The BUNN Speed Brew Coffee Maker can produce delicious and piping-hot coffee in a mere three minutes once it is set up and initially programmed correctly, but getting to that point is a laborious bit of business. Our taste testing panel really liked the flavor, strength and aroma of this coffee maker’s coffee and gave it high marks, although two people found it a bit too strong for their palates. It scored especially well on heat and flavor.
When freshly brewed, this coffee measured 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the second-hottest out of the 12 machines we tested. After the pot sat on the warming carafe for a half-hour, the temperature had dropped only 3 degrees, which did not change the taste or desirability of the brew at all. In terms of timing, this machine is a champ: Once its tank is full and the water is heated, it’s ready to go. Once you add coffee grounds to the brew basket and push the brew button, it takes a mere 3 minutes to fill an entire 10-cup pot. If you want less coffee, you can brew as little as 4 cups.
The fine quality of the coffee no doubt comes from the exceptionally hot water in the water tank, as well as a shower head that is designed to spray the water evenly over coffee grounds, extracting the greatest amount of flavor.
However, we encountered difficulties getting this machine set up correctly. The user manual is chock-full of amusing asides and jokes, but offers little in the way of step-by-step instructions. After several attempts, we got the tank filled and heated, and making great coffee was easy after that. If you want a coffee maker that makes terrific coffee and involves less setup, look at the KitchenAid Custom Pour Over Brewer.
The BUNN coffee maker is a bit on the costly side when compared to many others we tested, but its brew is worth it. However, we expected more features and functions from such a costly machine.
With this BUNN model, you do not get a finished brewing alert, a clock you can program, a delay brew function, a cleaning indicator or cleaning cycle, a water level indicator or an automatic shut-off capability.
The manufacturer recommends cleaning the carafe and brew funnel after each use, which you can do by washing them by hand with soap and water, or putting them in the dishwasher on the top shelf. The company recommends cleaning the tube for the spray head every three months (every two months if you’re in a hard-water region). This involves unscrewing the spray head and sliding a de-liming tool in and out of the tube five or six times to loosen any mineral deposits. After that, you reassemble it, replace the carafe on the warming plate and run fresh water through the machine.
If needed, you can use a toothpick to poke any deposits stuck in the spray head holes, and then wash it with soap and water. Deep cleaning uses 4 cups of white vinegar that you let sit in the brewer for at least two hours and follows a somewhat similar process, followed by rinsing with fresh water.