Perfect coffee, when you want it, hot, fresh, flavorful, with very little effort or attention!
Positive Product Points
This is Capresso's latest "453" version, so it does brew at a high enough temperature. The burr grinder a definite plus over other manufacturers blade grinders. Easy to program, easy to clean, and very convenient! The water filter is a plus if you have brackish or highly chlorinated water. Makes great coffee!
Negative Product Points
Grinder needs more control over volume of coffee. Could benefit from thermal carafe. (moot point, since mine gets poured directly from brewing into a thermal carafe) Other non-issues, the bright back light (I don't sleep in my kitchen), the noise (it is much, much quieter than my old Toshiba)
1st~ I owned a now dead Toshiba mill & brew for 23 years, which other than the fact that it had a blade grinder, in my mind remains the definitive design for all mill & brew machines.
2nd ~ I've read many reviews in which this machine is criticized for its inability to brew a strong enough cup! This machine once understood will brew the best conventional cup of coffee you have ever had!
Here's why: The grinder has four (corse to fine) settings, the volume of beans for the grinder is controlled by the 2~10 cup setting, in addition there are three brew strength settings, and a 2~4 cup button (which lengthens the brew cycle).
For example: If I want a very strong 8 cup pot. Grinder setting-fine, bean volume-10, strength setting -3, and use the 2~4 cup setting for longer brew time, and finally use just 8 &1/4 cups of water. While it won't be espresso, I assure you it will be a very strong cup of coffee. (You can do all this in seconds on the program pad, pour in the water and walk away!)
Yes, if I make ten cups, it is strong enough, but it's not really, really strong, so maybe another setting on the bean volume to say #12 might be helpful in some instances, but day to day this machine cannot be outperformed by any other conventional coffee maker.
I cracked the bean hopper transporting the machine in the trunk of my car, and Capresso immediately sent a new one! If this thing lasts as long as my Toshiba, I'll be very happy indeed!
Three Month Followup
Echoing everything I first said -essentialy "great coffe, easy to use", + a couple of minor niggles. First, due to the mechanical transfer nature of the grind cycle to the brew cycle and the full separation of the two processes, grind debris is not all that well isolated, and tends to collect in the nooks & crannies of this machine. This requires careful attention to detail cleaning to keep the water chamber clean. (I use a dry bulb type baster & a small soft brush- works great!) Second, the best flavor seems to come from using a coarse grind, and when you get the strength right with the correct coffee/water ratio ~ this thing is a coffee hog!!! (Believe me I've tried every grind & water combination you can imagine, the finer grind tends to over extract the brew) So, my best full pot uses a two grind process, level 10 grind (coarse) + a level 4 grind (coarse) to a 10.5 cup pot. I have to shut the machine off after the 1st grind and do it again at the 4 level to get enough coffee ground for the 10.5 cup pot. Usually I just opt for the 7.5 cup pot, level 10 grind (coarse), and therefore just one operation. The grinder volume levels are 2,4,6, 8 & 10. It uses approx. twice as much coffee as my old Toshiba. But my oh my, is it ever good!