We Put NutriBullet's New Coffee Maker to the Test by Brewing 200 Cups of Coffee
Coffee plays a big part in most people's morning rituals. From espresso machines to French presses and pour overs, there are endless apparatus available to at-home baristas. But some days, you just want to make a quality cup of java with the least amount of effort.
A dual coffee maker offers two ways to get a caffeine fix, combining the convenience of single-serve pods and the capacity to brew full carafes of traditional drip coffee in one space-saving appliance. NutriBullet recently unveiled the Brew Choice Pod + Carafe, a two-in-one machine that promises customized coffee at the touch of a button. Should fans of the brand's personal blenders and affordable air fryer make room on their countertops? We put the Brew Choice Pod + Carafe to the test to find out.
At a Glance
There are three single-serve sizes, including one for larger travel mugs.
The reusable pod cuts down on single-serve plastic waste.
It does the work of two coffee makers in one space-saving machine.
It's missing key features that similar makers have, like delayed start and an on/off switch.
There are only three pre-programmed carafe sizes.
You'll need to find space in your kitchen to store the accessories when you're not using them.
How We Tested
Over the course of two weeks, we made 200 cups of coffee—100 cups using the single-serve pod setting and 100 more with the traditional filter method—making notes on the ease of each brewing process, the included features and accessories, and the quality of each cup.
What's Included: Accessories and Inspiration
Standing at 14.65 inches tall, 15 inches deep, and just under 8 inches wide, the Brew Choice offers the convenience of a dual coffee maker in a relatively compact counter footprint.
In addition to the base and water reservoir, the machine comes with a 12-cup glass carafe, a brew basket, and a gold-tone filter for making pots of coffee; a reusable pod, pod holder, and mug platform for single-serve use; and a plastic scoop for measuring coffee grounds. Standard features include a digital display with clock, a cancel function, and an "add water" alert.
The Brew Choice recipe guide includes tips and tricks for making everything from classic drip coffee to specialty drinks like iced lattes, chai and coffee cocktails, and java-infused desserts like affogato, coffee cake, smoothies, and shakes. The machine does not come with a frother or steamer feature, though, so you'll have to have the necessary equipment to make any concoctions that call for steamed milk or foam.
Like NutriBullet's other appliances, the Brew Choice comes with a limited warranty, which covers defects and repairs for a period of one year from the date of purchase.
Unboxing and Setup: Ready to Use Out of the Box
By using the illustrated quick start guide included with the Brew Choice, you can have a hot cup of coffee within minutes of unboxing. We wiped down the machine, washed the removable water reservoir and accessories in soapy water, and ran an initial cleaning cycle before brewing our first cup.
The Brew Choice's full-sized filter is made of gold-tone wire mesh, which filters out the grounds without absorbing the oils that give coffee its robust aroma and taste. (It's less wasteful than disposable paper filters, and it's also easy to clean). The same goes for the reusable pod, though the machine can also accommodate single-use K-cup pods if that's your preference.
Performance and Value: Makes a Good Cup of Coffee, but Missing One Key Feature
Whether you want a single serving or a whole carafe, the brewing process is simple and straightforward. The machine automatically senses whether you have inserted the accessories for a single cup or a carafe and offers three corresponding sizing selections on the machine's intuitive digital display. Simply turn the selector dial to choose your size and push the start/cancel button to begin brewing. A second push of the button will stop the process once it's underway.
First, we tested the single-serve feature, inserting the pod holder and reusable pod filled with medium-fine grounds into the brew area and pulling down to close the lid until we heard a click. We used the drip tray accessory to avoid splashes when making our 6- and 8-ounce cups and removed it to brew a 10-ounce serving directly into a travel mug. Be sure that you click the pod lid closed before inserting it into the pod holder—the first time we used it, we overfilled the pod with grounds, which caused a bit of leakage from the spout and left noticeable traces of grounds in the finished cup.
Next, we brewed a carafe of coffee. Though there are standard demarcations for 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 cups on the glass carafe, the brew selector only offers three options: 6, 9, and 12 cups. The carafe brewing setting works just like any other coffee maker: Measure the grounds using the plastic scoop, insert the filter into the brew basket, close the lid, use the dial to choose the carafe size, and press the start button.
Once the brewing process is complete and the machine becomes inactive—which happens about five minutes after using the pod option and up to an hour after using the carafe method—the machine enters "sleep mode" (there is no on/off switch). The user guide claims that the heat plate will keep a carafe of coffee warm for up to two hours once it's finished brewing, but we found that within an hour, the coffee was no longer at an optimal temperature for drinking and needed to be reheated. If you opt to unplug the machine to save electricity between uses, you'll have to reset the digital clock each time you plug it in.
While the Brew Choice makes a good cup of coffee, there is one key feature that's missing: programmability. We were disappointed to learn that there is no timer feature, so if you enjoy waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee, this may not be the machine for you.
Brewing Tip: Use a Fine Grind
Whether you buy pre-ground coffee or grind your own beans at home, making good coffee with the Brew Choice starts with choosing the right grounds. Using a coarser grind in the machine resulted in weak, watery coffee, so we opted for a bold blend in a fine grind to ensure that the water flowed through the grounds at a rate that helped extract the flavors instead of diluting them.
Care and Cleaning: Easy to Maintain
The process of cleaning the Brew Choice Pod + Carafe is quick and simple. After each use, clean the dishwasher-safe accessories and wipe down the base with a damp cloth or paper towel. The detachable lid makes it easy to clean out any excess coffee grounds that can accumulate in the brewing platform.
If you're going to store the machine, first empty out the water reservoir, which can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria if left to sit for too long. Find a space where the machine will stay dry and frost-free, clean the base and accessories, and run the machine through a cleaning cycle before you brew.
Final Thoughts: A Basic Dual Coffee Maker at an Affordable Price
Though serious coffee aficionados will probably want to opt for a dual machine that offers special features like a timer and temperature control settings, NutriBullet's first foray into the coffee game is a good option for anyone looking for the quickest way to get a jolt of caffeine. The sleek machine is also ideal for small living spaces or homes and offices where there are a variety of coffee drinkers—each with their own preferences—under one roof.
At $140, the Brew Choice is a straightforward two-in-one coffee maker that's worth the price. Get yours now below.