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We were bought the cuisinart coffee maker as a wedding gift and we bought this to accompany it. Its quite large but looks smart and professional in the kitchen next to the coffee maker. It has a lid on top so you can refill it with coffee beans easily and you simply twist the top portion where the coffee beans sit to engage the dial so that you can decide how finely you want your coffee ground, which ranges from fine to coarse depending on the type of coffee you require. It comes with a booklet to guide you on coffee bean grinding and which is best suited to which types of coffee. however on the downside, for the price, whilst its effective, its a litle bit messy. The coffee storage container compartment is a pull out plastic box and you have to take the lid off to get the coffee out. this usually results in coffee spilling onto the worktop however careful you are so you'll always need to wipe your surfaces after using it. Its a nice bit of kit, it stores maybe 200g of coffee beans at any one time, so thats a plus compared to other burr mills but its a bit pricey for having a "messy" design flaw.
BASICS: Fed up of stale tasting coffee I initially purchased a cheapo Whittard's Coffee grinder.... the intention being that for a £20 outlay I could avoid keep having to chuck my expensive coffee out by grinding only when needed (whilst beans will store perfectly happily in your fridge for maybe six weeks at a push, ground coffee will probably only survive a few weeks and as I'm trying to wean myself off my coffee habit this sounded like a good thing). The uselessness of this piece of machinery will probably colour my review of the Cuisinart by shedding it in a vastly superior light. In short, the Whittard's model (1) has components that come loose (2) fails to grind for anything more than thirty seconds (3) sounds like an earthquake is happening in your kitchen (4) grinds coffee thickly or very thickly - depending on its mood rather than any setting (5) becomes so hot that you're convinced you're brewing something, rather than grinding it (= subsequent bitter taste). The Cuisinart model retails at £30 more (=£50) and is considerably larger and heavier (2.5kg, with the size partially resulting from the burr design in which the ground coffee enters a separate chamber). 125W and an America product (though supplied with your standard British three pin plug). It's not without its failings, but my oh my it's an improvement on the Whittard. The maximum capacity is 225g of whole beans (though to be honest this would rather defeat the object of self-grinding unless you're catering on a scale) since it produces 18 cups). 18 grinding positions (a slightly excessive number). THE LOOK: Beans enter via a large transparent plastic hopper with a black lid, which sits atop the stainless steel motor and the rectangular removable coffee storage chamber (which comes complete with a lid for popping in the fridge). Not the most beautiful thing and at H26cm and D and W of 15cm it takes up a fair amount of counter space. FUNCTIONALITY: 1. NOISE Don't use this anywhere near a sleeping baby unless you want disasterous consequences. It's very, very noisy - but so was the Whittard model, so maybe this is just a function of the type of processing required for coffee beans. 2. HOPPER Whilst unattractively plasticy, the large mouth does mean that you don't end up pouring beans across your kitchen, which in my rather clumsy books is a major pro. 3. BURR Ensures that your coffee is of a consistent grind, rather than the more standard single-chamber grinder in which you inevitably get larger fragments mixed with smaller ones. 4. FINEST GROUNDS It's probably not the best option if you're an Espresso drinker as it struggles to grind quite fine enough. An issue Cuisinart are aware of apparently, but not great given their promise of umpteen settings (plus that five year warrantee makes me reluctant to change it)... 5. ASSEMBLY Is straightforward and as with all good food processing type implements has a safety feature which ensures that it won't function unless properly clicked in place. 6. DISHWASHER SAFE EXTRAS: A five year registration-dependent guarantee is included as standard and all postage costs for returning the product to the manufacturer and any replacement are covered.
If you are buying fresh coffee then unless it's in those vacuum packs it is always best if you can to buy it as beans rather than having the shop grind it for you. Coffee goes stale quite quickly after it has been ground and should be used within a few days to have it at its best. If bought as beans it will keep for up to a month in the fridge and you can grind it as it is needed. It also means you can grind it to suit different machines. I use both a cafetière and an espresso machine, which both need different grind settings. The Cafetière needs a medium grind where as the espresso needs a finer grind. I bought this coffee grinder after my cheap blade mill finally gave up. It was quite expensive for a small kitchen gadget (£60) but I had £30 worth of tokens for a well known department store so bought it as I know the name is a good one and I have used other Cuisinart appliances in the past. Advantages: The major advantage is that it is a burr mill. This is where the coffee is not in constant contact with blades so the grind is more even so no more of the mix of dust and bigger particles of coffee. The grind is done by grinding 'plates' and after it is ground the coffee drops into a separate chamber. Not only does this prevent over grinding but the coffee won't get as hot as it can in a blade mill. This gives a fuller taste from the coffee as less of the oils which give coffee its taste and smell are destroyed by the heat. This is also the reason why you should never use boiling water to make coffee. The burr grinder has 18 grind settings which can be changed by turning the bean hopper base. They range from very coarse to almost a dust. The latter is mainly used for a Turkish coffee maker whilst the very coarse grind can be used for cafetières. Although I find too coarse a grind does not brew as well but that is just personal taste. I keep mine two settings to the left of medium as I find this gives the best grind for my cafetière which is how I make the majority of my fresh coffee. There is also a 'cup selector' this will change the amount of coffee the machine will automatically grind for you after you press the start button. This removes the guess work of how much to put into the grinders hopper. Remember that this is based on coffee cups. I drink mugs of coffee so I have to increase the selector to get enough ground coffee for the way I like my coffee. If you like your coffee strong you can increase the number of cups on the selector or decrease it for milder coffee. I tend to use the conversion of 1.5 - 2 coffee cups per mug depending on how strong I want it to be at the time. The bean hopper, which can hold up to 250g of coffee beans, can be unscrewed and removed from the main body of the grinder for changing bean type or to wash it. Both the bean hopper and the ground coffee chamber are dishwasher safe. The 'coffee spoon' provided has a brush attached for cleaning the main part of the grinder. The removable hopper is also useful to make the machine less 'tall' so it will fit in a cupboard better if you are not going to use it for a while. Guarantee: When I bought mine it did come with a five year guarantee so this tells you it is a quality appliance as no company would risk this length of guarantee if the appliance wasn't up to it. For this it is one of those 'fill out this form and send it off to us' type ones. This will cost you the price of a stamp but for a 5 year guarantee I think it is worth it. Disadvantages The main problem which I have found with this is the machine is that it is loud whilst in use. The large bean hopper makes the machine look a bit odd and rather clumsy but the quality of the grinder makes this insignificant. Unfortunately one coffee, Guatemalan elephant, comes in larger beans. This grinder does not do a very good job on these larger beans as they tend not to drop between the burr plates quite as well. What does it look like? Well it isn't the most attractive of machines due to the large unsightly plastic bean hopper. For me this could have been perhaps a bit smaller and a different shape in order to improve the look of the machine. The main body is made of brushed stainless steel housing but again mainly a plastic body. Safety features: Unless both the hopper and ground coffee chamber are properly in place the mill will not work. Product specification: Weight when empty - 1.8 kg Motor - 125 w Dimensions - H 26 cm - W 15 cm - D 16 cm I also have a similar but shorter review on ciao under the same user name. I have also recently published this review on Helium under my real name 'Michael Collins' (My user name on helium is also the same as on here)
Short name: Cuisinart DBM8U