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Bunn MyCafé MCU Single Serve Coffee Brewer

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The technology for brewing coffee seems at times equal to that of placing people on other worlds, or at the very least of letting them pretend to be there… with convincing 3D graphics and surround-sound. A kettle full of hot water and some ground-up beans doesn’t begin to cut it.

Single-serving pod-based coffee makers offer a number of salient advantages to more traditional coffee-tech – bereft of simmering vats of antediluvian brew, they promise a fresh cup every time someone stabs the Start button. They also allow every cup of coffee to be of a unique blend, for those coffee illuminatae who can really taste the difference. Finally, entirely lapsing into somnolence between sessions, they can save a lot of watts by not keeping anything hot while they’re idle.

Unfortunately, early expressions of pod coffee systems suffered from dodgy engineering, incompatible proprietary pod structures and oftentimes stratospheric pricing for their consumables. The eco-left frequently embraced them as a new axis of evil for littering the planet with their discarded – and largely unrecycleable – plastic containers.

The only positive thing most users of those early pod coffee makers had to say of them was that they typically suffered terminal pump failure and reverted to e-waste shortly after their warranties expired, allowing them to be remorselessly updated with newer hardware. Admittedly, a short working life usually isn’t one of the bulleted features displayed on the packaging for these things.

The Bunn MyCafé MCU single serving coffee brewer differs from its ancestors in pretty much every way that matters. To begin with, it traces its lineage back to Bunn’s commercial coffee systems, as gazed at across the counters of innumerable coffee shops and restaurants. Engineered from a deep pedigree of professional appliances and generally built of sterner stuff than traditional plastic coffee machines from WalMart, it promises to still be steaming and bubbling long after its manual has been irretrievably lost.

Perhaps more to the point, the Bunn MyCafé is somewhat brand-blind. In what is unquestionably its best trick, it will brew coffee from Keurig K-Cup plastic coffee pods, a variety of soft pods – which are wholly biodegradable, to silence the aforementioned eco-left – and from loose coffee. In its latter manifestation, it enjoys much of the convenience and all of the taste of the best coffee pods, with considerably less expense.

The Setup

Unlike earlier multiple-format single-serving coffee makers, the MyCafé inflicts virtually none of its reconfiguration tasks upon its users when it’s asked to change media. Each of the coffee sources it knows how to deal with is represented by a plastic drawer. There’s a dedicated drawer to hold K-Cups, one for soft pods and tea bags, one for ground coffee and a final one to heat water for other beverages. Insert the appropriate drawer into a MyCafé machine and it will know immediately what’s being asked of it.

The Bunn MyCafé is somewhat minimalist in appearance. It’s formed of featureless plastic and stainless steel, and it lacks the traditional moving parts, space-shuttle status displays and various knobs and flashing LEDs of its competitors. It will confront its users with all of two controls – a button to initiate brewing, and an optional Pulse switch, to cause hot water to surge through your coffee, resulting in a stronger brew.

Most coffee drinkers will spend more time discerning the operation of a new cup than they will working out how to operate the MyCafé. It’s a masterwork of simplicity.


It might be argued that the agreeable simplicity of the Bunn MyCafé was extended slightly further than was good for this device. In what constitutes the only drawback to this laudable appliance, it lacks is a power switch. Presumably in the interest of getting its coffee hot and drinkable with the shortest possible delay, it likes to keep its internal water reservoir heated at all times – it will ultimately power itself down and enter sleep mode if you ignore it long enough, but its idea of a suitable period of idleness is 26 hours.

Not surprisingly, this makes it something of a power vampire. We addressed its gluttony by installing a combination outlet and switch for it to rest its power cord in, allowing it to be fully unpowered between cups.

Asked to brew a cup of coffee from a standing start, the MyCafé requires an entirely manageable two minutes to get its water up to temperature. If you really need coffee quicker than that, you’re probably drinking way too much of it.

The Bunn MyCafé is unusually easy to prepare for its first cup of coffee – its initial setup procedure is largely automatic. The water pump in ours proved to be somewhat quieter than that of the Cuisinart brewer it replaced.

The whole works is attended by an enviable two-year warranty, this being twice the duration of the warranties for most coffee makers.

The MyCafé is considerably more expensive than most pod-based coffee systems. Its robust construction and commercial-grade engineering would arguably justify the credit-card abuse it represents. It promises to still be brewing excellent coffee long after lesser machines have been recycled into lawn flamingos.

This said, there seems to be a larger disparity of prices for the MyCafé than is common for small appliances – be sure to shop around.

It would be difficult to find any aspect of the Bunn MyCafé to dislike, and after a few cups of its coffee, you’ll probably be ill-disposed to try. Easily the best of the available pod coffee machines available at the moment, it embodies all the aspects of a perfect kitchen appliance. It does what it was bought to do, and burdens its users with none of the fiddly details of how it accomplishes its task.

It also looks very, very cool.