One of the greatest advances in modern coffee brewing are the vacuum pods systems that have made single-cup serving a hugely successful business model, and changed the way millions of people get their morning lift. But there are downsides to the Keurig K-Cup system, as it’s not built to optimize fresh ground coffee, nor have we had great success brewing tea bags.
The Bunn My Cafe MCU solves these problems by including four separate types of compartments or drawers for the various methods. It’s fast and efficient, with a lot of flexibility, including features we’d love to see across other brewers. For starters, it offers a range of sizes, from four to fourteen ounces that aren’t completely preset and allow any distinct amount to be made, along with a Pulse Brew option that we began using consistently as it improved the end results in most cases. There’s even an interesting hot water-only mode which allows you access to piping liquid without worrying about any coffee flavors.
We’ve seen other Bunn brewers before, like their truly amazing Trifecta MB machine. And we’re serious about our java- our editor runs a coffee shop in Manhattan, and we’ve tested everything from coffee roasters to steam brewing. It’s nice to be able to use soft pods for tea or coffee, which most single-cup machines can’t really do well, and we certainly appreciated the ability to use loose leaf tea (though it’s hard to nail down a temperature, which means we wouldn’t recommend white or some delicate herbal teas). But the biggest factor of all, and why we definitely recommend this machine over many other brewers this size, is that the system can accommodate up to 20 grams of grounds versus the 10 or so on the K-Cup attachments. Oh, and it heats up faster than competitors too.
There are some downsides, though. The MCU doesn’t look quite as cute as some others, and also lacks a water reservoir or tank, which means you’ll have to fill it up for each cup made. Also, as with most other reusable coffee filters, the brewing basket here isn’t easy to clean. There is no automatic brewing or even on/off functionality, and keeping track of (and making sure to use the right) drawer is a bit of a pain. Worst of all, we can’t fit travel mugs under the spout, or even some larger cups, which is a bit of a hassle. But the Bunn My Cafe MCU is still solid, well-built, and offers a great value proposition, costing only $140 or so online and in stores and able to do more than other single-cup machines.