Cuisinart Programmable 14-Cup CBC-6400PC Coffeemaker

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I zeroed in on this coffee maker with help from Amazon reviews. But because it was cheaper at Costco ($60 plus $10 s&h vs. $82 w/free s&h at Amazon, Dec. 2016), I bought it elsewhere.

Because Amazon helped, after I studied it, I posted this review there -- only to find that it was invisible to most people because I was not a verified Amazon purchaser. (That's what most people see unless a product has very few reviews OR they dig really deep, specifically looking for reviews by non-purchasers. Which very few will do.) So I am posting it here because it's pretty much lost on Amazon, even though it's there (posted 12/28/16).

I first used it 12/7/16. What follows is my Dec. 2016 Amazon review, extensively updated, through November 2017 (see this page's history for updates):


The Cuisinart Coffee Maker CBC-6400PC coffee maker. Rather handsome.

The Cuisinart CBC-6400PC works pretty much as expected. Here are some details for anyone interested:

Overall Review

I really like this guy. It's a keeper if you want mass quantities of coffee or don't mind half-caff Maxwell House sitting there a few days. (I personally never use the warming feature; see below.) Intravenous caffeine is preferable but this is the next best thing... as long as it doesn't have mold, any coffee is good coffee in my book.

Mold just makes it a little more of an adventure.

Some specs

Quick Reference Guide

Books and Pics

Cuisinart Coffee Maker CBC-6400PC Instruction Booklet.pdf (2.5 MB)

Quick Reference Guide, to right

Box art 1

Box art 2

Box art 3

Dimensions

Unpacked and on your counter, it measures:

14.5" inches high (22" with top lid open)
9" deep (11" if you include the carafe handle extended fully outward)
8 and 1/8" wide (widest at back)

It must have clearance for the top to completely open; you have to slide it completely out from under typical kitchen cabinets to open it. But then, many coffee makers are like this. See This little b&stard always spills water when you open it for more details.

Their volume measurement is accurate

It is "14 cups" but they define cups as 5 fluid ounces (typical for coffee makers, shrug). I compared the tared weight of a full carafe (14 cups) and also compared it to the meter in the side of the pot and it's all in good agreement with weight of water as 29.57 grams per ounce. It was 2075 g vs expected 2070 (14 x 5 x 29.57), only off by 0.2% (within measurement error).

Brewing time

A full 14-cup pots takes 17 minutes for Bold (ave. 16:56; range 16:25-17:37, N=7) and 13 minutes for regular (ave. 13:00, range 12:41-13:21, N=5).

The temperature of your tap water surely affects this some, so YMMV. I did not think to measure my tap water temperature at the time... In Dec. 2016 in Atlanta GA, our house temp was 67. The tap water temp was probably slightly lower.

The unit makes a short beeping sound a few seconds when done. A medium-level of volume; not real soft, not real loud. But just a few seconds. If you miss it, you miss it.

Energy usage

Brewing with Bold uses an average of 866 watts and with regular is 1,062 watts. Interestingly when you consider that Bold takes longer, they use about the same watthours (244 for Bold, 230 for regular) - Bold uses lower heat over a longer time. The only real difference, then, is that Bold takes longer.

  • Watt measures are from Efergy circuit-breaker monitors and are probably off several percent, but are still fine ballpark figures, and the relative difference should be solid (1062 being 23% more than 866).

Bold versus regular?

I'm no coffee connoisseur. I couldn't really tell a difference between Bold or regular. But I guess one may as well use Bold to get the most flavor out of the little beans that sacrificed their life for your morning's enjoyment, laugh.

Don't forget, you can pull out the carafe and pour a cup, before it's full. A nice little touch. (Do it slowly so the little spring-loaded cut-off kicks in; you can hear it if you listen close.) You will definitely notice a big difference in the richness of a cup taken from when it first starts pouring versus one at the end (or a pot full), if doing the max 14 cups.

Operation

Warming Tray Time

Yes, you can set the warming tray time from 0 minutes to 4 hours, in minute increments. If you're like me and don't want to warm it at all (so it doesn't cook in the pot), it is easy to set to 0:00, even though it defaults to 2:00 (2 hours).

