A coffeemaker is a coffeemaker, right? Ha! As a lover of all things java, I had long abandoned the traditional single-pot structure. Before I had kids, I would painstakingly (and somewhat annoyingly) agonize over a pot of French press each morning. The need for convenience led me to a Keurig that then gave way to a Nespresso machine. (Which I still love very much.)
The pandemic put my coffee making to the test and pushed my consumption to the limit. Between my husband and I, we’d sometimes go through 6-8 Nespresso pods per day. Though that’s still not as expensive as a coffee shop habit, it and the amount of waste it creates adds up. It wasn’t until I was asked to put the Cuisinart Grind & Brew to the test to see if it really is worthy of being named one of Real Homes' best coffee makers that it clicked — duh! There are easier and more affordable ways to enjoy my daily vats of coffee.
Once I dug it out of the box and situated it upon my countertop, I stared at the manual for a good two weeks before deciding to tackle set up. Silly me — as you’ll see, the convenience and ease-of-use factor are one of this coffeemaker’s biggest strengths.
Cuisinart Grind & Brew: Specs
- Water tank capacity: 60 oz./ 12 cups
- Dimensions: 7.48" x 11.20" x 15.16"
- Weight: 10.8lb
- Water filter: Yes
- Warming plate: Yes
- Programmable: Yes
- Warranty: 3 year
Cuisinart Grind & Brew: First impressions & unboxing
What's in the box
- Cuisinart® Grind & Brew™ 12-Cup Automatic Coffeemaker
- Gold tone commercial filter
- Charcoal water filter
- Measuring scoop and brush
- #4 basket paper filters
- Instructions Manual
Weighing in at almost 12 pounds, this coffeemaker certainly demands a lot of space and attention. That said, it does tuck under my cabinets and isn’t too obtrusive. (It should be noted that I am an unofficial minimalist who despises clutter and favors function over form.) It only has a couple of buttons and the carafe is a sleeker version of those clunky old pots we used to sling around back in the aughts.
I loved, loved, loved that, aside from a few requisite pieces of plastic and cardboard, there wasn’t a lot I had to do to get it in working order and not a lot I had to clean up afterward. It came with a bean scoop, a few filters, and, of course, the carafe and maker. Everything was clearly marked and clicked into place without any issue.
The manual. Ahhh, the manual. I opened it and, wouldn’t ya know, there were clear and concise directions presented in a logical order. I rarely read anything before I attempt to use it, which can present problems when a crucial step is buried in the back. I ran a quick pot of purified water through to clear out any dust and was ready to rock.
What's the Cuisinart Grind & Brew like to use?
In a word — a breeze. First of all, the grind feature is huge! I’m not necessarily pretentious about coffee, but certainly choosy, and knowing that I can pick up fresh beans or order them from my favorite coffee shops really elevates the otherwise utility experience. That said, I did have to play around with the measurements before I found my desired brew strength. The scoop included indicated to use one serving of beans for each cup of water and I found that to be a pretty weak pour. Although, I am the girl who enjoys straight-up espresso without any milk or sugar, so do with that information what you will.
We’d had some beans sent to my husband from a vendor from some fancy-schmancy roasterie on the West Coast sitting in our cabinet and I was excited to see if it made a difference in the freshness of our daily pot of coffee. Maybe it was part placebo, but even the Pavlovian response you get to the sound of beans being ground made it feel a wee bit fancier. One more note about the grind feature — it’s noisy! So if you plan to set it for super early or have it in close proximity to sleeping babies, you’ll want to account for the volume.
They included a universal, reusable filter, which should be standard in any counter-top coffeemaker in 2021 as far as I’m concerned. It’s important to line up the basket to prevent the ground beans from getting stuck above the filter. (I’m including this note partially because I’m proud of myself for having actually read the instructions where it mentions it.) I’m not sure if they included the sample paper filters in case you didn’t want to use the universal one included, but I gave them to the kids to occupy them for 17.5 seconds.
The rest of the brewing process was as expected, super simple, and standard. The measurement in the water basin is clearly marked and there are only a handful of buttons on the front of the machine, so you could probably pull off a pot without even cracking the instruction manual which, if you’re like me, is the way you do most things to maximize the amount of time you have to focus.
What can you do with the Cuisinart Grind & Brew?
I waxed poetically about the grinding feature, which certainly did make a difference for me, but you don’t have to use it. You can fill the filter with pre-ground coffee and brew as you would with any normal coffeemaker. You’re also able to pre-program for an early morning pick-me-up.
The Grind & Brew offers options for brewing single servings and a special one to four-cup option that will percolate at a lower temperature so that your coffee doesn’t burn in the brewing process. To that end, you could program a cup of your favorite coffee, put your travel mug under the spout and reduce even more clean-up time and effort.
Unfortunately, you can’t make any fancy coffee creations with this model. Not that I have a lot of extra time each day to spend perfecting my latté art, but it is nice to feel like you have the option! On the flip side, you’re able to whip up 12 cups of freshly ground coffee in under five minutes, which can be handy if you’re hosting visitors…or happen to be the mom of a couple of toddlers.
How does the Cuisinart Grind & Brew compare to similar products?
It’s been a while since I whipped up a big ol’ batch of counter-top coffeemaker coffee, though I do attempt it when I’m visiting my parents. In fact, attempt is the best word for what I do when trying to brew on their contraption because I find it so confusing and frustrating. On the flip side, the Grind and Brew was easy to use immediately, even the grind feature! Once I perfected my brewing ratio, quality of the coffee has been consistent, and the programming function has saved me a lot of time in the morning.
Is it worth the money?
At under $100, it’s a virtual steal! Since I’ve only brewed a few pots, I can’t speak to the longevity of the product, but it seems sturdy and includes descaling and maintenance care to help prolong its lifetime. Again, I think its ultimate value is providing a better quality cup of joe for way less than you’ll spend in virtually any other way. It stretches your dollar and your coffee products as you can brew different-sized pots to suit your daily needs.
The other reason I appreciate the Cuisinart Grind & Brew 12-Cup Coffeemaker is that it aligns with my ongoing efforts to create less waste. From the reusable filters and ability to purchase beans without them needing to be ground and sealed, to the programmable quantity — and even to the way it was packaged for sale — it seems like Cuisinart has created an efficient product.
And back to my discerning palette, I love that the Cuisinart Grind and Brew offers a nod to the coffeehouse experience with the sound of those delicious beans being slashed into human fuel.
Whether I’m making a cup as my family runs out the door for the day or wanting to take it slow on a Sunday morning, I’ll give this efficient tool an A for now!
Cuisinart Grind and Brew: Where to buy
About our reviewer and this review
Allison's first job in high school was as a barista at a local coffee shop, at a point in time where she didn’t even drink coffee. She fell in love with the whole ritual of making coffee then and now admits that she's aged into the kind of woman who requires caffeine to be a tolerable human.
All our reviews, as in the case of the Cuisinart Grind and Brew, 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.