The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Programmable is reasonably convenient and easy to use and clean, but it produced the worst tasting coffee in our testing. This poor taste score gave it the worst overall score in our testing. Those looking for an inexpensive machine would be better off with the BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Programmable.
Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Programmable ReviewPrice: $70 List
Pros: Reasonably easy to use and clean
Cons: Made the worst tasting coffee in our tests
Bottom line: A decently designed machine, but that can’t make up for the poor tasting coffee it produces
Automatic Brewing: Yes
Dimensions: 14.1" x 11" x 9"
Manufacturer: Mr. Coffee
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Programmable made our testers least favorite tasting coffee, and it doesn't offer any other redeeming features or a low price to make up for that shortcoming.
The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Programmable was the worst overall scorer in our testing. In these sections we discuss how the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew 10-Cup Programmable fared in all of our individual tests.
The Optimal Brew earned the worst score of 2 out of 10 in our taste testing, which was far off from the top score of 9. It made an incredibly weak and watery brew in our testing, even when we overstuffed the filter with coffee grounds. It seems that the water was not dispersed evenly throughout the filter basket, as large portions of the grounds remained dry after we had brewed a pot. Additionally, the machine lent a plastic taste to the coffee. This was particularly bad for the first few brewing cycles. It did calm down after the machine was broken in a bit, but the plastic taste never fully went away. Since the coffee tasted so weak to begin with this plastic taste was very noticeable.
The Optimal Brew earned a respectable 7 out of 10 in our user friendliness testing, a metric where scores ranged from 4 to 9. The LCD display makes it easy to program in a schedule or initiate a cleaning cycle. The water tank has a large enough opening to make filling it easy, and the filter basket can be completely removed from the machine, making loading it with grinds very easy. Our only real complaint was with that the carafe, which we found to be spill proof, has a very slow pour.
The Optimal Brew was in the middle of the pack during our convenience testing. It scored a 6 out of 10 where scores ranged from 3 to 9. All told it took us 10.5 minutes to make 6 cups of coffee with the machine, which was fairly standard for the drip machines we tested. You can schedule the machine to start brewing at a specific time, so you can frontload the couple minutes of prep time to the night before. While we like the controls there was no option for adjusting the brewing process based on how much coffee you are making, which may be disappointing for some users.
Ease of Cleaning
The Optimal Brew was one of a slew of models that earned a 5 out of 10 in our ease of cleaning metric. Scores in this metric ranged from 4 to 9. Paper filters make disposing of grinds fairly easy, and handwashing the stainless steel carafe is of an average difficulty. The descaling process took 45 minutes to complete, which was about average, and was easy to initiate. Overall the Bonavita isn't particularly easy to clean, but isn't difficult either.
The Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew lists for $70. There are a number of coffee makers that cost less and made better coffee in our testing, namely the BLACK+DECKER 12-Cup Programmable, which provides a much better value.
Due to its poor performance in our taste testing, we would not recommend the Mr. Coffee Optimal Brew to anyone. In our experience, there are other coffee makers that cost less and make much better coffee.