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.
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.
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.
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.
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.