Cuisinart DCC-3200 Review: Programmable Drip Coffee Maker
There are times when all you need is one cup of coffee. And then, there are times when you feel like you need to chug cup after cup, just to make it through the day. (We hope those times are few and far between!)
If that sounds like you, then the Cuisinart DCC-3200 14-cup programmable coffee maker might satisfy your coffee craving in both scenarios. Read on to find out if the Cuisinart DCC-3200 has what it takes to serve as your daily coffee brewer?
Summary: Cuisinart DCC-3200
- High capacity brewing
- Hot-plate with temperature control
- Comes with both metal filter basket and paper filters
Fully Automatic with 24 hour programmability, self clean, 1–4 cup setting, auto-off (0–4 hours), and optional ready alert tone.– Cuisinart
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 Coffee Maker Review
Cusinart has a reputation for making fantastic fantastic kitchen euipment, and this 14-cup programmable coffee maker is no different. It has the ability to brew hotter coffee in large quantities, and you can even set it to automatically start brewing in the morning.
Let’s take a look at why this Cuisinart coffee maker is such a crowd-pleaser.
Design – 3.5/5
This coffee maker looks unmistakably Cuisinart: brushed stainless steel, black plastic, and blue lights around the buttons. The look isn’t striking, but neither is it offensive. Size-wise, it has a smallish (7.75 x 9 inch) footprint, but at 14 inches tall, it might be a tight fit under tall cabinets.
If you want a bit more exotic look, the Copper Classic and the Black Steel finish have a bit more personality. The white plastic and stainless is our least favorite, but beauty is subjective, so whatever matches your decor best!
The blue-backlit LCD screen is easy to read even in the dark, although the buttons’ illumination only indicates that an option has been selected. The buttons themselves are challenging to read in a dark environment.
Features – 4/5
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is equipped with features that make it an extremely competent performer even among the top of the line drip coffee makers.
From a hardware perspective, the “shower-head” design ensures even extraction from the ground coffee. Some drip-brewers tend to concentrate their stream in a small area, which can result in over-extracting some coffee grounds and under-extracting others.
The water reservoir has a water level indicator window on the side and comes with a carbon water filter, which Cuisinart suggests that you replace every 60 days or 60 brews.
If you find yourself unable to wait for the entire pot to brew, the Cuisinart has a brew pause feature that allows you to pour yourself a cup while the brewing process is underway. Pause is perhaps a slight misnomer, as the coffee maker will continue dispensing water into the grounds. Cuisinart advises that you return the pot within 20 seconds; otherwise, there is a risk of the brew basket overflowing. (1)
Speaking of brew baskets, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 comes with two different baskets, a cone style gold-tone metal basket and a cone-style plastic basket that requires #4 size paper filters. This is great because filters are not a one size fits all solution. Some people prefer the cleaner cup that you get from paper filters, while others prefer the richer mouthfeel of metal filters. (2)
Gold-tone filters are so-called because they are generally gold-plated stainless steel. Gold is inert and does not transfer any flavor.
Depending on the fineness of your grind (and your grinder’s consistency), the metal filter may allow some fines to pass through. This most often manifests itself as fine sediment at the bottom of the carafe or final cups and is harmless. (3)
When it comes to brewing, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 offers more features than the average drip coffee machine. Users get the option of brew strength control: regular and bold. The bold brews take slightly longer to brew as the water percolates more slowly in order to get more extraction.
If you are brewing less than 4 cups, just press the 1-4 cup setting button, and the machine optimizes its brew mode for reduced volume.
The Cuisinart offers a feature we’ve never seen anywhere else. If there is a brief (less than 60 seconds) power outage, the coffee maker is able to restart the brewing process. We’re not certain how often this would come in handy, but it is an interesting feature.
This brewer doesn’t break any new grounds with its programmability, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You set the time, the time you want coffee, and then press the Program/Auto On button. Since this machine isn’t automated, you still need to fill the water reservoir and grounds basket before every use.
One unique feature offered by this Cuisinart coffee maker is the ability to disable the audible alarm that indicates the brewing process is finished.
This is great if you just want to wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee instead of a shrill alarm. On the other hand, sometimes it is nice to know when the brewing process is finished because that means you can get started drinking coffee!
Carafe and Hot Plate
The glass carafe sits on a hot plate that keeps your coffee warm. It has 3 settings for temperature control — high, medium, low. Users can also select how long the hot-plate will remain on after brewing, with options from 0 to 4 hours.
Some reviews have suggested that the temperature influences the temperature of the brewing process, but this is not the case. By the time the coffee has reached the carafe, it has already been brewed. However, just because the hot plate isn’t contributing to how the coffee is brewed does not mean that it isn’t influencing how your coffee tastes. Coffee can develop burnt or stale flavors when held at temperature using hot plates. (4)
Hot plates actively heat up coffee, which distorts its taste by overcooking it.
