In the last decade, single-cup brewing systems and espresso makers have become more popular, but 41 percent of Americans still use a drip coffee maker to make their coffee. Although the number of options on the market today is overwhelming, even when you narrow it down to drip coffee makers.
There are models with advanced functionality, such as a built-in grinder or smart connectivity, while others can make cold brew. Black and Decker offers a variety of coffee makers, including the 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker, which has some advanced features and an insulated thermal carafe.
To keep coffee hot, conventional coffee makers use either thermal carafes or hot plate-style warmers. Most affordable coffee makers come with glass carafes with hot plates, while thermal carafes are usually associated with higher prices. Because I wanted to avoid the burnt taste that hot plates can produce, I chose a thermal carafe. The Black and Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is unique on the market because it offers a thermal carafe at an affordable price. Over the past six months, I have tested this coffee maker at home to see how it performs day-to-day. I have based this review on my experience and what I believe makes this model a great choice for many families.
- Insulated thermal carafe
- Sneak-a-Cup feature
- Brew strength selector
- Intuitive user interface
- Displays time elapsed since coffee brewed
- Flimsy plastic components
- Fixed water reservoir
- Long brew time
- Requires paper filters
What Makes the Black and Decker Thermal Coffee Maker so Great?
Black and Decker coffee makers offer a number of features that users expect from a drip coffee maker:
- With 24-hour programmability, I can prepare the water and grounds the night before.
- It’s a useful safety feature to ensure the machine doesn’t get accidentally left on for hours.
- With the 1 to 4 cup feature, I can make a smaller pot of coffee with the same balanced flavor.
The model also boasts a few advanced features not typically found on budget coffee makers:
- By picking up the carafe, Sneak-a-Cup pauses the brewing process – a handy feature when I’m in a hurry in the morning. Note that, as with most drip coffee makers, the first half of the brew cycle produces more robust coffee, so waiting until the brewing is complete will result in a more balanced flavor.
- With brew-strength selectors, you can choose between strong, bold, or regular coffee, so each pot can be customized to meet your individual tastes.
- Using a showerhead-style water dispensing system, water is evenly saturating coffee grounds for ideal extraction, resulting in a well-balanced cup of coffee.
How Easy Is It to Use the Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker?
A significant advantage of the Black & Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker is its compact design. Even though it produces 12 cups of coffee, its compact footprint of just 7 inches by 9 inches makes it an excellent choice for kitchens with limited counter space.
The user interface is well designed and highly intuitive. When there is power outage or daylight saving time, changing the time is as simple as pressing the hour and minute buttons. It shows how long has passed since the coffee was brewed, so I always know how fresh it is.
Black and Decker coffee makers don’t come with permanent filters, but disposable basket-shaped paper filters are available. Even though this makes daily cleanup a bit easier, it increases costs over time and produces unnecessary waste.
Higher-end coffee makers allow you to detach the reservoir for easy filling from the faucet, while basic models require you to fill the carafe with water and pour it into the reservoir. As for this model, the water reservoir is not removable, making it more difficult to fill.
In addition to the plastic construction, this model has another downfall. Although the machine boasts a sleek, modern appearance with stainless steel accents, its body is mostly made from lightweight plastic, giving it a somewhat flimsy feel. The components on my model haven’t cracked or broken, but they don’t seem to be made to last. On the other hand, the carafe feels sturdy and durable.
What Is the Setup and Cleanup Process Like?
It takes just a few minutes to set up the Black and Decker coffee maker. Despite the fact that the setup is so easy, I did not feel the need to read the instruction manual in its entirety. For new drip coffee makers, the manual recommends running two water cycles before brewing coffee.
An easy-pour spout and a wide mouth make it easy to wash thoroughly with soap and water. Removable filter baskets are dishwasher safe, so they’re easy to clean. Additionally, this model also displays a notification when it’s time to run a descaling cycle using a mixture of water and vinegar to remove any mineral deposits.
How Long Does The Thermal Coffee Maker Keep Coffee Hot?
The primary selling point of the Black & Decker coffee maker is its double-walled, vacuum-sealed thermal carafe. In terms of the ideal serving temperature for coffee, most sources recommend temperatures between 130 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. According to my tests, the coffee measured 168 degrees immediately after the brew cycle ended. After one hour, the temperature of my coffee had dropped to 150 degrees, which is to be expected. A temperature of 147 degrees was measured after two hours in my coffee. After brewing for 7 hours, my coffee maintained a temperature of 135 degrees, which is hot enough for most people to enjoy without microwaving.
The machine has a relatively long brew time of about 10 minutes. This isn’t an issue when I set up my coffee the night before to brew at the perfect time, but when I am rushing to leave the house before the brew cycle is complete, it can be a hassle. Luckily, I can use the Sneak-a-Cup brew pausing feature in those moments.
What Other Features Are Available On This Coffee Maker?
Black and Decker’s 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker has a list price of $69.99, but it’s typically available for around $50 from online retailers (such as Amazon and Home Depot). Using this cost as an estimate, it falls into the middle of the drip coffee maker price range. There are certainly more affordable 12-cup coffee makers, but they tend to feature a warming plate with a glass carafe, which may impart a burnt taste 20 minutes or so after you’ve brewed the coffee.
This model provides an excellent value for the money due to its thermal carafe and range of advanced features. Many models with similar features and specifications to the Black and Decker 12-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker are twice as expensive.
If you would like more options of black and decker coffee maker, you can find them in a guide we have compiled.