A great unit that produces excellent drip coffee and looks great on the counter.
Positive Product Points
- Very well made; nearly 4 years without a single performance problem - Very attractive - Makes a great cup of coffee
Negative Product Points
- The area where you pour in water is too small - The top of the inside of the unit is hard to clean
This was my first attempt to get serious about coffee and my first coffee maker that cost more that $25. That was nearly 4 years ago and I am still using every day beacuse there has been no reason to replace it.
Before I bought this, I had no idea what I was missing. My previous brewers had produced a cup that was drinkable and I thought that what coffee was; wattery (no matter how strong a brew you made) and flat. However as soon as I started using this, I realized that coffee was more than a caffeine drink. Coffee finally had body and complexity. The Brew Central's secret is its ability to consitently deliver water heated to the optimum temperature. Cheap machines cannot do this. Temperature is critical to fully extract flavor and aroma from the ground coffee.
The two negatives above are actually closely related. The area around the brew basket is quite cramped and has to accomodate two openings (one for the filter holder and one in which to pour water) as well as the hinge for the lid. The water hole is only about 1" x 1.5" which requires that you pour water pretty slowly to avoid getting it everywhere. Inevitably, though, some water will miss every now and then. Over time, this results in mineral stains on the plastic around the brew basket and behind the lid hinge. The Brew Central's self cleaning cycle works well, but obviously cannot handle this build-up outside of the resevoir. So, every month or so, you will have to throughly clean this area with a water/vinegar solution and a rag. This is not easy because of the hinge design which is actually two peices that ovelap and create several places that are hard to reach. This is a pain and is why I gave only 8/10 for usability.
I use filtered water and so have never bothered to replace the charcoal filter.
I had already researched this thoroughy on the internet and knew what I wanted when I arrived at Dillard's, so it was very easy.