Great upgrade from a basic coffee maker. If you don't need the frother then get something else.
Positive Product Points
- Makes coffee Fast - Frother works great (*once you understand it) - Hot coffee
Negative Product Points
- Frother is tempermental - Pause and serve sometimes drips - My fingers are taking a beating from taking apart the frother pieces every day - they are tight! - Uses more coffee than I am used to - Filling the removable tank to the exact water level is tricky
This is the best coffee maker I have owned. This replaced a Braun Cafe Aroma that was on its last legs. My wife and I use the machine every morning and it has been reliable, but not without some quirks.
I microwave a cup of water every morning and use that to pre-heat the caraffe. During the preheat period I grind my beans and fill my tank to 6 cups. ISSUE 1 - Holding the tank by the handle under the faucet, the tank isn't exactly level so when you want to fill it to a specific amount I can never get it right. My habit is now to underfill it, put it back in the coffee maker, then add water from a cup to the exact amount I want. ISSUE 2 - this machine requires more ground coffee than my previous machine. I think I am using 25% more coffee than before to get the taste I want.
By this time the caraffe is hot so I pour the water out and start the machine. Coffee comes out in a hurry! I have never experienced the leaking tank issue or the coffee not going into the caraffe issue that others have reported. While coffee is coming out I assemble the frother pieces. Once the coffee is done and the frother light comes on, it is time to froth the milk. ISSUE 3 - The frother is tempermental. This is due to two things - the frother parts must be assembled tightly otherwise it just sputters.The little knob is most often the issue in that it is not fully inserted into the valve. The second thing is that the frother cycles on and off. BUT, about 15 seconds before it cycles off the frother steam runs out. So even though the frother light is still on, if it is nearing the off cycle, it will start sputtering. Now that I know to look for that behavior, I simply shut off the frother when I see the sputtering start and wait for the light to go off. I then turn it back on and within 20 seconds I get froth again. A little tricky to use, but we love the steamed milk. I wish the milk temperature was a little higher though. But still, that final cup of coffee is darn hot. Exactly the way I like it.
Once I have my frothed milk in my mugs I will go pour the coffee. This is when ISSUE 4 - dripping pause and serve - comes up. Most of the time things are fine, but on occasion the moment I take the pot out I will start to get drips from the filter holder. This is annoying and it might be that some coffee residue has accumulated on the gasket of the holder.
Later, once we are done with the coffee I use the frother with no milk attached to try to clean it out a little bit. Then I will disassemble it as per the instructions and clean it. ISSUE 5 - Those parts seem to be getting tighter over time. The main problem part is the one that screws into the coffee machine. It has two gaskets on it - one on the screw in side and the other that fits snugly into another frother part. Unscrewing it daily has made my fingertips a little sore and nowadays I can't even pull the snug part off without using a towel because it is just so tight.
Cleaning the frother is pretty easy - just soak in hot water to release any dried milk. The caraffe opening is large but not large enough for me to get my hand inside so that I can really give it a good cleaning.
There are issues with any coffee maker and I feel that these are all fairly routine. I can live with these issues and would recommend this coffee maker to anyone who likes milk in their coffee. My wife and I used to use half-and-half with our coffee. Since getting the CoffeeTEC we have stopped using cream and only use the frothed milk.
We've used the self timer a handful of times as well and it works as expected.
Bought a refurbished unit through 1stincoffee.com. They sent the wrong unit and when I called them they apologized and sent out another one along with a UPS label to return the wrong unit. They didn't upgrade the shipping on the replacement unit or give anything for my trouble. The coffeemaker was packed in separate box that was barely larger than the coffeemaker with some peanuts acting as spacers. Would I buy from them again, yes.