Cuisinart DCC-3200 Review
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 packs some of the company’s best innovations over the last few years into a simple, functional design that we’re genuinely enjoying.
The coffee brewer isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and we’ll get into the nitty-gritty in just a moment, but overall, we think Cuisinart has a winner on their hands here.
- 14 cups capacity
- Self cleaning function
- Very sturdy
- Not Energy Star rated
Read on to get our unfiltered thoughts on everything from the design to the brewing quality on this compact, 14-cup coffee maker.
DCC 3200 Performance & Functionality
First off, let’s examine the immediate question; how does it feel to use the brewing system itself? In our tests, the DCC-3200 proved to be one of the simplest, most intuitive drip coffee makers we’ve used in years.
Nowadays, it feels like just about anyone can make an easy-to-use machine, but several of the small touches Cuisinart put into this bad boy really serve to separate it from the flock.
For instance, the fully-automatic brewing process was so hands-off, we verbally caught ourselves saying “that’s it?”.
During your first run-through with the device–you simply load your ground coffee in, select the number of cups you want (from 1-4), and choose whether you want a regular roast or a bolder one. The entire process takes less than 30 seconds to begin brewing, once you’ve done it a few times.
So, with all this said, how does the end result actually taste?
Whenever we evaluate the taste produced by a given coffee maker, we concede early on that this is one of the most subjective elements that go into our reviews.
All the same, after reviewing hundreds of similar products, we feel as though we have a pretty solid understanding of what all goes into a quality brew. With that said, our experience with the DCC-3200 produced some of the best-tasting coffee we’ve had from a budget drip coffee maker in recent memory.
The ability to select whether we wanted a regular or bold roast enhanced the experience greatly (we tried both), and we didn’t notice any difference in flavor when making one cup all the way to making fourteen.
Despite the brewer dispensing remarkably hot coffee, we never noticed any distinct “burnt” taste or other weird flavor artifacts that tend to pop up on lower-end units. At this price point, this was one of our main concerns going into our trial run, so we’re very happy to report that it isn’t an issue here.
Cuisinart DCC-3200 Design
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 exhibits some of the company’s signature design trends. From the sleek stainless-steel found on the handle and main body to the high-quality glass carafe that fits snugly into the base of the product. The overall design exudes the minimalistic, no-frills approach that we’ve come to love about many of the company’s best products.
If you’re looking for an eye-catching conversation-starter, this may not fit the bill. The underscored design is likely to slip into the background of your kitchen, but if you’re searching for something with some subdued elegance, the DCC-3200 is a solid pick.
As mentioned, the main body found on the DCC-3200 is made of a solid, stainless steel shell, with high-quality plastic used throughout as well for connecting components.
All of the moving parts–like the hatch at the top of the product where the grounds go–feel sturdy and well-made, and we can easily see the system lasting several years with the right care. The glass carafe isn’t likely to survive a direct fall, even though it does feel heavy and strong in-hand.
Overall, we have no qualms with the build quality here. Plus, Cuisinart includes a three-year standard manufacturer’s warranty, which covers any defects in the brewing system or any of its components.
Just remember that this warranty doesn’t cover any breaks or malfunctions caused by user error.
Let’s get this straight right off the bat; there are faster brewing systems out there than the DCC-3200. It isn’t “slow” by any means–in our tests, we clocked it at just over 5 minutes to make around 8 cups of hot coffee–but if speed is your major consideration, this may be a slight drawback.
All the same, we found the speed to be perfectly reasonable, especially in terms of the quality of the final product.
Cuisinart DCC 3200 Features
While the good majority of the features included with the DCC-3200 are pretty standard, like the 1-4 cup brew size selector and the adjustable keep-warm temperature, the unit also includes several options that we consider to be unique (especially at this price point).
For example, the self-clean function was one of the most effective we’ve tested in recent memory, and with full 24-hour programmability, it was a breeze to set up as well.
As noted above, the brew taste selector was also an incredibly welcomed feature. We found that there was a noticeable difference between the regular brew and the bolder option.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the product is Energy Star rated. In this sense, we’re slightly concerned about the energy usage on a longer-term basis, as the heating element seemed to keep running for quite a while after the device finished brewing.
If you’re looking for power-saving features, this unit may not have everything you’re searching for, but in just about every other regard, it excels.
Ease of use
The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is one of the easiest drip coffee systems we’ve used in the past few years, but not for lack of available options. If you want to really go in and customize your brew, there are plenty of options for an advanced user like yourself to dig into (as covered above).
But if you’re a complete beginner just looking to make a cup of coffee in the early hours of the morning, the DCC-3200 has you covered.
We think that just about anyone can use this unit successfully, as there are virtually no complex measurements, setting dials, or control parameters to mess with here.
If you want to fully explore the programmable functionality, things may get a bit more in-depth, but for those who aren’t interested, we’re happy to report that all those features are 100% optional.
This was great to see, as we’ve noticed a disturbing trend in recent years of drip coffee makers forcing users to utilize their “innovative” (read: complicated) features, regardless of whether they want to or not.
As far as coffee brewers in this price range go, we feel compelled again to sing the praises of this thing’s self-clean functionality.
A built-in signal light alerts you when it’s time to decalcify the inner mechanisms of the DCC-3200. Doing so is as simple as removing the permanent, commercial-grade carbon filter, pouring water (or your preferred cleaning solution) into the main reservoir, and hitting the “clean” button. The entire process takes just a few minutes, and for extra measure, we ran a brew of clean water afterward to make sure everything was flushed out properly.
Compared to other, more manual units, this process was a breeze, and it didn’t appear to need to be done very often, to begin with. As for the filter itself, even though the manufacturer states that it should be good for the life of the product, we’d recommend simply cleaning it with water or a cleaning rinse every so often.
It only takes a few moments, but we’ve found that this can make an appreciable difference in the quality of the brew, especially over the long-term.
- The best-in-class capacity of 14 cups puts it ahead of the competition.
- Excellent brew customization options that keep things simple while appreciably changing the taste of the end result.
- One of the best self-cleaning functions we’ve tested in years.
- High-quality build quality should last you a long time.
- Not Energy Star rated, and energy usage, in general, maybe a bit high.
- Not quite as fast from start to finish as other, admittedly more expensive brewing systems.
All said, the Cuisinart DCC-3200 is a gem of a coffee brewing system. At its current price point, there are very few units we can recommend that provide more bang for the buck. Especially when you consider the capacity and ease of use on offer here.
It doesn’t have any energy-saving modes, which is a valid critique, but the coffee maker excels in just about every other capacity, so we’re willing to look past the trees for the forest there.
The Verdict: The Cuisinart DCC-3200 is a fantastic drip coffee system that delivers a wide variety of brew-control options, a capacity not often seen at this price point, and a build quality that is pretty much unrivaled by the company’s main rivals.
If you’re looking for a quality product to invest in at a decidedly entry-level price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better deal than this.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.