I’ve tested over a dozen coffee makers – some over $1,000 – so I’m pretty good at gauging these appliances. When I was asked to test the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System, I was surprised to discover an under-$100-item that seems poised to compete with more expensive brands, and how it holds up among the best drip coffee makers. After a few weeks of hands-on experience, these are my thoughts on this versatile coffee maker.
Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System: Specs
- Water tank capacity: 60 ounces/12 cups
- Dimensions: 10.25" x 9.50" x 14.30"
- Weight: 10.85 pounds
- Water filter: Yes
- Warming Plate: Yes
- Programmable: Yes
- Warranty: 3 years
Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker: First Impressions and Unboxing
The coffee maker arrived well-packed, which is especially important since it has a glass carafe. The sturdy cardboard used on both the front and back of the coffee maker even has grooves to help cradle it more securely.
The coffee maker also includes a 12-cup glass carafe with an ergonomic handle and brewed coffee markings. There are also 2 charcoal water filters, a filter basket (inside the filter basket holder), and a coffee scooper. A guide, which explains the coffee maker’s features and provides instructions and warnings, is also included.
Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffee maker: Using the coffee maker
If you don’t have the best tap water, the coffee maker includes a charcoal water filter that is designed to remove chlorine, calcium, and other substances. It’s recommended to soak the charcoal water filter for 15 minutes in a cup of water.
I use a water purifier, but still went through the steps to demonstrate how it works. After soaking it (which is only required the first time you use it), , the filter is placed into the charcoal water filter holder, which is then inserted into the coffee maker.
The control panel on the front includes the on/off button, clock display (which displays not only the time, but also auto-on and auto-off times), the hour and minute buttons, and a clean indicator to let you know when it’s time to clean the coffee maker.
There’s also a knob that you can use to select clock, brew, program, auto on, or auto off. In addition, the carafe temperature lets you choose the setting of the heater plate setting (low, medium, or high).
On the right side of the front panel are the hot water system controls. They include the on/off button, water ready indicator, add water indicator, and safety feature (you can set it on lock or unlock).
What can you do with the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System?
Perhaps the only thing I don’t like about the coffee maker is that the LED display doesn’t light up. Since the panel is so dim, you’ll need to look closely to see that the time is 12:38.
The adjustable heating plate has a nonstick coating, and it’s scratch-resistant. The ability to set your desired heating temperature is a welcome feature.
One feature I really like is the ready tone: at the end of the brew cycle, the coffee maker beeps 5 times to let me know it’s ready. Since I don’t have time to stand over the appliance while it’s brewing, this is probably my favorite feature.
Another feature – that I don’t use, but others might like – is the brew-pause. So, if you want to remove the carafe and pour a cup of coffee before brewing is complete, it will stop brewing as soon as you remove the carafe.
The right side of the coffee maker is the hot water maker. To brew hot water for tea or hot chocolate, pour water into the reservoir until it reaches the max fill line. You can’t see the water as you’re pouring it in. However, as you can see in the photo, the add water button will remain lit until you reach the max fill line.
Note: there’s also a charcoal water filter holder for this side as well.
As the water is getting hot, the water reader light will flash. It will stop flashing and turn a solid color when the water is ready.
To dispense water into your cup, depress the dispensing lever. (Note: after I’ve filled the glass mug with hot water, the “add water” indicator comes on again.) There’s also a removable drip tray with grate underneath the glass mug. For a taller mug, the drip tray can be removed to provide more space.
If you don’t plan on using the hot water feature for over a week, the company recommends emptying the water reservoir. Fortunately, it’s not necessary to turn the coffee maker upside down to get all of the water out. There’s a hot water release tab underneath the unit.
How Does the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System Compare to Similar Products That I’ve Used
Honestly, this was the least expensive coffee maker that I’ve tested, so I don’t have a comparison point in this price range. The ability to also make hot water is a feature that many higher-priced coffee makers don’t have.
I usually test coffee makers with a thermal carafe. I prefer thermal carafes because I don’t have to worry about breaking them. And, of course, a thermal carafe retains heat better. However, some people may prefer a glass carafe because it is lighter, easier to clean, and costs less.
As I mentioned before, I really love the beeps that let me know that my coffee is ready. My current go-to coffee maker is the OXO Brew 9 Stainless Steel Coffee Maker. It costs twice as much, and gets a lot of compliments from visitors, but it doesn’t let me know when my coffee is ready.
The hot water system is nice, but just out of habit, I think I would always heat water for tea and hot chocolate in my microwave. But I can see how this feature would appeal to the average consumer.
Another plus? In addition to black/stainless steel, the coffee maker is also available in grey, and in brushed metal/red.
Overall, I found the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System to be a quite impressive offering at this price point.
Where to buy
About this review and our reviewer
Terri drinks (decaf) coffee every day – and can drink it with breakfast, lunch, or dinner. She has tested over a dozen coffee makers – with plans to test at least a dozen more.
All our reviews, as in the case of the Cuisinart Coffee Plus 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker Plus Hot Water System, are based on the real-life experience of using these products at home. The products are given to us free of charge and we test them for as long as possible before sending them back to the brand unless we are able to keep them as we are with this coffee maker. This means that we can continue to use the product which gives us the opportunity to return to our reviews for updating, so you can keep up-to-date with how it's fared over a period of time.