Editors' note, August 20, 2014: We conducted additional and more accurate brewing temperature results. This review has been updated accordingly.
For most people, a cheap $20 Mr. Coffee or any one of its countless clones is all they require to tackle their day-to-day coffee needs. If you'd like to take a step up from those machines, however, the benefits are huge. First, you don't have to endure fresh-brewed java that tastes bitter, harsh, and grows even more noxious the longer it sits on its electric warming plate. Second you'll be enjoying your first cup in no time, typically less than eight minutes.
Best of all, thanks to a thermal coffee pot, if you don't polish off the whole pot right away, it will still stay piping hot hours after it was brewed. For $130, the MT600 from Capresso offers all these abilities plus is wrapped up into a snazzy brushed-metal-and-black-plastic frame. Sure, the MT600 won't deliver a truly sublime cup of drip-brewed coffee. For that there's no getting around splurging at least $200 and up for a more capable machine.
Standing 14 inches tall and a stocky 9 inches wide, the 8-pound Capresso MT600 is certainly large enough to make an impression. The coffee maker also uses an attractive two-tone black-and-silver color scheme that's both handsome and sure to blend tastefully into modern kitchen decors.
I also like how the MT600 departs from the typical square-block shape of most coffee makers. Instead, the machine's main water tank is thin, rounded, and almost wing-like. Furthermore, this tower unit is clad in premium-looking brushed metal, which greatly helps to spruce up an otherwise drab, black plastic exterior.
In front of the water tank sits a large cone that holds either the machine's permanent gold filter or reusable Type 4 paper filters. Below that is a sturdy stainless steel thermal carafe to accept and decant your brew. On the left side of the metal coffee pot, you'll find a small keypad complete with tiny LCD screen and minuscule membrane-style buttons. The display also includes a digital clock for checking the time and programming automatic brewing cycles.
Usability and features
Aside from the flexibility of using either the supplied gold filter or store-bought paper ones, the Capresso MT600 sports other thoughtful extras. For instance, the right side of the water tower not only features a graduated water indicator which is a staple for these type of products, but its tank fluid gauge boasts a floating red bead that makes it a cinch to see exactly where the water line is in relation to its 10 cup capacity. Frankly, it's a trick I wish other coffee makers employed.
Flipping open the tank lid reveals a plastic wand that houses a charcoal water filter pod (one is provided in the box). The filter setup sits within a special receptacle on the tank's interior left side. According to Capresso, the gadget will remove up to 82 percent of "the chlorine and other impurities found in tap water, and will do so for about six weeks, assuming you make one pot (10 cups) daily. It's a nice option to have, especially if you live in an area with substandard water, although remembering to swap in a new filter can be a drag.
To that end, the MT600 will attempt to keep track of when you last dropped in a fresh charcoal pack. Just press the "filter" button on the control panel, and after six weeks an associated green light will begin blinking. If you unplug the machine, however, all bets are off, as the clock and internal filter replacement timer lose track when power is lost.