Meet Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew, the Mr. Coffee for the smart home era. A coffeemaker with premium brewing aspirations, the $150 device also flaunts some smart home chops, including integration with Belkin's WeMo connected smart device platform. This means you can command the machine to brew from anywhere you have access to the WeMo mobile app and a live internet connection. Optimal Brew also supports a fully customizable 7-day programmable program and is easy to use and clean. However, the ambitious apparatus has drawbacks; brews weak coffee and cannot communicate with other Belkin WeMo sensors and switches. It all makes for an interesting product for tech junkies, but not for discerning coffee fans who would be better served with a Bunn Velocity Brew BT or Bonavita BV1900TS.
Meet the smart and modular Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew (images)
I bet when most people imagine a Mr. Coffee, they think of one of the many cheap plastic gadgets that clog department store aisles. With reflective chrome and stainless steel accents in a subtle black plastic frame, the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew is a different beast altogether. Take away Belkin's smart WeMo technology (and bright green logo) from this machine, and what you'd be left with would be a spitting image of the Mr. Coffee, Optimal Brew Thermal.
At 14.3 inches tall, the Smart Optimal Brew is a great kitchen appliance. However, the coffee machine is relatively slim and flat at 8.8 inches wide and 7.1 inches deep. Although not as compact as a liter sizeBonavita BV1900TSMr. Coffee takes up less counter space than giant coffee machines like this oneBreville YouBrewjGrinding and Broth Cuisinart Burr. This makes it very easy to get into tight spaces around the kitchen.
Another feature I really like about Smart Optimal Brew is its highly modular design. For example, the rectangular water tank easily slides off the top of the machine. It is very easy to fill, sitting on a table or over a faucet. And as someone who actually weighs the water for each test brew, I appreciate how the tank moves from scale to brewer without drama or high chance of spillage.
Likewise, the filter basket is actually a small drawer that slides out of the right side of the unit. The advantage here is that the entire assembly is easy to remove and clean, throwing the used coffee grounds and the flat-bottomed paper filter in the trash. Just remember to remove the disc-shaped water filter (above) and open the basket lid first. Also here is a bright red plastic indicator that Mr. Coffee provides to keep track of when you need to replace the circular water filter (monthly).
old fashioned beer
As a simple coffee maker, Smart Optimal Brew is very easy to use. On the front of the machine, there is just a square "brew now" button, above and to the right of the coffee maker. To prepare fresh coffee in the conventional way, just fill the water reservoir with the desired amount of coffee, the reservoir holds a maximum of 10 cups. Then add the appropriate amount of ground coffee to the brew basket filter, which accepts flat bottom paper filters or permanent gold filters (sold by Mr. Coffee for $12). When these steps are complete, simply press the brew button and wait for the hot coffee to pour.
Front and center is a large cradle and flat base that houses the Optimal Brew thermos (Mr. Coffee calls it a carafe). Its steel frame is sturdy and easy to pour thanks to a lid that twists and closes securely. There's also a big thumb button on the pod's handle that you have to press to get the coffee out of the spout, a welcome feature for clumsy people like me.
Mr. Coffee goes to smart home school
What sets Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew from traditional programmable drip machines is its compatibility with Belkin's WeMo technology. Essentially, WeMo is tech accessory maker Belkin's foray into the growing smart home market. Smart home devices are designed to communicate and work together over wireless computer networks to create a smarter, more automated home.
To do this, Smart Optimal Brew uses Wi-Fi wireless networks to communicate with the Belkin WeMo Mobile App on iOS or Android phones and tablets. This gives the coffee maker some new features such as B. A complete 7-day programmable weekly brew program. So if you want the device to make coffee automatically at 7 am. M. Monday to Friday, but maybe 9am. M. on Saturday and maybe 11 o'clock. M. Sunday, no problem.
The WeMo app also offers a much more intuitive way to interact with the device than using the glorified VCR control buttons common on basic programmable coffee makers. Just tap the Mr. Coffee in the app, then tap the green arrow under its name to change the brewing schedule. The device and the WeMo app will also send you notifications when the water tank needs to be refilled or the water filter needs replacing.
If you've brewed the machine but want your coffee sooner than scheduled, just press the virtual brew button in the app. All of this also works from anywhere as long as your mobile device has an internet connection.
However, there is a fatal flaw in Smart Optimal Brew that potentially applies to all connected coffeemakers: it still takes a human hand to make it work. No matter how smart or connected you are, you need to fill the attachment with fresh water and ground coffee before each brew cycle. If you could dump a week's supply of fresh grain into that thing, which it would grind itself before fermenting itself and refilling its water tank, well, that would be something special. Unfortunately, that's not the case with Smart Optimal Brew.
