Truly an amazing brewer once you resolve the fast brewing issues (tips in my review)
Positive Product Points
Proper brewing temperature from start of brewing to finish (195F) my Mr. Coffee hit the proper temps just as it finished brewing, not the case with Bunn
Excellent grounds saturation for optimum flavor
Independent hot plate control switch (machine doesn't rely on the hot plate to heat the brewing water) so you can turn hot plate on or off at anytime
Nice 50+ ounce capacity, great for parties or brew a minimum of 20-ounces for yourself
Brews quickly (even with Flow Restrictor spray head available free from Bunn)
Removable filter basket for easy cleaning
Quite brewer with no gurgling or steam eruptions
Filter basket doesn't drip after brewing (no sizzle when you remove the carafe to pour a cup) but I clean my basket right after brewing anyway but its still nice to not have a dippy mess
Negative Product Points
Brews too quickly with standard spray head (email/call Bunn and they will ship you a Flow Restrictor spray head FREE OF CHARGE) and this is a MUST HAVE! See below how I used some toothpicks to plug some holes on the standard head, even better for brewing!
Standard spray head will cause overflows and weak coffee if you don't plug up some extra holes
Carafe not as pour friendly as others I've had but still useable
Carafe lid is cheap but functions
If making several back to back pots the later pots may be too cool (the heating element needs time to heat the fresh cool water entering the tank before brewing)
Regular Bunn filters ok but I highly recommend BUNN part # 20116.0000 "Regular Narrow" filter 9Ĺ" x 3ĺ" as these will completey fill the brewing basket and help avoid overflow while allowing you to use more coffee!
Automatic drip brewing is currently one of the most popular brewing methods in the USA. Sadly most brewers available while inexpensive they most often produce sub par and at times just horrid coffee. This was the challenge I was faced with when my Presto Scandinavian finally died after a year+ of faithful service. Lets face it coffeegeeks abroad have a short list of 'ideal' auto-drip makers and a very small part of that list are machines in the sub $100 dollar category and you can almost forget the >$75 crowd.
I just had to have an auto-drip brewer because itís so convenient. I love my press coffee, my vacuum coffee and yes my espresso, but no other method offers the grind, push a button walk away brewing that auto drip brewing offers. During a busy morning itís all I have time for. So I began to look for an autodrip machine that would suit my coffee tastes and me. I wasn't asking for much but looking at todayís auto maker market maybe I was. I wanted a well-built machine that delivered good, no, great coffee.
One of the most recommended between CG's (coffeegeeks) is the Technivorm line. Amazing machines certified by the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) were certainly well deserving of their $180+ price tag. I didnít have that much. What else could I do? Not another Presto (great brewer, but short lived and not made anymore).
Enter the Bunn. Yes I should have thought of that. Did the research and read the reviews. Many complained of brewers being too cold, or carafes that leaked and then of coarse there was the recall of a few years back. Boy that seemed to generate some reviews and non-to favorable to boot. I decided to take a gamble and choose Bunn. I can tell you I'm glad I did. Lets look at the Bunn in each rating category:
Quality of Product: (8)
This Bunn is nice. It has plastic yes, but it seems to be just fine. I'm not overly fussy here although I do want what I pay for. I feel like I have just that. $100 is a nice amount of money but at nearly half the cost of the Technivorm I really can't compare these to those. The overall quality of this brewer seems adequate. The carafe has a comfortable handle and seems fairly easy to pour. The spout is a little odd but hasn't proven to be any great problem for me. The lid is just a disk of plastic but then again what more you need in a lid? It remains perfectly functional and does its job. The pull out filter basket is a nice sturdy plastic (something lacking on the Presto) and I also appreciate the ability to remove it completely from the machine and clean it. I also really like the clearance from the spray head to the coffee grounds. No grounds on the underside of the machine makes clean up a cinch. All in all the quality seems consistent throughout this brewer and seems to be just fine. It looks and feels like a $100 brewer. No complaints here.
Making coffee with this machine is super easy. After the initial set-up (filling the water tank) brewing is done by adding a decanter of water into the top of the machine (threw the open lid, then leave it open as closing it starts the brewing). Then replacing the decanter on the machine. Add a filter and coffee grounds to the filter basket and insert in machine. Close the lid on top of the machine to start brewing. This is where Bunn really differs from other brewers. They have an internal water tank, which keeps the brewing water at proper brewing temps. This is vital because this ensures the use of water that is at the correct temperature for the whole time the coffee is brewing. My Mr. Coffee took until the end of the brewing cycle to reach good temps but by then most of the pot was brewed with cold water! Adding fresh water to the Bunn and closing the lid displaces the water in the tank by flushing it over the grounds thus brewing the coffee (don't close the lid until the decanter is under the filter basket)! No waiting for the machine to heat the water just close the lid and coffee begins to fill the decanter. Flip the switch for the hot plate on if you choose (its manual). If you are brewing for a thermos to take with you then you don't need to turn the hot plate on at all!
My only significant problems came from filter basket overflows when using the stock flow head. If you have soft water or use fresh roasted coffee (which you are using right?) the coffee will bloom (or bubble) and the filter basket will overflow into the decanter. If you call or email Bunn they will mail you a FREE Flow Restrictor head. Again this is FREE OF CHARGE AND A MUST HAVE in my opinion. The coffee is better (not so weak) and keeps things in the filter where they belong. I wish Bunn would just make the Flow Restrictor included in the box (it can't be that expensive if they will mail you one for free). Installing the Flow Restrictor spray head is simple as it just screws on in place of the stock spray head (unscrew the stock spray head then screw on the new one). No tools needed at all and takes about 3 seconds, literally.
Another alternative is to use toothpicks and plug 2 or 3 holes of the standard spray head. I have done this and prefer it to the Flow Restrictor head. My total brew time went from a brisk 3 minutes to a longer 5:00 minutes. The coffee is strong and full flavored. Truly an amazing brewer once you resolve the fast brewing issues. When plugging just 2 holes brew time is a nice 4 minutes (with 50g of ground coffee) and makes the best coffee I've ever had from a drip machine. Even better then the Presto. With 3 holes plugged and 65g of coffee the brew time is right at 5 minutes.
Definitely buy the BUNN part # 20116.0000 "Regular Narrow" filter 9Ĺ" x 3ĺ" filters from an online vendor (google search for them). They are well worth it! I bought a case that will last me about 3 years (a pot a day).
Cost vs. Value: (8)
I really like the Bunn BX-B; the price tag matches the fit and finish of this brewer.
I like the look of this brewer as well. Lets face it this is a matter of personal preference but I would suspect this brewer would fit into most any kitchen.
Overall Value: (9)
Great coffee for $105. I really like this brewer so far and Bunn have a reputation for longevity. Time will tell in this case but so far I am thrilled with this coffee maker (don't forget the Flow Restrictor head from Bunn). Highly recommended.