This not a "plug and play" unit, it makes great coffee but it has some quirks.
Positive Product Points
Brew Temp & Speed Carafe Taste
Negative Product Points
There's a learning curve on this coffeemaker. Several fixable quirks could possibly put off some people. See detailed comments.
You can't beat this coffeemaker in the low-mid price range. The coffee comes out hot and tasty with no off flavors or smells. This is notable because after the heating unit finally died on my 15 year old Krups, I went through a couple of supposedly high-quality units that did impart a hot plastic taste to their coffee. I discovered CoffeeGeek around the time I returned the second plastic tasting unit and was impressed by what I read on the Zojirushi. Zoji - whaaaaat? I'd never heard of the brand before reading about it here. After a bit of research, I discovered this was a very widely-sold brand in Japan that is very popular in the countertop appliance and thermal carafe market. Every local outlet for the brand was out of stock (unusual for Atlanta), so I ordered it online from Target.
To shorten the story as much as possible, I have experienced very few negatives with this coffeemaker. The coffee stays hot in the thermal carafe if you preheat it and drinkably warm if you don't. I had to down-rate the Zoji a point bcause it does posess some quirks that you probably need to consider before you buy. I've actually experienced several of the negative comments on this unit but, in my opinion, they fall into the "Quirks" catagory rather than being serious problems. There are fixes for all of the negatives but you need to know about them up front:
Overflowing Pots: Had the problem, fixed it. If you tighten the screw top all the way on the carafe while brewing, you may (or may not) get a counter-full of overflow. A fully tightened top creates some kind of vacuum lock that can prevent the coffee from properly dripping into the carafe. Solution: Unscrewing the top a half turn from full tight fixes this problem instantly. I'm never had another overflow in 2 years after implementing this fix.
Sticking Carafe Tops: Had the problem, fixed it. If your screw-on top is too tight after it expands from heat - a: drop a dish towel over the carafe b: Grasp the towel c: Apply some pressure d: Twist the lid open e: Pour the coffee Works every single time even for my mother who as arthritis.
#4 Filters Too Big: Not a problem - Squish the filter down a little or fold the seams.
Build Quality: No better or worst than any other coffeemaker under $200.
Tepid Coffee: Preheating the carafe makes all the difference. While the coffee does go from super-hot to warm in an hour or so in a cold carafe, running hot tap water into the carafe and letting it sit while you're grinding the coffee and filling the basket extends the cool-down period considerably.
Weak Coffee: More grounds, less water. Problem solved.
Overflowing Basket: This is a legitimate issue. Making a full pot with a fine grind can cause the basket to overflow. In my experience, a fine grind works up to 8 cups. If you're making 10, you'll need to either use a coarser grind or watch the brewing process closely, stirring the slurry if needed to prevent overflow.