Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Review: We Tested It & This Happened…

Last updated on August 15th, 2023 by MJ

café specialty drip coffee maker review

I love myself a Starbucks coffee on the way to work, but with inflation on the rise, this was a luxury I slowly had to give up. Recently, we upgraded our kitchen, so I decided to finally make the move to buy a coffee machine.

Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker C7CDAAS2PS3
  • Build & Quality
  • Performance
  • Ease of Use/Maintenance
  • Design & Features
  • User Satisfaction
4.5

Final Verdict

The Café Specialty Drip coffee maker is designed with not only an elegant sleek look, but also SCA approved capabilities to brew hot, fresh, well extracted delicious coffee. While its carafe and brew basket design could be better, ease of use and maintenance, and auto programmable enabled app make it worth the investment.  

I definitely wanted my new coffee maker to match the style and color scheme of my brand spanking new kitchen without compromising on the quality of the coffee.  

As I was doing my research, the Café Specialty kept popping up. It was modern and sleek and the color matched all my other appliances. I was excited to get it in my kitchen.  

So what happened when I bought it and tried it out for a month? 

Here’s the TL;DR summary: 

cafe specialty drip coffee maker
Cafe Specialty Drip Coffee Maker
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The Café Specialty brewer made me feel like a full-fledged barista! My husband and I enjoyed its elegant look, 10 cup pot, and multiple brew modes while trying out different delectable roasts just the way we wanted it. Being in a household with 2 different tastes – me enjoying light roasts, and my husband bold flavors – this machine was our answer. If that’s you then this brewer would be good addition to your kitchen. 

It’s easy to use with a simple display and a Wi-Fi connected app that puts your brewer right into your hands. We adore the auto programmable feature for those crazy mornings! On the other hand, the lack of a removable water tank, and poor thermal carafe and brew basket design was not our favorite. 

Sale
Café Specialty 10 Cup
The Café Specialty brews 10 cups, with multiple customizable brew modes and temp settings using Voice-to-Brew technology to get the best tasting cup of coffee.

Last update on 2024-05-18


Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker Review 

Unboxing 

cafe specialty drip coffee at home

The packaging was definitely first rate and it arrived in perfect condition. The presentation was impeccable. It was like opening a present.  

My previous experience of opening such boxes includes wiggling it out and using your feet to hold down the sides of the box. The box splits down the middle to display the entire coffee maker when opening it. How neat is that! Kudos to whoever created this genius idea.  

Design and Build 

Right off the bat, this is the best looking drip machine out there. It looks like a piece of modern art sitting on my counter! Obviously, there are more important things than looks, but it’s hard not to appreciate the slick design.  

The gold accents added a high end flair to the machine. I opted for the stainless steel model to match the rest of my appliances, but it also comes in black matte or white matte. The buttons on the machine have a smooth feel and the knob rotates in a satisfying/tactile way.  

cafe specialty design and build

Another very genius idea with the machine is how they designed the cord. Sometimes the cords can get in the way especially when cleaning or moving appliances around. With the Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker, the cord can be stored underneath with both horizontal and vertical cord openings, making it easy to position in any direction! 

Ease of Use and Setup 

The contents inside the box other than the machine included: a measuring spoon, charcoal filter, instructional booklet and 10 coffee filters.  

The charcoal filter is white and oval shaped and goes into the gray charcoal filter holder. This is then inserted inside the bottom of the water tank. This filter removes impurities in the water which can affect the taste. It is recommended to replace the filter every 3 months.  

I made sure to read the instruction booklet thoroughly before brewing to be sure I set it up correctly since this isn’t your standard drip coffee machine but a high end product. 

First thing I like to do with all new appliances is to: 

  1. Give it a good rinse. I took out all the removable parts and washed it with soap and water.  
  1. Next I brewed 2 cycles, one vinegar water and the next with plain water to clean out the insides of the machine. This also helps me to get familiar with how the machine works.  

Next, I set up the clock.  

  1. The instructions from the manual were easy to follow. Push the “Temperature” button for 3 seconds. Next, rotate the Brew/Select knob and set AM/PM, hour then minutes.  

How to Make Coffee with the Café Specialty Step by Step 

cafe specialty drip unboxing

Now it was time to make my first cup!  

