Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Jarden Consumer Solutions manufactures the Oster 12-Cup, one of the highly automated drip coffee makers in our review. Ever since U.S. patriots sparked the American Revolution by turning British tea into Boston Harbor jetsam, coffee drinking in America has been firmly established, aided and abetted by advancements in technology. Early 20th century technology contributed to coffee drinking with vacuum packed coffee and instant coffee, followed by freeze-dried coffee. By the 1970s, coffee drinkers, tired of the abysmally mediocre coffees that were pervasive in grocery stores and restaurants, began to discover the flavor improvements made possible by roasting and grinding coffee beans themselves. Percolator technology was replaced by gravity-fed drip methods. The Oster springs from the marriage of drip technology and microelectronic circuitry that enable the modern drip coffee makers, which are really a type of robot appliance that we program for our pleasure. Nowadays, if you want to awaken to coffee there is no need to hire a servant to wake up earlier than you. Tell the Oster when you want it to brew, and it is your faithful automated servant that will never steal your jewelry or ask for a day off.
At the basic level, the Oster 12-Cup drip coffee maker brews through a paper filter to fill a 12-cup carafe seated on a warming plate. You have the option to select a slower brew speed in order to increase the strength and flavor from any given amount of ground coffee. For coffee makers, we consider the paper filter to be preferable to the permanent filters. Paper filters make coffee that tastes better. And paper effectively traps the coffee molecules that raise cholesterol. The molecules, called cafestol and kahweol, are in a lipid-like compound that binds to a paper filter but not to a permanent filter.
It has no water filter, which means that using bottled water might be a good idea, not just to improve flavor, but to slow the buildup of hard water deposits. It is easy to control scaling in coffee makers by simply running a solution of half vinegar and half water through them periodically.
The Oster abounds with most of the convenience features associated with contemporary coffee makers. The water level indicator is visible from the inside only, which some find slightly inconvenient. There is a programmable clock to allow for brewing at specific future times. Once brewing begins, you can sneak a cup. The Oster is also one of the coffee makers that automatically shuts itself off after two hours.
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The manufacturer supports the product by telephone and protects the product with a warranty for one year.
If you can live with a one-year warranty and you don’t require an externally visible water-level indicator, the Oster 12-Cup includes every other convenience feature known to coffee makers. Automatic shutoff? Check. Brew Strength setting? Check. Programmable clock? Check. Attractive design? Check. TopTenREVIEWS says, “Check it out.”