Cuisinart Coffee Maker with Grinder

Cuisinart DGB-600BC
Cuisinart DGB-600BC

This Cuisinart Coffee Maker with Grinder is an all-in-one way to get coffee ground and brewed fresh every morning. $129 is a lot of money for a coffee maker. I was the lucky recipient of a Cuisinart DGB-600BC Coffee Maker for my wife’s birthday.  For the full review, scroll below to Read the Rest of the entry. Or…….
Forget the review, I’m sold!

The lesson, here, is that a generous father-in-law is the most affordable way of obtaining a high quality coffee maker. I probably wouldn’t spend over $100 for any type of coffee maker, myself. Well, maybe if I knew it was the best coffee maker in the world. The Cuisinart DGB-600BC Coffee Maker is a stylish, European-Coffee-Bar. It may not be the best coffee maker in the world, but it beats every other one I’ve tried. I’ve had 1 Krups Coffee Maker, 1 Braun Coffee Maker, and several Mr. Coffee Coffee Makers, as well as a few other, off-brand coffee makers. So, I think I’ve had more than enough coffee makers to do have an entire coffee ratings column or entire website devoted to coffee maker reviews. As far as features and looks, the Cuisinart Model DGB-600BC has them all beat, hands-down. First, the pros and cons, then we’ll discuss how well this good-looking machine actually does at making good coffee.

DGB-600BC Pros and Cons


Pros

Nice-Looking, Italian-style design. (Makes your counter look like a real coffee bar)
Built-in Automatic Coffee Been Grinder.
Easy-to-clean, removable coffee basket, grinder and other parts.
Thermal Carafe keeps Coffee Hot.
Programmable 24-hour timer.

Cons

Coffee Carafe only holds 10 cups. 12 would be better
$129 may be expensive for some who don’t want the best coffee maker in the world.


Cuisinart DGB-600BC Introduction

I love dark-roasted Starbucks coffee and though it is expensive, I really haven’t found anything else that I would rather buy. I have learned to buy it in the most affordable way possible.  Costco, sells a “roasted by Starbucks brand” in 2lb bags for $9.95. The price is reasonable, but I grow tired of grinding the beans every time I prepare the coffee.  Imagine my excitement when my wife opened up her birthday present from her Dad and I saw that it was a really cool-looking coffee machine with a built-in Coffee Grinder. The Cuisinart DGB-600BC is a 10-cup coffee maker/grinder with thermal carafe. The price, according to the tag on the box, was $129.00. Hhmmm, looks like I got myself a pretty nice gift, for my wife’s birthday.

DGB-600BC Appearance and Setup

Taking the Cuisinart DGB-600BC out of the box and setting it on your counter will instantly make you crave a cup of hot java. This Cuisinart Coffee Maker is one good-looking machine. Just having one of these in your kitchen will make your friends think you are really serious about coffee.  If you don’t believe me, close your eyes and take a second look at the picture above.  Doesn’t this look like the kind of equipment you would see in a genuine Coffee Bar?  The Cuisinart DGB-600BC is made from double-walled, brushed metal. It looks and feels like a quality machine, rather than the plastico-Mr. Coffees,  Krups or Braun Coffee maker that I had become accustomed to over the last 3 decades of my coffee drinking days.  At 15″, The Cuisinart stands a little taller than your typical Braun or Krups Coffee Maker.  Assembly is only a matter of inserting the coffee grinder and plastic basket. All parts are very easy to insert, remove,  and clean.  A charcoal filter is included and needs to be soaked 10 minutes prior to using. The charcoal filter easily snaps into the water reservoir. The included measuring scoop has a handy little cleaning brush on the reverse end.  The 10 oz thermal carafe includes a locking lid, which is brewed and poured from the same locked position. The coffee filter basket comes with a permanent gold, re-usable filter, or you can use paper filters. (two are included).

