Finally - a drip brewer that brews at the proper temperature and keeps the coffee hot in a vacuum carafe instead of baking it a in a glass pot.
Positive Product Points
There are several points to consider here. First and formost is that this cofee maker brews coffee at the correct temperature and keeps the water on the grounds for the proper amount of time. The carafe keeps the coffee hot witihout baking the coffee thus leaving only the good flavorful coffee. The first pot was so good that I couldn't believe I was drinking coffee from a drip maker. I sometimes like a little milk in my coffee and this machine will froth milk, make it smooth and leave you with a great, hot cup of coffee.
Negative Product Points
Lots of little parts that fit together. They will be hard to keep up with. However, they are readily available on the Capresso website.
I had to give up my Isomac Tea and all the fun things that go with espresso making because I couldn't keep from brewing espresso. The forbidden caffine was taking its toll on me. I sold the Isomac and Mazer and just have a couple of cups of drip on the weekends. I was using a really nice looking drip maker that I originally thought was going to brew coffee at the correct temperature. Boy was I wrong. Finally an unimportant part broke and I had my excuse to step up to a drip brewer that brews at the proper temperature.
I read the reviews on the Capresso MT500 and was willing to shell out the $160 but then I caught CoffeeKid's initial review of the CofeeTEC. Interesting. I like coffee brewed at the right temperature and then poured hot into the cup. I also like a little milk in the coffee but that always cooled the coffee too much. When I was brewing espresso, I loved to microfroth milk because it came out hot and didn't cool down the coffee. The CoffeeTEC does the same thing but on drip makers.
I won't go into the brew temps and carafe temps, CoffeeKid and others have already done so. They are right on the money and the maker produces a really fine cup of coffee. My first cup out, I had a city roast Guatemala Antigua at peak time after roast. My first sip of that drink was a drink fit for the gods. I NEVER, EVER knew drip coffee could taste so good. I almost got the taste and grind smell matching - out of a drip pot - I couldn't believe it. Is this repeatable? So far it has been. As the bean aged a little, you could tell the drop off but I really didn't have the beans around very long.
The maker from first set up is totally logical. The dials and buttons are logical and after reading the manual, it was a no brainer to set up. The footprint is a little large and you need to have room on the right to remove the water tank but otherwise, there are no problems. This is one well designed machine. It brews fast and eficiently.
Getting ready for brewing is simple. It comes with its own gold tone filter that sits in a carrier that swings out. Use fresh ground coffee at the amount that best satisfies your taste and put it in the filter. Close the door and you are ready to add water to the tank. There is a button on top that opens the swing filter carrier.
The water tank is ingenious in itself. There are two valves in the tank for the water to exit, one in the upper part of the tank for the brew water and one in the lower section for steam production. The Capresso CoffeeTEC is a "10-cup (50 oz.)" brewer according to Capresso's website. This makes the cup size a 5 oz. cup.
Push in the On button and the brewer will put out 10 cups in less than eight minutes. The elixer goes into the thermal stainless carafe that will hold the coffee hot for several hours. The brew stream runs into the closed top of the carafe so you don't have to pull it off and close it when brewing is complete. You can pull out the carafe and the stream will shut off if you absolutely have to do so. I just wait for the brewing to stop.
Once the coffee is through brewing, you can attach the milk frother and a seperate and very quiet pump will pull milk out of the container and froth it. There is a valve that you can vary the heat and amount of frothing. You can leave the maker on for two hours and come back and froth more milk as you are ready for more cups of coffee. Capresso supplies two different devices to use to get milk out of different type containers. This is an example of the thought that went into the design of this machine.
Clean up is easy. The carafe has a wide mouth and rinses easily - no dishwasher according to the manufacturer. The filter and filter holder clean easily and the frothing parts pull apart for soaking in hot water or running hot tap water through them. A shot of steam through the rest and you are done.
There are other features on the CoffeeTEC. A timer function that I use to run 10 cups of hot water through the maching to bring it up to temperature just before I get up. This ensures that heat loss is at a minimum when I brew the real thing. The machine parts are hot and the carafe has heated up and will not use heat energy from the brewed coffee to heat up. There is a 3-5 cup setting that runs the coffee through the machine slower so it might have a chance to brew at closer to correct temperatures. I cannot comment on this feature as I have not tried it yet. There is a nice clock display and LEDs to let you know the power is on, timer is on, 3-5 cup brew is on and steam is ready.
The only thing this machine doesn't have is a built in burr grinder that will grind on time setting, dump the fresh ground beans in the filter and then brew the coffee at a perfect temperature. I guess they would call this CoffeeTOOTEC. Enough of the puns...
In any case, this device is well built, brews coffee at the right temperature and stores the brew in a thermal stainless carafe that holds the temperature quite well.
I heard about the factory serviced units from Coffeegeek and took a look. For less than the suggested $200 and $160 for the MT500, you can buy a factory serviced unit for $119.99 + shipping. You get the same factory warranty as you would for a new machine. When mine came, you couldn't tell it wasn't new. It was missing the insturctional video but this was not needed. All-in-all, a great deal for a coffee maker that brews and keeps coffee at the proper temperatures without baking the stored coffee. Capresso's website page for factory serviced units is http://capresso.com/prod_serviced.html
I did e-mail Capresso support asking about when my order was shipped and a tracking number. Capresso support responded within the hour with the shipping date and tracking number. Great job Capresso!
Three Month Followup
Things are still as I stated. I absolutely enjoy this cofffee maker and to date, I have had no problems with it at all.