I initially bought my Trifecta MB to allow me to taste the difference in coffees ... YES it does. Now with my venture into home coffee roasting, it is an absolute dream. I can freshly grind FRESH coffee and brew it to perfection. The machine allows the characteristics of each single origin coffee to evolve in your mouth. Having a cup of earthy Sumatran ... then moving on to a bright Guatemalan ... then a fruity Ethiopian dry processed bean is an incredible experience. The Trio of freshly roasted varietal coffee (Try roasting your own ... it is fun!), a Vario-W weight based grinder with the metal burrs (easy to get that 21 grams of coffee for 10 ounces of water), and the trifecta MB make the morning amazing! For those who have not tried it ... fresh coffee (roasted within a week of brewing) is a different experience from what you buy off the shelf of most stores.
I have been enjoying my MB since April of 2012 and have been extremely pleased with it. I can get a great tasting cup of coffee from most any variety of coffee. With a new coffee some experimentation may be necessary to find the optimal turbulence and brew time settings, and some less satisfying cups can result during the dialing-in process, although Bunn's setting recommendations are usually very close to optimal and I usually start with theirs and adjust from there . The brewer does reward keeping a record of previous settings and your impressions of the resulting cup with different coffees to either go right back to what worked before or offer a starting point from a similar variety of bean. I have found it remarkable how big a difference a small setting change can make in the resulting brew when using the same coffee. I keep my grind pretty coarse (34/40 on my burr grinder), for whatever that is worth, to minimize any sediment getting past the filter screen as that can gum up the valves of the brew chamber. The machine may be a bit unforgiving, some coffees just never taste right at any setting, though my dissatisfaction is certainly increased by my expectations for a great cup with every bean, and the losers get ground for use in my wife's drip brewer (and she is quite content with my rejects--perhaps a warning, she does not enjoy coffee from the MB as she finds it too strong when optimally brewed, she has not been interested in experimenting to see if a weaker or shorter brew might please her more and remains dedicated to her Mr. Coffee. Oh well, I'm certainly not a guy who feels confident enough to take on Joe DiMaggio, or perhaps the sort of brew the Trifecta produces is just not for everyone). But back to the MB, once optimal settings are found, the machine produces cup after cup of delicious coffee, without the worry of the surprise poor brew which so frequently occurs with less controlled brewing techniques. The flavors of the coffee can really come through, and the cup holds up well even if sipped slowly while typing reviews on the computer. Use and cleaning are simple, though I have found out the hard way that one must be very careful not to damage the filter screen in any way, as it seems that even the slightest ding can allow some of the grind to enter the lower chamber of the brew pot and cause the valves to malfunction (I have not needed to replace a screen since realizing this, it is not difficult at all to avoid damaging the screen once one knows better). The O-rings and valves for the brew chamber and water infuser did wear out and require replacement after about six and nine months respectively, but replacing them is very simple to do and Amanda of customer service is superb at diagnosing problems over the phone and supplying replacement parts (free thus far and I certainly hope will continue to be so) within a day or two of the call (her customer service is outstanding, I've never experienced better). Cleaning is simple, easy, and not time consuming, and most happily, not frequently required.
Anyway, to summarize my almost year of experience with the unit, I really couldn't be happier. My coffee tastes great, I can get whatever variety of brew that I may want in any cup, reproducibly (I now keep several varieties of coffee in the freezer ready for grinding so that I can pick whatever I want at any time, and usually enjoy a variety over the course of my morning cups), the machine is simple and quick in use (certainly much faster than all that is required for a French Press pot, which in any case doesn't keep the coffee fresh over time in the way that each new cup from the Trifecta always will be), requires only simple, easy maintenance and cleaning,
But most importantly, the MB consistently brings new, more forward flavors, and pleasure, from each cup of coffee when compared to any other brewing method that I have tried. And for any interested, it works great for tea as well, opening up tastes from the leaves not previously apparent, and makes great iced brews of either coffee or tea (I add about 25% more coffee or tea to counter the dilution effect and it is really good). I have no significant complaints at all about the machine or the manufacturers support for it, and would certainly purchase it again as I have found it to be very much worth its cost for the pleasure it provides to me.
