Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew Thermal DGB-900BC 12 Cups Coffee Maker - Chrome Reviews

Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew Thermal DGB-900BC 12 Cups Coffee Maker - Chrome

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The WORST coffee maker ever!

Nov 17, 2011 (Updated Nov 17, 2011)
Review by  
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Pros:Metal carafe.

Cons:Bad design.  Messy.  Hard to clean.  Grinder jams easily, repeatedly.  No useful cleaning tools.

The Bottom Line: Does not deliver value for cost because you're paying more for the inclusion of an unreliable built-in coffee grinder. 

Trusting the Cusinart name, I purchased the Grind & Brew DGB-900BC  expecting to benefit from a well-made, efficient coffee maker, able to reliably deliver a delicious fresh cup of hot coffee to my guests and myself.

Now, after a year-long struggle with this infuriating machine, I give up.  After another half hour tussle with this machine this morning I admit defeat.  I'm finally tossing it in the trash because I can't even bring myself to donate such a frustrating item to anybody else. 

To begin at the beginning:  I buy machine.  It's relatively expensive but I'm buying Cuisinart quality. I get it home.  After some fits and starts, I finally balance the selections for numbers of cups of coffee and preferred strength of coffee.  (It took several brews to get this right because, for instance, the more water in the pot the weaker the coffee and the stronger the coffee beans the stronger the coffee regardless of the chosen settings.  I like strong coffee available throughout the day so, finally, using french roast coffee my settings just ended up at max control and grind control 8 cups with a full 12 cup pot of water.)
Next: After brewing about 4 or 5 times, the machine comes to a grinding halt.  Literally.  So I break out the manual for instructions.   I finally manage to get the plastic coffee bean tray removed from the top of the machine although, for reasons unknown, it refuses to release no matter how many time I turn the release knob.  Eventually it comes off, spewing coffee beans all over the place.  The next instructions make little sense but my plan is to remove whatever is jamming the works by "cleaning" the machine.  But where is the coffee?  Finally I realize that the solid wall under the grinder is actually densely packed ground coffee.  So I start picking away at this blockage with a paring knife because the stupid little brush included with the machine doesn't even make a dent in the block.   The knife isn't working too well either, because it doesn't have an angle bend in it to allow serious digging.  I try using my index finger.  Break my nail.  I try a grapefruit knife.  Too big.  Try the business end of a wire coat hanger.  Too unmanageable.  Check my sewing kit.  Try a darning needle, but its tip is too fine.  I head for my husband's tools but can't find anything small enough.  Head out to the hardware store.  Nothing there either.  Keep in mind I still haven't had my morning coffee.  I'm getting antsy.   Then inspiration strikes.  I find the metal pick from a set of seafood cracking utensils and use a wrench to bend the tip into a half moon shape.  Success at last.  I'm jabbing away, dragging out all the backed up ground beans in the chute under the grinder.

At this point certain aspects of the instructions begin to make sense as the mess I'm making accumulates.  For instance, the little plastic lock flap has to be pulled back to allow the coffee to drop into the basket.  The basket lid has to be first removed so there's someplace for the freed coffee to go.  But before any of that is even an issue.  Clean up.  Place the plastic tray back on top of the machine and adjust it into place with some difficulty.  Start her up.  Grind, grooound, grump.  Same thing.  Jammed again!.  Tear apart the whole works.  Dig around inside again.  Replace and reset everything.  Start again.  Same thing.  Third time lucky?  Dismantle everything again.  But this time before replacing everything I shove my index finger up inside the chute until it encounters the grinder.  Try to push the grinder manually.  Finally, it's freed.  I manually crank it around a few times with my finger.  Before putting the plastic tray back on top I pick out all the beans visible from the top of the machine prying out a couple that seem caught in the grinder.  Repatch the whole works.  Fire up the machine.  Victory at last!  Within 5 minutes I'm able to pour a cup of coffee, a reward sorely needed by then. 

Other reviewers have noted that the coffee grinder on their machine must be broken.  I suspect it's most often a situation like the one I've described above, with jammed beans and ground coffee in the chute.  You can free the grinder manually, but you have to stick your finger up the chute and drag the blades around until they are freed.  It might be a good idea to unplug the machine first.

I wish I could say that's the only time this sequence of events happened but the fact is, with the exception of trips to the hardware store or my husbands workshop, I've gone through this procedure roughly 25 times during my year of ownership.  It would have been more frequently except that I learned that removing the plastic bean container tray cover and  using a spatula to physically push the beans into the grinder dramatically reduces but does not eliminate the number of grinder blade jams. 

In summary, this machine is very poorly designed.  Firstly, it's very tall, making it difficult to add water to the back reservoir when your coffee maker is placed against the kitchen counter wall, and heavy enough that it's not easy to pull back and forth.  Secondly, the motor is evidently not strong enough to pull beans into the grinder.  Since the plastic bean container tray is quite large, there's not enough downward pressure of the beans into the grinder so the blades jam very easily, especially if using dark roasted (greasy) beans.  If even a drop of water somehow makes its way into the grinder, it will definitely jam up. Thirdly, clearing the grinder is a difficult, time consuming and very messy task.  Finally, the coffee is not very hot and, by mid-day (4 hours)  in the carafe  it's only luke-warm. 
It bewilders me why any company would market such a poorly engineered coffee machine and bewilders me even more why on earth I bought it. 

Recommend this product? No

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