If you have been in the coffee community for a while, you will likely have heard coffee experts recommend freshly ground beans. As coffee beans go stale within minutes of grinding, pre-ground coffee beans are always sub-par and sub-optimal.
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker has been designed with this in mind. This remarkably affordable brewer combines a grinder and coffee maker in one, allowing you to brew coffee using freshly ground beans.
Along with the built-in grinder, the Cuisinart drip coffee maker has several helpful features including a brew-pause feature, 24-hour programmability, and the ability to bypass the grinder and use pre-ground coffee. There are two models, the DGB-400 with a glass carafe and 12-cup capacity, and the DGB-450 with a stainless steel carafe and 10-cup capacity. In this article, we will be examining the Cuisinart automatic grind and brew to see if it lives up to expectations.
Cuisinart Grind and Brew
On paper, the Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker has a lot going for it. A built-in grinder, 24-hour programmability, and an affordable price tag. Unfortunately, the drip coffee it produces is sub-par, largely due to a poor-quality grinder. If you are on a tight budget it might be the coffee maker for you, but if you can stretch your budget a bit further it would be worth investing in a better brewer with an external burr grinder.
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Review
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker is a basic drip coffee maker with a no-nonsense design. The coffee maker is mainly composed of plastic, but with a stainless steel frontage. This sleek design allows it to fit with most kitchen aesthetics.
Both the Cuisinart DGB-400 and DGB-450 look identical aside from the carafe. The DGB-400 has a glass carafe (with a 12-cup capacity) and a warming plate to keep the coffee hot. The warming plate can be programmed to stay on for from 0-4 hours. The DGB-450, on the other hand, has a smaller 10-cup capacity and comes with a thermal carafe to keep coffee piping hot for hours. Given this, the latter is slightly more expensive.
It is worth noting that the cup size is not your standard 8 oz coffee cup, but rather a smaller 5 oz cup. So the capacity of this coffee maker is about half of what is stated if you are looking to brew mugs of coffee.
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew has a compact footprint (especially considering it houses a coffee maker and grinder in one). If you are intending on placing it under a cabinet, it pays to note that the water reservoir and grinder are accessed by flipping up the lid on top, so it needs a bit of clearance. There is no bean hopper, so you need to fill the grinder with fresh beans each time you brew.
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew comes with a permanent gold-tone coffee filter, or you can use paper filters if you want an easier cleanup. The brewer also comes with an integrated charcoal water filter to improve the taste of the coffee and prevent the build-up of limescale in the machine.
Ease of Use
The Grind and Brew coffee maker is very straightforward to use and requires no skill. It has a simple control panel displaying the time on an LCD screen and the control buttons around it. To brew you simply fill the reservoir with water to the number of cups desired, add beans to the grinder (the manual recommends 1 scoop per cup of coffee), place the filter into the basket, and press the Brew button. The coffee maker takes around 10 minutes to brew, including grinding, and will beep to indicate once the brew cycle is complete. It is rather loud when in use, particularly during the grinding stage.
In addition to regular brewing, the coffee maker has a 1-4 cup setting if you are wanting to brew a smaller batch of coffee. This setting alters the extraction and temperature when brewing, to better suit a smaller batch. There is also the option to bypass the grinder and use pre-ground beans by selecting the Grind Off button.
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker offers a number of handy features to simplify brewing. The first of these is the automatic brewing feature. With this, the brewer is able to program the machine to turn on and brew a pot of fresh coffee at any time within 24 hours. This is a helpful feature for those bleary-eyed mornings when you can barely stumble out of bed, let alone prepare coffee.
The second considerate feature is the brew-pause feature, which allows the user to interrupt brewing to grab a cup of coffee. Brewing will resume once the carafe is replaced.
Taste of the Coffee
While the simplicity and features sound like a coffee lover’s dream, the most important consideration should be how the actual coffee tastes. And unfortunately, the coffee produced is fairly average drip coffee.
This can largely be attributed to the subpar grinder in the Cuisinart Grind and Brew. It is fitted with a blade grinder which chops the beans up to a medium grind consistency. The grinder is loud when in use and produces an inconsistent grind size, which in turn results in over and under-extracted coffee. The choice to use a blade grinder is disappointing but understandable considering the price.
