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Bunn Thermal Brewer - David Hardacre's Review
Posted: October 17, 2006, 2:59pm
review rating: 4.5
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Bunn Thermal Brewer
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More About This Product
Arrow The Bunn Thermal Brewer has 23 Reviews
Arrow The Bunn Thermal Brewer has been rated 6.64 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since February 3, 2003.
Arrow Bunn Thermal Brewer reviews have been viewed 126,672 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Nick P 8.80
Chris A 8.50
Terry James 8.00
Zach Georgopoulos 8.00
Michael C 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.4
Manufacturer: Bunn Quality: 9
Average Price: $140.00 Usability: 4
Price Paid: $148.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Lowe's Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 6 months Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Good coffee, durable machine, outstanding customer service.  I will never buy another brand of coffeemaker besides Bunn.  I can't imagine someone being dissatisfied with this machine.  (3/15/07):  Read the update to see why I can imagine it now.
Positive Product Points

Brews very quickly.  Very hot coffee.  The coffee is consistently good.  Very sturdy, durable machine.  Bunn's customer service is so good it's scary.  Really.  I'm not kidding.

Negative Product Points

I guarantee you will spill water at least once all over whatever surface the machine is sitting on.   Cleaning the machine is a bit involved because of the water reservoir.  It takes some effort to make sure all the vinegar is flushed out of the machine.  Some of the reviews have mentioned that the thermal carafe could keep the coffee hotter longer.  That is true.  The carafe is not a true vacuum thermos, just a double wall stainless steel "pot."  It does a fairly good job, but if you like really hot coffee, you've got about one hour after brewing.  It does help to preheat the carafe with hot water before you brew.

Detailed Commentary

I used this site to do research before I bought my machine, so now, after nine months of ownership, I want to give back by posting some followup thoughts.   I bought a Bunn after reading some of the positive reviews of the thermal carafe model.   I needed a new machine because I was sick of the burnt taste the cheap Mr. Coffees all produce after a few weeks.  I learned on this site that taste is caused by the aluminum heating element corroding over time.  That explains why after a few months no matter how much you clean those cheapies, you can't get rid of that taste.  According to the reviews (and Lois, the Bunn customer service associate I just spoke to) the Bunn has a stainless steel water tank and heating element that won't corrode.  That sold me.

Now, nine months later, how have things panned out?  Well, Bunn's customer service is the poster child to rebut the contention that customer service is dead and nobody takes care of their customers anymore.  The carafe that came with the machine poured fine at first, then after a few weeks it started dribbling coffee randomly.  Some pours were fine, some were all over.  I called Bunn's toll-free number (800-352-2866), expecting the normal crap (i.e. voicemail, someone who doesn't speak English well, arguing about whose fault the problem is, etc.).  Instead, I was surprised to actually speak to a very pleasant, helpful, articulate woman who told me that they knew about the problem and the carafe was being redesigned.  She took my name and address and told me that as soon as the new ones were available, she would send me one at no charge.  And guess what?  That's exactly what happened!  Hallelujah!  Saints be praised!  Holy crap!

They have also sent me the special water sprayhead that slows down the water flow rate and a coffee measuring scoop for free.  Admittedly, the scoop should be included with the machine and I don't know why it isn't.  I tried the slow flow sprayhead and didn't notice any difference in taste, and I don't have the problem of the grounds overflowing the filter (you do have to use Bunn filters, others are too short) so I went back to the regular one because it's faster.  This machine is in my office, and after my positive experience with it, I bought a second one for home.

Buying Experience

I bought it at Lowe's because I had a gift card and they carried three of the four home models.

Three Month Followup

Here is my update after fourteen months of ownership (3/15/07):  As I said in my original review, I had problems with the original carafe dribbling.  Bunn did send me a redesigned carafe free.  However, this one does the same thing.  There is another Bunn BT-10B elsewhere in my office and its updated-design carafe dribbles also.  I can't tell you how irritating it is to be constantly cleaning up hot coffee spills.  My paper towel budget is busted.

As a result, after fourteen months of trying to solve the carafe problem (I have had two new-design ones in addition to the one that came with the machine), I have thrown in the towel.  I called Bunn two days ago and told them I would take them up on their previously-made offer to refund my money.  I have to give them credit for that:  I didn't buy it directly from them, and it has been over a year since I bought it (1/12/06).  FYI:  This machine has a three year warranty.  Bottom line:  I love the machine and the coffee, but the carafe is absolutely maddening.  I have no idea why it is so difficult to design a thermal carafe that pours straight.  By the way, the one I bought for home is the same model but with the glass carafe, and it pours fine.  My wife uses that one and she doesn't mind the hotplate.

So I'm back to researching a new machine.  I read everything I could find about the Technivorm KBT-741, but decided against it for three reasons:  1) The process of making coffee seems inordinately finicky, which might appeal to someone who enjoys screwing around with that sort of thing, but that's not me.  I just want a coffeemaker that makes good coffee, will continue to do so for many years and doesn't make me nuts in the interim.  2) One review mentioned the new thermal carafe doesn't pour well.  Man, I'm not doin' that again.  3) I have a hard time justifying spending $200 on a coffeemaker.  I guess I'm just not a true blue coffeegeek.

Anywho, I read elsewhere on this site about a deal on Newco machines through the Green Coffee buying club.  I followed the directions listed by CraigA in the coffeegeek forum "Machines and Brewing Methods" ("Best Coffee Maker that reaches 200 degrees..." thread) and called Joann Nemetz at Newco [(800) 325-7867 x3303] and ordered the 12 cup OCS-12 for $92 plus shipping.  This machine costs $170 retail.  They also sell an 8 cup OCS-8 for $69, but they were out of those and I wanted the bigger carafe anyways.  I noticed that there are not any reviews of the OCS-12 on this site, so once I get it I'll be back.

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review rating: 4.5
Posted: October 17, 2006, 2:59pm
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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