Pod machine or drip machine? It used to be you had to choose, or get both, but not any more. While the third-wave manual coffee has hit the mainstream cafe culture, the type of brewing that most of us do at home is still dominated by the ever-reliable drip coffee makers that can produce some full-bodied cups of Joe. However, its dominance in home kitchens has come under fire with the introduction of convenient single-serve coffee pods that can produce cafe-quality specialty coffees like cappuccinos and lattes at the press of a button. The Cuisinart Coffee Center Grind & Brew Plus (also known as Cuisinart SS-GB1 Coffee Center Grind and Brew Plus) aims to combine these two coffee brewing methods to make the ultimate home coffee maker. It’s a 3-in-1 device that rolls a drip coffee brewer, a blade grinder, and a single-serve K-Cup coffee maker into one convenient unit. In this review, I will test it out in my home over several weeks to see what it’s like to use, how the coffee is, and whether I think it’s a good bet for you.
Cuisinart Coffee Centre Grind & Brew Plus
This is a really smart coffee machine for at home coffee lovers. It does it all and makes great coffee quickly. The drip machine brwes fast and holds up to 12 cups meaning you can brew enough coffee for a large family or a diehard coffee drinker. I think the grinder works just fine. Plus, for those who need a quicker cup on the go, the built-in Keurig pod coffee option is convenient too.
- Makes great coffee fast
- Grinds beans fresh
- Large capacity
- Easy to clean
- Makes drip coffee and uses K-Cups
- Big footprint
- Grinder result can be inconsistent
Cuisinart Coffee Centre Grind & Brew Plus review
What’s in the box?
This coffee machine has a slightly larger footprint than most, but that’s because it does more than average. Inside the box, you get the coffee maker, unit itself, there’s also a 12-cup glass carafe with a removable lid, reusable metal mesh basket filter, a coffee scoop, a charcoal, water filter for inside the tank.
My hands-on video review
When it comes to the machine itself, under the top lid, is the water reservoir access, as well as the grinder, which has its own lid. Worth pointing out is that if you forget to put the lid on the grinder, the machine won’t brew coffee.
At the front of the machine is where you can access the filter basket using a subtle push button. The filter basket swings out front and you can use the included gold tone filter or drop in your own paper filter if you prefer, as I do.
On the right hand side of the machine is the coffee pod brewer. There is a fold down mug rest so you can insert different sizes of cups. At the top you pop in the pods.
Let’s start by taking a look at some of the key features of this automatic, drip coffee machine.
Cuisinart Coffee Centre Grind & Brew Plus Key Features
Right out of the gate, I can see the convenience of having a built-in grinder. I’ve owned numerous grinders over the years from inexpensive blade grinders to more expensive burr grinders. Regardless of that type, these are additional appliances that also take up valuable counter space. But freshly ground coffee makes a huge difference in your morning cup.
And for this reason, Cuisinart gets high marks for including it in the machine. The grinder lives under the top lid in the centre of the machine and holds enough to make a full pot of coffee.
Now it’s not the best grinder in the world. It is, after all, a blade grinder tends to chop some coffee beans into a fine powder while others are crushed into coarse fragments. But it’s still a decent and, more importantly, convenient grinder for home use—particularly if you have been buying pre-ground coffee. What I’m sure of is that a built in grinder is definitely better than using coffee that’s been ground a few days or months prior.
The grinder has a chute that empties directly into the included reusable metal mesh coffee filter, so you don’t need to do a thing. This is a nice feature because it’s much easier to use than most other grinders, requiring you to transfer the coffee grounds from the unit into the filter.
The grinder works quickly, pulverizing the beans in just a couple of seconds. The grinder will continue to run even after it is clearly finished its job, so there’s very little risk of residual beans being left behind.
Brew strength control
This coffee maker has adjuatable brew strength control. It allows you to choose between regular or bold coffee. I’m not exactly sure how this feature works and have never found a satisfying explanation. I personally don’t really notice a difference between the regular or bold brew, but some more refined palettes than mine might.
Included water filter
To maximize the coffee taste, Cuisinart included an activated charcoal water filter in the reservoirs to remove impurities and odors from tap water. This will help you enjoy coffee that’s pure and fresh every time.
Waking up to an aromatic cup of coffee that’s freshly ground is every coffee lover’s dream. With the Coffee Center Grind & Brew Plus, you can make that come to life because of its programmable auto-start feature.
You can set it up to brew at a specific time of the day, and it will do so as long as there’s enough water in the reservoir and coffee in the filter. In my testing, this worked very well, and the clock is easy to program.
Using Cuisinart Coffee Center Grind & Brew Plus
I primarily used this machine to make drip coffee. Are used both coffee beans and ground coffee and was quite satisfied with both. The machine is a quick and effective grinder and it delivers the ground coffee right into the filter, basket without any work required from you, cutting down on any spills or messes. It brews coffee quite quickly also, brewing a full pot in ????
The machine will beep to let you know it’s ready, but if you can’t wait, there’s also a built-in pause and serve feature, which will hold brewing coffee in the filter basket while you splash out a quick cup.
The water reservoir is easy to fill from either the front or the side as the lid opens fully to 90°, unlike some gimmicky coffee makers, I’ve tried previously…
With the water reservoir, full and beans in your grinder, you’ll choose push the carafe button, and then the brew button on the front. If by chance you are using pre-ground coffee, just select the “grind off” button.
The machine does not have adjustable temperature control for the carafe, but it does keep the coffee quite hot.
You can also adjust how long the coffee should stay warm for after brewing, up to 4 hours.
The birth of the coffee pod is one of the most recent developments in coffee culture. You can pop these convenient little capsules into your machine and start brewing immediately. The Coffee Center Grind & Brew Plus is compatible with K-Cup pods and the in-house coffee pod brand, HomeBarista. You can also use reusable coffee pods (sold seperately)if you want to keep down carbon footprint down.
I’m not a huge fan of the Keurig system, (see why in my full review of a Keurig machine) but I did pick up a few pods so I could try out this feature. It operates just like a traditional Keurig machine. Where are you? Pop the pod in and choose the ‘Pod’ option. It will brew 8, 10 or 12 ounce cups, depending how many times you press it. After choosing your size, press the brew button.
Overall, I think this is a really smart coffee machine for at home coffee lovers. It does it all and makes great coffee quickly. The drip machine brews fast and holds up to 12 cups meaning you can brew enough coffee for a large family or a diehard coffee drinker. I think the grinder works just fine and while you could certainly espouse how a burr grinder would produce a finer brew, this gets the job done handily. For those who need a quicker cup on the go, the built-in Keurig pod coffee option is convenient too.
The machine is easy to fill and easy to clean and all of the parts are dishwasher safe. If there are any downsides to this machine, it’s that it is a bit on the larger side, so it might be a challenge to place in some kitchens. But that aside, I think this is an outstandingly versatile coffee maker that can satisfy all the coffee lovers in your home. It sells for about $229USD/$379CAD and you can get it as I did from Amazon.
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