If you love the taste of fresh coffee but dread the early morning grinding-and-brewing routine, the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew is a convenient solution. This handy gadget packs a burr grinder and a classic drip coffee maker into a single device.
Just add beans and water, push a button, and the machine does the rest. Since it’s programmable, you can choose a grind/brew time before going to bed and waking up to freshly brewed coffee.
Whether you’re dealing with fast-paced mornings or you’re not a morning person, the Cuisinart DGB-900BC is a small luxury with significant, stress-reducing benefits.
Features of the Cuisinart Grind & Brew Thermal 12-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker
The Cuisinart Grind & Brew is an investment, but the price comes with a few significant perks. The most obvious is the hybrid design, which includes a high-end integrated grinder. Any time you brew a pot, the machine automatically grinds and dispenses the correct amount of coffee. When purchased separately, similar grinders often retail for an average of $100.
Some of the other features you’ll find on the Cuisinart DGB-900BC include:
- The coffee bean hopper comes with an airtight lid to keep beans fresh
- Grind and strength settings for custom brewing
- Automatic shutoff for safety
- Included charcoal filter for water tank
- A permanent metal coffee filter reduces paper waste
- Programmable settings using a 24-hour clock
- Showerhead to distribute water evenly over coffee
- Brew Pause technology enables mid-cycle pours
- Filter basket cover to direct freshly ground coffee
- Grind Off button allows use with ground coffee
- Scoop/brush combo for dispensing and cleaning
Cuisinart DGB-900BC Review: Pros and Cons
- The space-efficient design combines a burr coffee grinder and an automatic coffeemaker
- 24-hour programming and timer grinds and brews automatically
- Charcoal water filter for pure flavor and aroma
- The thermal carafe keeps coffee warm all morning
- User-friendly controls for easy programming
- Convenient volume settings of 2-12 cups
- Cleaning the integrated grinder is time-consuming
- Maximum brew-strength may not be strong enough for some coffee drinkers
Integrated Burr Grinder and Grind Controls
As any artisan barista will tell you, the grinder is one of the most critical components in the coffee-making process. This is where the Cuisinart Grind and Brew truly shines — it features a built-in burr grinder, which is widely considered the best grinder.
In comparison to cheaper bladed grinders, models with burrs create more uniformly sized coffee grounds. The consistent size translates into a cup of coffee with a balanced flavor.
The built-in Cuisinart burr grinder works like a dream, as long as you’re willing to clean it frequently. (For more on that, see the “Drawbacks” section below.) The burrs work precisely as designed, producing ground coffee that’s perfectly sized for the DGB-900BC. Just as importantly, you don’t have to give up valuable counter or cupboard space for a separate grinder.
To accommodate different taste preferences, the Cuisinart burr grinder comes with adjustable grind settings. The grinder automatically uses a medium-size grind, which is the best fit for this type of machine.
There’s no way to adjust the grind settings, but if you want a stronger or weaker cup of coffee, push the Strength Control button to choose mild, medium, or strong.
One of the most convenient features of the Grind and Brew is the Grind Control dial. It has six different volume options ranging from 2 to 12 cups of coffee. Whether you need one serving on the way out the door or a whole pot for weekend brunch, all you need to do is turn the dial. The machine regulates the amount of beans and water to match your selection — no measuring or guesswork is required.
Using the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Coffee Maker
If convenience is your primary goal, the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind and Brew delivers. Prep time is minimal; fill the water reservoir and pour up to 8 ounces of coffee beans into the transparent hopper.
You’ll need a steady hand to add water since the reservoir opening is tucked into the tiny space behind the hopper. However, the flip-up lid is easy to access, and you can use the carafe spout to pour water without spilling.
Have you ever felt intimidated by the mysterious buttons and settings on an espresso machine or a high-end coffee machine? With its simple, intuitive control panel, the Grind and Brew is a breath of fresh air.
The buttons are clearly labeled, and the LCD display shows the selected strength and timer settings. Plus, since this machine comes with 24-hour programmability, you can wake up to the aroma of fresh coffee.
The process is fast and easy:
1. Add water and coffee beans
2. Turn the Grind Control dial to select 2-12 cups of coffee
3. Push the Strength Control button to set the brew strength
4. Press the Program button until the clock flashes
5. Use the Hour and Minute buttons to set your desired brew time
6. Press the Program button until the adjacent indicator light turns green
At your chosen time, the DGB-900BC will grind the beans and start brewing. The machine remembers the last timer setting; push the Program button to activate it. If you wake up at the same time every day, this feature ensures that there’s always a hot pot of coffee waiting in the kitchen.
For instant brewing, push the On/Off button at any time. Feel free to sneak a cup; the brew-pause technology automatically stops the process for 20 seconds when the carafe is removed.
Some of the best features of the DGB-900BC are small elements that make your life easier. The floating water-level indicator is bright red and easy to see, even if the coffeemaker is tucked into a dark corner of the kitchen.
Indicator lights next to the buttons on the front panel eliminate guesswork — with a glance, you can tell if you remembered to program the brew time or turn off the grinder.
