All in all I love this unit. I am very happy with the performance and the finished product. It highlights my homeroasts well and is flexible to the type of coffee I am brewing.
Positive Product Points
Ease of use, Setup Dispenser Thermal Carafe design Excellent Brew Temperature Fine finished product
Negative Product Points
Too much plastic touching coffee Tough to transfer to portable carafe
I should preface this review by saying that I purchased this unit at the very beginning of my descent into coffee fanaticism. As it turns out I got lucky and picked a machine that does a good job even by my ridiculously warped standards of today.
There are 3 things that truly matter with a drip brewer.
Storage and heat retention method
I will discuss each in some detail:
Brew Temperature: the ideal brew temperature for drip coffee is between 190 and 204 degrees fahrenheit. Using a k-type thermocouple I measured the water at the shower screen and found that at standard setting the water sprayed at 194. OK. Just Ok. But here's a really good tip. To bump that up to 202 press the "Small Pot" button. Excellent!!! Here's the really cool thing. Some blends, really dark roasts and a lot of supermarket coffees, are best suited for lower temps (around 194) while other coffees, such as Bright East Africans or Central Americans love hotter brews around 202.
Either way the brew temp is perfect.
Filter Method: I am happy with the square shaped gold filter that is provided with the unit. I know some prefer cone shaped but as long as it is metal so as not to remove oils from the brew I am content.
Coffee storage and heat retention on the brewed coffee. I liked the design of this unit when I saw it at the store. I liked the idea of one touch dispensing into my cup. One of the things I really liked about the design of the carafe was the double walled indirect heating of the coffee. This ensured that the coffee would remain hot but unscorched or aged by direct heating.
Two summary notes: My biggest concern about this unit is the plastic in the carafe. In spite of how my review figures break down I would believe this unit deserved a 9 overall with a glass carafe, 8 with a plastic one. If there was a way to redesign this unit with a glass carafe I would rebuy in a second. Even if the price was considerably higher.
I noted on another review that the basket overflowed when brewing full pots. A solution I found for this was once again to press the "small pot" button. (Yes, counterintuitive but the machine brews at half speed with this button pushed.)