The Braun BrewSense manages to pack a lot of convenient features into its compact size, and it got great reviews for coffee quality in our testing. The majority of our panelists said they liked its taste, strength and aroma. It also performed well in our temperature tests.
The Braun model got the coffee to a temperature that was nicely hot, but still comfortable enough to consume. As it sat on the warming plate, it lost only 3 degrees in heat, which did not adversely affect the flavor or strength of the brew.
This drip coffee maker was quick to brew a full pot, coming in as the third-fastest of the 12 products we tested. If you really need that first cup in the morning, there's a brew pause function that lets you grab a quick cup while the machine is making coffee and then replace the carafe on the warming plate so the brewing process can continue. You don't end up with a drippy mess, and the carafe is nicely designed so you can pour coffee with less likelihood of spilling.
This Braun coffee maker can be programmed 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 become familiar with the settings to 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, which means you could lose out on getting a cup of the very freshest coffee. If you really want this feature for your coffee maker, take a look at the Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker. Another drawback for Braun is that you cannot substitute a thermal carafe – you must use the included glass carafe.
You can brew coffee using paper filters or the included gold-tone permanent filter, though the permanent filter may leave slightly more sediment in the coffee. You get a cone-shaped brew basket, which compresses the coffee grounds and water in a fashion that coffee experts say brings out the greatest amount of flavor. It also comes with a charcoal water filter that can improve flavor by absorbing unpleasant flavors and odors from your tap water.
Along with its other conveniences, this is a real set-it-and-forget-it appliance. You get an LED light that alerts you when the machine needs to be descaled, and the cleaning cycle takes care of that for you. The two-year warranty that comes with this unit is double the industry average.