For a price of well under $70, the Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker delivers quite exceptional value. It's a Japanese product through and through, from the inception and design to the engineering, so how does it rate compared to the more well-established brands?
Mostly I'm going to call this product the Zutto, rather than repeat its full name every so often (sighs of relief all round!).
Power and Capacity
For such a compact coffee maker, the Zutto has all the power it needs to give you a great coffee experience. It brews piping hot coffee for 5 cups (as opposed to the traditional 4), thanks to its 650 watt motor, and its hot plate warms the carafe during brewing and then keeps the coffee hot.
One caveat here – most coffee makers tend to exaggerate the number of cups they can produce at one sitting, and Zojirushi are no exception. Their cups are measured at 5 ounces each – not exactly generous. Nonetheless, the reservoir capacity is 23 ounces, and you can get two decent mugs of coffee from one brew.
Simplicity and Speed
The Zutto boasts a brew cycle of 3-5 minutes, though it's nearer 8 minutes if you wait until the last drip has fallen from the filter into what Zojinishi call the decanter (the carafe).
Few complain about the time this takes – not many coffee makers are quicker, and in any event you need enough time for the coffee grinds to release their flavor while the hot water filters through.
The Zutto's simple design helps here. It's quite unique in that the filter cone is inside the decanter, rather than just sitting on top of it. When you take the decanter to pour your coffee, you take the filter with it. So any late-arriving drips of coffee that arrive while you're pouring your coffee fall into the decanter and not on to the warming plate. Pretty cool.
There's nothing to program, no LCD displays, no bells and whistles. You just fill the reservoir with water, check the filter is in place, add your coffee grinds and press the one button on the device. Couldn't be simpler.
What About Cleaning?
The downside of any coffee maker must include the cleaning. The combination of coffee grinds and hot water mean there's always plenty of grime and scale building up. But the Zutto must be about the easiest coffee maker ever to clean.
For a start, the water reservoir can be easily removed either to fill from the faucet or to clean. I've already mentioned the filter cone being inside the decanter, so you just wash or rinse them both together.
You can keep your Zutto in top condition by simply flushing through with water before you first use it, and periodically throughout your ownership of it.
Filters are to a certain extent a personal thing. Some always use paper filters, while others prefer the ease of permanent gold filters.
The Zutto holds a #2 paper cone filter, but you can use a gold filter as long as you hold the handle of the decanter naturally to prevent it slipping out as you pour. A simple perforated lid fits on top, making the whole thing easy to clean.
The charcoal filter, like the decanter, can be replaced easily. Charcoal, being a natural substance, will need replacing every so often anyway (two years, according to Zojirushi ).
Features and Specifications:
- Model No: EC-DAC50
- Removable water tank
- Charcoal water filter
- Automatic keep warm
- cULus listed
- Capacity: 5 cups / 23 ounces / 2 mugs
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 8-7/8 x 6 x 10-3/4 inches
- Electrical Rating: 120 volts / 650 watts
- Replacement Charcoal Filter: 8-ECA-P320 (lasts up to 2 years under normal use)
- Color: Silver
- Warranty: 1 year limited
- Easy to clean, especially as the filter cone sits inside the decanter.
- Removable water reservoir.
- Capacity is 5 cups of 5 oz – a more convenient size of brew.
- No auto shut-off, so you have to remember to switch it off when you've finished, or you could have a “burnt” taste to your next cup.
Customer Reviews and Scores
This product gets an average of over 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon at the time of writing, from over 520 reviewers. Most users love its design and compactness, as well as the fact that the Zutto makes great tasting coffee, including iced coffee.
The 5-cup capacity is also appreciated for the extra quantity of coffee brewed.
One or two reviewers have complained about poor tasting coffee, but they are a tiny minority. They may be among those who don't read the User Manual properly, particularly where it advises you to clean the machine occasionally to preserve the taste of the coffee.
It's also important to allow the brew cycle to complete fully before pouring, so you get the full flavor and also to prevent grinds getting in the cone, carafe and in your mug.
The Zutto is designed differently from almost any other coffee maker. It's compact, stylish and pleasing on the eye.
The Zojirushi EC-DAC50 Zutto 5-Cup Drip Coffeemaker is also a breeze to clean and keep in top condition, leading some owners to still be using it every day 5 years after purchasing it – a very rare achievement among coffee makers.