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Hands-on Gear Review
Cuisinart Deluxe Grind Review
Price: $149 List | $118.96 at Amazon
Pros: Very quiet, makes a great cup, simple and intuitive controls
Cons: Pricey, but not for a super-quiet burr model
Bottom line: Oh so quiet and super easy to use. A close second to the Editor's Choice Award winer, the OXO On Barista Brain
The Cuisinart Deluxe Grind grabbed our testers' attention with its exceptionally tranquil noise levels, the best among the grinders tested. Also, it's an overall sweet machine. A simple push-button interface gets the job done quickly, making a sweet, smooth, and balanced cup. It doesn't deliver the resonant quality of taste that the OXO On Barista Brain does, but it still locked in a great score with a much cleaner and sweeter taste than most of its competitors. The Deluxe achieved high scores in every category and topped it off by winning Top Pick for Quietest Grinder.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Cuisinart Deluxe does everything well. It has a simple, easy-to-use interface that requires no guesswork. It makes very little mess, and it produces a darn good cup of coffee. The thing that really stood out was that every time we pushed the button to grind, we were surprised at how quiet it was. We gave this grinder the Top Pick award for Quietest Grinder and it also does a great job at everything else you could want from a grinder, running a close second to OXO, the Editors' Choice Award winner.
Pleasant, sweet, smooth, subtly nuanced, balanced—this was the kind of coffee that came out of the Cuisinart Deluxe. Using a blend of Premium Brazil, Guatemala, and Grade One Sumatra, we were definitely happy with what the Deluxe brought to the cup, rating it an 8 for taste. It didn't quite match the taste score of the OXO On Barista Brain (9) because it lacked some resonance. The Cuisinart Deluxe gives you a very sweet and smooth cup, but the complexities of flavor are more mellow and the body is not as full as the OXO cup. The Deluxe not only rated up there for drip coffee, but also for French press, which was unusual. Read our Buying Advice article to learn the key differences between these brew methods. Lower scoring competitors like the Capresso Infinity (that scored a 7) still made a "good cup" but didn't have the wonderful sweetness that the Deluxe gave us and didn't taste quite as smooth or "clean." The Baratza Virtuoso and Breville Smart Grinder Pro tied with the Deluxe for quality but highlighted different attributes of the coffee—the Virtuoso being more nuanced and lively yet balanced, the Breville giving a lot of body, depth, and "heft" to the cup.
Ease of Use
The Deluxe scored a 9 for ease of use because it not only has sufficient controls to streamline your coffee routine, it also doesn't offer more features than you need. "How much coffee do I want to make?" and "What kind of coffee do I want to make?" That's about all you need to think about. Then the Cuisinart Deluxe moves you along the path to brewing up some liquid happiness. Press the "cups" button until you've selected how much coffee you want to brew, then press start. (Keep in mind that "cups" does not refer to 8 ounce cups, but to demitasses; kind of a big deal. Read more about this and a host of other pro tips in our Buying Advice article.) You can also use a "manual" button if you prefer to pulse the machine and dose out the coffee into a measuring cup or the like. A dial on the side of the machine selects your grind size for your brew method of choice. As you adjust the grind setting the display shows a number and an icon of what kind of brew they suggest that grind setting for, whether espresso, drip, or French press. We found these settings to be fairly accurate. The best French press we produced was only one setting finer than the indicated French press range and the best drip coffee we produced was within the machine's recommended drip range. This was not the norm for six out of the nine burr grinders we tested, so we really appreciated this. The French press brew was definitely at par with its drip coffee, whereas the norm for grinders we tested was that their French press brew scored one point lower than their drip brew.
The Baratza Virtuoso and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro may give you similar quality in taste as the Deluxe Grind, but they won't give you the same ease of use. The Virtuoso, which came in with an 8 for ease of use, had a great aesthetic with very simple, straightforward controls—a wide range of grind settings, a pulse button at front and center, and a smoothly operating timer dial on the side. It does everything you need but doesn't have the extras that the Deluxe has, which make your coffee break a lot easier. The Breville scored a 6, not because its controls were insufficient, but because bonus features, such as being able to adjust the length of the grind by a tenth of a second and a programmable memory, cluttered up the controls, making it more difficult answer the everyday questions of, "How much do you want to make?" and "What kind of coffee?" The Deluxe Grind answers these questions clearly, offering the user "push button" ease of use.
As we began using each coffee grinder for other tests, for the Cuisinart Deluxe there was often a moment of silence followed by testers stating, "Wow." It's still a coffee grinder, so it's not like you can hear crickets chirping while it runs, but in comparison with the varying crushing, rattling, and whirring noises of most grinders we tested it was a godsend. Even in comparison with a rather pleasant sounding grinder like the Capresso (which landed an 8 for quietness) it was still another step up. By volume alone, the Deluxe gave a decibel reading only slightly below other less peaceful competitors. What made this grinder stand out was its motor noise. The low-pitch, white noise of the Deluxe was hands down the most peaceful grinder on the table, regardless of the quantified volume reading. The Deluxe not only got a solid 9 for quietness, but easily ran off with the Top Pick for Quietness Award. Although the Breville tied with the quietness champion, its whizzing motor noise was less pleasant. If we were trying to make coffee without waking a sleeping officemate we would definitely use the Deluxe.
The Cuisinart Deluxe doesn't have trouble with mess-free operation. Throughout our testing we all but ignored wiping up the counter space around the Deluxe. This unit has a chamber that cuddles right up to the ground coffee exit, delivering the coffee into its compartment without any chance of escaping mess. Other grinders like the Cuisinart Supreme Grind generated a lot of static that made it difficult to transfer the coffee from chamber to brewer without grounds escaping onto your hands and counter. The Deluxe, however, didn't suffer any issues with static in the chamber and once the grounds are emptied it does not require anything more than occasional rinsing.
The Cuisinart Deluxe is great for someone who wants to tone down their coffee making process and keep things quiet. Whether you're just not in the mood for the sound of crushing coffee beans and whizzing motors or because you have a sleeping baby in the next room, the Deluxe offers the user the option to grind high quality fresh coffee and does it with more tranquility than any other grinder that we tested. It's not just quiet, it's an all-around great grinder. You have the game-changing feature of a super quiet grinder, but you don't have to compromise the quality of your coffee or endure a difficult coffee making process to benefit from it.
The Cuisinart Deluxe has just about everything going for it—quality taste, ease of use, super quiet, and virtually mess-free. Its price is also a sweet deal. High quality coffee grinders aren't cheap and we can't say that the price of the Deluxe is a total happy meal, but compared to the high quality grinders we tested, the Deluxe falls below the average price and offers high scores in every category.
The Cuisinart Deluxe Grind is the Top Pick for Quietest grinder and it scores well with our taste buds too. It's just an all-around great grinder. The Deluxe's minimal noise levels are a game changer and the same machine also gives you a great grind at the push of a button and with minimal cleanup.
— Jared Marquez
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