The Zutto is stylish, the decanter looks huge for a 5 cup, it has to be though to hold the basket. the water is hot, Note for those that don't understand how coffee is made; it is the temp at the grinds we are concerned with not so much the temp at the cup. The temp at the grinds is required to extract the correct amount of flavor (if it is there, some brands don't have that much flavor to start with) along with the time that hot water is in contact with the grinds, is what makes the difference in a cup of coffee and a really good cup of coffee.
I read that someone verified water temp with a Digital thermometer at the water outlet. Temp range from 180 at the start to 208 at the end, and suggested preheating the water.
1- using the old maker, run 2 cups water, while placing filter and grinds in Zutto, then pour hot water into measuring cup =this case 8 oz, and that into Zutto, the rest into the mug/ thermal or ceramic mug will both benefit from preheat. OR
2. run the water thru the Zutto, pour measured back in to tank, rest into cup, then add grounds/basket and brew.
Personally, could not tell the difference with preheated water, did make a small noticeable difference in cup temp/ thereby coffee temp and how long it stays hotter.
First Batch; using One 8 Oz cup and One Half Oz coffee, Folgers morning blend (not a flavorful brand to my pallet), to compare to the the known results of my old Elite coffee maker. The Zutto can use a 4 or 8 cup paper filter. Reading the instructions I see that time varies from 3 to 7 minutes depending on cups being brewed, Note that the perk can done in as little as 2+mins, but wait a minute more for the water to finish draining through the filter.
Result; ceramic mug is hot to the touch, note that the ceramic pulls the heat from the coffee so if you think it is too hot, switch from the thermal mug to a ceramic one. Also can preheat the cup with hot water
It stayed hot/ above room temp, = the elete resulted in cool coffee before half cup was gone. Flavor is deeper, can tell that more was removed from the grounds, so aside from the lame folgers mix, the Zutto does definitely make a better cup of coffee.
Second batch, the problem becomes obvious.
OK, the h2o temp is good, so...
The Problem is the filter/grinds holder:
With the first batch, I had waited and the grinds had drained fully, when pouring the manufacturer says hold thumb on lid, that worked the first time.
The second batch I wound up with a teaspoon of grinds in the cup:
1. the two holes in the filter basket were slightly clogged with grinds, the paper filter was pressed against them. there by retaining some water in the grinds, which flowed out when tilted to pour, carrying with it grinds.
2 the filter, this was a full size paper, was pushed down into the basket, this put it against those two holes and also down from the top edge of the basket.
3. this is a really bad design. A basket full of grinds that is designed to tip sideways when pouring out the liquid REQUIRES certain Design Features: features that effectively contain the grinds, eh?
How to Fix the problems;
1. easiest; remove the basket before pouring. easy enough to lift out and hold with one hand while pouring with the other.
this does present the problem of drips of coffee, however the basket Does have a base that allows it to stand stable on its own, say, on a saucer.
2. add 4 small bars across the bottom of the basket about quarter inch up, to hold the filter up from the holes. and allow plenty of time for all the water to drain out of the basket before pouring. (still has potential of grinds falling out as the last cup is poured. )
3. Or, the manufacturer could take responsibility for their product design.
Since it is the Zojirushi team's design to pour with the basket & grinds in place, it should also be their design to contain those grinds and also allow unrestricted draining of those grinds.
In my opinion the Best way to do that is; make a stainless basket/ container/ filter. Specifically; similar to the tea containers, a closing latched mesh basket shaped filter. This SHOULD be normal and Included with the maker.
Conclusion; I took the mesh filter from the old coffee maker, it fits in the
Zutto basket, it also hangs on the lip of the so it does not touch the bottom of the basket, I also use a paper filter, 1. the extra oils from "no paper" don't do anything for me personally, 2. it is much easier and cleaner to pull the paper full of grinds and drop them into the compost, compared to tapping out the wire filter and still need to wash grinds out, -- just a personal preference.
I also set the basket out on a dish before pouring coffee.
Note that I also use a much better grade of coffee to brew from, it takes the same amount of time to brew as before, with much much better results than the other coffee makers previously mentioned.
Now if Zojirushi will send us the enclosed grinds basket, all will be well.
After several weeks of use, and experimentation; I have discovered these things;
User error, I pushed the filter down into the basket; this resulted in a semi plugged outlet, and the front of the basket has a drain slot, which was not properly covered because of the filter misplacement. And because of being used to the drip maker with the auto-stop on the basket, I did not wait long enough for the water to fully drain from the basket.
The result of this combination was that grinds were washed into the cup as it was poured.
The easy correction is; only press the filter in gently and not to press to the bottom, then also leave just enough above the rim of the basket to fold out on the front edge, this is to trap the filter with the basket cover. And Wait the appropriate amount of time before pouring.
I still lift the basket out before I pour, it is just easier for me that way. I also plugged one of the two drain holes in the bottom of the basket, lets the water soak the grinds a tiny bit longer, and have had no over flow problem - using up to two cups of water.
I would like to see a change to the basket cover; the current design puts the water into the center of the basket. I noticed that if brewing 4 cups there are dry grinds at the top outer parameter. This could be corrected with a more dispersing design in the lid.