Written by: Cathy Tenzo. When I wake up in the morning, I need a jolt of inspiration from the coffee fairy to get going. The Sunbeam Mr. Coffee series 12-cup Switch Coffee maker DW13 model gives me what I need, but just barely. These days I start my day with a morning cup and a hearty dose of frustration, and the next time I buy a coffeemaker I’d be willing to spend a little more money to start my day off properly, because life is too short to wake up that way.
Model number variations:
- Removable filter basket which lifts out of brew basket
- Pause ‘n Serve feature, so you can remove the carafe and pour a cup of coffee while the coffee is brewing without spilling
- See-through reservoir windows to make it easy to add the right amount of water
- An optional water filtration system can be added to remove up to 97% of chlorine to improve the coffee’s taste
- 12-cup replacement decanters available
The Sunbeam Mr. Coffee series 12-cup Switch Coffee maker DW13 is an inexpensive coffee maker, and it can currently be gotten online for as low as $11. I think I bought mine for about $10 six months ago at the local Walgreen’s. I bought it because it’s supposed to be a no muss, no fuss way to make decent coffee for an affordable price, and I’m bargain conscious, so that sounded like a good deal to me. It’s only available in black, but black is fine. It’s designed to have just the basic features—it makes coffee and keeps it warm—without any of the bells and whistles such as a programmable clock to start the coffee brewing while you sleep or an automatic shut-off for those who are forgetful. I’m willing to be more mindful and forgo the little luxuries to have a cheaper model, so that’s okay with me. If those are must-haves for you, you might want to go with a fancier model like the Mr. Coffee 12-cup programmable coffee maker BVMC-VMX37, black with stainless steel, which retails for around $70. I’d be more tempted to try the DeLonghi Automatic Drip 12-cup coffee maker DCF212T which retails for $50, which gets good reviews online without some of the problems which seem to persist across the Mr. Coffee brand.
Back to the basics. Did I get what I paid for? I’d have to give it a mixed review there. It does make coffee, and like all coffee, what you put into the coffee maker affects what you get out of the coffee maker. If I put in good water and expensive, freshly-ground beans, I get better coffee than if I use a stale can of Folgers. I like the Pause ‘n Serve feature, which allows you to grab a cup while the coffee is still brewing, since I usually want my coffee as soon as possible. This works well, and no coffee splatters onto the heating plate while the carafe is removed. I also love that there are inexpensive carafe replacements available at drugstores and many major retailers. I can be clumsy before I’ve had my caffeine, and I’ve broken a number of carafes over the years. With the Mr. Coffee brand, you don’t have to buy a whole new coffee maker when that happens.
I didn’t purchase the optional water filtration system (an expensive insert for the brew basket that needs to be replaced regularly) because I am not worried about my water quality. I do, however, care about my water temperature. While not exactly tepid, the coffee isn’t as warm as I’d like it to be—I want my coffee fairly hot. I drink it black, too, so there’s no cream to cool it down. Someone that adds cold milk to their beverage is probably going to be very disappointed in the temperature of the coffee that comes from the pot.
I also find that the coffee maker makes a lot of mess. The brew basket is a little too big, so the filters often crumple down and grounds get into the coffee. The removable basket is nice for dumping the grounds, and the manufacturer says that this makes it easy to clean, but I find that the ridges inside make it hard to remove old coffee residue. The coffee carafe is also poorly-designed, and often spills while pouring, so I’ve gotten into the habit of pouring my coffee over the sink so that I don’t have to mop the floor after breakfast. This also drives me crazy because I don’t want to waste any coffee, and often the spills from the carafe are substantial. This alone makes me want to find a different coffee maker. I’m thinking of going back to my Melitta Cone Filter Manual 6 cup coffee maker. At an average price of $8, this is truly a budget coffee maker. I’ve got to boil the water and pour it through myself, and it doesn’t keep the coffee warm, but it makes a good cup of coffee and it doesn’t make a mess while doing it. I’ve got a thermos to keep the coffee warm once it is made.
I remember when NY Yankee Joe DiMaggio endorsed this product back in the 70s. As he pointed out in some of the ad campaigns, it’s certainly better than percolators, which burn coffee, but technology has come a long way. Now that we’ve got a lot of automatic coffee makers to choose from, I think we deserve one that functions better than this.
- replacement carafes available at many major retailers like drug stores and Target
- not easy to clean
- spills coffee while pouring due to poor carafe design
- no timer
- no auto shut off
- grounds often get in coffee while brewing
- coffee is warm but not hot
The Sunbeam Mr. Coffee series 12-cup Switch Coffee Maker DW13-NP is a budget coffee maker that’s just got the basics. While it will make you a cup of coffee, the downsides are substantial, and this coffee maker is just not worth the hassles it costs when there are other alternatives. Do yourself a favor and buy something else. You deserve better.