I suspect many of you in the market for a new coffee maker would equally appreciate sophisticated looks as much as the ability to brew a delicious pot of java. If you're one of this discriminating breed of appliance consumer, then the $170 Bunn Velocity Brew BT is not for you. It's big, has a long and blocky frame, uses plenty of flimsy-feeling plastic parts, plus it lacks a screen, clock, or even buttons.
That said, even the most snobbish coffee drinker won't be able to ignore the Velocity Brew BT's ability to create 10 cups of truly scrumptious joe in than three and a half minutes. That's why this gadget is easy to recommend as a reliable drip workhorse. It just won't serve double duty as a personal design statement.
The Bunn Velocity Brew BT's design is modest, even misleadingly basic. First of all it's large, almost comically so. Standing 15 inches tall, 7 inches wide, and a long 13 inches deep, the Velocity Brew isn't what you'd call "compact." While similar in height to other drip machines such as the(14 inches) and (14.5 inches), the Velocity Brew BT's shape is extremely oblong. Indeed, the appliance's unconventional body is practically twice as deep as those two products. You'll certainly have to consider the BT's rather massive impact on your kitchen counter space wisely.
Second, the Bunn Velocity Brew BT's boxy front face and lightweight plastic top half give it an undeniably toylike aesthetic. Heightening the BT's play-kitchen appearance is the way the coffee maker's polycarbonate lid, and entire top surface, for that matter, flex easily with the slightest bit of downward pressure.
And like the Melitta 10-Cup, the only expensive-looking parts on the Velocity Brew are the silver brushed-metallic highlights. In the BT's case this includes the large water tank (located in the rear) and the vacuum-insulated thermal carafe. I also found the thin plastic brew funnel disconcertingly pliable, flexing in my hands with a gentle twist. The thermal carafe in the Bunn is well constructed and solid-feeling, though. I also like that its swivel-on lid is a breeze to screw tight and pours with dreamlike accuracy.
You'll find no snazzy LCD screens, clocks, lights, or indicators of any kind on this monolithic appliance--only one unlabeled power switch placed at the base of the water tank.
Usability and features
Suffice it to say the Velocity Brew BT is a spartan gadget, and using it is simple once you get the hang of it. I can't stress how radically different this machine is from any drip coffee maker I've used previously. Think of it as your average kitchen-counter coffee gadget that works in reverse, and perhaps powered by a jet engine.
This is no typical automatic coffee machine that sits dry and idle until you fill it with water (and coffee) then hit the power switch. Instead, the Brew BT starts out cocked, locked, and ready for java-brewing action at a moment's notice.
To achieve this the Velocity Brew BT's big water tank holds double the amount of other coffee makers, specifically two thermal carafes' worth (100 ounces, 20 coffee cups). The appliance preheats its water supply too so it can brew at the ideal water temperature quickly.
Of course, a little prep is required to prime the machine for duty. For example, before turning the Velocity Brew BT on, or even plugging it into an electrical outlet, you must first fill its water tank to capacity. And since its reservoir is so large, I strongly recommend placing it where you'd like it to live on your counter before you do this. Fully topped off, the device weighs in at 10 pounds, 5.6 ounces (minus carafe) -- and keep in mind the water within its innards is scalding hot once you warm it up.
To add water just flip open the plastic lid on top of the reservoir and use the thermal carafe to fill it up. With its tank filled you then plug the appliance in and flip its only switch to the "on" position. The machine then needs at least 15 minutes to bring the water to temperature.