Cuisinart DGB-600BC Operation and Use

You wont find a lot of useless digital electronics and lights on the Cuisinart Coffee machine, which suits me just fine. Simplicity is one of the benefits of this product. The electronics consist of one small, LCD clock and a total of 6 buttons: on-off, 1-4 cup setting, hours, minutes, grinder-off and program.   To make  coffee, remove the lid on the removable plastic coffee grinder and insert a few scoops of coffee beens. The instructions recommend 1 scoop for every 2 cups of water, but I like mine quite a bit stronger than that. In fact, I don’t even use the measuring scoop at all. I’ve found that 6 cups of coffee tastes best to me when the coffee grinder is about 2/3rds full. Insert the coffee grinder into it’s compartment at the top of the machine. Next, press a button on the left side and the filter basket comes forward. If you don’t mind having some sludge and grinds at the bottom of your cup, go ahead and use the permanent, re-usable gold filter. Otherwise, use one of the basket shaped paper filters, and push the basket forward until it snaps into place. All pieces are well made, and fit into place nicely. If you are only making 1-4 cups,  pressing the “1-4 cups button” will provide double-heat to your water to compensate for the shorter brewing time and insure that your coffee is just as hot as it would be if you made a full pot. This is a great idea. You can make regular ground coffee as you normally would by putting the grounds in the filter basket, and pressing the ‘grinder-off’ button before pushing power. Programming the coffee pot is as as simple as pressing the program button and choosing your on-time. When you first use the grinder, beware that it will run for about 20 seconds, grinding the beans very finely. When I first tried it, I wondered if it was stuck or something, but it takes a good 20 seconds to complete the job.  When the coffee is done brewing, a subtle couple of beeps will let you know it’s ready; a pleasant improvement over some of the other appliances I’ve tried that double as a full scale fire-alarm.

DGB-600BC Performance

This Cuisinart coffee maker with grinder makes a good, hot pot of coffee, and the thermal carafe keeps it hot for at least 2 hours. I could see plenty of steam coming out of the pot, after my late-sleeping daughter poured herself a cup 2 hours after it was made. I wasn’t crazy about the way the locking lid makes it rather slow to pour. 10 cups is plenty for 2 or 3 coffee drinkers, but when guests come, we’ll be digging out the 2nd hand, $19.00 Braun coffee maker. The built-in-grinder makes it a worthwhile wife’s birthday present for me. I got sick of digging out the bag of beans and grinding them before bed every night. Now, I simply pour the beans into the grinder, put a filter in the basket, add water, and push the timer button. Voila… The coffee self-grinds and brews at 6AM every morning.
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Holmes Space Heater

Best Space Heater
Best Space Heaters

What is the best space heater you can buy?

What is the best space heater you can buy? The Holmes HCH4954 is a Whisper Quiet Twin Ceramic portable heater for warming up small rooms in your home or office. The HCH4954 may not be the best space heater on the market, but for the price, it does a very nice job of warming small rooms. If you’re looking for a space heater or portable heater for small rooms in your home, the HCH-4954 by Holmes does a pretty decent job. See the full review on this portable heater.

The HCH4954 portable Holmes space heater which has some nice features that are normally only found in more expensive space heaters.

Holmes HCH4954 Specifications

The HCH4954 space heater is very light and portable, weighing just 4 lbs and standing only 18” high.

HCH4954 Features

VisiHeat is a color-changing display that lets you know how warm the space heater is. The eight rectangular shapes inside the grill of the space heater turn from light orange to dark orange as it gets warmer. Other features of this portable heater include a built-in Thermostat, Oscillating fan, single-button temperature set, twin-ceramic heating elements and tip-over safety protection. The twin-heating elements disperse heat at a wider angle, even when the fan is not oscillating. This is something you would expect find to find on one of the more expensive space heaters.

HCH4954 Holmes Space Heater Performance

The HDH4954 space heater is as whisper quiet as advertised. You will barely know you have it on. It is nice that a portable heater at this price includes a thermostat, but unless you intend to use it in a very small room for very lengthy periods of time, it is doubtful that you will find much use for it. A small space heater like this is best suited for warming up small areas for short periods of time, such as the area by a cold bathroom when taking a shower or bath. It would also be well suited for warming up your feet under your desk at the office. The oscillating fan does insure the heat is spread evenly around areas where you tend to be when you need it. The heating grill is slightly angled, and the space heater overall, will make for an inconspicuous, if not attractive addition to your bathroom, den or office. The HDH4954 space heater can be had for $39 – $49 and is a recommended product of Product Review Ratings (PRR).

Best Space Heater Ratings – Holmes HCH4954 Space Heater

  • Features: 84
  • Performance: 82
  • Value: 86
  • Overall: 84
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Do It Yourself Home Security System

Do it Yourself Home Security System
Skylink Home Security

Best Home Security System Reviewed

What is the best home security system? The Barking dog alarm wasn’t bad, but is it enough? Great news, if you’re in the market for a cheap, do it yourself home security system. A few weeks ago, a neighbor of ours was burglarized. Nothing was taken from their house because they had a professionally installed Home Alarm System. According to the police, the loud, piercing sound of the alarm is the best home security system you can possibly have and totally discouraged the burglars from even trying. I felt it was long past due that I protected my own house before I became a victim. The best home security system is the one that makes burglars think twice, right? So, what is the best home security system company for me?

