You get a lot of bang for your buck and a great fresh cup of coffee from this machine.
Positive Product Points
Easy to program and use. It has four grind settings using the same burr filter that they use in their expensive line and three strength settings to fine tune the final product. It came with a DVD which made the setup fool proof. Extremely easy to clean as you only have to rinse off the filter holder, goldtone filter (if you don't use paper), the lid on the filter holder and the carafe on a daily basis. This takes about 1 minute and I leave them out on the counter to air dry. The chute from the grinder has to be cleaned out every 1-2 weeks and that is also a simple process that takes 2-3 minutes at best.
Negative Product Points
The container that holds the beans cannot be removed. So if you wish to switch from one type of bean to another you cannot simply remove this container, turn it over and empty it. Instead you have to scoop out all of the beans before replacing them with your new selection. So far, this is my only major complaint about this model and hopefully they will improve upon it in the future.
Please note that this review is for the Coffee TEAM S model #454 which is the improved version of #453 that most of the reviews are on. Capresso claims that the coffee is brewed at 200 degrees and when in the carafe it is 180 degrees. I have no complaints about the temperature of the final product. I prefer my coffee strong and have set it that way. I addition, if the coffee still isn't strong enough to your liking, put in less water than usual and the machine does not know the difference.
The machine also has a carbon filter that removes chlorine and other water impurities. I have a double filtration water system in my kitchen so I don't need to use it. For people with unfiltered water this is a big plus.
There is a 2-4 cup slow brew feature which is extremely helpful if you aren't making a full pot.
The Capresso comes with a #4 goldtone filter and you can also use #4 paper filters if you wish.
The display has a backlight which cannot be turned off. This may annoy some people, but I like the idea, especially when walking into my kitchen when the lights are off.
I know that many people hate glass carafes with a plate warmer and opt for a stainless carafe. This model does keep my coffee hot without scorching it. Perhaps Capresso should consider making a version with a stainless carafe and no heating plate for a few dollars more that doesn't compete with their $299 Coffee THERM all stainless model.
I purchased this machine after returning two of the Cuisinart 700/900 series "Grind & Brew" models that had terrible grinder clogging issues. I couldn't be happier so far with the Capresso. Also the grinder on the Capresso has four settings compared to one course setting on the Cuisinart. In addition, the Capresso uses a cone filter while the Cuisinart 700/900 "Grind & Brew" models have a basket type filter. The Capresso cone filter is definitely superior when it comes to brewing and uses much fewer beans than the Cuisinart's basket filter models. Therefore you will experience a nice savings in the cost of your coffee purchases over a period of time.
Three Month Followup
I am really happy that I returned the Cuisinart 700/900 series "Grind & Brew" models. After 3 months I still love this machine. I have only cleaned out the feeder chute once (wasn't needed) although the manual suggests that you do it every 2 weeks. Every cup is piping hot!
Once again, I think that the only negative point is changing the beans as previously mentioned.
One Year Followup
After one year I am pleased to report that this machine is still making one perfect cup after another. I have not had a single problem with it and I am extremely pleased with my purchase.
The only negative which I have previously written about is the fact that you cannot easily switch from one type of bean to another and must use up whatever you have stored in the bean holder first. There are times that I would have liked to make a cup or two of decaf and it is not worth the hassle of turning the machine upside down and shaking all of the beans out first.