Makes great coffee without the usual assortment of funny tastes.
Negative Product Points
1) I Would have preferred a smaller unit specifically designed for 4 cups. 2) I drink more coffee now.
Despite a strong dislike of rising early, I finally decided that I could no longer stand Taster's Choice coffee in the morning, even the few gulps I used to take, and would have to take the additional time to make real coffee. I don't want expresso in the morning. I also had a 4 cup Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker, but I cannot stand the smell and taste of burnt coffee at all, and (like most other drip coffee makers), the Mr. Coffee manages to burn coffee noticably even when the carafe is put under an angle on the hot plate and removed immediately after brewing. It also gave a distinct taste of plastic to the coffee.
So I searched this site and elsewhere for a coffee maker with a thermal carafe and a small pot setting that was generally acknowledged to make good coffee. I must say that the reviews here initially put me off from the MT500. but after much further searching, I found no other unit that seemed to meet my requirements. Eventually, I looked at the comparison material at Aabree coffee, which made me have a better look at the MT500 reviews here. I then decided the unit seemed OK anyway.
The unit is relatively expensive ($160); it has various features I do not use. I do not use the water filter in the unit: I have a Brita water filter and absolutely no desire to maintain a separate water filter in my coffee machine, or special-order filters when I can get Brita filters at the supermarket. I also do not use the automatic timer mode: I make the coffee when I am ready to drink it. The flashing clock after a power failure is just an annoyance. I also do not use the gold filter, since paper filters are an easier clean-up, even if they might need a bit more coffee. The unit is rather dramatic looking, with stainless steel and chrome, for what it is worth. It uses stainless steel rather than aluminum internally, which seems to be superior; I am certainly willing to believe it.
As mentioned, I do need the small batch setting. It is a minor annoyance that the small batch setting unsets itself after each pot, but I think I am now used to pressing two buttons to start. The build quality seems very good. The filter unit can be lifted out for easy cleaning. The carafe inside is easily cleaned with my soap dispensing sponge, but the opening is too narrow to get a hand in. I definitely agree that it pours slowly. Being the impatient type, I just unscrew the cover completely to pour.
The machine is bigger than I would have liked; it is in particular quite high when you raise the water cover. I had to move it to a different location since it interfered with the low cupboard above. Its footprint is not unusually large for a 10 cup maker, however, and you can store the part of the power cable you do not need inside, reducing clutter. As mentioned in other reviews, the opening to throw in the water is fairly narrow; you cannot be too careless or it will spill. Unlike in another review, I have no wobble on my flat silestone countertop.
All minor criticism as far as I am concerned. My real concern is how good the coffee is, and while you can of course not argue about taste, in my opinion this is where the MT500 really shines. Not only is it totally free of any burnt smell, I also experience absolutely no plastic or other funny tastes, and the coffee taste is exactly as I like it, not too bitter, nor too sour.
Even at a five cup batch in a cold carafe, and thrown in a cold stone cup, I find that the coffee is initially definitely too hot to gulp down but just perfect for more careful sipping. It does however cool down quite quickly if you take some time to finish it, as I do. I will probably swap my stone cup for an insulated one if I can find a good one.
Cost versus benefit is relative. If I knew another unit that produces coffee as good as the MT 500 for less than $160, it would be a better value to me. But since I do not know another unit like that, the value is a 10 to me. (I put a more prudential 8 in my ratings anyway.) If I have to rise earlier to make coffee, it better be good coffee.
I bought it from Aabree. They gave free shipping and a $5 discount on a burr grinder. They also included a small bag of coffee. All items arrived promptly. It appeared to me that the coffee machine had been repacked in its box, however, and one leg of the carafe was slightly dented inward. It is pretty much invisible, especially when standing, and the carafe still centers properly below the fill valve, so I decided it was not worth the bother of exchanging.
The comparisons of various quality coffee makers on the Aabree web site were very helpful to me.
Three Month Followup
Not much to add. I got a double walled stainless mug, (Migo 18-8), to keep the coffee hot. The coffee definitely comes out of the pot hot enough to burn, even at 5 cups,. but throwing it in a cold stone cup cools it down quickly.
I guess you could preheat a stone cup (preheating the pot is useless, probably because the coffe already comes out hot like hell.) I am happy with the insulated cup, though.
The only thing I would amend in my review is that the unit would be relatively expensive. With a computer costing a few thousand, most of the goodies on my car costing several hundred, etc, it seems somewhat silly to whine over a coffeemaker you use each day costing only $160.