When it comes to coffee makers, there will always be big players in the industry and then there are those who try and gain a following. This is done by either doing something that’s completely innovative, like Keurig and the single serve K-Cup or by doing something that’s been done before but tweaking it – finding a way that’s more effective. Mueller falls into the latter category.
Mueller is trying to establish itself in the small appliance market by providing top quality products at an affordable price.
This review of the Mueller UltraBrew coffee maker will touch on the basic features of this automatic drip coffee maker. We’ll see how well it does its job, how it stacks up to the competition and finally, we’ll get some feedback from other users who may have used this Mueller model and may have more insight on whether or not it lives up to its popularity.
Features of the Mueller UltraBrew Coffee Maker
Let’s take a closer look at what the Mueller UltraBrew has going for it that makes it such a popular coffee maker.
First, let’s go over the basic features that everyone wants to know before they make a buying decision on a coffee maker.
Type of Coffee Maker: Automatic Drip
This is a 110 volt, 12-cup automatic drip coffee maker. The base and removable parts are BPA free plastic.
Type of Coffee Used: ground beans
You can use your favorite grind in this machine. If you’re planning on using the filter that comes with the machine (see next feature), you’ll more than likely want to use either a coarse or medium ground bean.
Type of Filter Used: Permanent
This coffee maker comes with a permanent mesh coffee filter. While some grinds of coffee would actually do better with a paper filter, you can line the permanent filter with a #4 cone paper filter.
This combination works well for eliminating oils that permanent filters alone will usually allow through.
Is a paper liner absolutely necessary? No but if you’re not used to the sediment that escapes through those tiny holes, you should probably use a paper filter. Likewise, if you see an oil film on the top of the brewed coffee in the carafe, use a paper filter to prevent oils from getting into your coffee.
The reservoir holds 60 ounces of water. In spite of its claim on Amazon, it is not removable. There’s a clear section on the side that works as a water level indicator.
The lid is integrated into the carafe. We’re never fond of this set up because if the auto-pause brew bubble that acts as a stopper wears down, you’ll need to replace the entire carafe.
Replacements are available at Mueller.
Number of Cups Can Brew at Once: 4-12 cups at 5 ounces each.
As a rule of thumb, you really shouldn’t brew less than 20 ounces of coffee in a coffee maker this size. While Mueller doesn’t say so, we just wanted to put this in as you won’t be happy with the flavor if you go much less than this.
The water needs time to saturate the beans and extract the flavor. Since it flows through automatically, the more water flowing through the pot, the more robust the flavor will be.
The warming plate works well and has a non-stick coating. We didn’t notice any overheating or scorching of the carafe after sitting for over an hour which is good since the temperature isn’t adjustable.
You can remove the carafe mid-way through brewing a pot of coffee for those “can’t wait” moments. Of course, you’ll want to wait until it’s at least half way through the brew cycle to get optimal flavor for the same reason we mentioned above: the water needs time to extract the flavor.
Automatic Shut-off: Yes
The UltraBrew shuts off automatically after 2 hours. You can also shut it off manually if you’re in a hurry.
Mueller does have a single serve coffee maker. As of this writing, it doesn’t have a two-in-one option like Hamilton Beach.
Brew Strength Options: Two options:
Regular and Bold. Bold isn’t as strong as a French roast kick in the head. It’s a nice, robust flavor that will open your eyes in the morning. Regular is a great choice as a lazy afternoon coffee.
Color: Stainless Steel.
This is a good looking machine that blends in well with most kitchen decors.
You can program this coffee machine up to 24 hours in advance. The display has a blue back light and white LED digital readout. It’s easy to read and the buttons underneath make it easy to program. However, the light doesn’t remain on. Instead, it reverts to a black-on-gray color, making it difficult to read the clock from anywhere besides a straight-on point of view.
Power Failure Recovery: None
Other Features of Note
How Easy is the Mueller UltraBrew Coffee Maker to Clean?
We’ll say in the medium range of automatic drip machines. There are no lights to indicate it should be cleaned or descaled.
The permanent filter is obviously just wash and rinse piece that can be soaked in a vinegar solution to remove stains and oils. You can also put it in the top rack of the dishwasher. You can also do the same with the carafe although a 60 ounce carafe may not fit on the top rack. Just the same, you can easily rinse it with a vinegar solution.
Since the reservoir isn’t removable, you will find it awkward to wipe down the inside but this is necessary in order to dry it out as standing water can be a breeding ground for mold.
How Much Counter Space Does it Use?
