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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Mon Sep 24, 2007, 7:03pm
Subject: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC
 

I'm about to go through a coffee journey with a new brewer, and thought I would pass on to the CG crowd.  This will seem very much like something you'd see in the Consumer Reviews section, however the brewer I bought does not appear in that database, so I'm documenting my journey here.

Before I begin, I'll note that my current coffee maker is a Krups machine with a thermal carafe.  I am currently preheating filtered water to 140F
prior to brewing so this unit will hit the 200F brewing temperature (a little trick I read from this website).  Although this has improved the coffee flavor, I'm simply not a fan of the cumbersome, and often messy, process.

So, why did I select (and pay for) a very expensive Bunn commerical brewer, versus getting an slighly less but still expensive Technivorm or Capresso unit?  As I was reading the CG Consumer Reviews, everyone raved about the Technivorm, but had some issue with the robustness of the plastic parts and the designed-in issue of not being able to have the lid on the carafe in the home position.  It seems that the basis for most reviewers love of the machine was it's capability to heat the water to about 200F when brewing... said to be the perfect brewing temperature.

Then comes the Capresso.  Most folks seemed to really like the units (at least the MT500), but there were some mixed reviews.  By far it
has the best industrial design of the three units and would look the best in my kitchen.  The Technivorm looks like a high school science lab kit and the Bunn is the epitome of industrial boredom... square, stainless, old style switches.. but, they are made in America so I'm helping keep a couple folks in Illinois employed.

In general, the holy grail of coffee makers would seem to be a unit that is made of ceramic or glass (versus metal or plastic), that can heat water to 200F, and brew in 3-5 minutes.  And while typical pour-over or vacuum pots fit this bill, I didn't want a coffee maker that required that much effort.
Therefore, I decided the next best thing would be to get a coffee maker that controls water temperature to 200F consistently, has at a minimum a thermal carafe (vacuum preferred), and is built to last.  This last requirement is really just my own idiosyncracy.  I don't like putting money into something that I can't see lasting for years.  It is also this last requirement that swayed me from the much lauded Technivorm and Capresso units to the Bunn, specifically the Bunn CW15-TC.  This is a commercial unit, all stainless construction, controls water temperature to 200F, and has absolutely NO bells and whistles.  It's a pour-over unit designed as a 12 cup unit, and designed to work with the Bunn Thermal Carafe (vaccum).
Bunn has a couple of at-home units that are similar in design, but without the industrial flare.   From a "built to last" standpoint, I also like that Bunn warrants the unit for 2 years parts, 1 year labor, and 3 years P&L on the electronics.  Even further, if something does break, there is such a HUGE installed base of BUNN units across America that finding replacment parts is relatively easy (at least this is my logic).

So, I ordered the unit last week and it should arrive tomorrow.  Between the unit and the carafe (conveniently sold separately...), I dumped about $375 for this venture. Not that much in the world of Espresso making, but a huge chunk of money given you can buy a coffee maker at Walmart for under $20.

Although I'm excited about trying out the new unit, my trepidation is the unit ability to brew "long enough" to get the best extraction.  This is what most folks have complained about on the residential Bunn units reviewed in the Consumer Reviews section.  I'll update this post in about a week after I get some run time under my belt.  Also, I plan to do a couple of temperature tests to verify performance, namely measuring water temperature as it exits the water sprayer, and also measure the carafes ability to hold temperature.
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Tue Sep 25, 2007, 4:34pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - my journey begins
 

I received my Bunn CW15-CT today, along with the thermal carafe.  The carafe, as it turns out, is the Zojirushi carafe.

For reference, I ordered all of my equipment from www.coffeemakersetc.com, which is the website for Great Life Resources, LLC,
which in turn, I think, is just an ordering and billing engine for Bunn, as all of the equipment direct shipped from Springfield, IL, where
Bunn is located.

All arrived fine.  The unit is shipped in a heavy cardboard container, with styrofoam blocks keeping it protected.
Included in the box:  the brewer, brew basket, a 64 oz water pitcher, 50 filters, the operating/service manual (in 2 languages), and something
that appears to be a spring-like cleaning device for the routing out the internal plumbing.  I put the unit on my designated
coffee brewing table, and then leveled it (stinking old house with uneven floors).  The unit weighs 28 lbs and is all stainless,
so it is rock solid, which I would expect from an industrial brewer.  The carafe weighs 3 lbs.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a no frills unit, which makes it very straightforward to use.  I put three 64 oz pitches of water into the unit
and flipped it ON.  There is only 1 switch on the unit, so it is either On or Off.  Nothing in between.  After 15 minutes, the green "ready" light
came on, so I poured the first pitcher of water into the brewer in order to pre-clean the piping and to heat up the carafe.  I measured
the water temperature in the carafe after this first pour, and it read 185F.  Good sign.

