We are a nation that loves coffee. It's not just about the caffeine. Freshly ground coffee is touted as the best. People pay higher prices for freshly ground coffee in supermarkets. Better still, they buy the beans and grind them at home before making a pot. The natural evolution here is a combination coffee grinder and brewer. Consumer Reports' top four models all scored excellent for brew performance.
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Burr Grinder Vs. Blade Grinder
Pricier than the blade grinder, the burr grinder crushes the coffee beans and ensure the beans are more evenly ground. The blade chops the beans. The grinder portion of the grinder-brewer combination can be difficult to clean. The two top-rated coffee makers, Mr. Coffee GBX23 and Cuisinart DGB-700BC, both have blades. The Cuisinart DGB-600BC and the Krups have burr grinders.
Brewing Performance and Convenience
The top four grind-and-brew models--Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart models DGB-600BC and DGB-700BC, and Krups KM7000--were rated excellent for brew performance; temperature of water and amount of time to brew the pot. Mr. Coffee was rated good for convenience or ease of use and the others were rated fair. The removable grinding chamber on the Mr. Coffee model allows the user to chose between grinding beans or ground coffee. The pause and serve feature during brewing allows you to pour a cup of coffee while the coffee maker continues to brew.
The Cuisinart DGB-700BC received a rating of excellent for carafe handling white the others were rated very good. Placement and removal of carafes was easy and the carafe handle design made it easy to hold. Both Cuisinarts have thermal carafes and the other two have glass carafes. The thermal carafe will keep the coffee warm after the unit is turned off, one to two hours. Coffee in the glass carafe will only be kept warm while the burner is still on, causing it to become bitter.
All four models are programmable. There is a clock and a timer that can be set to make coffee at a specific time. Automatic shut off can also be programmed. Only the Cuisinart DBG-600BC has a thermal carafe mug, but it is the only grinder brewer that does not have brew-strength control. The convenience of the thermal mug is that a fresh cup of coffee can be taken directly from the brewer to the car.
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