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Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew Review

 
Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew
Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew
Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew

 
Overview
 

Coffee Type: ,
 
Type: Programmable
 
Capacity: Up to 12 cups
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Appearance
 
 
 
 
 


 
User-friendliness
 
 
 
 
 


 
Value for Money
 
 
 
 
 


 
Taste
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/ 5


 

Product Features


  • Brushed stainless steel finish.
  • Use ground or whole coffee beans.
  • Programmable.
  • Strength selector.
  • Charcoal water filter.
  • Brew-pause functions.
  • 3 years limited warranty.


  • Brief Summary

    The Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew is, as the name implies, a drip coffeemaker with a built-in burr grinder. Set the coffeemaker up the night before and the programmable function makes sure you have freshly brewed coffee ready the next morning. The stainless steel thermal carafe keeps the coffee hot for hours. Other features you might find handy are the brew-pause function and strength selector.

    Posted February 16, 2013 by

     
    Review
     
     
    W

    hat is better than coffee brewed from freshly ground coffee beans?  Well, not much if you ask me. The Cuisinart DGB-900BC let you program the coffeemaker to start grinding and brewing coffee at whatever time you want without any interaction as long as it has beans in the hopper and water in its tank. I always set up my coffeemaker in the evening so I can have a freshly brewed pot of coffee waiting for me in the morning. Let’s take a closer look at its functions and how it works.

    A Good looking coffeemaker

    I really like the look of the Cuisinart DGB-900BC with its brushed stainless steel finish. The stainless steel finish is not limited to the front of the coffeemaker, but both sides have got some matching brushed steel plates as well. I think this improves the overall feel and look significantly.

    The black plastic parts are thick and sturdy with one exception and this is the lid for the water reservoir. I think the lid borderlines to being flimsy, but my lid is still intact after using it daily for a while. The plastic used in this coffeemaker is 100% Bisphenol A free, better known as BPA.

    The Cuisinart grind and brew doesn’t take up more space on your counter top than any regular drip coffeemaker even though it is quite advanced. But the Cuisinart DGB-900BC might be a bit taller with its 15 inches (about 40 cm). The coffeemaker fits neatly underneath my cupboards, but I have to pull it forward every time I want to fill it up with water since the reservoir is located all the way in the back.

    Beans or pre-ground coffee

    Cuisinart DGB-900BC with built-in burr grinder

    Brew coffee from either pre-ground coffee or whole coffee beans.

    Even though this coffee machine is made for grinding and brewing coffee from whole beans you can also use pre-ground coffee. With just a touch of a button the grinding function can be switched off. I personally only use whole beans when brewing, but I love to have the option to pre-ground coffee as well. I have occasionally used pre-ground coffee when I have run out of beans.

    The hopper or container sits on top of the machine and can hold up to ½ lbs. of beans which should be enough for at least two whole 12-cup pots of strong coffee. The amount of beans the machine will grind depends of course of the strength and how many cups you choose to brew. The transparent plastic makes it easy to see how much is left at any time. Cuisinart is recommending that the hopper is at least half full before you start brewing to prevent it running out of beans.

    I was quite reluctant to fill up the hopper all the way at the beginning. When the coffee beans are stored in the hopper they will get exposed to air, heat and moisture. Even though the lid has a rubber seal and sits tightly the beans get exposed to air since the hopper is not air tight. During a brewing cycle the beans get exposed to both heat and moisture to some extent. Since I am using my drip coffeemaker daily the beans never spend more than a week in the hopper and are kept “fresh”.

    I usually take out the hopper when refilling it with coffee beans so I can also clean the machine. I will explain more about how important it is to keep this machine clean later on. If you have removed the hopper remember to get it properly in place or the machine will beep continuously when you turn it on.

    Infographic and videos

    DGB-900BC Info-graphic

    Cuisinart DGB-900BC features and functions

    How to use the Cuisinart DGB-900BC

    Grind and brew

    The water reservoir is located behind the hopper and underneath a narrow plastic lid. You have to pour carefully to prevent spilling when filling the reservoir with water due to the narrow opening. The charcoal water filter sits on the left hand inside the reservoir and has a little tab sticking up so you can change the filter even reservoir is full of water. You have to change the filter every second month and is an extra cost, but I think it is worth it. The filter removes bad taste and odor and you can really tell the difference if your water tastes like chlorine.

    This coffeemaker, as most drip coffeemakers, will brew until the water reservoir is empty so never fill more than 12 cups in the reservoir or the carafe will overflow. You will find the water level gauge on the right side of the coffeemaker and it ranges from two and up to twelve cups.

