Braun BrewSense KF7150 review: Braun's compact coffee maker brews excellent drip at a budget price

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The Good The Braun BrewSense KF7150 creates drip coffee every bit as good as gourmet machines that cost three times as much. It's also compact, so it won't take up much space on your kitchen counter.

The Bad It uses a glass carafe and hot plate instead of a thermal carafe. Pouring the carafe too quickly causes spills and drips. The water tank has a small opening.

The Bottom Line Fans of thermal carafes won't like the glass pot and hot plate, but those looking for excellent drip at a low price will sing the BrewSense's praises.

7.6 Overall
  • Performance 9
  • Design 6.5
  • Features 7
  • Maintenance 6.5

Every so often a product surprises me by performing better than I thought possible. Case in point, the $100 Braun BrewSense KF7150 coffee maker. Judging from its comparatively low price and modest appearance, I assumed that this kitchen gadget lacked the chops to whip up pots of excellent drip coffee. Boy, was I wrong. Time after time, the BrewSense KF7150 transformed my lowly test beans into quality joe, the type I've only coaxed from more expensive drip machines.

Sure, Braun did make some trade-offs to keep the cost down. Like the$140 Bonavita BV01002US, another aggressively priced coffee maker, the BrewSense KF7150 doesn't feel as sturdy as luxury models. It also relies on a glass carafe and hot plate combo instead a thermal carafe. If these are deal breakers then consider the $190 Bonavita BV1900TS and $299 Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741, both premium models aimed at the gourmet set.

Design and features

A rectangular block, 14 inches tall by 8 wide, with rounded edges, the BrewSense is lightweight, made from mostly black plastic. Adding a touch of class is a thin skin of stainless steel that covers three quarters of the coffee maker's chassis.

The Braun BrewSense KF7150 coffee maker looks like many ordinary drip machines on the market.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

A square, perforated metal lid flips open to reveal a water tank and a plastic filter basket. The basket accepts either type #4 paper coffee filters or the bundled gold tone permanent filter. You can brew up to 12 cups (5 ounces each) of coffee, the appliance's maximum capacity.

Flip the lid up to access the filter and water tank.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

On the front face is a control panel with a tiny LCD screen, with an illuminated digital clock. Nine buttons run along the bottom edge of the panel, with a circular power key under that. These buttons let you perform various functions such as starting a brew immediately or scheduling one in advance, setting the clock's time and engaging the machine's cleaning cycle.

The control panel has numerous buttons and a clock LCD.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Instead of a double-walled thermal carafe, a basic glass carafe rests on a base at the center of the coffee machine. An electric hot plate below it provides warmth to brewed coffee inside the container. You can set the hot plate to operate at different temperatures: low, medium and high. This arrangement isn't ideal if you don't drink your coffee quickly and often leave it sitting in the pot for hours at time. That's because the carafe isn't air tight and brewed coffee's subtle flavor quickly fades when exposed to oxygen.

Be careful pouring from the carafe too aggressively as well. I found that if I tilted the container at too sharp an angle, liquid tended to spill and drip along its sides. Filling the coffee maker's reservoir with water can be tricky too, since its opening is quite a small target.

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