9 inches wide by 11.4 inches deep by 15.7 inches high. It stands taller than most machines we’ve reviewed but needs less elbow room than many coffee makers. It fits in as an average coffee machine. You won’t need as much space as some of the bigger coffee stations require.
At 5.6 pounds, it’s a very lightweight machine. People often equate this with being cheap or flimsy but many people will find it much easier to move out from under a cabinet.
The base of this coffee maker also has a retractable power cord. This is great for keeping your counter free of clutter.
What the Comments Say
There are lovers and haters of this coffee maker. Some love the simplicity while others find the smell alarming. Let’s get a closer look.
Praises From Reviewers:
People who fall in love with this coffee maker are usually the type that have a pot of coffee going all day. They probably work from home and want that coffee available to them right away.
They love drinking coffee but don’t have the time to make a complex brew or have the time to deal with a pour over or French press.
They love how easy it is to program and how the coffee stays hot in the carafe without burning. Clean up is easy and many are thrilled with the permanent filter as there’s no waste by-products since the coffee grounds can be added to the compost pile.
Drawbacks to Consider
Many people have complained of a burnt plastic, toxic smell while brewing coffee. Some have tried descaling to eliminate the smell but the attempts proved unsuccessful.
Other people noticed that it is very lightweight and that you may accidentally move the machine when pushing the buttons while programming. Some sort of rubber base is recommended to stabilize this coffee maker. Since it does only weigh 5.6 pounds, it does require a light touch when handling it.
While we didn’t notice any chemical smells from this machine, we did notice a certain amount of indifference by Mueller towards their support of the UltraBrew. Most manufacturers will take the time to answer some of the questions posted at Amazon. Mueller was unusually quiet. We also noted that there were no help files to be found online anywhere. While you can usually download a user’s manual somewhere, we couldn’t even find one at the Mueller website.
The problem is, we like the Mueller UltraBrew Coffee Maker. We like that it’s easy to program (we didn’t need the manual for that) and we also like the flavor profiles.
This coffee maker isn’t going to change the world but it does what it set out to do and that’s make a big pot of coffee. Is it more refined than other machines? No but without a lot of fuss or intricate features, it doesn’t have a lot of parts to break down either.
The Mueller UltraBrew Coffee Maker brews a very good cup of coffee at a solid price point.
Alternatives to the Mueller UltraBrew 12- Cup programmable coffee maker
We like the Ninja 12-Cup programmable brewer but it really isn’t in the same price range. A better comparison would be to the Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker or the Bella (14755) 12 Coffee Maker with Brew Strength Selector & Single Cup Feature
How to Clean Your Mueller UltraBrew Coffee Maker
While we don’t have a pamphlet with the Mueller UltraBrew coffee maker (don’t toss your pamphlet before scanning. It’s a difficult guide to find online) there are some general rules that we follow no matter what machine we’re using.
Clean all removable parts with warm, soapy water.
- Soak the removable parts in a solution of water and vinegar. This can be about 50/50 or even 1 part vinegar to three parts water. Cleaning parts with soap and water will remove germs but not necessarily oils. Once soap and oils get together, it’s difficult to remove either one. A vinegar wash usually takes care of the majority of both additives.
- Wipe down the machine. Clean up the warming plate, the buttons, the shower head inside the reservoir lid and as much of the reservoir as possible. Don’t use soap on the insides as this will wind up in your coffee.
- Leave the reservoir lid open to air dry the inside of the machine.
Basic Steps for Descaling Basic Automatic Drip Coffee Makers
Calcium build up is the enemy of coffee makers. The longer you wait to descale your machine, the greater the chances are of permanent damage. You should descale your coffee maker once a month but factors that may lead to more frequent descaling are:
- Hard water – Hard water contains more minerals which will cause calcium deposits to build up quickly.
- Frequent use – If you’re using your machine at least twice a day, consider descaling more often.
- A noticeable increase in the time your machine takes to complete the brew cycle. If the time it takes to brew coffee has increased since you first purchased the machine, try descaling.
How to Descale Your Coffee Maker
- Fill the reservoir with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Do not over fill.
- Add a paper filter to the filter basket. Do this even if you use a permanent mesh filter.
- Place the empty carafe on the warming plate.
- Run the brew cycle.
- When the carafe is about half full, turn off the brew cycle using the power button.
- Wait 30 minutes to allow the vinegar to soak into the calcium deposits.
- Turn the coffee machine back on to complete the brew cycle.
- Empty the carafe and run the brew cycle again at least two to three times with clean water to remove any hints of vinegar that may remain.
- Allow the inside and outside to dry.