  1. First, fill the water reservoir 
    • This coffee maker is designed to use only the amount of water for the number of cups selected to be brewed. Fill the water reservoir with fresh water up to the MAX level indicator. Do NOT overfill the water reservoir.  
    • If there is no water in the reservoir at the start of brewing, an error message “Add H2O” will show on the display telling you to add water and a chime will sound.  
    • Push the knob to confirm that you are adding water. Once the water is added, push the knob again to continue brewing. Do NOT add water during brewing unless the error message is displayed. 
  2. Choose a strength and temperature for your brew 
    • The “Strength” button is at the top. This allows you to select a light, medium, bold, or gold brew. It also acts as the “Descale” button.  
    • The “Temperature” button is below that and you can adjust your temp between 185 and 205 degrees F. However, if you selected the “Gold” setting, then you cannot change the temperature.  
  3. Add fresh ground coffee 
    • Once you set your desired settings to your liking, you will use the provided scoop to measure out the coffee grounds.  
    • One scoop equals one cup of coffee.  
  4. Make sure the carafe is in place and lid is locked.  
    • This coffee maker WILL NOT brew without the carafe in place and will display “Err” and machine will chime. Such a neat feature for those of us with forgetful minds! 
  5. Start brewing: When all that is done, select the number of cups you want to brew and push the Brew/Select knob to confirm brewing.  

Performance 

YouTube video

My first impression after taking the first sip was WOW! My coffee was smooth, hot and delicious.  

What I thought was pretty awesome, was that the system allows you to fill the reservoir and brew just a few cups at a time.  

Therefore, if you wanted, you could fill it up in the beginning of the work week and brew two cups a day without having to add water. How neat is that! All you have to do daily is add the coffee grounds.  

Cleaning and Maintenance 

It’s easy to clean the Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker.  

  1. The body can be cleaned with a soft cloth dampened with water.  
  2. The brew basket, mesh filter, showerhead, carafe and lid can be rinsed under running water, or cleaned with warm soapy water and a softly bristled brush.  
    • However, they should not be washed in a dishwasher.  
  3. The showerhead can be removed by rotating and pulling it out.  
  4. The carafe and lid should be rinsed out after use each day to prevent staining overnight.  

It is important to descale the coffee maker when the descaling alert flashes under the time display. This removes the mineral build-up caused by hard water.  If the coffee maker is not descaled, it can affect the brewing temperature, flow, and even the taste of the coffee.  

The Café Specialty maker suggests filling to the MAX line a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar into the coffee maker. Next, run a brew cycle on the 10-cup setting. Then brew 3 cycles using fresh water to clean out all the descaling solution. The Descale indicator will go off following the first rinse after descaling.  

The Pros and Cons 

After using this machine consistently for several weeks, I came up with a few pros and cons based on its design, features, performance, and maintenance. Hopefully this review will help you decide if the Café Specialty deserves a chance to sit on your counter top. 

Pros: Features We Like 

  • Water tank capacity: 45 ounces/ ten 4.5-ounce cups 
    • Decent size, but wouldn’t mind it being bigger 
  • Dimensions: 14” H x 7.3” W x 12.5” D 
    • Moderate size, won’t take up a huge amount of space on your counter tops 
  • Weight: 10 pounds – pretty light for a drip machine of this caliber 
  • SCA Certified: It has been rigorously tested to ensure your coffee is consistently delicious. This Gold Cup standard is backed by an SCA Certification that ensures you have the ideal pour every time 
  • Wi-Fi Enabled: Smart coffee maker that can be controlled with the SmartHQ app, Alexa, and Google Home.  
    • If I forget to set the auto brew the night before then I can open up the app right from my bed and start the machine!  
    • You can also set more than one schedule. For example, if I wanted the coffee brewed at 6am on weekdays and 9am on weekends, the app lets you set both. Voice-to-Brew controls deliver a conveniently connected perfect cup consistently. 
  • 10 cup brew: What is great about this smart coffee machine is that it stores your coffee preference (cup size, temperature, brew style) and whips out your favorite cup whenever you want.  
cafe stainless steel thermal carafe
  • Thermal Carafe:  
    • My husband works from home so he likes to have his coffee pot full so he can have more than one cup of coffee in the mornings. The carafe will keep the coffee warm for at least 2 hours after brewing.  
    • When we have our family breakfast/brunch, it is convenient to set the carafe in the middle of the table and have a warm cup every time with guests, rather than having to set it back to the coffee maker.   
  • Custom Brew Strength: You can adjust brew strength to exactly the way you like it, courtesy of four unique brewing modes.  
    • Gold: which sets everything to the SCA approved cup of coffee. This selection will brew coffee to the highest quality. The temperature selection is not changeable in GOLD. 
    • Light: for those who prefer a little lower extraction of flavor. 
    • Medium: Brew to the optimum strength with the option to brew different cup sizes and to brew at different temperatures. 
    • Bold: for those who prefer a little higher extraction of flavor. 
  • Auto Brew: Mornings just got easier! We are a household that is “go go go” in the morning, so we need our coffee to be ready for us as soon as we wake up.  
    • When you use the auto brew feature, you can wake up to fresh, hot, perfectly personalized coffee that’s ready just when you programmed it to be.  
    • The set-up is pretty easy. You push the Auto Brew button for 3 seconds to program. Then rotate the Brew/Select knob to set your time, cups, strength, and temp. Then push Auto/Brew to confirm choices. Auto On will illuminate indicating that auto brew is active and you are all set! 
  • Precision Brew: Experience exact temperature control with this precision brew coffee maker that brews drip coffee from 185 to 205 degrees and meets the rigorous standards of the Specialty Coffee Association 

Cons: Things to Think About Before You Buy 

There are some disadvantages, especially if you have used other drip coffee machines.  

