Have you ever scanned through any of the search results on Amazon and raised an eyebrow when something very popular is made by a brand you have never heard of? That’s what happened to us when we came across the highly touted Bella Elite 12 Cup/Single Serve Coffee Maker. We had to find out more about this coffee machine.
It’s a 12 cup automatic drip coffee maker with a Single Serve function. Read on to find out about how well it does the job, how it compares to other coffee makers and our overall impressions of this machine.
Features of the Bella 12 Cup/Single Serve Coffee Maker
While most of us are happy with a coffee maker that makes our coffee without a lot of fuss, some coffee makers do this simple task better than others. Here’s a look at where this Bella Coffee Maker lands in the pack.
Type of Coffee Maker: Automatic Drip
The Bella 12 Cup/Single Serve coffee maker brews coffee at a temperature between 176° – 184 ° F. It’s a little low from the ideal standard brewing temperature range of 195° to 205°. This is not uncommon for coffee makers in this price range.
It does offer a “small batch” feature that allows you to brew up to 20 ounces of coffee without diluting the flavor.
It runs on a 120v plug at 1000 watts.
Type of Coffee Used: Ground Roasted Beans
You can use your favorite ground roasted coffee in this machine. If it’s a fine grind, we recommend using a paper filter in conjunction with the filter basket. The water dispersion method used to saturate the coffee grounds is accomplished via a shower head.
Type of Filter Used: Reusable Mesh
The Bella 12 Cup/Single Serve comes with a sustainable reusable mesh basket filter. It does seem to do the job better than most mesh filters we’ve come across but there’s still some grit in our cups so we prefer adding a paper filter to catch any fine grounds.
This basket uses 8-12 cup standard size round filters.
It’s a 60 ounce reservoir that is integrated with the base unit. Now, no one is ever really happy with these types of reservoirs that aren’t detachable but it does help to keep down manufacturing costs. There is a viewer so you can see how much water you’re adding and it seems to be more accurate than many water level indicators on the market.
It is made of plastic but is BPA free. You may get that appliance burn off smell the first couple of times you use the machine. This does happen quite often with BPA free appliances. It should disappear after a while.
The carafe is kind of a sticking point but only if you need to replace it. It’s a standard glass carafe that holds up to 60 ounces of fluid. The problem comes when Bella does not offer a replacement for these carafes.
If that weren’t bad enough, Bella really passes the problem back to the consumer by saying they don’t sell replacements but “you should be able to get something online.”
It could be that the price of the coffee maker doesn’t make carrying replacement parts a cost-effective business. It could also be an indication that these coffee makers are simply an Alibaba label swap since everything under the Bella label seems to be made in China.
Number of Cups Can Brew at Once: 1-12 cups at 5 ounces each.
While the standard pot of coffee is 8 – 12 cups. This coffee maker also features a small batch option. You can brew 1 – 4 cups at a time without losing flavor.
Bella’s cups meet the standard five ounce measurement.
The carafe’s warming plate is adequate at keeping coffee hot. If you drink your coffee right away, you shouldn’t have a problem with the immediate brew temperature. If you like to stretch out your first cup of coffee, you’ll probably need to take measure to insure it’s still hot at the end.
The easiest thing to do is to follow a common ritual when using a Keurig machine: Add water to your empty mug, microwave it for 20 – 45 seconds, allow the water warm the mug for another 30 seconds, empty the water (save for your plants) and then pour a cup of coffee.
We’re not finding a lot of scorching or burned coffee with this hot plate.
One of the stand-out features of the Bella Coffee Machine is its auto pause feature. It is one of the most drip-free of any coffee maker tested when pulling out the carafe for a mid-brew cup.
Note that Bella Houseware warns not to pause the brew cycle longer than 30 seconds or the filter may overflow.
Automatic Shut-off: Yes
The automatic shut off works on an internal timer. There’s no way to extend the time the hot plate stays on without turning the machine off then on again.
Single Serve: Yes
This Bella Elite Coffee Maker has a Small Batch feature that lets you brew one to four cups of coffee (5 ounces each) without sacrificing flavor or boldness. Instead of using K-cups or proprietary pods, the machine is simply reprogrammed using smaller quantities of water and coffee grounds.
- Fill the filter basket with the desired amount of coffee grounds (1 tablespoon per cup).
- Fill the reservoir with an appropriate amount of water.
- Press and hold the PROGRAM button until 1-4 appears on the screen.
- Holding down the PROGRAM button again will return the coffee maker to brewing a standard pot of coffee.
Brew Strength Options: Two options: Regular and Bold
The Bold option simply allows the coffee to steep longer.
To use this option, press and hold the On/Off button down until the word Bold appears.
Two reasons we weren’t impressed with this option:
There wasn’t much difference in taste between the Bold and Regular flavor profiles.
Since the advance programming feature is simply an on/off switch, you can’t program the coffee maker to brew a bold flavor profile in advance.
The 14755 is the stainless steel color.
It illuminates with blue background lighting while programming but doesn’t stay on.
There’s a 24 hour programmable “Future Brew” function.
Power Failure Recovery No
Other Features of Note
Three beeps will occur when the brewing cycle has completed. Also at that time, a clock icon will appear that tracks the time since the cycle has stopped. This will disappear after two hours when the auto shut off features turns off the machine.
