 3-minute pot of coffee, but there are certainly going to be some issues to go along with it.  I estimate I will need to thoroughly clean the unit on a weekly basis when using tap water.  I never had to do this with any of my previous machines, but I also never had a full pot of coffee in less than three minutes. Time will tell if this brewer is worth the premium price and effort. 

*** Update ***

It's been about 8-weeks since I unpacked the GRX-B.  I've learned that it required spray-head cleaning and de-liming at least once a week.  This involves unscrewing the plastic spray head that sits about the coffee basket and cleaning it out.  With the spray head off, take the de-liming tool (included with the unit) and insert it into the opening left by removing the spray head.  Push/pull/twist the spring a few times and remove.  Now, take a half-pot of water and run it through the unit with the spray head still off.  This usually results in 4-5 decent lime flakes in the pot.  Reinstall the spray head and you're ready to go.  The whole process takes less than a minute.  If you don't do it the lime flakes will eventually clog the spray head (as they did to me once already), and your brew time will be greatly affected.

I can tell you that the trade off for this regular maintenance is, literally, coffee on demand.  I can get an 8-cup pot in less than 4 minutes with the restrictor in place.  I suppose commercial speed has it's drawbacks.

*** ANOTHER update

After several months of operation I found I was getting more and more lime flakes in the spray head; I could barely get through one brewing cycle without it clogging up.  I followed the directions in the owners manual and used white vinegar to de-lime the unit. The amount of lime I got out of this device was astonishing, even troubling. It just kept coming and coming. I ended up using the entire gallon jug of vinegar I had purchased. After rinsing the unit out I began using nothing but distilled spring water that I purchase in the supermarket in 2.5 gallon jugs (~$3 per) There has been absolutely no lime buildup or flaking since then.


Recommend this product? Yes

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