Lower temperatures somewhat mitigate this, but coffee is at its best when it is freshly brewed. Insulated carafes or thermoses are the best way to ensure your coffee stays warm and tastes great.
Side Note: We understand that each company uses their own definition for their coffee “cups.” What is not understandable is when the chosen size is not made clear to the customers. And on this front, Cuisinart has definitely dropped the ball. When we got on the phone with their customer service, they suggested that their cup size is just over 8-oz. However, a sizable portion of reviewers believe that their cups are 6-oz, so let’s go with that.
Ease Of Use – 4/5
Making coffee doesn’t have to be complicated, and the Cuisinart has done a great job allowing you to make a cup the way you like it without a ton of work. Fill the reservoir with water, add coffee grounds to the filter basket, and press the brew button. If you want the coffee to be stronger or you want to brew a smaller batch, press the bold or 1-4 cup button before pressing the brew button.
The auto-off and auto-on functions are built into the brew button and program button, respectively. They are activated by long-pressing the buttons, which might take some getting used to. You might benefit from keeping the instruction manual handy for the first few times you use this machine.
This drip coffee maker lets you know it is time to descale with a red indicator light.
The descaling process is just as painless. It involves filling the reservoir with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, and then simply pressing and holding the clean button until the machine is in the clean-mode.
Among all the positives, we noticed that many users had one recurring complaint — it was challenging to fill the reservoir using the carafe. The reservoir’s lid just doesn’t open quite wide enough, and it can be cumbersome to empty the carafe fully. It’s a minor issue, but we thought we should mention it as it’s a common use-case scenario.
Value For Money – 4/5
As drip coffee machines go, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 is neither cheap nor expensive. It offers high capacity, programmability, and brews a good cup of coffee without breaking the bank. On top of all of this, Cuisinart backs up this machine with a 3-year warranty.
At this price point, we expect a thermal carafe instead of an uninsulated glass carafe. However, the inclusion of a variable temperature hot plate does show that Cuisinart is interested in making sure that you’re still getting your money’s worth.
Do Not Buy The Cuisinart DCC-3200 If…
You want the flexibility to make single serve coffee – The Cuisinart might have a 1-4 cup button, but the Hamilton Beach 2-way Brewer beats its hands-down with its dedicated single serve brewing capability. Having flexibility to brew a full pot and single serve coffee could be exactly what you need. Check out the full range of features of the Hamilton Beach 2-way Brewer.
You want an SCAA certified drip coffee maker – Drip coffee machines are dime-a-dozen, and it’s kind of hard to stand out in the crowd. But one way coffee equipment manufacturers can do that is by getting a Specialty Coffee Association of America certification. What this means for you is that an SCAA-certified machine will outshine all other drip coffee makers when it comes to brewing coffee.
For not much more than what the Cuisinart DCC-3200 costs, you can get the Bonavita BV1900TS. It is SCAA-certified and comes with an optional pre-infusion feature to help you extract the most flavor from your coffee beans. You will be sacrificing programmability and capacity, though. Luckily, the Bonavita BV1900TD brings auto-on programmability to the table along with the SCAA certification. Otherwise, both Bonavita models are similar, and you can read all about their brewing capabilities in our review of the BV1900TS.
If you have the budget for it, though, we recommend taking a look at the Technivorm Moccamaster, which is our favorite drip coffee maker.
You want a good-looking machine that makes a mean cup of coffee – What if you want the best of both worlds? Well, then we recommend the Oxo On Barista Brain 9-Cup coffee maker. Its stellar presence on the kitchen counter and the amazing coffee it brews more than makes up for its lesser capacity. It also has that coveted SCAA-certification. (5) And you get the ability to set an auto-on time and brew less than a full pot. It’s such a good drip coffee maker that we were quite smitten by it in our review. The catch? It costs almost twice as much as the Cuisinart DCC-3200.
The Verdict On The Cuisinart DCC-3200
If you’re looking for a high capacity coffee brewer, this machine won’t lead you astray. It is loaded with useful features, an extended warranty, and is reasonably priced.
Surprisingly, the taste of its 1-4 cup setting is similar to its full pot of coffee. Not many coffee makers are capable of making great small batches. So if you are in the market for a coffee machine that can take care of your personal caffeine needs as well as serve coffee to a big group of people when required, this Cuisinart coffee maker won’t let you down.
- (n.d.). Cuisinart Instruction Booklet: Perfect Temp 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker. Retrieved from https://www.cuisinart.com/share/pdf/manuals/dcc-3200.pdf
- Pearson, D. (2015, Jan 15). Which Filter Brew Method Is Best for You? Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/1728/
- Brøndsted, T. (n.d.). The Taste Of Fines In Coffee Grind. Retrieved from https://coffeenavigated.net/grinder/fines/
- Scott. (2015, Feb 28). 3 Common Misconceptions About Keeping Coffee Hot. Retrieved from https://driftaway.coffee/hotcoffee/
- (n.d.). SCA Certified Home Brewer Program. Retrieved From https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer