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the first look - capresso coffeeteam therm
Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 26, 2007
First Look rating: 8.7
feedback: (19) comments | read | write

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Capresso is the only company that makes grind and brew coffee makers that use a real grinder - did you know that? Sure enough, just about every model on the market, from companies like Cuisinart to Mr. Coffee and Melitta all use a blade grinder to pulverize (not actually grind) the coffee. Capresso is the only one that makes a grind and brew with a burr grinder - and not just any burr grinder, but a precision milled conical burr grinder.

Why do I state this right from the get go? It’s because I’m not a fan of grind and brew coffee makers. I’ve tried two Cuisinart models, and one from Melitta, and there’s so many problems with these machines, from a horrible, dust-filled grind to clumping coffee issues, that I would never, ever recommend one.

Well, that’s no entirely true. I tried the original Capresso grind and brewing coffee maker, the CoffeeTEAM, a few years ago at a friend’s house, and was sold on the idea that a good grinder makes all the difference to these products. The original CoffeeTEAM had some problems still - a less than ideal “coffee delivery” system - the part of the machine that involves ground coffee moving from grinder to the filter basket - and the glass carafe / heating pad are never a good thing on coffee makers. But, when you brewed fresh, it made a pretty damned fine cup of coffee.

Fast forward to 2007, and an updated model from Capresso in the grind and brew category - the CoffeeTEAM Therm. At first  lot of the things I didn’t like about the original CoffeeTEAM were fixed on the Therm model - so let’s have a First Look, shall we?

Out of the Box

The Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm comes in a double boxed - the outer, plain cardboard shipping box, and the inner "store shelf" box with a handle.

Inside the box, you find everything encased in form cut styrofoam. The brewing unit is all in one, with tape holding down the grinder lids and the water / filter lid. The brushed stainless steel carafe is also very secure. Capresso’s excellent instruction manual (download the PDF file here is included as is Capresso’s gold tone permanent filter - I should note it’s not real gold plate like SwissGold, but nylon in a gold colour. There is also an anti-static “cap” for the filter assembly, a spare rubber gasket / flange for that cap, an instructional video, some coupons for free coffee, and an order form for accessories and replacement parts. While some Capresso brewers include a water filtration system, this one didn’t.

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Outer Box
Store Box
Opening Up
Styro Home
Plastic Wrap


The brewer is pretty easy to set up. Remove the packing tape, clean the carafe, plug it in, set up the date and time and coffee brewing amounts with the easy to use single adjustment dial, insert the and things are good to go.

Build and Aesthetics

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From top to bottom, the Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm appears very well built.

The brew is designed to fit under most kitchen cupboards, and because of this, the bean hopper is very small - it holds roughly 80 grams of coffee, or enough to do 10 or 12 cups. You’ll be refilling it almost every day.

The grinder portion of the machine is fitted with a nice brushed, stainless steel and plastic cap - providing a good fit. Inside the grinder is the same conical burr group that Capresso uses in most of their super automatics. The grinder has four fineness adjustments, easily made by turning the entire hopper.

This machine is designed to keep moisture away from the grinding area, and as such, involves some mechanical catches and springs to “swing” the filter basket from the grinder chute over to the brewing position. The chute itself comes out about 3 inches in front of the grinder, and has a viewing window to see the coffee as it moves along, falling eventually into the filter basket.

The other main lid on the machine covers both the water reservoir and the filter basket. It is also accented with a brushed, stainless steel cap, but is mostly black plastic. It also houses the brewer’s dispersion pipe (the tube that pours water over the filter basket). It’s a pretty complex piece of engineering, all told.

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Release Button
Big button for manually releasing the filter basket to swing back to brewing position.

With the main lid up, you’ll see a big button between the reservoir and grinder - this is the quick-release button for the filter basket portion of the machine when it is sitting over near the grinder chute. As you move the filter basket over to the grinder chute, you can feel slight tension from an internal spring, until it clicks into place, and is held under the grinder chute. If for any reason you need to manually move the filter basket back to the brewing position, you can do so by pressing the release button.

