Coffee Maker Review: BUNN HG Phase Brew
Bunn HG Phase Brew
Coffee Maker Quality5/10
Ease of Use10/10
- Hot coffee (brewed at 200˚F +)
- Certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America for home use
- Brew head distributes water evenly for full coffee grounds saturation
- 3 year warranty
- Reported rusting on water valve within the reservoir
- Carafe dribbles on pour
- Durability issues
- No brew pause feature
Sufficiently hot, evenly steeped, and quickly brewed coffee is something that has eluded automatic coffeemakers for the many years that they’ve existed. Every once in a while you will find a coffeemaker that can handle a couple of these challenges, but the sad reality is that most automatic drip coffeemakers can’t even do one of the aforementioned the right way.
Fortunately, the Bunn HG Phase Brew is not one of these typically poor-performing coffeemakers. This beautiful coffee maker takes care of business.
The Phase Brew also has a Thermal Carafe model that can be purchased on Amazon. Learn more here.
To date, there are only 6 SCAA certified home coffee makers, and the Bunn HG is the third one that I’m reviewing here today. Going into the review, I’m not very confident that it will top the Bonavita BV1800 nor the Technivorm Moccamaster, but let’s see what reviewers have to say about it.
Please note: Although I am reviewing this top rated coffee maker, I have no experience using it. Instead, I summarize all of the most helpful reviews on this coffee maker from around the web. I do my best to make the reviews completely unbiased, making sure to cover both the positives and negatives of every coffee maker I review. Visit the about page to learn more…or feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.
It does make great coffee, but are you at risk of a dud?
The consensus on the Bunn HG is that it does indeed make great-tasting coffee. However, an overwhelming number of reviewers’ units broke due to a failed heating element. The dreaded “CLE” on the display doesn’t always mean that cleaning the coffee maker will get things working again. The reality is that this could actually mean that you have a defective coffeemaker that will have to be returned to Bunn’s customer service department. The bottom line here is that while you may get lucky with a unit that last for years and years to come, chances are still good that you may end up with a defective coffeemaker. While the 3 year warranty makes this a bit less risky, it’s still a hassle to return a defective coffeemaker and wait for its replacement.
Drip, drip, drip
There is a lot of outrage over the design of the Bunn HG’s carafe. Condensation builds up under the lid during the brew, which tends to always result in coffee and/or condensation spilling on the counter. The lid must also be held down with your thumb during the pour, or else it will flip open mid-pour. The final frustration here is that there is no brew pause feature. You are going to have to wait until the 10 minute brew cycle is complete before you start pouring your coffee.
Solutions? You betcha. There is a thermal carafe model of the Bunn HG. You can buy it here.
SCAA certified = coffee the right way
At the time of this writing, the Bunn HG is one of only four home brewers certified by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. A few of the things that make it certified: the filter basket does not overflow with coffee grounds, the brewing temperature falls between 195-205˚ F, the extraction is even, and the brew time is between 2 and 8 minutes.
This point alone is the ace in the hole for the Bunn HG. There are very few SCAA certified coffee makers, and yes, this is one of them.
For more USA made coffee maker reviews, click here.
For more SCAA certified coffeemaker reviews, click here.
To learn more about the SCAA certification, click here.
Ok, let’s talk ratings. I think we are going to find mostly good things.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the cheapest of the SCAA certified coffee makers. At $99, you are getting incredibly good value when comparing price to coffee quality. This comes in at least $50 cheaper than the other automatic drip coffeemakers in its class.
Score: 4.5 stars
The Coffee Quality
You will get great-tasting coffee assuming your machine doesn’t crap out on you. The rusted water valve in the plastic water reservoir is pretty disconcerting when it comes to the coffee’s quality, but I think this is more about the coffee maker itself than the coffee.
Score: 5 stars
The Coffee Maker Quality
Back when these guys were still made in the USA the quality was apparently much better. The main faults with this machine’s quality I’ve already mentioned: the rust, plastic reservoir, and very faulty carafe. I think Bunn could have done much better here. In fact, I know they already have based on the other Bunn coffeemakers I’ve already reviewed.
Score: 2.5 stars
Ease of Use
Even with the added features, there are no complications in the usability department. This coffeemaker is just as easy to use as the most intuitive auto drip coffeemakers out there.
Score: 5 stars
There is a cleaning indicator…you’re just going to have to hope that it’s showing for the right reasons (see above). Cleanup is a snap though, although I do have to point out that one reviewer said the only way to completely empty the reservoir would be to hold the HG upside down over the sink. Yikes.
Score: 4.5 stars
Sorry guys, but I can’t really recommend the HG for its durability. Too many users have reported broken units after short periods of time. The one redeeming factor here is the 3 year warranty and excellent customer service. If you don’t mind sending broken coffee makers to Bunn and back, you may be able to overlook this low score.
Score: 2 stars
Personally, I love the way it looks. Could use a bit more stainless steel, but this is a really great-looking coffee maker.
Score: 4 stars
Unlike other Bunn’s, there is no pre-heating required here. But it will take you 10 minutes to brew a pot, which I think is pushing it a bit.
Score: 3 stars
It has most of the features anybody could ever want. Sure, there is no brew pause, but I still think it deserves high marks for its SCAA certification and programmability.
Score: 4 stars
The Bottom Line
If you want a top-notch automatic drip coffee maker at an affordable price, then I think the HG deserves some serious consideration. Obviously, the durability issues wave a huge red flag, but if you are willing to take a bit of a risk the gamble may ultimately pay off.
If programmability is important to you I would also give this machine careful consideration. None of the other SCAA certified coffee makers that I’ve reviewed up to this point offer programmability. They are more reliable though.
Just looking for some simple, great-tasting coffee? Check out the Bonavita BV1800 or the Technivorm Moccamaster.
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While I collate reviews from all across the web when writing my own coffee maker reviews, my opinion in the end is only one opinion. For this reason, I encourage you to share your own review as well as any comments, questions, or disagreements you may have.