1-4 cups setting

In case it's not clear: The "1-4 cups" setting is not a command to tell the machine to only make 1-4 cups, when you have more water than that in the tank. No, it's the other way around: You are telling the machine you only have water for 1-4 cups in the tank. It must change the brewing parameters somehow, shrug.

I could swear I read somewhere that this unit heats coffee to a particular temperate

This little b&stard always spills water when you open it

The top of this machine hinges at the back and it always must be completely opened, to refill water and add coffee. A little past vertical, in fact. And it always - always - drips some water down the back of the machine each time you open it (after first use).

This is not really a flaw, just the way coffee makers are. Maybe some day someone will make a large capacity machine that doesn't need opening the top all the way, but this might require a sophisticated funnel system or something... or side panel that opens near the top? For best results, near the front top.

Anyway, don't hold your breath for designers to make these machines seriously convenient any time soon, even though most people use them under kitchen cabinets. Let's just call it an opportunity for a very sophisticated designer. A few hundred years in the future, at this rate.

If you try to play with opening it slowly, maybe you can prevent some water from splooshing onto your counter. Kind of tricky, but we have a wash cloth handy for the kitchen, so it's no big deal. But we're only talking about 0 to 2 tablespoons of pure water, shrug.

Hold a cloth right up under the lid's hinge as you open it, to catch water that falls.

Ridiculous water filter

I would not dream of bothering with the little water filter that comes with this machine. I leave it out; it's just a gimmick, to me. Either your water is pure enough to drink, or it's not. (In which case you should be filtering all your water.)

I'm an amateur chemist. Coffee itself is actually a pretty good trap (pretty close to organic carbon), and the heating and brewing weeds out volatiles, as well. So the idea of using some teeny-tiny filter in an ordinary coffee maker borders on absurd.

I am sure there are people at Cuisinart who will love you for thinking I am wrong.

When will companies put a little non-volatile RAM in their appliances?

Sadly, they did not spend the extra 2 cents to give this machine a tiny bit of flash RAM (which remembers settings across power loss). So, you guessed it, you will have to re-set everything every time the power goes out for more than a minute. I can understand it on a cheapo coffee maker, but this is top of the line. Come on designers, give us a break!

And so, yes, you will forever have the time-of-day clock wrong unless you want to hassle with it across every power loss or long unplugging. No, it does not default to simply not showing any time, if time has not been set. And it does not even flash if it got reset, so it's one more clock that's stealthily wrong in your house. What an oversight. When will these guys get simple details right.

Can't they have included a battery for the clock? But not for the settings, which always should be non-volatile. (So they persist even if the battery dies.)

As its specs say, there is a 60 second grace period where it remembers settings. I try to keep records of how often electricity fails. Interestingly, this machine lasts much longer than PCs and other devices that reset with only 2 seconds of power outage (or whetever). So if it seems like power may have gone out in the middle of the night, but you're not sure for how long, see if the coffee maker didn't reset, if your other more-volatile devices did. If they did, you know power was out for more than a few seconds, but less then a minute.

I always keep the heating tray set to "L" but it defaults to "M", so it's easy to see at a glance if it got reset. I have never once bothered with my machine's clock, so it's always wrong and completely ignored.

Sure, the clock it matters if you want to brew at a particular time. But don't you deserve a battery?

And don't the rest of us deserve the clock defaulting to not showing anything if it knows it's probably wrong, like all good appliances do?

No "Decalcification" here here

As long as we're covering everything conceivable: We have yet to have our "decalcification indicator" come on, after almost a year of use. (It's the lower-left button on the front of the unit.) This is without using any of the built-in filters (the slot sits empty), using paper filters (not the gold filter), and never having cleaned the machine yet (not flushing it with vinegar). I think it's safe to say our tapwater is pretty soft. Compare how our refrigerator filters show almost no sign of being clogged after two years' use.

