Krups, Capresso Elegance, Nicro vacuum, Melitta funnel, French press
Very good unit, which Cuisinart could have made excellent
Positive Product Points
Well-built, very good fit-and-finish, sturdy parts. The carafe is significantly thicker and heavier than its competitors', and is accurately marked on both sides. The in-line charcoal filter is a convenience for those of us with chlorinated water. Attractive appearance.
Negative Product Points
Brewing temperature at the "shower head" plateaus at ~185F, too cool for really good coffee. Difficult to fill; reservoir opening is narrow, and there are no external water markings. Filter does not hold enough grounds for more than 8 cups of good coffee Very sensitive to scaling; coffee quality declines long before "Self Clean" light goes on.
Temperature: This machine's biggest drawback, to me, was the too-cool brewing temperature. I was able to remedy that with a simple modification (see forum message here: http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/coffee/machines/606374). It still wouldn't meet SCAA standards, but the coffee is much better. Cusinart recently appears to have insulated the hot water tube as it passes through the cold water reservoir, but I don't know the effect on the brew temperature.
Brewing time: Without the "1-4" button pressed (which slows down brewing for small volumes), the DCC-1200 takes about one minute per "cup". That's fine for 6-8 cups (1-1.25 liters), but when the volume gets much larger the coffee starts to taste bitter and over-extracted from too much contact time.
Grounds saturation is excellent; I've never found patches of dry grounds in the filter, as I have with some other machines.
Capacity: I brew with 60 grams of grounds for 1 liter of water (6 "cups" on the carafe), fairly standard for good coffee. More than 80 grams of grounds risks having the filter overflow and make a mess of the machine, though; so either one considers this an 8 cup machine, or one has 12 cups of weak and over-extracted (and thus overly bitter) coffee.
Miscellany: - I noticed the coffee quality deteriorating about 3 months after purchase. I changed the charcoal filter, without improvement. Running a cleaner-descaler through it on the "Self Clean" cycle made the coffee tasty again. I find that cleaning-descaling and changing the filter every 2 months works well (of course, YMMV depending on the quality of the water). - I have only used paper filters, and after reading others' comments (about filters clogging and the funnel overflowing) I am not tempted to use the gold one. The unit does best with a grind on the fine side of the "auto-drip" scale. - The "1-4 Cup" button works well. The manual says it "double-heats the water for hotter coffee"; but what the unit actually does is to cycle the brewing on and off to prolong the time the grounds are in contact with the hot water. - Some might want a thermal carafe, but we drink our coffee immediately after brewing, so the glass carafe is not a problem for us. We've also noticed that setting the warmer to "Low" keeps the coffee pleasantly hot, and it doesn't deteriorate nearly as much as it does on higher settings during the 20 minutes (at most) we have it there.
So would I buy one again? Well, the coffee is not as good (even after my mod) as that from my brother's Technivorm, and if I'm feeling flush I might get one of those. If my unit incinerates itself I won't buy another one! Otherwise, considering that one can buy 3 of these and 2 pounds of good beans for the cost of one Technivorm, I might buy one again.
From Kitchen Kapers, which provides first-class service and easy returns. I tried, and returned, a Capresso MG-500 before buying the Cuisinart; the brew temp was way too high and the coffee tasted scorched. The Kitchen Kapers staff was very friendly and helpful.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
Considerably revised as we approach 3 years of use.