A quick run-down of my other hardware:
- Scale for dosing coffee: 6kg digital Uber scale.
- Digital Thermometer: Polder
- Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso

Using the guideline of 7g of coffee per cup of coffee, I dosed 84g (for 12 cups) of Stuaf's Costa Rican coffee (roasted dark - Vienna roast).
At a setting of 11 on the Virtuoso, I ground the coffee.
I used the standard Bunn filter that came with the unit.

To start brewing, you just pour your water into the top of the unit.  I filled the pitcher to the 64oz line using the charcoal filtered water
from my refrigerator (which means the water is already slightly colder than tap).  I poured this water into the top and within seconds brewed coffee started pouring into the carafe.  The brewed coffee temperature, measured at the inlet to the carafe using the digital thermometer,
read 200F on the nose (PERFECT!!).  After the brew cycle was complete, I measured the temperature in the carafe: 194F.  After brewing, I also pulled out the funnel/basket and inspected the filter.  It looked like the water level stayed about 1/2" below the top of the filter at all times, which is a healthy margin of safety from overflows.  I might try a slightly finer grind next time and see if I still keep the water below the top of the filter.  As this is a quick brewing process (roughly 3 minutes), the finer I grinder the coffee, the better extraction I'll get.

First Cup Impressions: Great!  Even though this was a very dark roast, the coffee still had a very smooth yet flavorful taste.  My wife
said her cup tasted good as well, but that really isn't any kind of endorsement as she puts enough cream and sugar in her cofee that
I could give her a cup of extracted dirt and it would taste about the same : )

I really love the carafe.  On my Krups unit, I found it difficult to pour the coffee without spilling it.  The Zojirushi carafe is very good at pouring in a smooth and directed way.  Also, there is some built-in flow limiter, so you can't really pour too fast.  You can turn the unit 90 degrees on it's side and it pours at the same uniform and even rate.  Very nice.   Also, when you attempt to stop pouring, the coffee flow stops immediately.  No drips or time lags.   I'll check the temperature of the coffee in a few hours and see how it holds temperature.

Oh, I did a little economic analysis to further justify this purchase.  My old Krups unit cost $20 per pound (based on the weight of the brewer and carafe).  The Bunn cost me a mere $11.75 per pound.  So, I save almost 50%.... right???

I'll provide more data after I get another week or so of run time under my belt.
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Tue Sep 25, 2007, 5:34pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - my journey begins
 

Looks like I don't have to conduct the insulation test on the carafe.  The scientists at Zojirushi have already done it.
Based on the numbers, looks like the carafe should keep the coffee hot for a long time.

nemoorellc: zoj 5.GIF
(Click for larger image)
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Wed Sep 26, 2007, 3:39pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - First Impressions / Review
 

Night #2 with Bunn.

I timed the brew cycle - 2:45 from start to finish.   However, instead of pouring all the water into the unit
at one time.  I poured about a third of it in, waited for that water to finish going through the brewer, waited
another 30 seconds, then poured in the remainder.  The idea was to use the first slug of water to heat-up and
hydrate the grounds, and open up the pores, etc, then pour the rest of the water to maximize extraction.   The
coffee tasted great, but I don't know if it tasted much different than if I would have poured all the water at
one time.

Regarding grind, since the water level stayed about 1/2" below the top of the filter when I used a #11 setting on the
Virtuoso last night,  I adjusted to #9 for a finder grind tonight.  This time, the water level got within 1/4" of the top of the filter, so this
is probably about as fine as I can go.

This brings me to a question.  I've read that the ideal brew cycle is 4-5 minutes, which is why many claim the Bunn cycle
is too short, resulting in weak coffee.  Although I haven't personally experienced the weak coffee, let me assume that the
4-5 minute recommendation is correct.   I've also read folks rave about their pour-over brewers, where you pour
hot water from a stove/warmer directly over the coffee in a filter.  Folks have claimed this is the best cup of coffee they've ever
had, but the time to do this pouring must be far less than 4-5 minutes.  So, how can a short pour-over system provide the
ultimate cup of coffee if the extraction time is so much shoter then the generally accepted time?
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Sat Sep 29, 2007, 12:31pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC
 

I've had the Bunn for a week now.  I've varied the coffee dosage from 64g to 84g to 100g, and found that 64g provide a very flavorful cup.  At 100g, the coffee tasted almost as strong as espresso.  I did take a look at the spray nozzle.  On this unit, it has a 6 hole version, which
seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the grounds "stirred" during the extraction process.  

Every night the brew temperature is consistently between 195F and 200F, so the thermostat/heater seems to be working very consitently.

I've centered around a #10 grind setting on my Virtuoso, which in combination with the 64g dosage, keeps the coffee level consistently
1/4" to 3/8" below the top of the filter.  No overflows.... yet.

I stopped pre-heating the carafe as I found that the coffee is plenty hot even after extracting into the carafe at room temperature.  
This carafe is really a step change improvement from the Krupps SS unit I used previously.   I does such a good job at holding temperature
that I can brew a pot of coffee one night, and it's still hot enough the next morning to have that steamy look when I pour it in my cup.

