Great brewer at a fantastic price. Good for the single user !
Positive Product Points
Brews at the right temperature for the right amount of time. Makes a good tasting, clean, hot cup of coffee.
Negative Product Points
At this price? Nothing. Some might want a larger machine but you can always buy 2 at this price !
I've got to say that this is one of the nicest purchases I've made for coffee. I looked at a bunch of other machines that supposedly also brew at the proper length of time and the proper temperature. These all had costs of 120 dollars or more. The Ultra was only 30 dollars US.
I bought the Ultra so I could make "unmonitored" coffee in the morning. Up to this point I had been using a press pot so I could control the temperature of the brewing water (over 195 degrees or so) and the time of brewing (4 minutes). I found that the coffee that the Ultra makes is excellent!
First thing I did after buying the coffeemaker was to go on to the SweetMaria's site (www.sweetmarias.com) and purchased a SwissGold #2 filter cone. I put in some home roasted Yirgacheffe ,28 grams, ground on the fine side, added 20 ounces of water to the machine's water reservoir, and hit the brew switch. The results were very similar to some vacuum pots that I have used. First off, no grounds left in the cup (this is not a major problem for me anyway but it does bother a couple of my friends). Second, the coffee is hot. The cup was clear and I could smell and taste the floral components of this variety. I had similar results with other types of coffee.
If you want to interrupt the brew cycle and grab a quick cup you can do that also. This is something I donít recommend. Let the coffee brew all the way; it only takes a couple of minutes anyway. The brew basket has a little spigot on the bottom that is forced up when the carafe is underneath. This leaves the valve open. When the carafe is removed, the spigot drops and the valve closes. No electronic sensors and it works fine.
The heating element for the carafe warmer keeps my second cup at a good temperature while I drink the first. I usually grab the second cup after 15 minutes so I havenít checked it out longer than that.
It's relatively easy to clean since it's put together so simply. The basket holder removes easily and can be rinsed off or cleaned in the sink or dishwasher. I know the fresh roasted coffee that I placed in the filter can bloom, and is a problem with some machines, but there was plenty of room for expansion in the holder.
The appearance isnít that bad and I like the fact that it doesnít take up a lot of space in the kitchen. Considering the grinders and the espresso machine this is a nice feature. I think it comes in 6 or 7 colors also.
I purchased this from www.cooking.com. I purchased a SwissGold # 2 filter cone (recommend it highly) from www.sweetmarias.com. No problems from cooking.com and SweetMarias is always the epitome of what the internet buying experience should be !
Three Month Followup
Still works well.
One Year Followup
This machine still works well. I interrupted it's use with a Cuisineart Brew Central but found that my coffee tasted rather flat. Checking the temperatures on both with a digital setup I found the Brew central to be a little cool and the Kitchenaid to be pretty close to the mark. still think it's a great machine for the money and if you like 2 good sized mugs in the morning.