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Zojirushi ZUTTO EC-DAC50 5 Cups Coffee Maker - Silver Reviews
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Zojirushi ZUTTO EC-DAC50 5 Cups Coffee Maker - Silver

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Zojirushi Zutto 5-Cup: A Single-Serve Coffeemaker Alternative

Dec 1, 2011 (Updated Dec 31, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Hot, tasty coffee;
Ingenious design unlike any other;
Quality look & feel;
Replacement parts available online

Cons:No auto shutoff;
Lower-than-expected brew capacity;
Pricey.

The Bottom Line: 1) Nice alternative to the single-serve machines.
2) Brews hotter than your average MR COFFEE and tastes better as a result.
3) Easy-to-use, easy-to-clean modern design.


This is my first Zojirushi product and I must say that while I find this coffeemaker overpriced for its barebones feature set, it is not without reason that this non-programmable, no-frills, 5-cup coffeemaker has the following it does some five years after its market debut.


OVERVIEW

Operates at 120 volts, 650 watts and 60 Hertz;

Brews a single cup in about 2.5 minutes, a full pot in about 8;

Brews up to 5 cups of hot or iced coffee into a glass decanter for a total capacity of

23 ounces (glass carafe part number JAGECDA; plastic filter basket and lid sold separately);

Uses a #2 paper cone filter;

Removable water reservoir;

Automatic keep-warm function (recommended keep-warm time is 15 minutes);

Charcoal water filter good for up to two years of use (part number EC-F01);

Coffee scoop and detailed owner's guide included;

Citric acid is the recommended cleaner, however a call to the manufacturer indicated that vinegar is acceptable (cleaner part number ADC-05);

Dimensions 8.9 (W) x 5.9 (D) x 10.6 (H);

Weight approximately 3.5 pounds;

1-year manufacturer warranty when purchased through an authorized retailer.

For additional info from the manufacturer, go here:

http://www.zojirushi.com/products/ecdac%20



PROS

FEEL THE HEAT. Brews a hotter and more nuanced cup of coffee than its lower-cost competitors by Mr. Coffee and others;

FORM MARRIES FUNCTION. The cone filter is ingeniously designed to mount beneath the carafe lid and the removable water tank is located in a separate compartment so there is never any chance that your coffee grounds will end up in the inner workings of the machine. In terms of form and function, there is nothing quite like it on the market.

FIT FOR TWO. This model is one of the rare ones to brew 5 cups of coffee as opposed to the more common small-coffeemaker quantity of four. Two people can more-or-less split a full pot for a generous serving (though not a super-sized one).

PURE & SIMPLE. The water is charcoal filtered. The filter can last up to two years according to the manufacturer.

EASY TO USE. With fewer moving parts and easy-to-fill removable water reservoir, cleanup is a snap.

SOLID FEEL. This unit has a metal plate on the bottom unlike the plastic that appears on most coffeemakers. The sides of the pot are plastic in a silver-gray color. The parts feel well made and it is nicely weighted such that it doesn't slide around on the counter when you aren't expecting it.

ECONOMICAL. I am using less coffee --- just one 7-gram scoop per cup per manufacturer instructions --- than I did to make a equally pleasing cup of coffee on my other automatic drip machines.



CONS

SAFETY OMISSION. Like all other basic automatic drip coffeemakers I have seen on the market as of this writing, this unit does not feature auto shutoff. It could very well be a first-in-its-class were the manufacturer to introduce auto-shutoff on a non-programmable model. (Realizing that some people prefer non-programmable coffeemakers for the purpose of keeping the coffee hotter than than the typical 1-hour auto-shutoff permits, I would design it to turn off at 2 hours, give or take. (This feature would be especially helpful to those who have entered the forgetful stage of life.)

TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE. If there's one design element to this coffeemaker that is surprisingly mundane, it is the generic on-off switch with a tiny LED dot superimposed in the middle. For safety's sake, I would prefer to see single-button coffeemakers, in general, illuminate the entire switch when the warming plate is on. It would have added to the Zutto's aesthetic, in my opinion, for the switch to pulsate a soft blue against the silver backdrop.

PLASTIQUE. Surprisingly, the Zojirushi Zutto does not have dishwasher safe parts. This became apparent when I read, in the owner's guide, not to wash the plastic parts in hot water because they may deform. Given that hot water and coffee are in contact with the plastic lid and cone filter assembly to begin with, it's not clear what the problem may be. Aside from that, I would like to see more coffeemakers disclose whether or not their plastics are BPA-free. (It could be a potential selling point for health-conscious consumers.)

BYOF. The Zojirushi Zutto doesn't come with a permanent cone filter. For the price, it is surprising that it wasn't designed to include one. The manufacturer doesn't recommend permanent filters, but some users report that they have successfully used a #4 goldtone filter. The key issue is that the lid assembly, because it ports directly into the cone filter basket, cannot be pushed askew by a poorly fitted permanent filter. Even when using a paper filter, for that matter, the user guide states that it is necessary to hold down the lid while pouring (or remove the spent grounds first). Nevertheless, the reviews I've read online do not seem to indicate that the design has posed much of a problem.

SKIMPY SERVINGS. Decades ago, a standard coffee serving came to be defined as 6 ounces --- not the 8 we're accustomed to seeing in standard cooking measure. Yet despite the super-size coffee trend, a lot of coffeemaker manufacturers design their carafes to hold just five ounces of coffee per cup. The Zojirushi Zutto is a particularly bad offender, at a scant 4.6 ounces per cup. An entire pot, when slightly overfilled, can fill two 12-ounce travel mugs but it won't be a good split on the 15-ounce variety.



THE VERDICT


The Zojirushi Zutto EC-DAC50 coffeemaker is an excellent choice for the person who wants a coffeemaker that does not occupy much more space than a Keurig or a Black & Decker Brew-and-Go personal coffeemaker. This unit is especially practical for those who are short on vertical counter space. It is much lower in profile than most coffemakers, and the overall footprint is extremely compact. In particular, this is also a great coffeemaker for couples who seek modern design aesthetics in a non-compromising form. It is especially attractive in the sense that, for about the size of a single-serve model, you can serve 1-3 people with the need to prep and clean up the machine only once thanks to the 5-cup capacity. All things considered, however, the Zojirushi Zutto would benefit from a lower MSRP. Its higher-than-average quality doesn't warrant a low-ball price tag comparable to most coffeemakers with such simplicity, but nor should it cost over $50 in the absence of auto-shutoff and a true 30-ounce capacity.


UPDATE

1) After one year of daily use it became necessary to replace the removable water tank, which had developed a slow drip at the gasket. Fortunately, the manufacturer sells replacement parts inexpensively.

2) The manufacturer indicates that the charcoal filter will last 2 years. This is not the case in hard water municipalities. Hard water deposits caked the filter so heavily that after six months the water barely dribbled into the basket, which significantly slowed down brew time and resulted in less-than-pipping-hot coffee. In purchasing what the manufacturer calls a "filter set", one receives just one replacement, currently priced around $6. For those with hard water, prepare to replace the charcoal disk every 4-6 months. The bad news is that I know of no place locally to find these parts, hence the price of shipping from the online manufacturer store adds to the cost of ownership.


PARTS

http://www.zojirushi.com/user/scripts/user/product_list.php?model_id=33


Recommend this product? Yes


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