    To control the amount of coffee the burr grinder will grind you have to adjust the “Grind Control” knob to the appropriate setting. The burr grinder is set to a medium grind, which I think is perfect for drip coffeemakers. The grinding process is of course noisy but it only takes a few second (depends on how many cups you have selected with “Grind Control”).

    The ground coffee falls into the chute which brings the coffee to the filter. The Cuisinart DGB-900BC comes with a gold tone permanent filter, but you can also use #4 paper basket filters. I usually use paper filters in my machine since I think the permanent filter let too much sediment go through.

    After the filter is in place remember to place the basket cover back or the machine will start to beep continuously when you turn it on. This basket cover will rotate from grinding mode to brewing mode and I recommend aligning the arrows on the cover and filter holder to prevent the machine to get confused. I have experienced the machine not being able to find the right position for the cover for some reason. It is not a big problem and is easily fixed by aligning the arrows.

    Cuisinart DGB-900BC Control panel with screenControl panel

    The control panel might look complicated with all its buttons and knobs, but it is really self-explanatory. Cuisinart has made a very good manual and DVD that comes with the machine which explains everything.

    After adding the right amount of water in the reservoir, you need to set the “Grind Control” knob to the appropriate amount of cups. You can set the strength to mild, medium and strong to get the coffee just like you want. You can also use the combination of the “Grind Control” knob and strength selector to adjust the strength from very weak to very strong. You shouldn’t have any problems finding the right setting for you if you consider you can chose from 2 to 12 cups with increments of 2 cups and each level has 3 strength settings. I love my coffee strong so I set the grind control to 2 cups more and the strength to fully strong. The result is always great and strong coffee. The only downside with this is that I can’t make a full 12-cup carafe of strong coffee.

    If you use pre-ground coffee with this coffeemaker it is even easier to brew coffee to your liking without any fiddling around with the buttons and knobs. You simply just add little extra or less ground coffee in the filter. Remember to turn off the grind function before you turn the machine on.

    The Cuisinart DGB-900BC is also programmable which let you set the machine to start brewing at a specific time, up to 24 hours ahead.

    The screen shows a clock when the machine is not in use and when it machine is on it will show you the set time and strength. It is almost impossible to see what the screen says when the ambient light is dim. Cuisinart could have solved this problem by making the screen backlit, hopefully we will see this on their next model.

    One of the functions I love the most is the brew pause. It let you have a cup of coffee while the machine brews. The brewing process doesn’t stop, but the flow of coffee to the pot does. Remember to not leave the carafe out for too long or the basket will overflow. I believe Cuisinart says you can remove the carafe for up to 20 seconds which should be enough for you to fill you cup.

    I have previously reviewed the Cuisinart DGB-700BC and the few minor differences between these two models are really related to the carafe. Since the Cuisinart DGB-900BC has a double-wall insulated stainless steel thermal carafe instead of the glass carafe it doesn’t have a heating plate. Without the heating plate there is no use for the automatic shut off function either.

    Regular cleaning needed

    You should know that the Cuisinart DGB-900BC needs to be cleaned regularly or it will clog up. The problem is that the chute below the grinder is horizontal which cause the ground coffee to build up instead of fall into the filter. To clean out the chute is neither time consuming nor difficult, but it is a hassle. You will know when the cleaning is overdue because you will end up with a pot of brown tasteless water when the chute is blocked.

    I tend to clean the machine every time I refill the hopper with beans since the hopper needs to be removed to get access to the chute. When the hopper is removed, you need to flip the chute cover up and use the small brush that comes with the machine to push the grounds into the basket. Remember to have a filter in the basket and the door closed if you don’t want to clean your counter as well. Filling the hopper with beans and cleaning the machine takes me only a couple of minutes.

    Conlusion

    The Cuisinart DGB-900BC is a drip coffeemaker with a lot of functions that makes great coffee. This machine is quite complicated, at least for a drip coffeemaker, with lots of moving parts and when things can go wrong they usually do at some point. As I have wrote above about the rotating basket cover, it is a potential weakness. Although, what disappointed me the most were that the chute needed to be cleaned so often. I have therefore given the machine a low score on user-friendliness. Overall, I think this is a great drip coffeemaker. If you are looking for a drip coffeemaker with a built-in burr grinder the Cuisinart DGB-900BC is a good candidate.

    Pros

    • Great coffee.
    • Great looks.
    • Lots of functions.

    Cons

    • Needs a lot of cleaning.
    • Basket cover is a potential weakness.
    • Little bit pricy.

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