October 10, 2005

Review: Grindmaster OPOD001 Precision Pod Brewing System from Single Serve Coffee

Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod ReviewsLg Opod001-1

We received the Grindmaster Precision Pod Brewing System in mid-September and you may have been wondering - what have they been doing all that time? Why haven't we had a review sooner? Well, we like to put a machine through it's paces and reviewing machines of this caliber takes some time.

However, you may have noticed we've been mentioning and using the machine in several of the reviews over the past month. Some of the reviews included:

Starbucks Coffee Pod Review:

"We fired up the Grindmaster Pod Brewer we are currently testing. We stuck with a 6 oz setting on the Grindmaster with the darker setting (there's a dial where you can pick the level of coffee intensity you want). The Grindmaster pre-saturates the coffee pod for a better extraction, and then brews up a cup of 6 oz of coffee. We've found the 6 oz size to have the right amount of extraction to water ratio for our tasting habits. We then sampled the coffee with and without cream and sugar.

Grindmaster - 04We also featured the Grindmaster in our review of the new Baronet Pumpkin Spice Coffee pods.

"Each Baronet Coffee pod comes individually wrapped in a sleeve of 18 coffee pods. The pods are 10 grams in size. We tested the Baronet Coffee Pods with the new Grindmaster Brewer we have received for testing on the 8oz medium setting. We also tested the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Pods on the Bunn My Cafe at 8 ozs and the Senseo at 8 ozs."

Let's get onto the core features of the Grindmaster Precision Pod Brewing System before we get into our like and dislikes of this machine.

Grindmaster - 09Grindmaster Precision Pod Brewing System Features

Features:

  • Innovative precision pod brewing and infusion technology provides the ideal cup every time.
  • Open Pod System accepts a variety of pod brands and sizes.
  • BrewControl™ - Adjustable brew strength control allows users to fine tune their flavor preferences.
  • Smartstop Automatic Water Shutoff-Water shuts off when pod drawer is open.
  • Programmable cup size - Control the volume of beverage dispensed into the cup.
  • Stylish, high performance designDual water system brewer can be plumbed into a water line or manually filled
  • Great for coffee and tea
  • Comes with 4 different pod holders for coffee, flavored coffee, tea, and water

As far as features goes in pod brewing, the Grindmaster OPOD001 has it covered. We really like the programmable brew control, adjustable temperature, the auto shut off when the pod drawer is open, and most of all the different brew strength settings.

The programming is very easy -- you just hold the brew button for 15 seconds with a measuring cup underneath and when the Grindmaster starts to brew you release the button when you have the desired amount you hit the button to stop the brew. After you've hit the button the Grindmaster will memorize the setting. We recommend using a measuring cup to set the right level of water.

Grindmaster - 11The machine will memorize three different capacity settings -- Light, Medium, and Strong and Tea. The dial on the side of the machine has 4 settings and each can be programmed with a different water to brew method. So - it's not like you can program the brew method and the water amount - you can only program the water amount.

Grindmaster - 22The different brew settings also have something that the Bunn My Cafe doesn't. The Light setting does a straight no-pulse brew. The medium and strong settings use a pulse method - they start - stop - brew - start - pulse - and then finish the brew. We tried a variety of settings and because of the pulse method on the stronger settings we were able to get a very dark cup of coffee using a 10 gram Baronet Pod or the Green Mountain Coffee pods. We also could get a very dark cup of coffee using Cool Beans Pods as well.

Grindmaster - 02The Grindmaster comes with 4 pod holders. You can use them for coffee, flavored coffee, water and tea. We used the water one to adjust the brew strength of the Grindmaster and the coffee ones for coffee. No big surprise there. All of the pod holders are identical as far as we could tell minus the label. If you were going to use this in a cafe, we think having all four of the holders might come in very handy.

Our Impressions of Coffee Using the Grindmaster OPOD001 Precision Pod Brewing System

Grindmaster - 18What else can we say - the Grindmaster makes a mean cup of pod coffee. Mean is a good thing here. All the coffee we tried was top notch when brewed with the Grindmaster. We put the light setting on 6 ounces, the medium and strong settings at 8 ounces, and brewed away.

Grindmaster - 16The Grindmaster unlike the Bunn My CafeBunn is very consistent with the amount of water it dispenses. You always seem to get the right water to coffee pod ratio. The Bunn My Cafe can be a little more unpredictable when it comes to water to coffee pod ratio. We really like the consistency of the coffee produced and also the different brew methods we could use to affect the coffee strength.

As we stated in the Baronet Pumpkin Coffee review, the Grindmaster performed flawlessly. The coffee was rich and dark, and when compared with the Bunn My CafeBunn at the same 8 oz setting. We liked the Grindmaster Pumpkin Spiced coffee over the Bunn produced coffee. However, I'm not going to throw out the Bunn anytime soon.

We found tea produced with the Bunn My CafeBunn to be better than tea in the Grindmaster. We're not sure why, but the tea setting did not have the same miraculous affect of better tea in the Grindmaster. So if you're looking for great tea and coffee, the Bunn My Cafe may be a better choice for you.

Our Issues with the Grindmaster Precision Pod Brewing System

Grindmaster - 14We have four issues. Our first issue is the water reservoir. We know the hot water tank holds 30 oz, and the overall machine holds 80 oz, but we are always being told from the flashing light that the water reservoir is low. Perhaps we are running too much single serve coffee through it? We'd love to hook up this machine to a water line to never have to fill it up again.

Grindmaster - 05Grindmaster - 13Our second issue is using pods of various sizes. If the pods are very large you'll have a hard time getting the machine drawer to shut. If they are too small, the water will flow right on by them and you'll get a big cup of bad coffee. All that being said, we didn't have this happen that much. But because the pod holders aren't baskets, you can't bunch up the pod to cover the entire brewing area if the pods are small.

Grindmaster - 10Our third issue - the machine takes a long time to heat up. For example the Bunn My Cafe and Keurig macines take less than a minute to warm up. On average the Grindmaster takes 3-4 minutes to heat up. I know it's small, but I really like a fast warm up on a machine.

Our final issue - you are not going to fit a travel mug of any size under the Grindmaster. This isn't a problem for us (we work from home) but it could be an issue for you. The Bunn My Cafe does fit a travel mug under it with no issues and we think you need to take this into account.

Conclusions

We really like the Grindmaster OPOD001 Precision Pod Brewing System. We have a few issues, but the quality of the coffee the machine produces far outweighs the issues we have. The machine is extremely well built, flexible, and has the ability to become your sole pod brewer if you've been looking to replace a lower priced model with a higher end pod brewer like the Grindmaster.

Grindmaster - 01The Grindmaster however is not cheap. The Bunn My Cafe - which we think is very comparable - is only $199. The Grindmaster will set you back over $400-$450 bucks. This is a commercial grade machine and not a consumer machine. So you're buying a very expensive, very durable, coffee pod brewing machine - so that may be worth double the price to you - or it might not.

We are going to give the Grindmaster a solid 4 out of 5 pods. The coffee it produces is stellar and we really like all the features and consistency of brew.

Grindmaster Review

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Posted by Jay Brewer at October 10, 2005 9:22 AM

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