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CRUXGG 12-Cup Coffee Maker Review: Is It Worth It?

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Summary

CRUXGG 12-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker

✔ What We Liked

  • Programmable keep warm function that allows you to set the keep warm time between 15 minutes and four hours
  • The machine reminds you when it’s time to deep clean
  • Crux makes several matching appliances, including an air fryer and a toaster

✘ What We Didn't Like

  • The reusable filter seems to very negatively affect the taste of the coffee; we recommend using paper filters
  • Takes a long time to brew compared to other drip machines we’ve tried
  • The user manual warns this machine can stain your countertops if there’s nothing between it and your countertops (the manual states that this is due to plasticizers in the machine; some plasticizers can be harmful to human health, but we don’t know what kinds are in this machine)
  • Longevity of the machine may be an issue

The CRUXGG 12-Cup Coffee Maker is a Target exclusive coffee maker. Despite its low price point, I think there are better options on the market than this coffee maker.

That said, the redeeming qualities of this machine are that it has a nice design and it’s generally easy to use and clean. CRUX also makes several appliances that match this machine, including an air fryer and a toaster. If matching appliances is important to you, then this machine can fit the bill.

Beyond that, there are some brewing issues with this machine, and the machine may stain your countertops permanently due to the finish on the machine. The material that can cause staining is called a plasticizer, and some plasticizers can be harmful to humans. I don’t know what kind of plasticizer is used in this machine. This makes it difficult for me to recommend it. Several reviewers on Target’s website noted that the machine develops issues or leaks after several months of use.

If you’re in the market for a machine at this price point, we recommend some other options below.

Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker, Black
HADEN Dorchester Ultra Stone Blue Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with LCD...
Beautiful 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with Touch-Activated Display, by...
Why we like it: Compact, good price point, and comes in a ton of colors
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, stylish retro design, and matching appliances
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, competitive price, and matching appliances
Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker, Black
Why we like it: Compact, good price point, and comes in a ton of colors
-
HADEN Dorchester Ultra Stone Blue Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with LCD...
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, stylish retro design, and matching appliances
Beautiful 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with Touch-Activated Display, by...
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, competitive price, and matching appliances
-

Taste Review

We conducted several taste tests with this coffee maker. The first test we did was using a medium dark roast from Whole Foods called Pleasant Morning Buzz Vienna Roast. This is a whole bean roast, so I ground up the beans right before brewing. I used this coffee maker’s coffee scoop for six scoops of coffee grounds to make six cups of coffee. I brewed on regular strength.

[As a side note, the coffee scoop that comes with this machine is smaller than a standard coffee scoop. It’s about half the size. Generally, you can use one scoop from a normal sized coffee scoop to make one cup of drip coffee.]

Whole Bean Medium Dark Roast

I was disappointed in the taste of this coffee. It tasted very flat with no body at all, and it took a long time to brew (about nine minutes for half a pot). There was almost no taste at the beginning of the sip and then it finished on a bitter, burnt note. Among all of the drip coffee machines I’ve reviewed at the time of writing, this was the worst drip coffee I’ve tasted so far.

After I realized that the coffee scoop was smaller than normal, I decided to brew another batch using the same roast. However, I used seven scoops for six cups for this test. This would put my coffee to water ratio at about 1:21, which is higher than the standard 1:16 or 1:17 generally used for drip coffee makers. My first batch had a 1:26 ratio, so ideally, I thought this next test would taste better.

Unfortunately, the second test was also a flop. The coffee still tasted very flat and had even more bitterness at the end. The bitterness was very unpleasant.

For reference, I’ve used this coffee bean from Whole Foods in many other coffee makers, so I know it’s not the bean itself.

Pre-Ground Dark Roast

For the next tests, I decided to use a different coffee bean. I had recently been to Vermont and picked up some pre-ground dark roast coffee from the Vermont Coffee Company. The bag indicated that the tasting notes for this coffee were dark caramel and spice. Similar to my first taste test, I used six scoops for six cups and brewed on regular strength. I still used the coffee scoop from this machine.

Because these were higher end beans than the Whole Foods beans, the coffee tasted a bit better. However, it was still extremely flat and it had a plasticky taste. It also had a strong bitterness at the end.

For my next test, I decided to use three scoops to make four cups and use the 1-4 cup program on the machine. I again brewed at regular strength. For reference, this is a 1:35 ratio of coffee to water, which is abnormally weak. The coffee did taste weak, but it wasn’t as flat and tasteless like the first three tests. I still wouldn’t drink it without milk, but it actually had some taste to it.

Testing Without the Reusable Filter

During my testing I realized that the reusable filter that comes with the coffee maker might be the source of the weird taste. Many coffee makers that have reusable filters have gold-tone reusable filters. The filters are stainless steel but coated with a thin layer of gold. The reason for the gold coating is that stainless steel can affect the taste of your coffee, but gold will not. These filters will have a slightly yellow color to them.

After inspecting this filter a bit more, I believe it may only be stainless steel. I couldn’t find information in the user manual if it is gold-tone, but it did not look like gold-tone filters I’ve seen in the past.

I decided to run my final test by removing the reusable filter and using a paper filter instead. I again used the pre-ground dark roast from the Vermont Coffee Company. I used four scoops to make four cups, and I brewed using the 1-4 cup program on regular strength.

This time the coffee tasted much better. It was still a bit flat, but it had more body and flavor than all of our previous tests. It also did not have the overwhelming bitterness at the end.

