Pros / Our taste testers liked the flavor of the coffee from this machine.
Cons / It's missing an audible alarm to tell you when coffee is ready.
Verdict / This machine churned out some good coffee and offers a lot of advanced features in a small package.
The Braun BrewSense manages to pack a lot of convenient features into its compact size, and it got a very high score for coffee quality in our tests. Panelists gave very favorable scores and said the coffee from the Braun had "very good aroma, almost sweet." They also commented on how smoothly the coffee poured out of this unit's carafe.
- Coffee Quality
- Time to Brew
- Ready Temperature
- Ease of Use
To test coffee makers, we prepared the same amount of the same coffee with the same amount of water with each machine. This Braun model stood out to our taste testers, in good ways. It did not get the coffee as piping hot initially as some of the others and it did not keep it as hot either, after 15 or 30 minutes, with its plate warmer. The difference of a few degrees is not something that you'll notice, though, especially since it did not seem to impact testers' impressions of the flavor.
This drip coffee maker is a little slow at the brewing process when we compared it to others, but you do not have to wait all the way until the end of the process. If you remove the carafe mid-brew, it will pause so you can grab a cup and then put it back to finish. It wasn't uncomfortably slow – it still beat out 5 others in our comparison for speed. It brews up to 12 cups, too, enough for a crowd, so you will be ready for company as well as the average weekday.
This Braun coffee maker can be programed to automatically brew a pot when you want one, within a 24-hour period. You can also use buttons on the machine to dictate how strong you want the coffee. You can, of course, also do that by adjusting the amount of water and coffee, but it's nice to have the option on the controls. After a little trial and error, you will know what settings create the coffee you like best.
Some of the units we tested have an alarm that sounds when the coffee is done, but this one does not. It does have a power backup so you don't have to reprogram all your morning brew settings every time the power goes off. It also comes with a charcoal water filter that can help improve flavor.
You can brew coffee using either paper filters or the included gold-tone permanent filter, though the permanent filter may leave slightly more sediment in the coffee. We like the machines that allow you to use either type of filter. This coffee maker does not let you substitute a thermal carafe. It is designed to work only with the included glass carafe, which will be just fine for most circumstances.
This model is very compact, and that can make a big difference in smaller kitchens. It is short enough to fit under low-hanging kitchen cabinets and has a tiny footprint that will not use up valuable kitchen space.
Conveniences & Safety
This unit is relatively easy to use. We were able to start making coffee very soon after taking it out of the box, and there are some nice features that will make it easier to use long after unboxing, too. An LED light comes on when it is time to descale the coffee maker, for instance, and a cleaning cycle cleans it for you. This should make upkeep simple. An audible alert would be nice for the times when you need to step away from the machine while it is brewing. There is a light that turns solid, though, so you will know the coffee is ready if you look at the machine.
Warranty & Support
The two-year warranty that comes with this unit is about average, and the customer support options are decent. The manual is easy to find online and FAQs are searchable. If you still have questions, there are email and phone contact options.
The Braun BrewSense offers many convenient features in a compact package. This is not the fastest machine, but it is one of the best home coffee makers in terms of brewing capabilities – our testers gave its coffee flavor very high marks. Even though it is petite, it can make up to 12 cups of coffee at a time and keep it pretty hot, even after some time has passed. It is programmable and has a power backup, so you really just have to set it once and then forget about it.