Pros: Auto shut-off; end chime; time indicator; separate heating elements
Cons: Poor external water indicator
Rating: 4 out of 5
First posted 10/4/2002
Please note: as of summer 2005, KitchenAid has issued a recall on this coffee maker:
Some time ago my mother ordered a KitchenAid 10-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker for her own kitchen. Then she discovered that really, it just took up too much counter-space for her postage-stamp sized kitchen. So she asked if I’d like it. We were still using one of those freebie Gevalia coffee makers, so I was happy to give this one a try.
If I had to buy this one myself, I’m not sure I would have. The budget’s a bit tight right now, and a simple coffee maker certainly makes good enough coffee. But am I happy we have this one? Oh yes!
#1. Nice “done” chime: The coffee maker comes with a chime that tells you when the coffee is done brewing (sometimes you still have to wait a minute for the last bits to be done dripping). I was expecting one of those loud, awful beeping noises, but instead it’s a fairly delicate beeping (that yet carries fairly well into another room). I’m overly sensitive to alarm sounds, but it doesn’t bother me – and I don’t have to worry about it waking up anyone else in the house. It’s wonderful not having to go back into the kitchen every so often to see whether the coffee is done yet!
#2. Auto shut-off: After 2 hours the coffee maker will shut off automatically. So if there’s someone in your house who tends to forget to push the power button when they get their coffee, you no longer have to go check the coffee maker after they pour their cup.
#3. Time since brewing indicator: You can tell (roughly) how long it’s been since the coffee was done. It indicates less than 30 minutes, less than 60, less than 90, or less than 2 hours. Not precise, but it doesn’t need to be.
#4. Separate heating elements: There’s a separate warming element under the pot of coffee, rather than having the coffee maker use the same element that heats the water. This means that any coffee you leave in the pot won’t taste burned a half-hour later, because the element keeping the coffee warm doesn’t have to be as hot as the one that heats the initial water.
#5. The controls: The smooth-touch controls are easy to clean, and they look nice too.
#6. The appearance: We have this coffee maker in black, and it’s great. The black, with the signature KitchenAid chrome strip on the brew basket, and the red-lit controls, is delightfully evil-looking!
- Water tank holds up to 10 coffee cups of water (for us, that’s about 5 coffee mugs).
- There’s an internal, easy-to-read water indicator in the water tank (that measures in 2-cup increments, which really, for decent-sized coffee mugs, works out to the perfect one-cup increment).
- There’s a digital clock in a nice evil red glow, and you can use it to set the coffee maker to brew your coffee at a specific time.
- There’s a control for adjusting the coffee strength from mild to robust.
- The nice on/off light makes it easy to tell at a glance whether the coffee maker is on.
- There’s a 1-to-3-cup setting to ensure good flavor for a small amount of coffee.
- There’s the traditional “pause & pour” valve so you impatient people can get your coffee while your spouse’s coffee is still brewing. Just make sure you don’t forget to put the lid on the carafe before making your coffee or you’ll wonder why there’s no coffee coming out of your filter basket…
- The swing-out brew basket and removable filter holder make it easy to remove the filter.
- There’s a spot for inserting an internal water filter in case you don’t already filter your water (1 filter comes free with the coffee maker).
Are there any negatives?
There’s supposedly an external water level indicator, but I can’t make heads or tails out of it. The internal one works just fine, though.
The filter holder basket has this weird little bump in it that keeps it from fitting many standard goldtone filters; you may have to buy one special from KitchenAid in order to get one that’ll fit (it was only about $10 when I ordered ours, though, so that’s not too bad).
It’s easy to accidentally leave the lid on the coffee pot a little loose, such that it falls off when you’re pouring. However, it’s also easy to hold your thumb down on part of the lid when you pour, which keeps this from being a problem.
The smooth-touch controls sometimes require a nice firm touch. Not firm enough that you’ll have trouble operating it – just firm enough that sometimes you’ll be a little surprised when you push the power button and the coffee maker doesn’t come on. Once you get used to it, it isn’t a problem.
The coffee maker comes with the end-of-brewing signal turned off, which is good, because I wouldn’t want to be startled by that unexpectedly. On the other hand, this does mean that if there’s ever a power outage, you’ll be wondering where your signal went until you remember this. (Umm, yes, it took us four days. Shush.)
Supposedly the end-of-cycle chime also doubles as a decalcification chime (if it goes off while there’s still water in the tank for the brewing cycle, it’s time to decalcify). In practice, however, I find I prefer to decalcify more often than this would have you doing it. It makes a difference.
As you can see, all of the minuses are very small problems, easily corrected for. Not a single one of them has caused us any lasting irritation.
The manual is clear, and doesn’t have the “what language was this badly translated from, anyway?!” problem of not being able to make heads or tails of what it’s saying.
In short, we love our coffee maker. I’m glad mom found she didn’t have room for it!