In late August, we bought a new, Cuisinart SS 15 coffee maker to replace our aged, Cuisinart SS 70 K-cup only machine. The SS 15 is a combo K-Cup and 12-cup Carafe system, with a heating plate to keep the carafe coffee warm.
Things We've Noticed
There are two versions of the SS 15 - stainless steel front and black front. We liked the black front better.
The new machine is taller than the old machine, to accommodate the carafe. It's about 14 1/2 inches tall. It still fits underneath a standard wall cabinet that's mounted over the countertop (about 18 inch height), but we must pull it clear of the cabinets to access the carafe and K-Cup compartments. We've placed it on a straw tray so we can easily move it. This really isn't a big deal for us.
The automatic feature isn't totally automatic and works only for the carafe, obviously. There's a five position knob that must be turned to the Auto On position, and then you must press the Brew button to brew a carafe of coffee at the appropriate time the next morning. This process is required every evening.
The not totally automatic feature does not bother us too much, because we stopped using it. Why? The machine emits five rather loud beeps when it finishes brewing the carafe. It wakes us. Because we don't have to get up at a specific time, we just wait until both of us have risen and turn the machine on.
After brewing our first bag of ground coffee, the Clean light lit. After cleaning, using a vinegar and water solution, we brewed another carafe the next morning. The Clean light lit again, so we cleaned again. The Clean light has not come on since then, so maybe we're OK now. And, we may have caused the problem by switching the maker off when the light first illuminated and then turning it on again before cleaning.
With the lid on the carafe, moving it off and onto the heating plate is slightly annoying. But, this has been true for most carafe type brewers we've owned, so no biggie.
The clock light on the display is very bright. Our home has a big room that's a combo kitchen/den arrangement. The main bedroom is adjacent to that combo room, and we sleep with the bedroom doors open. If light bothers you when sleeping, you may want to cover the display overnight. My wife drapes a dish towel over the top so that it hangs over the display.
The old SS70 filled and heated the water immediately after brewing a K-cup. The new, SS 15 does not heat until you begin brewing a K-cup, so brew time is slightly longer, but not overly so. It's also a tad quieter than the old machine while brewing.
There are three buttons for K-cup brew size - 6, 8, and 10 ounce. The old machine also had a 4 ounce option.
The K-cup holder is parallel to the countertop, which makes it a bit more difficult to insert a K-cup. The older machine's holder was at about a 45 degree angle to the countertop, which provided easier access.
The K-cup water reservoir holds 40 ounces, 20 ounces less than the older model. This has been a bit of an adjustment for us, but hey, we're adults around here.
The K-cup reservoir has a built-in, fold down handle to make it easier to install it onto the machine after filling. There's a vertical slot on the reservoir that you engage with a tab on the machine. (If you're a woodworker, think about the dado joinery method.) The old machine had no handle and I cracked the reservoir slightly when I didn't support it properly while reattaching.
Bottom Line - We Like It
We had a tough time deciding if we should buy this unit. Several customers complained about leaks, but we've experienced none. The idiosyncrasies I described above are not issues for us. And the bonus is we can have both K-cups and brewed coffee from the same machine.
We tried to buy it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond using their 20% off coupon on the $199 machine, but they were out of stock. We found it at Target, but the box was damaged. We asked if we could check the machine for damage, but the Customer Service rep gave us 10% off and said we could return it if the machine was damaged. So, we probably got the best deal available at the time.