Been messin' with this Trifecta MB for a several weeks now. I'm impressed, here's why:
More than a year ago, after a heap of K-cups, I tried a Bunn HG. At that time, it was the only machine that came close in brewing quality and it would free me from a proprietary system. However, I missed the cup-at-a-time convenience by switching to the HG.
This Trifecta MB is the best of both worlds.
This machine couldn't be easier to fill with water, add your favorite grind, brew, and clean up. No filters. No carafe. No burnt coffee that's been sitting either. Having 10 years restaurant equipment service experience, I can assure you this machine isn't fooling around. Quit throwing expensive coffee at cheap brewers. There's more quality in that-there coffee than what you are told. What's cool here, everything is adjustable for tweaking if desired. But even if you don't, and toss some grinds and water at it, it will brew amazingly great tasting coffee. The secret of course is tweaking this extraction thing going on, using fresh ground whole bean from a "conical burr" grinder. Be careful though, experimenting and caffeine can go wild. Looking forward to making Iced Tea sometime soon.
If I may be so critical, there are two items of interest:
1) A manual "Sleep" or power-off button is needed. In restaurants, stuff is left powered on all the time - no big deal. But at home, most of us are programmed to turn everything off before we leave. Besides, this unit reheats reasonably quickly anyway.
2) A small amount of water seems to lodge under the screen after each rinsing of the brew chamber. This can be removed by dabbing the screen with paper towel while the brew chamber is inverted. This screen appears to be of extreme precision and it's not recommended to remove all the time. Perhaps a small "Purge" button could run air pump into empty chamber with paper towel held under it? Version 2 of brew chamber has drain option? Regardless, a towel works fine.
Lately I deviated from the instructions just to see what would happen. Using less-than-the recommended, cheapest, French roast whole bean, fresh ground to extra-fine (instead of Coarse), Trifecta settings C, :45, will produce a superb cup of coffee...especially after the cup sits for 5 minutes. My thought process was that a finer-grind would create more backpressure in the brew chamber, increasing the pressing-action. Either it really did work or I've been experimenting too much again...not sure. Remember, the worst thing that could happen, is, you'll learn something.
Five stars to Bunn & crew for a Perfect cup of coffee!
I have had my Trifecta MB for several weeks. It is, overall, an amazing machine. However, it is not for the casual coffee drinker, or the person who just wants something quick.
In order to fully experience the Trifecta's capabilities, you will need a few things: 1) whole beans, 2) electronic scale, 3) burr grinder, and 4) filtered water or bottled water. Although you could get good coffee out of the pre-ground stuff, you won't get all the aromas and essential oils. It's also my personal belief that whole beans freshly ground produce a better tasting coffee.
You also should not use flavored coffee. The artificial flavoring (or even "added natural flavoring") will taint the carafe. If you look closely at the carafe (where the coffee grounds go), you will notice that the bottom has very tiny holes. The pressure from the machine will force the water out and the grounds down to those holes or pores. Flavored coffee will leave oily residue and other elements lodged into the carafe. That in turn will ruin your coffee for any future batches.
Possibly the best thing about this machine is the ability to create your own brew. Although Bunn gives you a brew guide with recommended settings, you should experiment with the turbulence cycles and contact times. Adjusting the amount of grounds or water will also greatly vary the taste you will get from the same coffee.
At the end, it's all about the taste. The first time you try the brew, it will taste weak. Indeed, the coffee will be a lot less dark than you would normally get from another type of machine. This is how it is supposed to be. We've been bombarding our taste buds for decades with incredibly strong and rather flat coffee--Starbucks, restaurant coffee, gas station coffee, etc. Consequently, we don't taste the subtle differences from better coffees. The first couple of times you taste from the Trifecta, you will not understand why you don't have a robust flavor. Give it some time. Your taste buds will get used to the different experience. And very soon you will begin to taste the subtle flavors in good coffee--chocolate notes, rose, nuts, grains, etc.
The Trifecta MB is a very expensive machine for casual coffee brewing. But for those who like coffee and want to experience all the wonderful independent coffee roasters, this is a great machine. It's an investment, but something which will pay dividends in the end.
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