Home Security Companies

The best home security system shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. I checked with a few local alarm companies, and got one estimate from a local company who seemed very competent, professional and trustworthy. However, a few things kept me from going this route: One, Cost$200 – $500 installation, plus monthly fees ranging from $35. $50 per month. Seems expensive, even for the best ones. Two, Phone System Compatibility:Vonage is not compatible with the alarm dial-in service, which requires a regular land-line. The solution is a cell phone back up which adds another $250 – $300 to the price above. Three: Motion Detectors and Pets. I knew that I would never be comfortable with the fact that our cat could possibly set off a false alarm. For the reasons above, I decided to look into getting an inexpensive, do-it-yourself, wireless  alarm system. One other thing, which swayed me from the alarm system companies was that the fact that so many of them did not get good reviews when it comes to response time once a call is dispatched.  What is the point in paying for a service like this if you cannot be confident in it?  If I could find an inexpensive product that would dial me directly when an alarm was triggered, I could bypass the monthly fees, and would gladly use some of the savings to go back to a traditional land line telephone service to make it work. Also, if I could setup my own alarm system, I would spend the time and practice necessary to get around the concerns about the cat and motion detector.  A good do it yourself home security system is the one product that meets all of these needs exactly:

Do-It-Yourself Wireless Kit

The Skylink Deluxe SC100 is Wireless Home Alarm System by Skylink that costs only $109.95 and is a breeze to install.  This kit includes: Wireless Keypad with alarm, two door/window entry detectors, one motion detector and remote keychain. What sold me on this particular kit was its starting price and expandability. Up to 30 motion or accessory products are supported. Also, a dial-in unit can be added for approximately $100 that accomplishes exactly what I had hoped was possible: The Emergency Dialer will store and dial up to 9 different phone numbers in-case of a break-in. There are no monthly fees. The way I look at it, this is a much more effective way of responding to possible break-ins, because it puts me in full control of how to proceed at my own discretion. The complete package with the emergency dial-in unit (See Image Below), Skylink SL Gold Deluxe, can be had for a little under $200.00. I opted to forego the dial-in unit initially, knowing that I could order it later, if I was satisfied with my initial setup.
(Dial In Unit Show Right) AD433-S.

Wireless Home Security Dialer
Emergency Dialer

Only one shortcoming would prevent me from rating this product even higher: It would be nice if the transmitter kept a log of door entries, alarm breaches, etc. Otherwise the Skylink SC100 is an excellent choice and I believe it to be the best do it yourself home security system for a reasonable price.

Final Rating:

Features: 84
Operation: 88
Installation and Ease of use:
92 Expansion: 88 Price
Value: 90
Overall: 88

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EuroPro Toaster

Euro Pro Toaster
Euro Pro Toaster

Don’t get burned on this Toaster by EuroPro – Convection Toaster Oven Review

The Euro Pro Toaster is a convection toaster oven. How does it work and how does it compare to other toaster ovens?

Pros:

Portable size, good-looking, wide temp range, and convection cooking

Cons:

Horrible timer. Unable to get a good slice of toast without constant monitoring.

Results
I bought this EuroPro Toaster last Christmas, and have yet to successfully toast a slice of bread – other than, it’s a pretty good product. I was attracted to this toaster oven for it’s small size, versatility, and features. The toaster is well equipped for various cooking tasks: baking, roasting, grilling and toasting. Also, the EuroPro features a wide temperature range of up to 450 degrees fahrenheit, and a full 60 minute timer knob. The Convection toasting feature really works, and helps insure food is thoroughly and evenly roasted. With all of these nifty features, you would think toasting a simple slice of bread would be a no-brainer, for something that bills itself as a toaster oven. Not so! The analog timer knob makes it impossible to choose an accurate number of minutes for timing your toast. In the beginning, our toast would nearly always end up burnt or under-toasted. As a result, we are forced to constantly monitor the bread we are toasting to insure we get it right. So much for convenience. Wouldn’t it be nice, if I could choose a precise time and know that the toast will be completed exactly as I like it each and every time? I guess that’s too much to ask of the EuroPro. I’d rather go back to our old pop-up toaster for toast. I have made good use of this toaster for other things such as, roasting bell peppers, garlic, onions, hot dogs, ham, and other small cuts of meat. I would rate this much higher, if only I could toast a slice of bread!

Final Rating

Toaster by Europro

Features: 88
Quality: 75
Toasting Toast: 20
Price / Value: 70

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