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Mr. Coffee Thermal Optimal Brew Coffeemaker Review

Home Test of Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew, 10-Cup Thermal Carafe

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Mr. Coffee Thermal Optimal Brew Coffeemaker Review

Mr. Coffee Thermal Optimal Brew Coffeemaker

Photo © Mr. Coffee
Being a coffee lover, I'm always anxious to try out the newest coffee makers, whether drip, percolator or single serve. And with the Mr. Coffee brand brewers, it's usually a tasteful experience, so my expectations are generally high from the onset of the test.

Product Despcription

    Mr. Coffee® 10-Cup Thermal OptimalBrew™ Coffeemaker BVMC-PSTX91
  • Stainless steel thermal carafe 10-cup
  • Brewing Pause 'n Serve
  • Fresh Brew™ Timer - programmable
  • Removable water reservoir
  • Water filtration - reduces chlorine up to 97% for better tasting coffee
  • Removable filter basket - lifts out for fast, easy filling and cleaning
  • Special cleaning cycle
  • Dim display - save energy
  • Auto shut-off
  • Learn more from the manufacturer
  • Read special cleaning instructions
  • Retails in the $70 range

How the Mr. Coffee OptimalBrew Performed

October 3, 2012
For those concerned about looks, this Mr. Coffee brewer has a stylish, professional look and feel. At 14.25" high, it's on the tall side, but there's still plenty of room under the cabinets and it does have a somewhat different design when it comes to operation. We both love the way this coffee maker sets up for brewing.

There's no need to pull it out front to fill the reservoir and that's a big bonus in my books. That also means that I don't have to unplug it every time I make a pot of coffee, which would require a time reset. With most coffee makers, I tend to ignore the time factor unless I'm using the programmable feature.

The water reservoir is on the left side and you slip your hand to the back where there's a recessed handle in the transparent water tank and lift straight up and out - after lifting the little lid off. Replacing is quick too. If your appliances are crowded on the counter, you may need to angle it slightly to allow for hand-retrieval of the water tank on the left and filter on the right. If you have no upper cabinets, you could fill it without removing the reservoir.

The filter basket pulls out from the upper right side of the unit and takes a standard size basket filter. During brewing, water passes through the (water) filter and then into the coffee grounds. This seems to be more efficient filtration, which matters if you have chlorinated water. I like how this works and prefer it to a water filter that sits in the bottom of the water tank. But it does leave the top of the water filter a tad wet and so there's usually a drop or two of water that lands on the counter when you flip it up to change the grounds underneath. If you don't need the water filtration, just leave out the filter. We tried it and coffee actually tasted better.

This coffee maker brews a nice cup of coffee - hot, fast and it does it quieter than most pots. It does have an audible signal. We are using bolder coffee grounds with this brewer, but there's less waste overall, since this is a thermal carafe which keeps coffee at a good drinking temperature for about three hours (warm longer), without getting 'stiff' or bitter. There's no warming plate to burn out or glass to break. For the energy miser, you can also dim the dash to save more. The carafe pours slowly - as it should to keep coffee hot, and it handles well. The lid removes easily for cleaning.

Now, here's the bad part. This coffee maker has a serious dripping problem in two places. The first is at the decanter (carafe). The gasket seal at the mouth of the carafe lets coffee become trapped between the plastic collar and stainless exterior, later to drip slowly down the spout front of the carafe when pouring. I rinsed the carafe several times with water and it still dripped coffee trapped there.

It also appears to drip to the platform area and we cannot establish exactly from where. Everything seems to fit and work as it should including the pause feature, but dripping is occasional and something that definitely needs improvement. Maybe the carafe lid cannot handle the fast brewing flow. Whatever the reason, it can be annoying and you need to keep a cloth handy most times. Every once in a while, brewing was totally drip-free.

Overall Impression

This coffee maker gets high marks for overall design, ease of use and convenience, but of course the dripping problems do affect my overall rating. We love everything about this brewer except the dripping. And we've come to appreciate the convenience of a thermal carafe and for two, a 10-cup capacity is very practical - saves coffee, energy and there's less waste. We can also take the insulated carafe out on the patio.

The Optimal Brew makes a great cup of hot coffee, is quieter than most and brews fast. It excels in ease of use with simple controls and has a most convenient brewing set-up.

If the dripping can be totally resolved, this would definitely be a winner. So Mr Coffee, please investigate and fix this dripping problem. I would definitely welcome a drip-free replacement to retest and hopefully be able to upgrade the rating.

You can get replacement water filters or a reusable gold tone coffee filter as well as other optional accessories from Mr. Coffee.

About the Company and Related Resources

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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