At The Coffee Folk we never recommend blade grinders, they are simply too inconsistent and end up with poor-tasting coffee. It is better to use good beans pre-ground than a blade grinder.
Cuisinart does offer a model with a burr grinder, the DGB-850, which could be worth considering if you are wanting better-quality coffee.
Cleaning and Maintenance
After each use of the coffee machine, there is a fair amount of work required to clean it. The grinder and lid need to be washed and dried thoroughly. The steam from the coffee maker does build up in the grinder during brewing. The filter basket and gold tone filter must be emptied of coffee grinds, washed, and dried. Thankfully all these parts are dishwasher-safe (on the top rack only). The carafe also needs to be washed in hot, soapy water and dried.
In terms of long-term maintenance, the coffee maker will have to be descaled on an occasional basis.
Who Is the Cuisinart Grind and Brew For?
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew is a simple coffee maker that would suit the brewer on a budget. It does offer fantastic value for money, with an integrated grinder, 24-hour programmability, and the choice of a thermal or glass carafe to keep coffee hot. While the coffee does leave a little to be desired, it would be adequate if you are just looking for a basic cup of drip coffee.
Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker
If you are wanting a slightly better quality coffee maker you could consider the Oxo 8-Cup coffee maker. This brewer has been built to meet the SCA standards, ensuring it is capable of producing a decent cup of coffee. The coffee maker precisely controls the water temperature to keep it at the optimal brewing temperature. It also has a rainmaker showerhead to evenly distribute water over the grounds. Finally, it comes with a thermal carafe to keep coffee piping hot for hours. While this coffee maker is slightly more expensive and doesn’t come with a grinder, the coffee produced by this brewer will exceed that of the Cuisinart Grind and Brew.
Breville grind control
The Breville Grind Control is another coffee maker worth considering. Like the Cuisinart, it comes with a built-in grinder. However, this grinder is a stainless steel flat burr grinder producing consistent grinds. The grinder has 6 settings, falling in a medium-size grind range perfect for drip coffee.
The Breville Grind Control comes with a convenient brew-pause feature and an auto-start. It also comes with the ability to customize grind size, coffee strength (from 8 levels), and batch size (from a single cup to 12). While the Breville Grind Control costs a bit more, it will produce better-quality coffee.
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker- Bottom Line
The Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker is an affordable coffee maker that offers a range of features like 24-hour programmability and a pause-brew feature. It comes with a built-in blade grinder, giving the option of using freshly ground beans. However, the grinder itself is subpar and produces an inconsistent grind size. Unfortunately, these extra features do little to improve the overall quality of the coffee. If you are looking for a budget coffee maker to produce a basic cup of coffee the Cuisinart Grind and Brew might be suitable. We would recommend, if you can stretch your budget further, to opt for a brewer with an SCAA certification, which can be trusted to produce good-tasting coffee.
Which Cuisinart coffee maker with grinder is the best?
The Cuisinart DGB-850 Grind and Brew is the best model in the lineup. This brewer has a built-in burr grinder with a bean hopper, producing a uniform grind. It has several helpful features including 24-hour programmability, an auto-off, and an auto-rinse function. It also offers brew-strength control, allowing you to select from regular, bold, or extra bold coffee.
Can you use ground coffee in the Cuisinart Grind and Brew?
Yes- all the machines have the option of bypassing the grinder and using ground coffee. To do this you simply fill the filter with ground coffee and select the Grind Off button.
This is a helpful feature if you want to brew a pot of decaf coffee.
Does the Cuisinart Grind and Brew have a burr grinder?
It depends on what model you opt for. The DGB-400 and DGB-450 models, which were the focus of this review, both have blade grinders. These are the cheaper models and as such have an inferior grinder.
If you are willing to spend a bit more you will find the higher-end coffee makers have a burr grinder. Models like the Cuisinart Grind and Brew DGB-850 or DGB-800 and the Cuisinart Automatic Grind & Brew Single Serve Coffee Maker all have burr grinders.