Caffeine is a curious, wonderful substance. And we prefer to get our daily dose via coffee- fresh, piping hot java. While there are plenty of ways to brew, the classic drip coffee maker is an appliance that has reinvented itself many times over and still proven to be effective, efficient, and reliable. Sure, French presses are classy and take up less space and no electricity- but they’re delicate, can be a pain to clean, and don’t make enough for a family. For a large batch, the drip coffee machine is ideal.
And Zojirushi’s Fresh Brew Plus (model EC-YSC100) is one of the newest machines on the market, offering the promise of a pot that is made hot and can stay hot for hours thanks to a well-insulated 10-cup thermal carafe. As with most countertop coffee makers, a 24-hour programmable timer ensures that your morning ‘pick me up’ is ready when you want- let’s see a French press do that. Unlike some, you don’t need to fill the carafe and pour the water the into a tiny opening; the water tank is removable for easy filling. And while you do need filters, they are easy to get (the flat bottomed kind), and controls are simple. Plus, it’s compact for a coffee maker with this capacity.
Zojirushi is better known for their other great kitchen gear, like water boilers and rice cookers that we’ve reviewed. But they’ve clearly had experience in industrial design, with stainless steel and black accents making this a unit that can fit into just about any kitchen. They also know how to heat things up, with the H20 reaching a solid 200 degrees, the ideal brewing temperature for coffee. It’s quieter than some competitors, but there is a flip side- it does take quite a while to heat up and brew, several minutes longer than some others. If you program it, then you probably won’t even notice, but it can be rough if you’re off-schedule and impatient (and perhaps a little desperate). You can safely grab the carafe and pour a cup without interrupting the brewing though.
We first used the cleaning cycle to ensure optimal conditions. In our tests, we used BRC Ethiopian and single-origin Honduran beans, ground professionally, the same as we’ve brewed many times in the past. Results were mixed and a little muddy and over-extracted, which is likely a result of a steeping process that is too lengthy (and perhaps grounds not being evenly sprayed). But the coffee did stay warm for quite a while, and the carafe was better than just about any other we’ve seen included in a package. The Zojirushi Fresh Brew Plus is available now, online and in stores, for around $160, and worth checking out for anyone who likes having a hot pot of coffee handy throughout the day.