How Easy is the Bella 12 Cup Coffee Maker to Clean?
The carafe, carafe lid, filter basket and filter are all removable and can be washed in warm, soapy water.
The warming plate should be wiped off. Never use abrasives on the hot plate.
The coffee maker has its own CLEAN cycle which should be used once a month. Bella Housewares also recommends descaling the machine at least once a month. Is this overkill?
There are two distinct methods to cleaning this coffee maker (see below) and descaling seems to take precedence over general cleaning.
How Much Counter Space Does it Use?
9.7 x 7.2 x 13.6 inches with a 26 inch long power cord.
What the Comments Say
In general, people respond positively to the Bella 14755 coffee maker. There were some quibbles over how much coffee is actually getting brewed but the general consensus is that this auto drip coffee machine performs surprisingly well.
Praises From Reviewers
- This Bella Elite Coffee Maker brews a very tasty cup of coffee. Many commented that they have purchased coffee makers that cost much more and received much less. The Bella Elite is a stand out in this price range.
- Programmable up to 24 hours in advance. This is always a welcome feature for getting your coffee and getting to work on time.
- Filling the water level as indicated resulted in an accurate carafe measurement. Bella itself admits that up to 10% of the water in the reservoir can be lost due to steam and over saturation. They have taken this into account when creating the reservoir lines.
Drawbacks to Consider
While many people are thrilled with their coffee maker, some were simply not convinced this is the machine of their dreams, even though many critics actually liked the flavor of the coffee.
- Some people weren’t happy with the temperature of the coffee. We noted that the brewing temperature is a bit low but also mentioned there are ways to compensate for this.
- Some didn’t think the reservoir was accurate at all.
- Some were very concerned about being able to replace the carafe.
Like one reviewer mentioned, we did find it noisier than some coffee makers we’ve tested (although nothing will ever rival the Keurig B-50 which would actually rattle the glassware and plates in my cabinets). We also found it to be a great set and forget coffee maker. The dripless lid works like a charm.
We’re a bit concerned about a lot of descaling since vinegar is caustic and can easily wear down the plastic.
In spite of those two drawbacks, we really enjoyed using this coffee maker. The small batch function works great and the reservoir lines seemed to be accurate to getting the right amount of coffee into the carafe.
We’re recommending this Bella 12 cup/Single Serve coffee maker to anyone looking for a coffee maker under $50.00
How to Clean and Descale the Bella 12 Cup Coffee Maker
Bella Housewares recommends cleaning your coffee maker once every month. Like most automatic drip coffee makers, you’re going to fill the reservoir with a water/white vinegar solution, run the brew cycle and then run it again a couple more times with clean water to get rid of the vinegar residue.
- Start by filling your cool and empty carafe with 6 cups of white vinegar and 4 cups of cold water.
- Pour this solution into the reservoir.
- Place a paper filter (8 to 12 cup size) in the filter basket.
- Put the filter basket into place and close the lid.
- Place the carafe, with lid firmly in place, onto the warming plate.
How to Set the CLEAN Function
- Simultaneously press and hold down the MIN and HOUR buttons. The CLEAN indicator will appear on the screen.
- Start the Cleaning Cycle<</strong
- Start the cycle by pressing the ON/OFF button.
- When the cycle has started, the light above the ON/OFF will go on.
- The light above the ON/OFF button will turn off once the cycle has completed.
- Discard the vinegar/water solution from the carafe and any that remains in the tank (it’s great for refreshing your drains).
- Allow the carafe and machine to cool for 15 minutes.
- Repeat the brew cycle a couple of times with fresh water to remove any leftover vinegar, allowing the coffee maker to cool down for 15 minutes in between cycles.
Bella Housewares recommends descaling your coffee maker once every two weeks. If you continue this routine but find that the brew time is extending, you may have to follow this procedure more often.
This is a little different than the cleaning procedure. Descaling always involves letting the vinegar solution rest in the machine so it can be allowed to soften any calcium deposits that may be building up.
- Fill the carafe using one part vinegar to three parts cold water.
- Pour the water/vinegar solution into the reservoir.
- Turn on the brew cycle and watch for the carafe to fill up half way.
- Turn off the coffee maker using the ON/OFF button.
- When the solution stops dripping, remove the carafe from the warming plate.
- Allow the solution in the carafe to cool down for 15 minutes.
- Pour the cooled solution back into the reservoir.
- Return the carafe to the warming plate and close the lid to the coffee maker.
- Repeat the brewing cycle again. This time, let all of the liquid drip through to the carafe.
- Turn off the machine, discard the vinegar/water solution and let the machine cool down for 15 minutes.
- Insert the permanent coffee filter into its filter basket.
- Repeat the brewing process again as necessary with a full carafe of clean water until the vinegar odor has disappeared.
- At the end of the last cycle, turn off the coffee maker and clean the carafe, carafe lid, filter basket and filter by washing in warm, soapy water or by washing in the top rack of your dishwasher.
- The base of the machine can be wiped down with a clean, dry cloth.
- Make sure all parts of the machine are thoroughly dry before reassembling for your next pot of coffee.