Is it worth it? Zojirushi EC-YSC100 review

Most people looking for a drip coffee maker for their home will opt for the cheapest version that suits their needs. But what if you’re looking for more than a morning cup? For those looking for the complete coffee experience, including all the subtle nuances of their locally-harvested gourmet beans, it can be tempting to splurge on a high end machine. Today we’re looking at the Zojirushi EC-YSC100 review. This Japanese-designed coffee maker is definitely different – but is it worth the extra cost? We put it through our extensive review to find out

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line coffee maker that will bring out the subtlest flavors in your locally-roasted beans, and don’t mind the care necessary for a precision machine, the Zojirushi EC-YSC100 is far superior to most other machines

Master Reviewer

The Good

  • Large, easy-to-understand buttons – you won’t have to read the full manual before using your machine the first time
  • Carafe opens and closes easily based on a simple button-press
  • Water tank is easy to remove and fill – it even has a handle
  • Clock functions have a memory, so if you need the outlet for something else, you won’t need to completely reprogram everything
  • The filter basket, which uses standard basket filters for added convenience, is easy to remove for cleaning

The Bad

  • Some customers have had issues with the filter basket overflowing onto the counter. This doesn’t happen with every unit, or every time, but the fact that it happens at all is cause for concern. The only known fix is to check the rubber O-ring on the basket valve every time you brew a pot of coffee. If this O-ring isn’t centered properly, or is gummed up with coffee grinds, the basket will overflow. We also advise using coarser grinds with this machine
  • This machine is mostly painted plastic, rather than true stainless steel. A Zojirushi representative assures us that all of the parts that come into contact with coffee are BPA-free, via a video on the Amazon product page, but at this price point, we would expect at least a higher-grade plastic.
  • You will need to hit “cancel” after the pot has finished brewing to get the clock functions back
  • Customer support at Zojirushi is not known for being very helpful
  • It is an expensive drip coffee maker, and the price will not be justified unless you are also buying high-quality beans and grinding them fresh     

In-Depth Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Review

On first look, the Zojirushi EC-YSC100 might look like an average coffee maker with your standard features. It does come with a 10-cup capacity and a programmable timer like most other drip coffee makers on the market right now. It doesn’t have the most attractive design, and it actually takes up a fair amount of space for the relatively low coffee capacity. Why is it such a hit with customers, then? Well, if you’re after the elusive combination of convenience and high-quality taste, this machine covers all the most important concerns.

First, let’s start with the looks. This machine isn’t going to attract any style compliments. The body is primarily plastic, with a stainless-steel color painted on. Zojirushi says this plastic is all BPA-free, and overall it’s not an ugly machine – it’s just not meant to be a decorative appliance. This is designed to be used every day with high-quality beans. The clock on the front has a lithium ion battery backup, which means if you want to tuck this away in a cabinet when you’re not using it, you don’t have to worry about reprogramming everything. The buttons on the front are easy to understand, even without reading the manual.

Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Review Continued

The water tank at the side of the machine is easily removable for sink filling. We love this feature, as filling up non-removable water reservoirs can be a hassle. We didn’t like that the lid isn’t hinged, but overall, this is only a minor inconvenience. The swing-out filter basket is a nice feature, too. This lets you fill the basket while it’s still attached to the machine, rather than having to find a level, clean spot on the counter to set the basket down. It also takes standard #4 flat filters, although you may need to cut the tops down a little to get the basket closed.

The Zojirushi thermal carafe can keep your coffee freshly-brewed-hot for up to 6 hours, and warm for well over 12. Of course, this will require you to preheat the carafe before brewing, and to keep the lid firmly in place. This is a bit tricky to get the hang of at first, but there is a helpful thumb-press button to dispense coffee from the carafe. All in all, the extra steps necessary to keep your pot hot may be worth it if you enjoy really hot coffee. Without preheating, the coffee will stay pretty warm for around 3 hours.

Remember how we talked about counter space with this giant machine? Well, there are actually some stipulations to where you can put it. Aside from its large size, it also has a fairly short power cord. This can make it tough to find a permanent home for. This machine also puts off a lot of steam, though, so unless your cabinets are made of a highly water resistant material, attempting to use it under a cabinet can result in costly damages.

Now, onto the most important factor here: The taste of the coffee itself. This machine guarantees 200 degrees F throughout the entire brewing process, and brewing into a carafe that hasn’t been preheated reads temperatures of around 190 degrees F. This is considered the optimum brewing temperature from coffee – but, if you’re not buying premium beans and grinding them yourself, this is probably a wasted feature. The subtle nuances of pre-ground coffee have already become stale by the time they’re packaged, so you’re not going to get the full effect unless you go with locally-grown, freshly-ground beans and pure filtered water.

Key Facts

  • Drip Coffee Maker
  • $$$'s
  • 10 Cup
  • Ground Coffee

What does the coffee taste like once you’ve done all those different steps? It really is a noticeable difference over less expensive models when given the proper care. Not only that, but the lack of a warming plate means that there’s no burnt taste after several hours – so that last cup is just as good as the first. If you’re used to a glass carafe, it might be hard to adjust to not being able to see when this thermal carafe is running low. As a helpful tip, 10 cups in this machine will fill four large mugs. It brews a full pot in about ten minutes, which is longer than many other drip coffee makers, but could factor into the taste difference.

One important note for this machine is that it’s not really designed for fine grinds, especially if they’re very fresh. These may cause the filter basket to overflow – creating a giant mess all over the counter. We found that setting our grinders to the 8 o’clock position was about the finest we could do without an overflow problem. You can also try brewing smaller pots (with less grounds), but the exact amount you can brew without overflowing will vary depending on your specific grind and freshness.

Zojirushi EC-YSC100 Overall

All in all, this is a premium coffee maker that definitely won’t fit every budget – but it’s not designed to. If you have a passion for coffee and want to experience the glorious flavors that your less expensive machine is hiding from you, this is well worth the extra cost. It’s well-designed and the coffee really does stay hot for hours.