  • First of all, you can’t remove the water reservoir so you have to bring the water to the tank and fill it up.  
    • This can be problematic if your machine is under a low cabinet. It’s not a deal breaker but frankly all coffee machines should have removable water reservoirs, especially at this price point.  
    • On the plus side, the reservoir has a wide mouth which makes pouring into it pretty easy.  
  • As much as I love the thermal carafe for its capacity to hold the heat in and its light weight, there are some flaws to it.  
    • The carafe isn’t sealed properly to prevent heat loss.  
    • It pours too easily making it more susceptible to spills and accidents. There is no button to press like in some other carafes which can prevent this issue.  
cafe carafe pouring drip coffee
  • One major flaw of the Café Specialty machine was the brew basket.  
    • If you try and brew 8-10 cups of coffee, the included mesh filter seems to raise the coffee too high in the basket. This leads to the brew bubbling up to the top and making contact with the top of the brew basket and the holes where the water comes from.  
    • It results in the user having to clean the top of the brew basket each time.  
    • One way to help with this is taking out the mesh filter and using a cone filter that will sit deeper into the basket.  
    • You can also eliminate the filter completely. Something to definitely pay attention to and consider.  Out of coffee filters? Here is an article of coffee filter alternatives.
  • Price: at $299 retail, it’s not the cheapest machine 
  • With only a 1-year warranty, I wish it would be longer 

How Does it Compare to Other Drip Machines 

I have tried many different automatic drip coffee makers like TrueBrew, and depending on your preference you can select what works for you.  

What is great about the Café Specialty Drip coffee maker over the OXO 9 cup is that it is programmable, while the latter is not.  

It is, however, similar to the Breville Precision Brewer because they both have temperature control features and several brewing modes. Although the Café Specialty has 4 modes, the Breville has 6 and 3 flow rates. 

The Cafe Specialty may be prettier than the Technivorm Moccamaster, but the latter may have it beat just slightly in the flavor category.

When you compare the quality of the coffee, I say the Café Specialty is better than the Ninja Specialty, but the Ninja can brew espresso beverages.

Both the Cafe Specialty and the Ratio Six are designed with exquisite aesthetics with a slight nod to Ratio Six for flavor.

Hands down, this coffee maker is better than the Bonavita, which is a basic machine with no customization.  

Final Verdict 

Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker | 10-Cup Insulated Thermal Carafe | WiFi Enabled Voice-to-Brew Technology | Smart Home Kitchen Essentials | SCA Certified, Barista-Quality Brew | Stainless Steel

Overall the Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker is a high quality, sleek aesthetically designed 10 cup brewer. It comes with several brew modes and temperatures which are all customizable and can be saved.

Imagine the most flavorful delicious hot nuanced cup of blended brew ever…and the Café Specialty makes it happen! The fact it aligns with SCA recommendations for precise temps and brew times is also a plus.  

It’s easy to use with a simple display and a Wi-Fi connected app that puts your brewer right into your hands. We adore the auto programmable feature for those crazy mornings!

On the other hand, the lack of a removable water tank, and poor thermal carafe and brew basket design was not our favorite.  

Sale
Café Specialty 10 Cup
The Café Specialty brews 10 cups, with multiple customizable brew modes and temp settings using Voice-to-Brew technology to get the best tasting cup of coffee.

Last update on 2024-05-18

Having the Café Specialty Coffee maker at home made me feel like a full-fledged barista! My husband and I enjoyed its elegant look, while trying out different delectable roasts just the way we wanted it! Being in a household with 2 different tastes – me enjoying light roasts, and my husband bold flavors – this machine was our answer.  

The Café Specialty was able to combine both aesthetics and functionality. Like I mentioned, there are some pros and cons to the machine. Therefore, if you are willing to pay the hefty price tag for a delectable brew and can overlook some of the cons then this machine is a great buy. 

FAQ 

Is the Café Specialty Drip coffee maker worth the money?

This really depends on the type of coffee drinker you are. If you appreciate finely tuned flavors and notes from your coffee blend and the ability to program it from your phone, then it may be worth it to you.
If you just want a nice cup of hot coffee in the morning, then you could probable find a cheaper machine to get the job done, like a Mr. Coffee.   

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