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GE CFE28USHSS review: GE's Cafe Series fridge dishes out K-Cup coffee on demand

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The Good The Cafe Series refrigerator's coffee-making feature is smart, practical and unique among high-end French-door models. The fridge's cooling performance is sound, too.

The Bad The build is the same as previous years' models, and it doesn't look as distinctive as competing fridges with more modern designs.

The Bottom Line This is a reasonably priced high-end fridge that's worth considering, especially if you think you'd put that Keurig coffeemaker to good use.

7.8 Overall
  • Features 9
  • Design 7
  • Performance 7.5
  • Usability 8

GE's Cafe Series French-door refrigerators have always been capable of dispensing hot water for your coffee, tea or soup, but recent models, including the $3,300 CFE28USHSS, take things a step further by featuring a built-in Keurig coffeemaker that'll go ahead and brew you a cup.

It makes plenty of sense when you think about it. The fridge has its own dedicated source of filtered water, so you won't need to worry about keeping a reservoir filled up. It's a smart fridge, too -- pull up GE's app on your phone and you'll be able to heat the water remotely, or schedule it to heat up at a specific time. And hey, having a coffeemaker built into your refrigerator door helps you save counter space.

It also helps that the Cafe Series refrigerator is a very decent fridge in its own right, with solid cooling performance and plenty of space for your groceries. It's not as flashy as other smart fridges we've seen, like the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator, which costs as much as $6,000, but at roughly half the price, I'd say there's a lot to like here.

To make a cup of coffee, you pop a K-Cup into the Keurig brewing accessory and snap it into place. Once the water heats up, you turn a knob to start brewing.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Design and features

The team at GE didn't update the look of the Cafe Series this year like they did with the Profile Series models. As such, the CFE28USHSS is basically the same build as existing Cafe Series fridges, with the same 27.8 cubic-foot capacity (or 22.2 cubic feet if you're going with a counter-depth model). That also means that it isn't available in a slate finish like the new Profile Series fridges are -- with the Cafe Series, it's stainless steel or nothing.

What's new with the CFE28USHSS is that Keurig attachment. Its only real purpose is to hold your K-Cup in place as hot water passes through, so it's a lot smaller than you might expect. You'll pop a K-Cup in and slide it into position on the right side of the water dispenser, where GE plumbed a second line specifically for hot water.

Once you do, the LCD touchscreen will automatically jump to the hot-water menu, where you'll tell it how many ounces you want. The water will then take a few minutes to heat up (this is where preheating via the app really comes in handy). Once the water is ready, you'll turn a knob to start the flow of java into your waiting mug below. It's about as easy to use as any other single-serve coffeemaker, and the coffee tastes just as good (which really isn't saying a whole lot, given that this is single-serve coffee we're talking about).

Still, the point is that it's convenient. With this fridge in your kitchen, you can ditch your old single-serve coffeemaker to make room for some other kitchen gadget. And, unlike that countertop coffeemaker, the fridge has its own dedicated water connection, which means you'll never have to worry about filling up a reservoir. You can even use the app to create a schedule for the water heater, guaranteeing that the fridge will be ready to brew each morning when you wake up.

GE's high-end French door fridges

Counter-depth model available Slate finish available Water dispenser Price
Café Series CWE23SSHSS Yes No Internal $3,000
Profile Series PFE28KSKSS Yes Yes In-door, with hands-free Autofill $3,000
Café Series CFE28TSHSS Yes No In-door, with hot water presets, LCD touchscreen, and Precise Fill $3,100
Profile Series PFE28PSKSS Yes Yes In-door, with Keurig brewer $3,200
Café Series CFE28USHSS Yes No In-door, with hot water presets, LCD touchscreen, Precise Fill, and Keurig brewer $3,300

The Precise Fill feature will dispense the exact amount of water you ask for.

Chris Monroe/CNET

In addition to the coffeemaker and the hot-water presets, you'll find a dedicated button for GE's Precise Fill feature. With Precise Fill, you get to use the touchscreen to tell the water dispenser exactly how much water you want it to dispense. You'll still need to hold the button down as it dispenses, though -- you can't just set your pot down, press a button, and come back to four cups of water for your macaroni supper.

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