Another disappointment is that, like the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker, which is also WeMo-enabled, the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew doesn't really integrate with Belkin's WeMo system. You can't trick the device into doing clever tricks, like B. to start your prep day earlier if a motion sensor in the kitchen triggers. The same thing happens (or doesn't happen) when you turn on a Belkin Smart Bulb with the same settings or even a combination of all of the above.
And if you expect this smart coffee maker to connect to an IFTTT (If This Then That) channel to work well with a growing ecosystem of web-connected products and services, you're in for bad news. While a Belkin rep said the company is looking into supporting IFTTT, there's still no word on when or if that will come to fruition.
Setting Smart Optimal Brew correctly in the Belkin WeMo app wasn't easy either, an issue our testers encountered with other WeMo products. With the WeMo software installed on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Android phone, I first performed some necessary firmware updates before the coffee maker finally settled down. Prior to this new code flow, I was repeatedly getting error messages asking me to disconnect and reconnect the coffee maker for a more stable connection.
Perhaps the current owners of the Mr. Coffee, Jarden (who bought Sunbeam, the original owners), are sensitive to their less-than-stellar consumer attitudes. I'll admit, I was surprised when Smart Optimal Brew produced a brew time of less than 7 minutes (6 minutes, 48 seconds). This is certainly within the 4-8 minute steeping time recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
Likewise, I was impressed that the Junk machine was able to reach the coveted 200 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature in about 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the brew cycle and keep it there for the rest of the procedure. Smart Optimal Brew went above and beyond, reaching 204-206 degrees in their brew basket on many occasions.
Note, however, that this is not in line with SCAA preparation guidelines, which dictate that the ideal temperature curve should be much more accurate. Specifically, ground coffee must reach 197.6 degrees within the first few minutes of brewing and must not exceed 204.8 degrees. More expensive competitors like Bunn Velocity Brew BT, Bonavita BV1900TS and Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 performed much better, heating water faster, shorter brew times, or both.
Whether it was one of these minor performance glitches or a combination, Smart Optimal Brew consistently brewed cups of coffee that were drinkable but tasteless. Fortunately, the coffee from the machine was not bitter at all, even when I increased the ground coffee to 3 ounces (up from the 2 ounces I usually use) per 45 ounces of water. The refractometer readings I took supported my taste buds with coffee with a low percentage dissolved solids of 0.68. This equates to an aqueous extraction percentage of around 14 percent, well below the 22 or 23 percent for truly flavorful beers. More information on how to test coffee machines can be found hereDeep divein my test methods.
On the surface, the notion of a smart coffee maker sounds pretty good. Instead of a tiny LCD screen and even smaller physical buttons found on just about every programmable coffee maker, the idea of controlling things via your big-screen phone or tablet definitely has a lot of appeal. In that regard, the $150 Mr.Coffee Smart Optimal Brew is certainly to be commended. I also like the peace of mind of being able to make sure the coffee maker is turned off from anywhere.
However, where does this hip Mr. Coffee lets me down is its half-hearted endorsement of Belkin's WeMo platform. While he wasn't too surprised by the device's weak Joe Pots, he expected it to have more sophisticated WeMo capabilities. Since it cannot communicate with WeMo motion sensors, light switches and smart bulbs, this machine is essentially a WeMo "mobile app" product, not a true WeMo gadget. Therefore, I suggest spending less on Mr. Coffee's Optimal Brew 12-Cup Thermal ($130) or the Optimal Brew 10-Cup Thermal ($100). If you're craving more flavor, the Bunn Velocity Brew BT ($170) and Bonavita BV1900TS ($190) are worth the extra cash.