As we move down the machine, the simple, yet full functioned control panel on the front of the machine is seen next. It consists of a button, a display panel, a larger knob / button, and a third button below.

The top button marked by a power symbol is the on / brewing button. The machine’s smart enough to know where the filter basket is when this button is pressed - if it’s over by the grinder, it turns the grinder on, grinds the pre-programmed amount you’ve chosen, then swings the basket over to the brewer side, and starts brewing. If the filter basket is sitting over the carafe, it does not grind coffee - the machine assumes you’ve ground your own coffee or are using preground, so pressing the button just starts the brewing process. The button turns red when pressed.

The dial button below the display, marked with a “P” is where you do all the programming on the machine. You can set up all of the following:

  • Time, including AM / PM

  • Auto On Time (for programmed brewing for when you wake up)

  • Separate brew volumes for auto on, and manual brewing (dictates how much coffee will be ground - you can set the auto on to grind for 8 cups, but the manual brew to grind for 4 cups, as an example).

  • Separate coffee “strengths” for auto on and manual brewing (ie, you can set mild, normal or strong for auto on, and a different setting for manual brewing)

Programming the CoffeeTEAM Therm

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Programming Steps
Using the "P" Dial and programming the machine is pretty intuitive
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Auto On Settings
Here, the settings for grinding for the auto on time are set.
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Setting to strong
Choose mild, medium or strong for the brew type.

When the machine is first plugged in, it will display TIME <AM> and requires initial set up. You turn the P dial left or right to select am or pm, and press it. Next, it will want you to set the current hour. Dial that in, and press again. Next, set the current minute, and press again. If you don’t do anything else for a few seconds, it will show the current time, and default grinder setting for the brew now mode (10c MEDIUM).

Programming the brew now or Auto On brewing settings is easy. First set up when you want it to automatically brew in the morning by Pushing the P button, and then turning the dial until you see PROGRAM <TIME?> on the display. Press the P button again, and it will say AUTO ON <TIME>. Press again, and continue setting the auto on time the same way you programmed the current time.

Changing the grinder settings are fairly intuitive too. Press the P button, and the machine will display “PROGRAM GRINDING? > Press the button, and you can choose “GRINDING <NOW?>“ or “GRINDING <AUTO?>. Press the button again, and you’ll see GRINDING NOW <10c> (or whatever your current or auto settings are). Dial in a lower or higher cup amount - the machine can do down to 4 cups. Press the p button, and you’ll see the taste selection <TASTE NOW <MEDIUM> (or whatever it’s set at currently for now or auto settings). Turning the dial lets you pick mild, medium, or strong. Pressing the P button again sets the new settings.

Pressing the lowest button, marked A, is the auto on button. The machine will display the auto on time and brew strengths you’ve selected, and the light will be green on the lower button.

The machine also knows when it has to be descaled, and can be programmed for different water hardness levels. The front display panel will indicate when it is time to descale the machine.

The rest of the machine

Moving back to the carafe and filter, the filter assembly is 4 parts: filter outer housing including the mechanicals to move back and forth between the grinder and carafe; an inner filter sleeve that can be easily removed for cleaning (nb: it has to be locked into place in the brew very specifically, with it’s handle locked into place, to fit); the gold tone filter, and a special inner “lid” that you can optionally use on top of the filter chamber to reduce coffee grounds static, and also help retain a bit more heat in the filter area.

The carafe is virtually identical to the stainless steel carafes that come with some other Capresso brewers - including the MT500 and CoffeeTEC. Well engineered, and good thermal properties abound. The lid has to be closed tight for brewing, but opened a bit for pouring - little indicators on the turning lid show you where to turn it for these things.

The water reservoir is white translucent plastic, and is not removable. Markings on the side clearly indicate the water levels as it fills up.

