Walter Shillington writes about products he knows firsthand. His articles focus on healthcare, electronics, watches, and household items.
I love my Tassimo coffee maker. It can brew a tasty cup of coffee within two minutes, and cleanup is a breeze. However, after five years of use—that works out to about 2,000 cups of coffee—its barcode reader is beginning to fail.
To reduce operating costs, I decided to replace it with a drip coffee maker capable of brewing single cups of coffee quickly and conveniently.
These requirements, unfortunately, severely narrowed my choice to a handful of brands. After checking over the prices and specifications, I ordered a Braun KF9170SI.
My Braun MultiServe Coffee Machine is 13 inches wide, 7.1 inches deep, and 15 inches high. It is composed of stainless steel, glass, and plastic.
This device requires 120AC and is rated for 1600 watts.
A multi-serve dial controls how much coffee is brewed at one time. Choices range from a five-ounce cup to a full carafe.
Brew strength options include over ice, light, gold, or bold. Coffee brewed using the gold selection is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association.
This model also features an option to dispense hot water at several different temperatures.
- Manufacturer: Braun
- Name: MultiServe Coffee Machine
- Model: KF9170SI
- Type: Drip
- Dimensions: 33 x 18 x 38.1 centimeters (13 x 7.1 x 15 inches)
- Composition: Stainless steel, glass, and plastic
- Color: Silver with black trim and green accents
- Water tank capacity: 50 ounces
- Serving size: 5, 8, 12, 16, and 20 ounces, plus one-half and full carafes
- Serving strength: Light, gold, bold, and over ice
- Hot water: Available at several different temperatures
- Freshness indicator: When half or full carafe selected
- Warming plate: When half or full carafe selected
- Auto on: Yes
- Cup holder: Yes
- Certification: Specialty Coffee Association (When gold selected)
- Water filter: Charcoal
- Accessories: Carafe, measuring scoop, gold-tone permanent filter, charcoal filter, a user's guide
In 1921, Max Braun, a mechanical engineer, established an engineering shop in Frankfurt, Germany. Initially, he produced ratio set components, later moving on to the manufacture of audio equipment and slide projectors. The Braun electric shaver was released for sale in 1951, and in 1962 Braun became a publicly traded company.
Sixteen years later, the company was acquired by the Boston-based Gillette Group. Then, in 2005, Gillette was acquired by Procter & Gamble.
In 2012, the Braun product line of kitchen appliances was purchased by De'Longhi.
This Braun coffee maker is clad in stainless steel with black trim. I particularly appreciate the bright green accents that suggest a medical or scientific heritage.
Because this machine is taller than most, you should check the distance between your kitchen countertop and the bottom edge of the cupboard doors above. If the available space is 15 inches or less, the coffee maker will obstruct the cupboard door.
The Brewing System
The KF9170SI is a drip-type coffee maker. It calculates the precise water flow, temperature, and speed required for the brewed coffee's strength and quantity.
The Specialty Coffee Association has certified that this machine meets their specifications for a proper cut of coffee if the gold strength is selected and a paper filter is used.
After browsing the quick-start guide, I enclosed the charcoal filter in its holder and shoved it into a water-filled glass to soak.
Then I Googled for information on the hardness of the local water supply and the elevation of my house.
After setting the clock and recording my elevation, I pressed the clean button to input the water hardness.
At this point, I shoved the soaked charcoal filter into its socket at the bottom of the water tank and filled the tank.
The final step was to clean the interior of the coffee maker by brewing a carafe of hot water. I moved the selection lever to coffee and turned the beverage size dial to a full carafe. Then I pushed the gold button.
The Dreaded Error 21
During my initial attempt to clean the machine by brewing a carafe of hot water, the coffee maker turned off and displayed error code 21. Translated to English, this means, "Fool, add water to the tank!"
Since the water tank was already full, I looked for the next most apparent problem. It appeared likely that the charcoal filter was blocking water flow. I removed the filter and dumped it back into the water glass for additional soaking. Then, after turning the coffee maker off and on to reset the error, I ran the water through without the filter. This worked perfectly.
The last step was to replace the more thoroughly soaked filter and run another cup of water through the machine to ensure that everything was functioning properly.
Speed and Convenience
I use number four paper cones because it is quicker and easier to dispose of a paper filter rather than dump and clean the permanent filter.
It takes about 20 seconds to dispose of a Tassimo pod and replace it with a fresh one. Using the new Braun coffee maker, the time required to replace the paper filter and add two scoops of coffee grounds works out to about one minute. That is perfectly acceptable.
The Tassimo machine delivers a mug of fresh coffee in two minutes, while the Braun requires three minutes and 40 seconds to brew a cup of java properly. I can live with that.
The Coffee Test
I first brewed an eight-ounce cup of Tim Hortons Premium Coffee. I thought it tasted better than the Tassimo version but was not quite as hot. I solved this problem by switching from milk to coffee creamer.
My next test involved using an exotic Jamaican coffee with coconut and vanilla. The coffee brewed properly, but in my opinion only a madman would combine vanilla with coffee.
For the last experiment, I added two scoops of Starbucks Pike Place Roast. The resulting coffee was excellent. I plan to purchase this brand again.
The Hot Water Test
This machine can deliver water heated to one of several different temperatures. I threw a teabag into a cup, moved the selection lever to water, and set the temperature to the highest setting. Then I pushed the button labeled water. As the water heated, it dripped down into my cup.
This coffee maker is an excellent option for those wishing to lower their operating costs by migrating from pod-based machines such as those manufactured by Tassimo and Keurig. Note, however, that pod-based machines offer slightly more convenient preparation and are easier to keep clean.
The Braun MultiServe can brew coffee to SCA standards and produce quantities as low as five ounces to as high as a full carafe.
This device is also capable of brewing iced, light, and bold coffee. It can even supply the hot water required to brew tea.
If you are searching for a coffee maker capable of brewing cups of excellent coffee without a lot of fuss or bother, the Braun KF9170SI is worth a close look.