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Feb 12, 2009 05:50 AM

Automatic drip coffee makers [Moved from Home Cooking]

This morning, our second automatic drip coffee maker in 4 years died. It was a Krups. I don't know what we are doing to burn out so many of these things- hubby and I make a nearly-full pot everyday and leave it on until the automatic shut off turns the heating element off. Is this considered appliance abuse?
So, we're off to buy another one tomorrow. Does anyone have any recommendations about brands or models we should consider? Who has had great luck with their newer model coffee maker and is willing to share the make/model?
I had quite the melt-down this morning when it didn't work, and we are both stumped as to why this has happened on what we consider a frequent basis. What is the average life span of this appliance?

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  1. I think everyday use of an appliance for about 4 years is pretty good. If you take a $70 coffee maker, divide that by 4 years you get a cost of less than a nickel a day. Cheaper than Starbucks! Does your coffee maker have a self-clean cycle? Are you using it? I would suggest it!

    I'm not sure what Krups model you've been using but make sure you're getting something that looks and feels like it's constructed well. I think those machines with cheap carafes are ones to avoid. If the handle is glued on you should probably pass it up! I remember shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond and going up to some coffee makers and literally ripping the handles off of them. Didn't take much force to do it either. Granted, these were floor models and they all probably saw some wear and tear from people like me, but damn... if a handle falls of how good do you think the inside machine is?

    We have a Cuisinart and have used it for about 4 years ourselves... not quite everyday but close.

    1. I'd buy a 100.00 Bunn. Mine have been rock solid in the past. I have had two in the past ten years. The old one still works just fine - it's in the basement. I upgraded to the thermal carafe.
      Automatic drip + cheap construction = why bother?

      Oh yeah, my wife makes two pots of coffee EVERY DAY, and we use it for hot water during fall and winter for hot chocolate at night. When her family visits, it's used fopr about 5 full pots every day. The heated water reservoir is fan flippin tastic. 10 cups of coffee in about a minute. EVERY TIME. If you spend over 50.00 for a coffe maker, to me, it really makes no sense unless it's a Bunn. Get one, you'll wonder why you've been using auto drip when these are available.

      7 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        After looking at these Bunn machines online is seems like it is actually more expensive to own and use. There are some advantages like a stainless steel water tank, but the problem is that (unless you turn it off) there is water that s constantly heated 24/7. Seems like a waste of money to me for the average user.

        Just a head's up for maddogg in case they were considering it.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I guess you'd have to figure out how much $ it costs to see if it's worth it to you. I know that my wife and all of her family members (who have also bought Bunns since they have used ours) would not want to live without them. Admittedly, they are all big coffee drinkers.

          1. re: gordeaux

            The one model I looked at is rated at 900 watts. I'm not sure how much of that wattage is constantly used, but 900 watts is a lot of juice.

            In any situation, the real test is if it makes coffee that you like. One of the allures of the Bunn is the speed at which is makes the brew. In the event that you turn off the constant-hot-water feature, it reportedly takes 15 minutes to heat up, essentially making the hot water feature useless. You guys can figure it out based on your own usage but my bet is that even heavy coffee drinkers don't need the pot on all day everyday.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              " bet is that even heavy coffee drinkers don't need the pot on all day everyday."

              LOL - you don't know my In-laws.
              But, yes, you are probably correct. It fires up, and then kinda uses insulation to keep it hot - it's not constantly running, but I don't know how often it fires up. Probably able to use much less energy if we were able to time the cycles since we don't really use it after the am, and definitley don't use it much at night - (unless the inlaws are visiting - my FIL can, and does drink coffee all day long.)

              1. re: gordeaux

                Well, then I guess they really love the Bunn! Funny.

          2. re: HaagenDazs

            I was given a Bunn for a gift because this friend knew of my addition to caffeine, but the Bunn's 24/7 warming needs turned me off.
            I had a Braun in the past but that was a piece of junk. My current coffee maker is a Mr Coffee. It isn't fancy but it is 3 years old and works perfectly.

          3. re: gordeaux

            We have a Bunn- it is probably about two years old, and was a replacement for a Bunn that was at least 15 years old. We make one pot Mondays thru Friday, and more on the weekends. We love it. Makes good coffee quickly.

          4. I would go for a model with a thermal carafe instead of a warming plate. The carafe keeps the coffee hot without causing the flavor to deteriorate. (Ever notice how the first cup tastes better than the last? It's the warming plate that makes the difference.)

            The only drip coffeemakers certified to brew a "proper" cup of coffee (according to the SCSI's definition) are made by Technivorm. Expensive, and many people find them unattractive, but they do make a mean cup of coffee.

            2 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              I love my thermal carafe! I can bring it to the table and sit for hours on a Saturday, and the coffee is still hot and tasty, witout that scorched taste that comes so fast with a warming plate.

              1. re: mwright

                DITTO! (Yes, I meant to shout.) We got a Cuisinart 12-cup with a thermal carafe about 2 years ago and now we can't imagine not having one. It makes a good cup of coffee and doesn't get "burned" by sitting on that warming plate. And, since we live in a 100+year old building (and the wiring!), it makes us feel better that as soon as it is finished brewing the machine turns off.

            2. Do you de-scale your coffeemaker regularly? I also have a Krups drip machine - probably going on at least 5 years now. It has a disposable water filter which has to be changed at intervals. There's a little light that comes on when it's time to change the filter. At that time, I also do a full de-scaling by running vinegar through the system once or twice. I also make sure I use Brita filtered water when I make coffee. We have very hard water here and, even with a softener, I think a certain amount of minerals get built up. This would eventually burn out the heating elements and lead to a deceased machine. This could be what has happened to yours.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Nyleve

                I had the same problem with my last coffee maker--it died after only 2 years. I realize in hindsight that I should have run vinegar through it much more often--there was a lot of mineral buildup. Won't make that mistake again!

                1. re: Gillcer

                  We have a Cuisipro (purchased at Williams-Sonoma) that has a burr grinder built in. It has a built-in water filter/ion exchanger that helps with calcium build-up (though we have naturally soft water here in Ottawa). Have used it every day for about 6 years without problems (except a few little things on the LCD display have crapped out--no big deal).

                  It has a glass carafe, not a thermal one. The problem with the thermal carafe machines with a built-in grinder is that they are too tall to fit under my cabinets. The only complaint I have is that the hotplate does not have a temperature control. To deal with this, I have put three dimes on the hotplate to serve as a bit of a spacer--this works great (and is a nifty trick for when you are in a hotel with those little coffeemakers that seem to scorch the coffee even before the brewing is complete!

                  1. re: zamorski

                    Although I would like, in theory, a thermal carafe, I have to admit that I really like being able to see - from across the room - how much coffee is left. Until they make a clear thermal carafe, I think I'll stick with the warming plate one. But the three dimes under the carafe sound like a good idea, as long as the carafe still fits under the cone gizmo. I also like the stop-and-serve feature which allows me to grab a cup before the whole cycle is finished.

              2. We've had a Bunn B10 for nearly 8 years. I did have to replace a gasket between the water tank and the water input tray once, about a year ago, but that's it. Makes a nice hot pot of coffee in less than five minutes (keeps water hot in the tank for immediate use at all times) and we make about four pots of coffee every day. The hot water tank remains on all the time and the only thing I have to do is load the coffee and filter, fill the input tank and flip the switch for the heat plate. We love it.