The ugliest brewer makes the best coffee. Consistently.
Positive Product Points
Fastest full carafe brew, least acidic brew, most flavorful brew
Negative Product Points
Ugly design, poor carafe design, spray head requires regular cleaning
I'd looked for a coffee brewer for several years that could make a cup of joe like our local coffee shops. I've tried all the brewers from local stores: Mr. Coffee, Mellitta, Krups, and every cup of coffee either tasted either like dirty water or bitter, nasty, burnt chemical. I tried many different roasts, even going to a local roastery for custom blends. No luck.
Until I complained to a Bunn-O-Matic employee about my plight. He sold me a GB10 and their burr grinder direct (for the same price as I would pay at any store) and with a chip on my shoulder and a bad attitude I followed the directions to my first pot 'o joe.
Before I go any farther, I should point out that Bunn brewers (all of 'em, even the commercial models) keep a reservior of hot water at all times. This requires the user to fill up the reservior all the way and heat it up completely before you brew the first pot. Then you simply add the amount of water you need to brew (typically a full pot) to the top of the brewer and this pushed out the hot water into the funnel. The fresh water is then stored and heated for the next pot. Many first time users don't get this, and their coffee will always be cold. A nasty experience. The reason Bunn pre-heats the water is to avoid overheating which can burn the grinds. It also eliminates any bubbles which occur in super heated water and causes improper extraction of coffee flavors.
Well, the first pot was great! The next was great! Then we tried better coffee roasts and finally I'm able to brew coffee that is as good or better than out local coffee house.
As a note, I asked about the hot water reservior's energy consumption. Bunn said that once the water is up to temperature, it maintains that heat by consuming no more than 15 watts of energy, the same as a night light. Still, it's a good idea to turn off the heater when out of town for an extended time.
The downsides: The Bunn uses a "spray head" that washes the grinds, instead of soaking them (this is the secret to the better flavor from a Bunn, so they say). This spray head needs to be cleaned every 3 months or else the hot water flow is diminished and the coffee brewed is inconsistent in flavor and aroma. It's an easy process, but one that should be done regularly.
The Bunn is an ugly machine. If you look at Bunn machines at your restaurants and coffee shops, you 'll notice a total lack of design style. Function over form must be what they say at Bunn-O-Matic. For the price it'd be nice to have a better looking machine in the kitchen.
The Bunn carafe has been changed to a cylindrical shape, from the "globe" shape they used for years. This carafe does not pour easily and spills easily. The old design was made to prevent spills while serving coffee, just like at restaurants. They changed the design "to look better". You be the judge.
Aside from these gripes, we get consistently good coffee with a minimum of hassle.
We bought direct, from an employee/friend, so our purchase doesn't count. But I will say that Bunn has a great service for "home brewer" customers. It's a repair service in their facilities. We were having problems with the Bunn grinder (inconsistency in grind size and quantity) after a few years. We called 'em up, got a repair number (the grinder was under warranty) and shipped it in. They simply replaced the unit! We recieved a new grinder in 2 days. Pretty good warranty service.