nutribullet brew choice pod carafe review lead
CNN  — 

Say you’re a fan of NutriBullet’s personal- and full-size blenders, fruit and veggie juicers and air fryers? Caffeine junkies take note: The popular brand just added a coffee maker to its appliance mix. With the launch of the NutriBullet Brew Choice, NutriBullet’s latest offering is a space-saving coffee maker that allows you to brew both single servings using K-Cups or grounds and a full carafe. Whether you just need a mug to get you out the door or prefer to leisurely sip (or chug!) from a fresh pot, this dual-purpose machine promises to have you covered while saving precious counter space. But how does it perform? We put it to the test.

nutribullet brew choice pod carafe review 3

The rundown

Making its first foray into the coffee world, NutriBullet’s Brew Choice is a coffee maker that allows you to choose from both single-serve and full carafe options in one single-stack appliance. For those who enjoy just a cup or two at a time, it can be used with K-Cups or grounds added to a pod-size reusable filter. If multiple people will be fueling up — or you just need a lot of caffeine — a glass 12-cup-capacity carafe option is also included.

The machine’s technology automatically senses whether you’ve added the pod holder or carafe coffee filter. And it gives plenty of options: The single-serve option can be set to brew 6-, 8- or 10-ounce servings, while the carafe can be adjusted to brew 6, 9 or 12 cups at a time. The built-in water reservoir is easy to remove and reattach and holds up to 12 cups at a time (handy for those just using the single-cup option, as you can brew several cups before needing a refill). And in addition to the carafe, the machine can accommodate a standard coffee cup, 7-inch travel mug, full carafe or anything in between.

In sleek black, the Brew Choice, at about 14.5 inches high, 8 inches across and 13 inches deep, fits nicely on countertops and under most cabinets. Features include a clock, a brew pause, an “add water” alert, a reusable single-cup and carafe grounds filter, dishwasher-safe components and a warmer that keeps the carafe hot for up to two hours, along with a one-year limited warranty. It also comes with a recipe book filled with specialty drink ideas (spiced pumpkin chai latte, anyone?), coffee-infused desserts and more.

The lowdown

We can’t imagine a coffee machine setup that’s much easier than that of the NutriBullet Brew Choice. Once the machine is out of the box and the parts are given a quick wash in soapy water, run it through an initial cleaning cycle and it’s ready to use. Looking for a single cup? Just add the pod holder, pop in your K-Cup or add your grounds to the reusable pod (it holds up to 10 grams) and close the lid. You’ll then be prompted to select your brew size and within three minutes, you’ve got a cup of coffee. For a carafe, simply add the brew basket, scoop your grounds into the reusable filter, close the lid and select how many cups you’re brewing. For 12 cups, it takes about nine minutes to fill the carafe.

As far as reaching the optimal coffee temperature (one study has shown coffee drinkers typically prefer to drink their java at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or below), the Brew Choice was right on the mark. Our single-serve brews clocked in between 145 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit, while the carafe was nice and piping hot at 160 degrees Fahrenheit upon an immediate pour.

nutribullet brew choice pod carafe review 2

When it came to producing quality coffee, however, we had mixed results. The single-serve K-Cups we used tasted pretty much as they should: smooth but strong with no burnt taste (a sign of overheating) or flavors that shouldn’t be there. But every carafe brew we made resulted in weak coffee — even when we doubled our usual amount of grounds or set it to brew a smaller amount.

Another nit: The machine emits a ton of steam, especially during the single-serve cycle — so much, in fact, that water droplets were running down the front of the machine and condensation blurred the digital readouts. The steam wasn’t as bad when using the carafe setting, but we still needed to pull it far out from under the cabinets when in use. We also experienced quite a bit of splatter on the single-serve setting when using a short mug, even with the removable mug platform in place (using a travel mug solved that problem).

Bottom line

nutribullet brew choice pod carafe review 1

After using the Brew Choice for several weeks, we were happy to turn to the pod setting when we had to dash out the door for an early morning meeting or school run or had just a few minutes to snag an afternoon pick-me-up between Zoom calls. But for the 9- or 12-cup carafe we require most mornings, it just didn’t produce the robust brew we’re accustomed to.

If your family has finicky needs when it comes to coffee consumption but you mostly use K-Cups and you want to save on counter space, the Brew Choice may be a good option. But if you plan to brew carafes or like your coffee strong and robust, a more specialized machine is likely a better choice.