With only two exceptions, our taste test panelists liked the coffee brewed by the affordable and basic Black & Decker CM2035B 12-Cup Thermal Coffeemaker. Most found it to be just right as far as flavor, strength and aroma. Two people loved this brew, though one termed it “bland.” One reason for the fine coffee taste could be the type of showerhead inside the machine, which is designed with holes to spread the hot water evenly over the coffee grounds to extract maximum flavor. You also can pick your coffee strength – regular, strong or bold – and an LCD display shows how long the brewed coffee has been sitting in its carafe, up to two hours.
As for heat, the Black & Decker drip coffee maker provided a pot filled with coffee that measured 176 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite good. After the insulated metal carafe sat for 30 minutes, our testing showed the coffee temperature had dropped 5 degrees, which is not unusual. Unfortunately, it took more than 9 minutes to brew a full pot, which is the second-longest wait time among the coffee makers we reviewed. If you want to spend a bit more money and get great coffee, you might like the KitchenAid Custom Pour Over Brewer.
With this Black & Decker model, you can program it the night before and wake up to a freshly made pot. On days when you desperately need that first cup, you can quickly snag a cup using the brew pause function and then replace the carafe so the rest of the brewing can proceed without any mess. You can make 12 cups with this machine, so it’s helpful if you entertain often or routinely make lots of coffee for people who love it. If you don’t need that much coffee, you can opt to use the 1-4 cup option and brew a smaller batch.
If you’re the forgetful type, don’t worry: This coffee maker has an automatic shut-off function. You don’t get a beep when the brewing is done or a cleaning indicator telling you when to descale the machine. Instead, you must simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it once a month. There is no automatic cleaning cycle like those found on more advanced machines, but the process is easy for this Black & Decker model. You simply run a mixture of water and white vinegar through the machine to remove any mineral deposits and then run some fresh water through it to rinse away the vinegar smell. The carafe and brew basket can be washed by hand or on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Be forewarned: This thermal carafe is heavy. On one hand, that’s great because it can withstand being dropped on a hard floor with nary a dent, but anyone with small hands might find it a chore to heft this carafe to pour a cup. The carafe features a well-designed pour spout that is intended to minimize or even eliminate drips. This coffee maker is covered by a two-year warranty, double the industry standard.