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Bunn Thermal Brewer - Nick P's Review
Posted: March 26, 2003, 9:31am
review rating: 8.8
feedback: (0) 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 126,317 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: 6.0
Manufacturer: Bunn Quality: 6
Average Price: $140.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $130.00 Cost vs. Value 2
Where Bought: K's Merchandise Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: Aficionado Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Capresso Elegance Therm, Bodum eSantos
Bottom Line: The placebo effect or a desire to justify high purchase price has many people terribly overrating this machine.
Positive Product Points

The hot water reservoir is certainly very convenient.  In terms of ease of use no other coffee maker can compare.  The brewed coffee is done so at the right temperature and comes out fairly hot.  A deliming rod is included making maintenance very simple.  I found the aesthetics to be very pleasing, but that determination rests with each individual's own needs.

Negative Product Points

The performance of this machine does not begin to approximate the value indicated by the price tag.  The thermal carafe is next to worthless, I expected much more from Bunn.  Most importantly, the process utilized provides a poor tasting watered down cup of coffee.

Detailed Commentary

Needing to replace my Capresso because of a broken filter holder, I eventually got around to buying the Bunn on acount of the numerous reviews on this site and others hailing it as the Messiah of coffee makers.  Needless to say, it isn't.  Some details of the machine have been exhausted by other reviewers so I will leave them alone (hot water reservoir, difficulty of holding enough grounds in the filter holder, aesthetics...).  

What I want to comment on is the actual taste of the brewed coffee.  I was starkly disappointed in this, and my only conclusion is that other reviewers here have been so convinced of the machine's qualities pre-purchase that they are not truly giving it an unbiased try.  The water runs through the grounds so fast that regardless of how many grounds are used, the coffee never has the thicker texture that is so desirable, it is always watered down.  And logically, this makes sense.  When coffee houses use this technique they are brewing much more than 50 ounces of coffee, so although the water passes over the grounds quickly it does so with sufficient volume to fully extract all the oils from the coffee.  In a sense it is like a french press or vac pot; so much water passes over the grounds that they are almost constantly steeped in hot water.  This is definitely not the case with the home model and its abbreviated brewing schedule.  And if one does not need a full 10 cup pot, then the shortcoming in brewing is even more noticeable.  

Another significant problem is that the thermal carafe does a very poor job of maintaining the coffee's temperature (likely due to an oversight that prevents the carafe from ever really closing out the outside environment).  A thermal carafe that cannot actually be closed, that does not even sound functional.  

Obviously I was not satisfied with my purchase.  I came home after spending nearly 150$ of my very small college student budget expecting to relish in coffee heaven for the foreseeable future.  I believe most other reviewers held the same expectations, and those expectations roundly colored their post-purchase opinions.  I have a hard time believing that anyone who has had experience with a good drip machine, vac pot, or french press is really satisfied with the Bunn.  Comparing a cup of coffee purchased at a local coffee house to one brewed from my Bunn was an almost laughable affair, so great was the difference.  

For now I am using my broken Elegance Therm (which was thoroughly thrashed - and rightly so - in this site's reviews) because I can control the brew better, and while it may not have the same convenience and temperature of the Bunn I know that it will provide me with a very good tasting cup of coffee.  And shouldn't that be what each of these reviews boils down to?

Buying Experience

I bought it at K's Merchandise, a dying department store in my college town.  They had no problems with my return so I would rate my buying experience very highly.

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review rating: 8.8
Posted: March 26, 2003, 9:31am
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