Cuisinart is the coffeemaker of choice for most homes and offices. Just peek behind the actors in the kitchen of just about any TV show and you’ll find a Cuisinart Grind & Brew or Brew Central coffeemaker. There are a few reasons these have become so popular: the quality and durability; the wide range of styles; the low price point for the quality; and, most important for true coffee-fans, the quality of the brew.
Figuring out the nuances of each of the model takes practice, and instruction booklets often overcomplicate things — after all, you’re really just heating up water and pouring it over ground beans — how difficult can it be? Here is a handy, simple guide to selecting a model and brewing the perfect pot every time.
Guide to Cuisinart Coffeemakers
Coffee on Demand
The single-serve coffeemaker uses real ground coffee beans for a good, simple cup of coffee without the mess of pouring from a pot. Brew up to 12 cups, then dispense one cup at a time. The “fuel” gauge at the top lets you know how much is left in your “tank” of coffee and when it’s time to brew a new pot.
Some like it hotter. If that’s you, the Perfec Temp coffeemaker can brew extra-hot coffee. This unit is great for when you love to add milk but hate when adding creamer cools it too much.
Programmable Coffee Maker
The basic value model has a self-clean feature, can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance, and shuts off automatically to prevent burning.
If you like to linger over a pot or have fewer people drinking coffee in your workspace, a thermal carafe keeps coffee hotter, longer. The steel carafe offers the added protection of being more durable than its glass counterparts.
Grind & Brew
These models come with grinders that let you add whole beans to your coffeemaker. The unit can adjust the strength of the grind based on your preferences. You can also add ground coffee directly to the basket – just be sure to turn grind off before you brew. Never add ground coffee to a whole bean receptacle.
Don’t forget the tea lovers out there
Some coffeemakers come with a hot water dispenser that’s perfect for tea, cocoa, or instant oatmeal. Great for a finicky crowd!
- Fill the water reservoir with the number of cups you will be brewing. Recent Cuisinart coffeemaker models have an easy-to-read fill gauge that indicates the water level as you fill it.
- Most coffeemakers have a 1-4 cup button to press if you are brewing a smaller pot.
- Add a paper filter to the coffee grounds basket or use a gold-tone reusable filter.
- Measure and place the ground coffee directly into the basket if you have ground coffee, or place the whole beans into the hopper if you are using a grind & brew coffeemaker. The general rule is one level tablespoon per cup you are brewing, but more on that below. For automatic grind & brew coffeemakers, be sure there are enough beans in the hopper before brewing.
- Turn the coffeemaker on and be sure it’s plugged in. Turn the knob to brew and press start. This will vary according to the coffeemaker. The machine will beep once the coffee has completed brewing.
- Enjoy your first cup of coffee!
Cuisinart Coffeemaker tips and secrets
- The maximum capacity for most Cuisinart coffeemakers is two tablespoons more than the number of cups your pot can make. If you have a 10-cup coffeemaker, the most you can use is 12 tablespoons of coffee.
- Some models have a “sneak-a-cup” feature where you can remove the pot while it’s still brewing and sneak a cupful without having the brewed coffee spill out into the empty space. When you replace the coffeepot, the coffee will continue flowing into the pot. If you aren’t sure, have a spare cup ready to catch the drip while you sneak the pot out!
- Some models can be pre-programmed. This is ideal when you want to wake up to a fresh pot of coffee. Simply set the coffeemaker up and program it up to 24 hours in advance. Be sure the current time is correct before programming a new start time.
Troubleshooting – What’s that beeping?
- Depending on the coffeemaker you have, it may beep to let you know the coffee is ready. This is a normal sound and will eventually produce a pavlovian response of joy as you get used to pairing this signal with the imminent arrival of coffee.
- If the machine beeps as soon as you turn it on, check to be sure you have cleaned out the basket of old grounds before brewing. Check to make sure the coffee pot lid and the basket lid, if there is one, are in place. Be sure there are enough beans in the hopper for an automatic grind & brew unit. Once you have cleared the error, the machine should stop beeping.
- Occasionally while cleaning or moving the coffeemaker, a button can be accidentally pressed and the machine will start beeping. If you’re not ready to make a new pot, you may need to reset the coffeemaker by unplugging it and waiting a minute before plugging it back in.
- Some coffeemakers have a self-clean function or will alert you to clean out certain parts of the unit. If you have a grind & brew unit, a beeping may be a signal that you need to lift the coffee bean basket and brush away any grounds that have accumulated before brewing a fresh pot.
Brew the perfect cup of coffee with any coffeemaker
The elements of coffee are simple, yet it’s so easy to make terrible coffee. Follow these guidelines to ensure every pot of coffee you brew is perfectly satisfying.
Element 1: water
Coffee is 98% water. Use fresh, cold, filtered water to brew your pot for better taste and a cleaner machine.
Element 2: coffee
All the flavor comes from the beans you choose. Good quality beans make better coffee. Grinding beans fresh makes fresher-tasting coffee, but buying beans that are already ground can ensure the proper consistency and cuts out the hassle of grinding them yourself. Contrary to what you may have been taught, keeping beans or ground coffee in the freezer does not keep them fresh. In fact, they may lose their flavor or take on the flavors from your freezer if left in too long. Buy a two-week supply of fresh or ground coffee at a time and keep coffee beans in a cool, dry place to keep your coffee tasting fresh.
Element 3: grind
If you are grinding the coffee separately or you buy the coffee already ground, pay attention to how fine the ground is. If it’s too fine, the coffee will be over-extracted and will taste bitter. It may also clog the filter. If it’s not ground enough, the water will pass through too quickly, resulting in weak coffee. Cuisinart suggests the following guidelines for selecting your grind based on the coffeemaker:
- For drip coffee, select a medium-fine grind.
- For espresso, use a coarse grind.
- Select extra-fine for a French Press.
Element 4: proportion
Weak coffee can be so disappointing, and coffee that’s too strong can ruin your morning! A general rule is use one tablespoon of coffee per brewed cup. Most coffeemakers come with a one tablespoon measuring spoon. You can adjust the amount of coffee you use based on your taste and based on the strength of the beans you’re using. If brewing a 12-cup pot, for example, add 12 level tablespoons of coffee.
Cleaning your coffeemaker
After each pot, empty the used grounds from the basket. Throw out paper filters. Reusing them results in bitter-tasting coffee. Rinse reusable gold-tone coffee filters, the coffee pot, basket, and any other reusable parts that come into contact with the coffee or grounds with warm water and gentle soap. Let the parts air dry to avoid clogging the coffeemaker with lint or towel fuzz. Wipe the base clean with a damp, lint-free towel.
For grind & brew coffeemakers, lift up the coffee bean basket to brush away accumulated coffee grounds once each week to avoid build-up and clogs.
Change the charcoal filter every three months by rinsing the new filter under warm tap water and replacing the old one. The location of the filter is different on every model.
For a thorough cleaning, clean your coffee pot monthly or weekly, depending on how often you use it. Use a solution of 1/3 vinegar with 2/3 water and run it through the system as though you’re making coffee without the grounds. There will be no leftover vinegar smell or taste, but if you are concerned, you can follow up by brewing a full pot of water by itself.
Some models are self-cleaning and may alert you to when a cleaning is needed. Since self-clean systems vary, consult your coffeemaker’s online or paper manual for complete instructions.
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