Update to this review. Krups sent me a new carafe and it did not have the the stink of the original one. Unfortunately, I had already returned it and purchased a Starbucks Barista Aroma. That has been a pretty good coffee maker, but today, I found out that it is recalled. Time to go shopping again!
I recently went looking for a replacement for my Cuisinart Brew Central. I decided I needed a model with a thermal carafe and timed brewing. I came to coffeegeek.com first, looking for reviews, and this is by far the best site to find comprehensive and knowledgeable opinions. After some research and reading, I decided to get the Cuisinart thermal model.
Well, after visiting the store, I realized that the Cuisinart was too tall to fit on my kitchen counter and under my cabinets. So now, I had another criteria to add to the list. Thermal carafe, timed brew, decent brewing temperature and short enough to fit on my counter. My choices quickly dwindled and I ended up buying this Krups. The only other choice was a Kitchenaid model, but I really wanted to say under $100. I hadn't done much research on this model, so I took a chance.
First, I found that this model is not as bad as some reviews have described it. The construction is a little flimsy, but not unusually so. Some have complained that programming is confusing, but I didn't think so, and after you do it once, it really is simple. I did take temp measurements using an instant read digital thermometer and found the water coming out of the spray head to peak at about 190F. So, the brew temp is adequate at least. It also brews pretty quickly with a full 10 cup pot taking about 8 min. I guess it should really come down to the taste of the coffee, and this machine makes a good cup. In fact, I liked it better than my Cuisinart, which I always thought to be good. This machine also has a heating plate, which is not typical for thermal models (the only other model I have seen like this is a Philips, a few years ago). The plate turns on when the brewing starts and shuts off 20 min. later - you cannot adjust the time. Not a bad idea, really, and it somewhat overcomes the "preheat needed" that the SS carafes suffer from.
It does have some annoying traits, as well. The "finshed brewing" beep is too loud and very grating. Unfortunately, it beeps in two bursts of 3 beeps (you can turn it off, thankfully). Some have complained about the little rubber feet popping off the bottom, and this happened almost immediately. Not really a big deal - they are easy to reinstall - but you would have thought they could have engineered a way around this. Also, the latch to release the side-swing brew basket only works intermittently. You sometimes have to pull it open while holding the latch open.
So, not a bad machine and it makes good coffee...but I didn't keep it. Why? Well, it stinks, literally. The bottom of the carafe is mostly covered by a plastic disc with 3 protruding feet. Some type of heat resistant plastic, I suppose. But it stinks - smells really awful - and stunk up the whole kitchen. I have to admit it's one of the wierdest product problems I have come across. For whatever reason, the smell is inherent to the plastic they use and it's powerful. The only thing that smells similar is lawn fertilizer. Right, lawn fertilizer, like Scotts, or many others. At first I couldn't put my finger on it, but since it's springtime, that smell has been familiar. I thought the smell would go away, but it's as strong today as when I unboxed it. My wife even complained about "that smell." And, because of the heat plate, when the coffee is brewing it really stinks the place up.
I called Krups and of course they had not heard of such a problem. They told me to fax the information to a number, with a copy of my receipt and they would send me a replacement carafe. I can't think it would smell any better than the one I had. Too bad, because I probably would have stayed with it.
I ended up buying a Starbucks Barista 8c Thermal on sale. It was the only other one I could find that met all the criteria. I just hope it doesn't blow up!