Breville YouBrew Review

Breville YouBrew

Breville YouBrew with Carafe

We’re pretty serious about the coffee we drink here at Clear-Coat – a few of us are downright coffee geeks.  So while we normally don’t do product reviews, we really wanted to do a full-blown review on the Breville YouBrew since we purchased one for our office about a week ago.  We love great products, we love coffee, and we love great blog posts…so this seems like fair game.  Now, onto the review:

Model: Breville YouBrew BDC600XL

Price Paid: $279

Why we bought one:  We bought the YouBrew for our office – there’s a lot of people drinking coffee throughout the day here.  We’ve tried several different methods in the past, because we hate bad coffee:  AeroPress (Good coffee, but too much work, too messy, and too slow for an entire office), Clever Dripper (same problems as AeroPress), and Mr. Coffee (I don’t even want to talk about it.)  We needed a coffee delivery system for our office that would give us great-tasting, fresh-ground coffee throughout the day for up to 10 people, with minimal mess and maintenance. Keurig and other single-serve cups were ruled out because they make bad coffee – sorry if you disagree, but that’s a fact.  An espresso machine was ruled out because it’s a lot of mess, a lot of work, and we’d basically have to train everyone in the office how to make espresso….keep in mind we are a cell phone accessory manufacturer, not a coffee shop.

What else we considered:  Technivorm + a separate burr grinder, or the Capresso CoffeeTEAM

First Impressions:  The YouBrew is foolproof, and built like a tank.  Construction is absolutely fantastic.  The exterior is solid stainless steel, hinges are beefy, and even the plastic pieces are made of tough plastic.  Gaskets are made of a nice silicone – really some of the best construction I’ve seen on a consumer kitchen appliance.  As far as the foolproof part, I say that because every part has a label on it like “wash me”, or “put water in here” – and the LCD display itself will walk you through the process of making a cup of coffee.  Couldn’t be easier.

Breville YouBrew LCD

LCD Display showing "Single Cup" Mode

The Select-a-Size Feature:  The YouBrew can make a small cup of coffee up to a 12-cup pot.  It grinds and measures beans on its own according to the amount of coffee you select as well.  We found this feature to be really useful – you don’t always want a huge pot of coffee – and the YouBrew executes brilliantly.  Between a single cup and a full pot, we found no loss in coffee flavor or quality.  To be clear, you don’t have to do anything special like measure out the beans or water – if the bean hopper and water tank are both 100% full, but you only want a 6-oz cup, you simply select the 6-oz cup, and that’s all it will dispense.

YouBrew Review

YouBrew with 16oz Mug

Coffee Quality:  This is the part everyone wants to know – but before I dive into the results, I’m going to give our test criteria.  We used La Colombe Corsica Blend beans that were roasted 3 days before the review, and stored in an airtight, UV-proof container.  We don’t use pre-ground, and we don’t store our beans in the fridge or freezer.  Now that you know the test criteria, the YouBrew made an exceptional cup of coffee, especially if you factor in the ease of use.  The coffee was hardly bitter at all, and definitely not over extracted.  The flavor profile is about 90% there – it could be fuller-flavored or more complex, as achieved using a Clever brewed right below boiling point….but 90% is really, really good.  Some people say that the YouBrew is brewing too cold – around 155 degrees – I’ll be the first to say this is patently false.  If you pre-heat your mug, you’ll find the coffee is around 180 degrees, which means it’s definitely in the 200′s while brewing – there’s thermal loss between the brew head and the cup – it’s science.  So, objectively speaking, if the best coffee I’ve had is a 10, I’d give this a 9 – it’s that good.  Also, I was curious about the thermal integrity of the carafe – there is no heating element, so it works purely on insulation, and it works really well.  We made a pot of coffee at 10am, and at 1pm (!) it was around 150 degrees – not super hot, but surprisingly warm considering that it was sitting out for 3 hours.

Cleanliness:  Anyone who owns a coffee brewer, from a simple pour over to a $1000+ espresso machine, knows that cleanup can be the worst.  If you’ve ever owned a Mr. Coffee, then you know after 4 weeks the inside of the machine smells like a sewer, no matter how well you maintain it.  The YouBrew makes cleanup easy.  The mess is completely confined to 3 areas:  the brew unit, a drip tray, and a wheel to stop moisture from reaching the beans.  None of these parts have tiny nooks that are impossible to clean, and the brew unit and drip tray are 100% removable, so you can just wash them in the sink.  After a week of constant use the YouBrew is staying very clean, and thankfully, very sanitary.  Every time you use the machine, expect 2 actual minutes of cleanup – rinsing the brew unit, and wiping the wheel down.  Considering the machine eliminates all other work related to grinding and brewing, we’re happy to make the trade off.

YouBrew Cleaning

Brew unit removed for cleaning

Final Score: 9 out of 10, overall.  The carafe is a little awkward in pouring, and as I said, you’ll get better coffee from a $1000 espresso machine or pour over brew method + a lot of manual labor.  If you want a fast, clean, super convenient machine that brews truly great coffee (and who doesn’t), then Breville made a hands-down winner.  I’m 100% recommending this machine – whether you’re a total coffee geek, or just want a low-maintenance, easy to use machine, the YouBrew does it.  As a fellow consumer product manufacturer/designer, we’re taking our hats off to Breville on this one – they seemed to really put the consumer first, and take the time to make a great product – well done!

Comments

  1. Alan says

    I recently bought this after reading a number of fantastic reviews. While I like the construction and the technology, I was disappointed that a single cup took over 6 minutes to brew! WOW! That seems excessive since a full pot took only a couple of minutes more.

