In Search of the Ultimate Coffee Fix – Take 2

I am often reminded by the actions of my customers how kind and thoughtful they are and at times I am taken by surprise when I am at the receiving end of unsolicited acts of kindness from people I know only from afar.  They usually touch me with their words and their personality through the phone and emails but this time the surprise came in a small box.

I opened an unexpected box at the store that was addressed to me and smelled suspiciously familiar, which contained a bag of coffee beans and the sender (I learned later), was Hilary.   

Il Fornaio Italian Dark Roast Hilary sent a bag of Italian dark roast (originating from Il Fornaio in CA – a restaurant with which I have no affiliation financial or otherwise).  At a first sniff the roast smelled like Turkish coffee and the beans, while bigger, have the pale roasted look of Turkish coffee beans.  Dunking my nose into this bag became a hourly pleasure and I kept asking the others in the store to do the same.

I decided to take the beans home for testing and found that my faithful coffee maker of 4 years had given up on me.  The plate was not heating.  I was sad but I though the $30 investment for this coffee maker was well returned and started looking for a new one.  After a little bit of research I decided to try a Cuisinart 12 cup coffee maker - warning, a frank product evaluation is about to follow.

Cusinart DCC-1200 - The Worst Coffee Maker Ever! If you find this coffee maker by Cuisinart on a substantial sale I would suggest you walk the other way.  I for one would not take it if it was given to me free (and it was, I used credit card points and therefore, I am stuck with it).  It makes by far the most hideous-rank cup of coffee I have drank and I have drank a large selection of not-so-good cups of coffee.  I think if there was a punishment-by-coffee it would most definitely be made with this drip coffee maker – what a waste of good coffee beans!

This coffee maker by Cuisinart fails to heat the water to a degree that is necessary to brew a good cup of coffee leaving the drinker with a sour and odd tasting concoction that is barely warm even immediately after brewing.  If you leave the coffee in the carafe long enough the plate may heat it up a little bit but I found that the coffee starts smelling almost moldy-sour-burnt after 15 mins on the plate. 

Here is an analogy, think of your sink full of dirty dish-water from night before.  Then imagine pouring coffee from previous morning into the sink and dipping a mug into that water and drinking it.  For me the experience of drinking a cup of coffee from Cuisinart’s coffee maker is exactly the same.  Long story short – I now have a useless coffee machine.  Do you guys have any suggestions for an alternate use for this contraption?

So I decided to try my beans in a French press by Bodum instead.  My French Press   French presses in general make a pretty stiff cup of coffee, much more so than drip coffee makers so I was cautious when I ground my beans and measured them with a shy hand.  I found that this was a smart move on my part as the Il Fornaio Italian roast makes one strong brew.

My Mug from Uwajiyama I picked my cup and went for my first sip (one must have the right cup for the brew – this was a Japanese made mug that I scored at Uwajiyama, a major Asian grocery store at Seattle’s International District). 

Il Forniao’s Italian roast is not a coffee for the light hearted coffee drinker.  This is the true coffee drinker’s brew.  It is earthy (I mean that, really earthy!), with a definite aroma of the darkest chocolate, coffee liquor and may be a hint of Turkish coffee’s nutmeg.  If coffee could be rated as sweet and dry (similar to wine), this is the driest end of the spectrum.  I found no after taste or burned coffee smell even after 30 mins in my carafe tho it did sour a tiny bit.  Still, I went for a second cup after 30 mins and drank with a smile.  No major caffeine rush but a great zip for the morning. 

Thank you Hilary for your kindness and for introducing me to Il Forniao’s Italian roast.

I am now in the market for a new drip coffee maker.  Any and all suggestion would be appreciated.

Wishing you a great Labor Day week.

11 thoughts on “In Search of the Ultimate Coffee Fix – Take 2

  1. It’s not quite a drip coffee maker, but allow me to suggest my coffee system: Filtron . There’s very little mess, and a pound of coffee beans will last for somewhere around 4 weeks. The most soothing part for me is that there is no acid in the coffee so I don’t feel ill later. I’ve been using it for about 3 years and even with cheaper grocery store coffee it’s always good. I’m not affiliated at all, by the way. Just a huge proponent of good coffee. Good luck with whatever you choose!

  2. We use an electric percolator. not as messy as a bodon. Just as messy/not messy as a drip. (one good flick in the trash empties the grounds) It makes a decent cup.

  3. I love the bodum santos. For the very best coffee I’ve ever had, it’s always been the vacuum brew. However, I had to get a different machine after mine broke (after 4-5 years maybe) and they don’t sell the Santos in Canada. I went for a Krups which does the job. I’d suggest contacting Cusinart about your coffee maker. It could very well be defective. You should at least try to get it replaced before writing it off.

  4. There’s nothing worse than bad coffee. I don’t use regular coffee makers (because they often have the water heating problems that your CuisinArt does), but I currently have three methods for brewing coffee at home. French press, Mokapot (this makes something closer to espresso on your stovetop), and a manual filter cone brewer. I would recommend the filter cone for you…it works basically the same as a regular drip brewer, except you heat the water (thus controlling the temperature) and pour it into the filter. There are a few different kinds, but check out this page” for a thorough overview of what’s available. I have the basic plastic one (toward the bottom of the page). I’ve heard the Chemex is very good.

  5. I was thinking you could add a little Eucalan with the coffee you make from you Cuisinart and market this new product as Koffee Kleaner! The mug is cool, knitting on!

  6. not drinking coffe on a daily basis, i have a french press, so it doesn’t clutter the counter. that was the goal. hubby however brought home the coffe to go thing. two travel mugs that the coffee is brewed into, it actually isnt to horrible.
    and wow! i ordered and had my yarn from you in maybe 3 days! you have some great girls working for you! :-)

  7. Oh bad coffee woes!! Poor Sue–you gotta have some good coffee to keep up with your “to-do” list! I use a Melita manual cone filter/brewer–same method as Katie. I love it–very low-tech, and totally easy to control all the variables in a good cup of coffee.

  8. Hi, Fulay. I love that mug! I can’t suggest a coffeemaker because we have unplugged our Mr. Coffee for good; it’s Bodum French press all the way …

  9. I’m late to the party, because I just found this discussion room. However, I do have a love of great coffee. I have a “The Toddy” coffee maker, where you grind a pound of coffee, put it in the top part and fill with cold water. You then let it sit for about 12 hours, pull the plug and let it filter into the carafe (takes an hour or so). It makes a concentrate that you can store in the fridge for a week or more. Whenever you want a cup, you boil up some water and add it to the to the concentrate in your mug to taste. Since I like a strong cup and my husband likes it weaker, this works well for us. I also use your basic cheap Mr. Coffee-type maker for whole pots and have had no real problems. They last for years and when they finally break down, they go bust and it’s time for a new one. They do “burn” the coffee if you leave them on too long, but it takes awhile.

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