To use this machine, I recommend paper filters and ditching the reusable filter that comes with the machine. If you’re dead set on a reusable filter, I recommend finding a gold-tone filter that is compatible with this machine.

Ease of Use

Overall, I’d say this machine is easy to use. It has a couple of usability quirks, but it’s straightforward to figure out.

One thing that does concern me is a warning in the user manual that I’ve never seen before. The user manual states that a non-plastic coaster or place mat should be placed between the coffee machine and your countertops as the plasticizers can cause permanent blemishes or darkening on the counter top. When I read this warning, I didn’t know what a plasticizer was, but it is a substance that’s added to a material to make it softer or more flexible. In this case, it’s something that’d been added to the exterior of the machine to give it a certain finish and feel.

I have black countertops, and even though I didn’t put something between the machine and my countertops while testing, I did not notice any staining or blemishes. However, I only tested this machine over the course of a couple of weeks, so it might not have been long enough to see issues. If you buy this machine, I recommend putting something between it and the surface you put it on. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Furthermore, some plasticizers can be harmful to humans (for example, Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA, is a harmful plasticizer). I don’t know what’s been used in the plastic of this machine, but it’s something worth factoring into your buying decision.

Finally, some users noted in their reviews that components of the machine broke after several months of use or that the carafe started leaking. It seems that longevity of the machine may be an issue.

Features

The features on this machine are standard for drip coffee makers in this price point. The machine has the following features: programmable/delay brew, brew strength selection, 1-4 cup program, clean cycle, auto-pause, and programmable keep warm function.

Starting with the programmable functions, you can program delayed brewing up to 24 hours in advance, so you can put your coffee grounds in the night before and program the coffee maker to start brewing in the morning. You can also program the keep warm function to specify how long the machine will keep coffee warm. You can adjust it in 15-minute increments from zero minutes to four hours.

I like that the keep warm function is programmable, especially when at this price point, most machines default to a two-hour keep warm period.

The 1-4 cup program changes how the machine brews smaller amounts of coffee to ensure a consistent taste. I used this program multiple times during my taste test, and it is extremely easy to use.

The machine also allows you to select the brew strength (either regular or bold), and you can remove the carafe during brewing for up to 30 seconds if you want to pour a cup mid-brewing.

Finally, the machine has a clean cycle that you can run when you deep clean, or descale, the machine. The clean indicator will flash after you’ve brewed 150 times in the machine.

Time to brew 5-15 minutes
Supplies needed Recommended: paper filters
Coffee grind size Medium
Yield 1-12 cups
Cleaning
  • Hand wash removable components with hot, soapy water
  • Run the clean cycle when the indicator flashes and use a mixture of white vinegar and water

Cleaning

Cleaning this machine is straightforward. There are three removable components that need frequent washing: the carafe, the reusable filter, and the brew basket. The user manual doesn’t state if these items are dishwasher-safe, so to be safe, I recommend hand washing them.

To clean the exterior of the machine, use a damp towel to wipe it down. Don’t use any cleaners as these may damage the finish on the plastic.

For deeper cleaning, CRUX recommends using a mixture of six cups of white vinegar and four cups of cold water to descale mineral buildup. The clean indicator on the machine will flash when it’s time to run the cleaning cycle. CRUX states that this indicator will flash after you brew 150 times.

Descaling is straightforward. You add the white vinegar and water mixture to the water reservoir and run a brew cycle. After this cycle, run the brew cycle two to three times with cold water to clear out any remaining white vinegar.

Appearance

This machine only comes in a light gray color that has a slight purple undertone (the purple undertone is not evident from the pictures online). Because it’s mostly made of plastic, it’s very lightweight. The plastic has a matte finish, and it feels slightly rubberized in places on the machine.

By our measurements, it measures 8.75 inches deep, 12.75 inches tall, and 7 inches wide. With the lid open, it measures 20.5 inches tall. You cannot open the lid fully under low-hanging kitchen cabinets, so you’ll need to pull the machine out every time you add water to the tank.

The display is both touch and dial operated on the machine. It displays bright white against the plastic background, so it’s easy to read.

Overall, I’d say this coffee maker feels more “designed” than other options in this price range.

Value

Despite the low price point, I cannot say that this machine is a great value. It has some issues with brewing, and many reviewers on Target’s website noted that the machine developed leaks or other issues after a few months of use.

If you’re looking for machines in this price range, we list a few options we prefer below.

Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker, Black
HADEN Dorchester Ultra Stone Blue Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with LCD...
Beautiful 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with Touch-Activated Display, by...
Why we like it: Compact, good price point, and comes in a ton of colors
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, stylish retro design, and matching appliances
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, competitive price, and matching appliances
Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker, Black
Why we like it: Compact, good price point, and comes in a ton of colors
-
HADEN Dorchester Ultra Stone Blue Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with LCD...
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, stylish retro design, and matching appliances
Beautiful 14-Cup Programmable Drip Coffee Maker with Touch-Activated Display, by...
Why we like it: Good drip coffee, competitive price, and matching appliances
-

About Rebecca Wessell

Rebecca is the co-founder of First Coffee Then. She has written for numerous publications, including ValuePenguin, Inc.com, Business.com, Christian Science Monitor, StartupNation, and NASDAQ. She loves to get into the nitty-gritty of how things work and applies this philosophy to all things coffee. Her favorite coffee beverage is a cappuccino (though La Colombe Oat Milk Draft Lattes are an extremely close second).

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