Has useful bells and whistles, e.g. "time since brewed" indicator, "resoirvoir full" and "brewing completed" chimes.
Negative Product Points
Poor carafe design in which the plastic flap covering the pouring lip sometimes sticks and makes pouring a messy job.
No brew interrupt.
Poor product reliability coupled with excellent customer service; result: I'm on my 3rd unit in 2 years.
I purchased this unit just after KitchenAid began packaging the coffeemaker without the auxilliary hotplate and 2nd carafe, shown on the right hand side of the pic accompanying this review. As I noted above, I was disappointed in the design of the carafe cover. It had a flap that sometimes stuck closed and interfered with the stream of hot coffee being poured, creating a mess. Neither the appplication of Pam to the hinge point nor gently shaving the edges of the flap appeared to solve the problem. The absence of a brew interrupt valve on the filter basket caused the coffee to dribble out of the filter basket some 10 minutes after the unit indicated that brewing was finished; when I phoned KitchenAid's Customer Service department, the rep told me that she had the same problem with her unit, but fortunately for her, she had experience as a waitress in a diner and she had learned, on the commercial Cecilware units, to remove and effectively juggle the filter basket along with the carafe once brewing was completed. I suggested that perhaps KitchenAid should supply a waitress uniform with each brewer, along with a handkerchief embroidered with the name "Flo Freely" on it.
It is disappointing that despite adequate customer feedback to KitchenAid (read reviews on amazon.com and KitchenAid's own message boards), neither the dribbling carafe cover, nor dribbling grounds basket has been rejigged.
Reliability: Year One: The first unit's "time since brewing" LED failed. K'Aid Customer Service cheerfully sent me a new unit. Year Two: The unit's water dispersion system (the roof of the brewing chamber where the hot water emerges) cracked and I found parts in the spent coffee grounds. K'Aid cheerfully sent me yet another unit.
I see reviews in which the quality of K'Aid's Customer Service department is duly noted, obviously by folks who have had interaction with them, meaning that their experience must have included one or more problems during the warranty period. My objective in purchasing this unit was to avoid the "disposable coffeemaker syndrome". Sadly, the things that prevent this coffeemaker from being a throwaway are not its quality, but rather its price and the alacrity with which KitchenAid is willing to replace units as they fail......not my idea of a good price/value proposition or a good user experience. Yes, its got heft, something that folks equate with longevity - e.g. "this thing is built like a tank" but there is more to favorable mean-time-to-failure than a cast metal body.
Ok - so I have a disposable coffeemaker that works well for as long as it works - not ideal. On the other hand, when I read the reviews of the Technivorm coffeemakers (seemingly among the few other units that bring the water to a sufficiently high temperature to achieve a good extraction), I am astonished to read of an expensive unit that requires its users to manually close off the grounds chamber for a minute or so to saturate the grounds adequately to make up for the absence of a system to ensure uniform hot water distribution onto the ground coffee.
With regard to these pricey appliances, is it really too much to expect that for $250 or so, a drip coffeemaker be produced with a well thought out design, good performance and reliability?
Amazon.com was fine
Three Month Followup
So far, my 3rd unit is still brewing. The two screws holding the strainer/guard atop the resorvoir are rusting, which indiates to me that although the strainer/guard is stainless steel, the screws used to hold it in place are not. Again, a disaapointing issue with a brewer that looks as if its "built like a tank".
Will let you know if/when this unit follows the others to coffee-maker valhalla.