The cord is nice and thick, and can be partially stored inside the brewer, to keep it as short or as long as you need it to be.

Using the Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm

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Filter Basket in Grind Position
The filter basket sitting over under the grinder chute, ready to automatically swing back to the brewer side once the coffee is ground.

I already talked a lot about using the CoffeeTEAM Therm in the previous section, but here’s a typical walk through on how to brew with the product, and what happens during the process.

Once you’ve programmed in your preferred brew volumes / grind settings, fill the machine with the amount of water you want to use, and put fresh whole bean coffee in the grinder hopper. Another tweak you can do with the brewer is set the grinder to grind for 8 cups, but only put in 5, 6 or 7 cups of water, for an even stronger brew. The machine doesn’t have a clue how much water you put it - all its programming is channelled to the grinder’s operation.

Swing the filter basket over to the grinder chute until it locks into place, and put the preheated carafe (you preheat it with hot water, then empty it) on its assigned area on the machine. Use #4 paper filters, the Capresso Gold Tone filter, or your choice of aftermarket permanent filters. Press the top power button, and watch the machine go to work.

The grinder will start, and after a brief delay, coffee starts falling into the filter basket. Eventually, the grinder stops, and after a second or two pause, the filter basket automatically swings over to the brewing area, under the top lid, and above the carafe. The carafe lid has to be securely tight - if it’s loose, it sits higher, and can potentially impede the filter basket from securely falling into place. The result will be a mess of brewed coffee on your counter, instead of in the carafe.

The machine starts heating up the water at this point, and depending on how much water you’ve added, can brew from 5 to 8 minutes. It automatically shuts itself off once the brew is completed. The carafe and filter design includes a “drip stop” feature which means you can temporarily remove the carafe and pour a cup.

It’s just that simple. And setting up the night before for a morning cup involves adding water, swinging the filter basket into place under the grinder, putting the carafe in place, and pressing the lower button marked A. It will turn green, and show the time the machine will turn on, and what strength it will brew.In the morning, you wake up  to fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee.

Conclusion

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This is not a review. We’ve actually been putting the Capresso through some paces, and plan a QuickShot review of it soon, but until then, I make no judgement calls on the Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm.

On the surface, it has a lot to offer: fresh ground coffee. A conical burr grinder. Four grind settings. Three brew strength settings. A quality thermal carafe that in previous reviews for other Capresso brewers, really stood out. A nicely engineered system to keep moisture completely away from the grinder. Good looks. Easy to use controls. Capresso’s own claim of 200F brewing temperatures (they can’t print that if it wasn’t true - it’d be grounds for returning the product).

In day to day use does it stand up? You’ll have to wait for the actual review to find out. But in the meantime, on the surface, this is the first “brewer with a timer” I feel comfortable in at least mentioning to people. I can’t stand timers in coffee machines - they lead to crappy, stale coffee. But when the brewer grinds fresh, and grinds using a quality grinder, all bets are off!

Once again, I’d like to thank 1st in Coffee for supplying us with this test model. They sell the Capresso CoffeeTEAM Therm for $299, including free shipping and no sales tax outside of NJ. If you’re interested in buying this brewer, tell Jim you read about this product on CoffeeGeek to get a free pound of coffee.

About the coffee we use for testing

Intelligentsia Coffee

We exclusively use Intelligentsia Coffee for all the product evaluation and testing we do on CoffeeGeek. As one of the United States' best artisan roasters, Intelligentsia features a wide range of ever changing, Direct Trade coffees, limited edition award winning beans, organics and highly respected blends designed for great espresso and brewed cups. They ship throughout North America, so give them a try today.

First Look rating: 8.7
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: April 26, 2007
feedback: (19) comments | read | write
This first look and all its parts are ©2001-2011 CoffeeGeek.com and the first look in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author or this website. This includes all photographs. For information on reproducing any part of this first look (or any images) or if you would like to purchase a printed version of this first look for commercial or private use, please contact us at info@coffeegeek.com for further details.
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