Forgot to empty yesterday’s used coffee grounds? The machine will beep when you try to brew coffee or program a future brew time, reminding you to clean out the filter basket.
Style and Design of the Cuisinart Grind and Brew
With its run-of-the-mill design, the Cuisinart Grind and Brew is a relatively understated addition to your kitchen. If it weren’t for the hopper, which rises about 1 inch above the top panel, you might not be able to tell it apart from a standard coffee maker.
The rectangular body is streamlined and lined with steel; it pairs nicely with stainless-steel appliances and looks equally appropriate in ultra-modern lofts and comfortable family homes. Sleek black plastic lines the interior, bringing out matching elements on the carafe.
While the DGB-900BC isn’t a masterpiece of modern design, it’s entirely inoffensive. The elegant brushed finish helps hide fingerprints. Adding to the elevated look is the metal control panel, which features slick, monochromatic buttons.
How Big is the Cuisinart DGB-900BC?
A coffee maker takes up a significant amount of space on a kitchen counter, and the Cuisinart DGB-900BC is no different. It’s a bit bulkier than standard drip brewers, weighing close to 10 pounds, but the dimensions are similar to other high-end machines.
The most significant limiting factor is the depth, which comes in at a whopping 11.61 inches. You probably won’t notice it in a big kitchen, but the bulk can eat up valuable workspace in a small apartment.
Standing 16.34 inches high, this machine is also considerably taller than most conventional models. Given that it eliminates the need for a grinder, the extra bulk is well worth a few inches of counter space.
Drawbacks of the Cuisinart DGB-900BC Grind & Brew
Like any mid-range coffee maker, the Cuisinart DGB-900BC has a few drawbacks. Some are minor; it takes a while to get the hang of filling the reservoir without spilling, for example. Since the water-level indicator is only visible from the right side, it’s hard to see when the machine is pushed against a wall or appliance.
Although this model has three different strength settings, they’re calibrated to an average taste palate. If your dream cup of coffee is dark and intense, this model might leave you wanting more. Check out the “Tips” section below for ways to maximize flavor.
Cleaning is the biggest issue with the DGB-900BC. Cuisinart recommends that you clean the filter basket, cover, and carafe after every use. Once every 1-2 weeks, you’ll need to clean the hopper and coffee chute; this translates to one cleaning every 7-10 uses.
Dealing with the hopper is as simple as washing and drying the components. Cleaning the chute is a bit of a hassle — you’ll need to remove all of the beans and use the included brush to pry the coffee dust from the crevices. Once you get the hang of it, the process takes about 5-10 minutes.
Do the benefits of the Grind and Brew outweigh the drawbacks? That depends. If your main goal is daily convenience and time savings, the DGB-900BC is a lifesaver. The automatic programming and all-in-one design streamlines your routine and eliminates early morning hassle.
If you’re not willing to commit to weekly cleaning, you’re better off with a separate grinder and coffee maker.
Can You Use the Cuisinart Grind and Brew with Ground Coffee?
Don’t worry if you run out of whole coffee beans — this Cuisinart coffeemaker can also accommodate pre-ground coffee. Push the grind off button, and the machine will automatically skip the grinding step. Remember to add coffee to the gold-tone filter basket, which is hidden behind the front panel.
Tips for Getting the Best Coffee from the Cuisinart DGB-900BC
Like any investment coffeemaker, the DGB-900BC has its quirks. Most stem from the combination grinder/brewer design, which requires careful calibration and setup. Some of the best ways to get the best possible coffee are:
1. Use the charcoal filter correctly: This model comes with a charcoal filter that helps remove impurities from your tap water. It’s exceptionally effective at taking away the taste of chlorine and minerals; it also eliminates odors that can interfere with the coffee-drinking experience. Before you use the filter, soak it in a dish of cold tap water for 15 minutes. Replace the filter every two months. If you have hard water, replace it every six weeks.
2. Line up the arrows on the filter basket cover: When you replace the filter basket or paper filter, you’ll have to put the lid back on the basket. Ensure to line up the arrows carefully; it ensures that the freshly ground coffee can fall into place without backing up. This is one of the easiest steps to miss, but it significantly impacts how the machine works.
3. Replace coffee beans frequently: Fresh coffee beans offer the best flavor, so it’s essential to add fresh beans after every brewing cycle. This prevents the beans from drying out and losing flavor in the hopper. If you brew a few cups at a time, consider filling the hopper to the halfway mark.
4. Rinse the carafe before brewing: High heat is essential in the coffee-making process. Remove the pot lid and rinse the carafe with hot water right before brewing to keep your coffee at the best temperature.
5. Add the correct amount of ground coffee: When using pre-ground coffee instead of whole beans, use one scoop per cup. This model is designed to use no more than 16 level scoops. Using more can cause the grinds to overflow the filter basket and make their way into the carafe.
Cuisinart DGB-900BC: Final Thoughts
When you’re in the market for an all-in-one coffee grinder and brewer, the DGB-900BC stands up well to the competition. It’s easy to use, but more importantly, it saves time and effort on busy mornings.