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hi Alan,

      I certainly can’t claim to be a coffee brewing expert, so perhaps one can chime in here…but that single cup feature seems to hold water in the brew basket with the grounds for about 3 minutes. I think this is a brewing method for single-cup coffee – hold the water and grounds together before filtering. I do have to agree it takes a while – but perhaps there was no way to get a full-bodied cup of coffee without the element of time? Thanks for adding your experience to this review – it’ll definitely help others decide. We’ve been using this Breville at our office for almost two years now – it’s still going strong for us, but we’re always doing a pot at a time!

  2. carl says

    GREAT coffee maker. I have the BDC550XL, I love it! Some of my favorite beans have been reborn with this machine! The only two downfalls- 1-loud grinder. 2-seems to use a lot of beans when brewing a carafe, even after playing with settings. Easy to clean, easy to switch from single cup to carafe, easy to adjust flavor and strength settings. The manual comes with a great guide of single cup size serving settings. This is the BEST coffee maker I have ever bought.

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hi Carl,

      I’d have to agree with you on both points – the grinder is loud, and the machine does seem to go through a lot of coffee. We decided to take these in stride, since it seems to make up for it in ease of use, and great coffee. Thanks for the comment!

  3. jason neiheisel says

    The coffee is too cold and I want to press a button and go. Not pre-heat this or do that to get a good cup of coffee.

    I think they could have done something to brew hot coffee and keep it hot.

    It is awesome coffee when the temperature is right.

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hi Jason,

      Are you talking about how for single-cup mode, they recommend filling your mug with hot water first, to pre-heat the mug? As I’ve mentioned down the comments a bit, we brew pretty much carafes exclusively. I have this unit at my house as well (because I loved it so much), and even though I don’t often drink more than 2 cups in a morning, I’ve taken to always using the carafe feature rather than the “single cup” mode for exactly the reason you mention. The thermal carafe keeps the coffee wickedly hot – for hours, even. Brewing into a cup, I’d have to agree – it turns tepid pretty quickly. In short, I’ve decided it can brew into a cup in a pinch, if you want, and it’ll be just OK, but this machine really is built for carafe brewing.

  4. Andrew says

    Have had this coffeemaker for about 6 months.. clean it regularly, but it always seems to have issues. It’ll work for a week or 2, maybe 3 if we’re lucky, and then it starts acting up. 20 beeps and then displays a 001 on the LCD. Usually another thorough cleaning fixes it, but sometimes it takes a few cycles before it’ll actually work again; and by cycles, I mean the stainless wheel cycling back and forth several times while the machine will not do anything else no matter what you do; it seems it just wants to keep cycling itself around until it’s happy with itself. As of yesterday, or the day before, I forget, it completely quit on us and just keeps cycling for about 2 minutes, then beeps 20 times and displays 001. It’s been pretty frustrating, but now it seems to have bit the dust. Prior to this, we had a Cuisinart same kind of setup, and it made fantastic coffee, but it only lasted 6 weeks before it bit the dust. Machines are regularly cleaned and only filtered water is used… we’ve never had any messages come up on the LCD saying to clean or de-scale or anything of the sort, but the damned thing just won’t work unless we have it 100% completely spotless, and now it won’t work even if it’s spotless… so now what? Time to buy a grinder and a regular coffeemaker? These combination machines don’t seem to be worth the price and headache that comes along with them.

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hey Andrew,

      If you haven’t yet, I’d definitely recommend contacting Breville’s customer support. We’re big fans of companies with real warranties, and I’ve personally had to call up Breville for an issue in the past – I can say they were incredibly helpful, and handled the issue the way I’d like it to be handled. Thanks for the comment!

  5. YouBrew says

    Suggest you stay away from this Breville YouBrew Coffee Maker with Glass Carafe. I’m on my second day of ownership. Followed mfg directions to the letter. Research the heck out of this unit and watched online videos (http://www.brevilleusa.com/youbrew-glass.html), FAQs, etc. What no one tells you in grave detail is this unit stinks for pre-ground coffee users. The unit is really geared for whole bean.

    There are SO Many pieces to clean. The filter basket lid does not seal tight and the grounds poured all over the place on my 2nd pot. The grounds were every where in every nook and cranny. Took it back to Williams-Sonoma store and got my money back. They did tell me that many of their customer bring back this unti complaining. they suggested the Techni Vorm.

    So, I purchased the Techni Vorm type # CD-Grand. I love it.

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      That’s interesting – I’ve personally used the Breville for pre-ground, but you’re 100% right – it’s best for whole bean users. We heard about the Technivorm as well – in fact, it came down to a dead heat between these two machines for our office! In the end, we chose the Breville because it has the built-in grinder – so you’re right on the money there.

      Awesome to hear the Technivorm stands up to its reputation!

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hey Kevin,

      We’ve had to submit warranty issues, or ask for support in the past – the Breville customer support, in my opinion, is world-class. Try giving them a call!

  6. Diana Conway says

    Hi. I love my Breville You Brew but for the last few days (it’s 4 months old btw) it sends a good portion of the ground beans elsewhere than the correct destination. There are grinds all over the top of the carafe and on the little grind catcher tray.

    I assume something is clogged in there. Where should I look? Thanks!

    • Dennis O'Donnell says

      Hi Diana,

      Thanks for writing in! The one thing I can attest to from personal experience is that Breville’s customer support is truly fantastic. I have had to call them for help in the past, and they’ve always made things right – so I really recommend giving them a call, in case something is really wrong! Sorry to say that we haven’t had that issue with our YouBrew here at the office – so I can’t really comment on it. Maybe others who read this have had this issue, and can offer their help in the comments!

What do you think?