Other notes

Lightweight Sliding Caddy Not Recommended

We tried one of the $7 Handy Caddy Sliding Kitchen Under Cabinet little moving shelves sold on Amazon, but it is very problematic for this unit. The way the carafe works is that the carafe lid is slightly caught by a spring-loaded valve which rests right against the drain below the filter. This is a good thing; it's part of the grab-a-cup system that shuts off dripping for a short while when you pull out the carafe.

But it means that every single time you get a cup of coffee, it always wants to move the whole machine if it's on something as lightweight as this caddy, which always makes the caddy slide out past its stop, or even pulls the machine right off the caddy. Likewise, putting the pot back in the machine needs a slight amount of force which is no big deal except that with the lightweight caddy, it's enough the push the machine off the back of the caddy.

In other words, this machine is always trying to slide around on your caddy, coming or going. It's not a problem using the feet of the coffee machine (without any caddy), but is a problem with the caddy, unless you're very careful, or double-sided tape it down or something.

To make a long story short: Don't use a caddy. Just pull it out the entire coffee maker out from under your kitchen cabinet when filling it. It's really only very slight effort, but more importantly, it's zero more time, especially if the unit slides off the caddy or goes askew. Which it always wants to do with a lightweight caddy. Maybe these caddies work fine for lesser units, but this is a 14-cup beast.

So this is one place where you can save your money and time and ignore an extra (the caddy).

Using its gold filter versus paper filters

The "gold" filter is indeed quite useful by itself and you won't necessarily ever have to buy filters if you don't want. They only allow a very fine amount of coffee grinds through, sort of like if a half pinch of flour got through, and no more. But it does mean your pot will need to be cleaned fairly often (but only a little sooner than you would anyway, shrug). It also does mean that you should not use the carafe to fill the machine unless you wash it every time (which I sure as h*ck am not going to do, and bought a pitcher instead, below).

After a months' use, I have decided I'd rather use a filter (just 2¢ each) than having to dump and then rinse the metal filter every single time, plus gets my hands wet just as I am handling coffee.

For what it's worth, our previous coffee maker used generic "8-12 cup" round basket filters. These are working fine in this coffee maker, until they run out and I then use the recommended cone type. Just saying: You don't have to trash old basket filters if you switch to this coffee maker. They might leak a little coffee every 20th pot, but it's better than wasting them.

Rubbermaid Bouncer 72-Oz Pitcher

The 72-ounce Rubbermaid "Bouncer" pitcher works great with this unit

We bought a 72-ounce Rubbermaid "Bouncer" pitcher ($17 on Amazon) to fill this full, easily, without re-using the pot. Careful, "72 ounces" is the theoretical max for this pitcher (only when spilling over the sides); more realistically it holds 68 or so without spilling. 14 cups times 5 ounces is 70 ounces, so it's pretty damn close. And you could always just make a little less than a full 14 cups and be fine, shrug. That's what I'm doing. Let caution take me to the winds and perhaps I will survive if I pour 69 ounces instead of 70.

Here's my detail-oriented review of the pitcher.

The Cuisinart CBC-6400PC versus Cusinart's very similar DCC-3200 Coffee Maker

The very similar Cuisinart DCC-3200 may only be cosmetically different. I only found them clearly compared side by side in one place, where Amazon reviewer RJHamilton said (4/17/16), "I have both. The Costco one [CDC-6400PC] is still new and therefore not tested long enough. The Costco one has black plastic housing vs the stainless steel. However, both are making a good hot cup of coffee that stays hot for 4 hours".

It's kind of sad when not even manufacturers explain differences in their product lines to consumers these days, but if you look closely you see that a lot, especially with all the re-branding and store-specific lines these days. For example, water heater companies and door companies (Masonite) make different models for Lowes versus Home Depot. These extremely minor store-specific variations don't show up on manufacturer's sites so you have to figure out specifications and what these nonsensical store-specific model numbers are relative to actual model variants, as though you were a detective.

Hope you enjoyed my in-depth review

Why not leave me a comment if you did? (Contact me, Upper left) I do this under the premise it might be helpful to others. If no one much comes here, my time could be better spent.