Mr. Coffee Intelligent preparo ideal
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If the light is on but no brewing is taking place, simply reset the machine to its factory settings. To solve the machine malfunction problem, unplug them hold the restore power switch, and ensure the light goes off. Then plug the unit back in after a minute and try brewing again.How do I reset my Mr Coffee coffee maker? ›
Step 1: Unplug your Wemo Coffeemaker. Step 2: Press and hold the RESTORE button. Step 3: While pressing the RESTORE button, plug the unit back in. Step 4: After 10 seconds, release the RESTORE button.What does a smart coffee machine do? ›
Smart coffee makers are generally just coffee machines that can wirelessly connect to your phone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and be controlled by an app.How do I make my Mr Coffee coffee stronger? ›
If you want a strong cup of coffee, you'll need only one scoop per cup. If you want a weaker cup of coffee, it is best to use one scoop for every two cups. Two tablespoons [10 grams] of coffee should be held in a cup. One scoop of ice is added for every six ounces of water.What does the strong brew button do on Mr. Coffee? ›
* Strong Brew vs. Regular: The Strong Brew option is triggered by a single button click and will slow down the rate at which the water flows through the basket for longer saturation of the coffee grinds.Why does my Mr. Coffee make weak coffee? ›
If the grind of your coffee is too coarse (not ground fine enough), it will produce a weaker brew. This is not an issue with the coffee maker, but rather the coffee you are brewing. To produce stronger coffee, grind your coffee more finely or purchase a coffee with a finer grind.Why is my coffee maker suddenly making weak coffee? ›
You may be making weak coffee in your coffee machine because the coffee grounds have lost their intensity or the brewing method has not yielded the proper amount of essence. If you have not properly stored the coffee grounds or if the water supply is too cold for the coffee machine, this could occur.Is there a reset button on Mr. Coffee maker? ›
There is a reset button located on the back of the Mr. Coffee machine. Pressing this button will reset the machine and clear any errors that may be displayed.How do you refresh a coffee maker? ›
Fill the reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water. Place a paper filter into the machine's empty basket. Position the pot in place, and "brew" the solution until the "add water" light illuminates. Pour out the full pot of vinegar and water, and let the machine sit for 30 to 60 minutes.How do you unblock a coffee maker? ›
Fill your coffee maker's water chamber halfway with white vinegar. Fill it the rest of the way with water. Put a paper filter in the basket to catch any hard water deposits or other debris that may be loosened. Brew half of the water/vinegar mixture, then turn your coffee maker off.
Since strength is basically the ratio of dissolved coffee solids to water in your finished drink, the easiest way to change it is to change the ratio of coffee grinds to water in your recipe. We refer to this as the brew ratio, and we notate it in terms of how much more water than coffee we're using.Does letting coffee steep longer make it stronger? ›
24 hours: The rule for cold brew is the longer you steep, the stronger your brew. Maxing out the steep time on this coffee will yield a bold, caramel-forward brew. The cherry flavors will still be around, but it'll be a little trickier to find them.Does adding more coffee grounds make coffee stronger? ›
To Make Strong Coffee, Adjust Your Coffee to Water Ratio
To make a stronger brew, just increase the amount of grounds used without altering the quantity of water you use. This will alter the ratio and produce a stronger cup.
The strong brew button extends the brewing time to increase brew strength instead of boiling water to burn ground coffee. This feature is exclusive to the Keurig coffee machines, but not every model will have brew strength settings like the bold setting.What brewing method makes the strongest coffee? ›
Espresso is considered the strongest coffee brewing method. The strongest ratio is reached at 1:2, however some people prefer ratios of extraction not as concentrated or strong as 1:3 which are more commonly used in cappuccinos or lattes.How long does a Mr. Coffee maker last? ›
If you take good care of it, you should expect your Mr. Coffee maker to last between 2 and 3 years. A cleaning cycle every month prolongs the life of your coffee maker. Coffee machines frequently fail, so read on to learn how to keep the machine running for longer.Does an expensive coffee maker make a difference? ›
Most cheaper coffee makers barely get that hot, and over time burn out. A larger brew head showers the ground coffee more evenly. This leads to better extraction which results in better flavor.Can you add milk to smart coffee? ›
Smart Coffee is usually an instant coffee, with added benefits, that you can brew simply by adding hot water. You can also then add your favorite flavoring of choice. I love adding honey and milk, or pure maple syrup and coconut milk. Yum!What is the purpose of an automatic drip coffee maker? ›
Because you can typically brew anywhere from 4 to 12 or more cups at once, an auto drip coffee maker is a good option for when you need to make coffee for a family gathering or brunch. The programmable options also make this a good choice for coffee lovers looking for convenience and consistency.Where is the reset button on my Mr coffee maker? ›
There is a reset button located on the back of the Mr. Coffee machine. Pressing this button will reset the machine and clear any errors that may be displayed.
When your coffee maker stops pumping water, the appliance probably needs to be descaled. Hard water build-up may be affecting your coffee machine's ability to pump water through it to make coffee. Simply run a descaling cycle to clear the build-up.How do you unclog a coffee maker? ›
- Fill the Coffee Maker with Vinegar and Water. To clean your coffee maker, begin by filling the reservoir with a 50-50 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. ...
- Brew and Let Soak. Position a filter in the basket, and turn the brewer on. ...
- Finish the Cycle and Flush with Water.
Mr Coffee Buttons Not Working
If the button does not seem to work, it could be due to a broken plastic component. As a result, you will be required to replace the buttons, which can be found on our replacement guide. Another possibility is that the buttons are sticky, which can be corrected by cleaning them.