Experts and owners alike recommend the Zojirushi Fresh Brew thermal carafe coffee maker for keeping coffee hot and fresh. Owners say the Fresh Brew is easy to use and clean and that features like 24-hour programming, an auto shut-off function and an easy-to-read water level indicator are a definite plus. Many also find it attractive and relatively quiet. However, several owners complain that the Fresh Brew's carafe lid is hard to remove and its pour spout is too small.
Coffee stays hot for hours in the stainless-steel carafe. Testers at Real Simple magazine say coffee stays hot for up to 10 hours in the Zojirushi's stainless-steel carafe, which holds up to 10 cups of coffee. But getting the ideal brew temperature can be tricky with this coffee maker, because the tube that feeds the heated water to the brew basket runs through the water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is cool, it can reduce the temperature of the heated water as it runs through, reducing the actual brew temperature. One owner-suggested fix to this problem is to make sure the water you pour in the reservoir prior to brewing isn't too cool to begin with.
Owners posting to sites like Amazon.com and CoffeeGeek.com are generally pleased with the Zojirushi Fresh Brew's performance and say it brews a full pot quickly, although there are some complaints about weak coffee and lukewarm temperatures.
Convenient water gauge makes it easy to batch, but imprecise setup can be messy. The Zojirushi Fresh Brew has a clear strip on its water reservoir with a red ball that floats at the top so there's no more guesswork when you're trying to pour enough water for a smaller batch. If you want to wake to a fresh pot of coffee, simply set the timer to start brewing at a specific time the next day. The Zojirushi also offers a pause-brew function, which stops brewing for 30 seconds so you can pour a cup without waiting for the full brew cycle to complete.
The coffee maker is easy to use and clean, users say, with an easy-to-remove filter basket that can be rinsed out after each use. In addition to its automatic shut-off feature, which turns off this coffee maker after two hours for safety, the stainless-steel carafe remains cool to the touch despite keeping coffee hot for hours. On the downside, user reports say the carafe lid is difficult to open and this coffee maker in general can be finicky if things aren't set up precisely right -- leaving you susceptible to a messy counter or floor.
Sleek, stylish design, and it fits under most cabinets. Owners love the sleek, stainless-steel look of the Zojirushi, and unlike some coffee makers, it's not so tall that it won't fit under most standard kitchen cabinets. Both the brew basket and the carafe have a stainless-steel finish, and the water reservoir, situated in the back of the unit, is black.
Some owners say the plastic brew basket seems flimsy, and there are some durability concerns as well with several users posting reviews to Amazon.com and CoffeeGeek.com that say the Fresh Brew malfunctions within a year. On the other hand, there are owners who report solid performance from this coffee maker for six years or more.
An affordable alternative to otherwise expensive thermal coffee makers. The Zojirushi 10-Cup Coffee Maker with Thermal Carafe EC-BD15 has some flaws, such as feeding heated water through a tube in the reservoir, which can reduce brew temperatures. However, it's a great coffee maker overall with convenient programming options and a stainless-steel carafe that maintains coffee temperatures for up to 10 hours. One owner posting comments to CoffeeGeek.com says the Fresh Brew is a "Great coffee maker -- the taste of the coffee is a knock-out and the design grows on you quite quickly."
1. Real Simple
Very Good A panel of tasters evaluates the coffee produced by a number of coffee makers. A winner and a runner up are named in each category, with the Zojirushi Fresh Brew EC-BD15 beating the competition among automatic drip machines. No information is provided on testing criteria or the number of coffee makers tested in all.
Review: The Best Coffeemakers, Mieke Ten Have, Not Dated
Very Good The Zojirushi Fresh Brew coffee maker earns an average rating of 3.7 stars out of 5 from more than 1,000 users. Owners like its reasonable price, heat retention and unbreakable carafe. We found many complaints surrounding the lid, with users saying it's too hard to remove.
Review: Zojirushi EC-BD15BA Fresh Brew Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2012
Good Of the dozens of owners reviewing the Zojirushi Fresh Brew, most rate it highly (with an overall rating of 7.4 out of 10) and say this coffee maker is a good value. Others complain about the side-mounted controls and the screw-on carafe lid.
Review: Coffee Makers: Zojirushi Fresh Brew, Contributors to CoffeeGeek.com, As of September 2012
Good Nearly 60 owners have posted reviews here, and most are very happy with their Zojirushi Fresh Brew coffee maker. Some have experienced durability problems and say the machine stopped brewing hot coffee after a few months. Overall, the Zojirushi Fresh Brew earns 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Zojirushi Fresh Brew Thermal 10-Cup Carafe Coffeemaker, Contributors to Target.com, As of September 2012
Fair The Zojirushi Fresh Brew receives a rating of 4 stars out of 5 based on feedback from more than two dozen owners. More than 90 percent of reviewers say they'd recommend this coffee maker.
Review: 10-c. Fresh Brew Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker by Zojirushi, Contributors to Cooking.com, As of September 2012