PROS / The Cuisinart has a three-year warranty.
CONS / There is no water filter.
VERDICT / The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is a versatile device that you can set the night before to make your morning brew, but it lacks some important standard features.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Coffee Makers here.
The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker has many characteristics of the best coffee makers. It comes with standout features such as a double-walled, insulated, stainless steel carafe with a patented brew-through and pour-through lid. However, its lack of a water filter and strength settings can result in coffee that doesn't taste the exact way you want it.
In a departure from some of the best drip coffee makers on the market, which brew into a glass carafe kept warm by a hot plate, this Cuisinart brews into an insulated and dishwasher-safe carafe with an ingeniously designed lid. The lid uses a ball-bearing mechanism that allows pouring when the lid is screwed shut. The insulated carafe allows a design that is free of any hot plate, which you typically need with a glass carafe. This prevents the bitter taste coffee sometimes gets from glass coffee pots sitting on heating plates.
Like the best coffee machines, the Cuisinart 12-cupper offers you a choice in filters. This can make a world of difference in preparing coffee, the way it tastes and the cleanup. If you select paper filters, it is easy to dispose of them, so cleaning is easy and the coffee can taste cleaner. You also have the option of a permanent gold mesh filter, which save money and are more environmentally sound.
Unlike some of the top-ranked coffee makers, the otherwise full-featured Cuisinart lacks a strength setting and a water filter. Without a strength setting, it is not possible to slow down the brew process in order to achieve stronger brews that extract maximum flavor. Without a water filter, the coffee might not taste the best with tap water, and the machine might need more frequent cleaning to eliminate the scale deposits from hard water.
The water-level indicator makes it easy to fill to the correct number of cups, and you can adjust the water and coffee levels to make fewer cups if you choose. The clock is fully programmable up to 24 hours in advance of the desired brew time.
Once brewing begins, as with the best automatic drip coffee makers, you can sneak a cup without spilling because of its brew pause feature. When brewing is complete, there is audible beeping to draw you away from the bathroom mirror in the morning and into the kitchen for coffee. This is one of the coffee makers that, if you leave the house without remembering to turn it off, automatically powers down after two hours.
You get a three-year warranty with this device, and if you have problems, you can contact the company through email or phone. You also get a helpful user manual.
The Cuisinart 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker is attractive, well designed and straightforward to program. The insulated carafe keeps the contents hot and fresh. However, its lack of a strength setting and a water filter can prevent the coffee from tasting its very best.