Overall, I'm still very pleased with the Bunn CW15-TC.

Nathan
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Sat Oct 6, 2007, 6:30pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - email from Bunn on the best brew times
 

My opinion of Bunn is reaching an all time high.  My experience with the CW15-TC continues to be great.  I've just ordered
some "fresh roasted" coffee from Terrior Coffee to see how that tastes compared to the Starbucks WB I've been buying.
I'll give an update on that later.

Given all of the conversation on GC about appropriate brew times, I sent an e-mail to Bunn to get their opinion.  Not only
did they respond, but Randy Pope, the Director of their technology center responded directly.  How awesome is that?  

Basically, I asked Bunn's opinion as to the appropriate brew time, and if the typical 3 minute Bunn brew time was too short.

Here was the response.  I would be interested to hear if this rings true with the CG crowd.

Brew time is relative to grind size.
For example:

The recommended water to coffee contact time is 1-4 minutes of water in
contact with the grounds for fine grind.
The recommended water to coffee contact time is 4-6 minutes of water in
contact with the grounds for drip grind.
The recommended water to coffee contact time is 6-8 minutes of water in
contact with the grounds for regular/coarse grind.

The majority of the extractable solubles are released from the coffee in
the first half of a brew cycle.
The ideal grind for a BUNN home brewer is fine to auto-drip grind.
Auto-drip is a grind in between the drip and fine setting on most  grocery
style grinders. Of the brewers for the home that I have tested, none have a brew cycle
of less than 8 minutes of water (50 ounces) in contact with the coffee
grounds.

Experimentation with longer times and coarser grinds will impact coffee
flavor as different chemical compound are extracted at various
times throughout the brew cycle. Blocking holes in the spray head to
lengthen contact time will cause non uniform extraction of the grounds.

A spray head (P/N 03640-0000) is available through the BUNN retail
website,
to lengthen the water cycle/brew time and still extract more evenly.

Best Regards

Randy D. Pope
Director: BUNN Beverage Technology Center
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Sun Oct 7, 2007, 6:16pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - measured brew temperatures and brew cycle
 

Curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to measure the actual brew temperatures coming out of the Bunn.
I've attached the graph.  Note that I measured the temperature between the brew basket and the carafe, and without
and coffee or filter in the brew basket.  The data shows pretty good temperature control over the entire brew cycle.

If you click on the graph, it will get a little bigger... easier to read.

Nathan

nemoorellc: Bunn Test 2 Oct 7 2007.JPG
(Click for larger image)
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Thu Oct 11, 2007, 2:28pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - now with "fresh coffee"
 

I ordered some whole bean coffee from Terrior Coffee, one of the CG sponsor companies.  This is my
first time to use fresh roasted coffee, versus the months-old coffee from either
Starbucks or from the grocery store.  Terriors' customer service was great.  I ordered the coffee on
the web Saturday night, and the coffee showed up at my doorstep Wednesday. I called them once to
confirm shipment and they were exceedingly nice and helpful.  Also, the bag comes with a printed label
designating exactly which day the coffee was roasted. I wish all coffees were sold this way.
Specs:
Blend ordered: Kangocho
Roast Color:  Terrior calls is "Full Flavor".  I call it a light roast.
Source Country: Kenya
Region: Nyeri

With a 6 setting on the Virtuoso, I made my first pot.  The coffee is amazingly flavorful.  Being a light roast, it's acidity
is very low, but the flavor is very smooth and has a nice long finish to it.

On a separate note, I just ordered the stainless steel brew basket for the Bunn.  With any scientific evidence, I've convinced
myself that stainless will flavor the coffee less than plastic during the brewing process.   I'm actully surprised it didn't come with
the SS basket as the stock option, because everything is stock stainless... the machine, all internals, the carafe...so why cheap-out
on the brew basket?
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gime2much
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,965
Location: Sunny S Fl
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Astoria comm, 2...
Grinder: La Pavoni Zip, Bunn...
Drip: Bunn comm
Roaster: Popcorn popper (air),co/ufo
Posted Thu Oct 11, 2007, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - now with "fresh coffee"
 

I have several of the commercial Bunns and I'll agree they brew great coffee. They are fast on purpose, designed for a commercial setting.

You can order a restricted flow head or simply plug up a hole or 3 on yours with tooth picks and get the same results. This will slow the extraction to 3 1/2 to 4 minutes and yes the cup will be richer (fuller mouth feel). You will have to play with the grind a bit after doing this, most likely coarser.

Dan

 
Dan Brewer
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nemoorellc
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 90
Location: Cincinnati
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Scale: Uber 6kg
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Drip: Bunn CW15-TC
Posted Thu Oct 11, 2007, 4:21pm
Subject: Re: Bunn commercial brewer - CW15-TC - now with "fresh coffee"
 

Do you know the part number of the restricted flow head for the commerical units?  
The stock model has 6 holes.  Would love to get the 3 hole; however,
I can't find a part number that works.  I will certainly buy one.

Nathan
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