This is the second cuisinart coffee maker I've owned and I have the same problem with both. After awhile steam comes out of the top of the coffee maker leaving only about half a carafe of coffee. I have just about ruined a cabinet because of this. Am I doing something wrong?
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Re: Cuisinart DCC1000 coffee maker
At the bottom of the reservoir there is a hole the water flows through to the heater. When my coffeemaker did what yours does it was because a little valve that sits in that hole had popped out, and after tamping it back in it solved the problem.
The valve is supposed to keep the hot water from going back up into the reservoir. Without it the water backs up, causing the steam to shoot up as you know, and heats up the water in the reservoir. This causes the thermostat to turn it off prematurely.
The valve can come out of the hole either if the coffeemaker is turned upside down, or if there is a major buildup of mineral deposits that need to be flushed out -- they can overheat and cause too much back-pressure to the valve.
Flush it with vinegar and push the valve back in as tight as you can, then be careful if you turn it upside down.
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Place 1/3 part distilled white vinegar and 2/3 part water into the water reservoir. Turn the machine on and wait for the heat light to go off. Once the heat light goes off, turn the steam vs. water knob to the water drop icon, and turn the main function knob to steam/water. Make sure to have your frothing cup underneath the steam element ready to catch the water. The vinegar/water solution should clear out the calcium that clogs the steam element. Also, remove the cover to the steam element and dip it in a bowl with vinegar for about 5 minutes, and use something like a pipe cleaner to clean out that cover. Then apply vinegar and hot water to a rag and clean the calcium off the shaft of the steam element. Once you are all finished with this, run plain water through the espresso maker on the steam/water setting to clear out the bitter vinegar residue. Now, try again to make espresso and froth it.
Since milk contains calcium, the steam element has to be decalcified more often than a regular coffee maker. The EM-100 is a beautiful machine, but it is definitely high-maintenance - you will probably spend more time cleaning it than making cappuccino, etc.
You have not missed anything. Unplugging for longer than 16 minutes (has 15-minute memory) is the only troubleshooting you can perform. Call Cuisinart to find out if you are still in warranty. All electronics have a failure rate. Cuisinart's is acceptably low, but their coffee makers are the least reliable of all their products. The basic problem with electronic coffee makers is that coffee makers produce high heat, and high heat kills electronics and melts plastic. At least Cuisinart has a 3-year warranty - higher than the industry standard. Let me put it another way. All coffee makers have a high failure rate. As many Cuisinart coffee makers that break down, the non-Grind-and-Brews still have a 91 rating from Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports doesn't give ANYTHING a 91 rating. A lot break, but you probably won't fare much better by switching to a different brand. The problem with a Cuisinart breaking down is that an expensive unit broke down - you wouldn't be upset if your $15 Mr. Coffee broke every year. The law of averages is on your side - a 2nd Cuisinart will probably last longer. -Tha Mp3 Doctor