This coffee maker makes mornings suck less

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Zojirushi's Fresh Brew Plus  coffeemaker will keep your joe fresh and piping hot.
Zojirushi's Fresh Brew Plus coffeemaker will keep your joe fresh and piping hot.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Best List: Fresh Brew Plus coffee maker by Zojirushi

Every coffee fiend has a morning ritual. For me, it’s getting up before my wife and brewing a half-pot of strong black coffee that we can share. She usually gets up much later than me (lucky her), so a thermal carafe works wonders for us: I can drink mine as early as I like, and she can enjoy hers at a more leisurely hour.

That’s one key reason I’ve abandoned fancier coffee makers and set up shop with a Zojirushi Fresh Brew Plus — among its other features, it boasts the best carafe I’ve ever used.

The metal pot’s sturdy plastic handle feels solid in my hand. The precise spout refuses to drip when I’m pouring the precious coffee into our mugs. (Which begs the question, why is it so difficult for other coffee carafes to pull off this feat?)

Zojirushi’s burly, brushed-stainless thermal carafe holds up to 10 cups (1.5 liters) and seems immune to inadvertent collisions with our generally unforgiving granite countertop. Best of all, the well-insulated container keeps coffee piping hot for hours (who knows when my wife will drag herself out of bed).

The Fresh Brew Plus is also simple to use, which is key for those tenuous mornings when a late night leaves me bleary-eyed and slightly addled. Its large, plainly labeled buttons could be grokked quickly by a first-timer. And a novel, clearly marked water tank — which detaches for easy filling and then slides back into the coffee maker — eliminates the need to measure water in a separate container. Brilliant!

The Zojirushi coffee maker looks slightly boxy, and the humble machine doesn’t perform all the tricks of more expensive, and more ambitious, models (beware those overpriced monsters that want to grind your beans for you). However, it performs its basic task efficiently and wonderfully, turning out a tasty cup of joe and keeping it wonderfully hot for hours without that horrible burnt taste that reminds me of truck stop swill.

For the record, I’m a French- and Italian-roast guy, not one of those third-wave coffee snobs sniffing around for notes of blueberry and monkey dung when I make a cup of go-juice. But if that’s your bag you’re probably not looking for a machine like this anyway.

The only thing I would change about the Fresh Brew Plus is the alarm that tells you when your coffee’s finished. It’s coarse and a little too loud for my tastes — it reminds me of something you might hear during a safety drill. If only Zojirushi borrowed a feature from its fantastic fuzzy-logic rice cooker and mimicked that magical device’s whimsical signal.

Air-raid siren aside, this straightforward coffee-making machine will make your mornings a lot less awful. Using it is a lovely way to get a fresh jump on the day.

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