Cuisinart Coffee Maker Troubleshooting
Cuisinart single-serve and drip coffee makers, unlike the competitors such as Keurigs, require that you add only the amount of water that you want to brew. Each mark on the water tank represents one cup of coffee, so if you add water up to the second mark in the water tank, you should brew two cups of coffee and so on.
Therefore, a flawless brew cycle should completely empty the water tank of a Cuisinart coffee maker. We developed this Cuisinart coffee maker troubleshooting guide to cover most of the problems that Cuisinart users may experience such as:
- The Cuisinart coffee maker not brewing all the water
- Cuisinart coffee maker not brewing at all
- Leaking issues
- Overflowing problems
- Power problems
- Cuisinart coffee maker with a grinder not grinding coffee
- The brewed coffee tastes different
Since some of our troubleshooting tips may involve taking the coffee maker apart, you may want to first explore the available replacement options from the manufacturer if your coffee maker is still in warranty.
Read about the ounces in a cup of coffee here.
Troubleshooting Tips For Cuisinart Coffee Makers
1. Troubleshooting a Cuisinart Coffee Maker that is not Brewing all the Water
The probable reasons as to why the Cuisinart coffee maker is not brewing all the water or is not brewing at all are:
- you erroneously selected fewer cups than the amount of water in the water tank
- there are old coffee grinds blocking the coffee chute. This causes the coffee maker to grind less coffee and automatically brew less coffee than the selected size. The old grinds can also stall the grinding process
- scaling. The buildup of scales in the water lines makes it harder for the coffee maker to pump all the water
If the Cuisinart coffee maker is not pumping water but is still grinding coffee, head over to the troubleshooting tips for a Cuisinart coffee maker that is not grinding coffee.
- Check that you have selected the number of cups that correspond to the amount of water in the water tank
- Clean the chute area. Remove the coffee hopper and check the area where the hopper sits. You should see a lever tab for the water channel. Lift the lever to access the chute valve underneath. Check if there are old coffee grounds stuck in there and use a toothbrush to dump them through the chute into the coffee filter that is underneath. Release the chute valve and close the water channel tab. Replace the hopper and lock it and run a water-only brew cycle with the grinder off to see if the problem is fixed
- Descale the coffee maker. If the first two tips have not fixed the problem, try descaling the Cuisinart coffee maker with vinegar to clear any scales and sediments that are trapped in the water channels. Run a water-only brew cycle after descaling and the problem should be fixed
Find out the steps to follow to descale a Cuisinart coffee maker with vinegar.
2. Troubleshooting for a Cuisinart Coffee Maker’s Leaking Problems
Some users have faced leaking problems where the Cuisinart coffee maker leaks water from the bottom. The main cause for this problem is cracked or damaged rubber tubes or cracks in the aluminum heating tank inside the coffee maker. The aluminum tank corrodes over time and the corroded parts can crack and start to leak water.
Some Cuisinart coffee makers can leak from the bottom when you start brewing and then stop when the brewer heats up. This is because the metallic heating tank expands and seals the small leaks as the temperature rises.
To diagnose the cause of the leak, open the bottom plate of the coffee maker and inspect the rubber tubes and the surface of the aluminum tank for cracks.
Tools and Equipment:
A flashlight, needle nose pliers, security Torx screw bit and head, or a very thin ( 4 or 3mm) flat-head screwdriver.
Sandpaper, food-grade epoxy sealant for metals, a cordless drill, and a high-temperature food-grade silicone tube with 8mm internal diameter and 12mm external diameter.
- Switch the coffee maker off and unplug the cord
- Empty the water tank and remove the hopper and the carafe
- Flip the coffee maker on its side or its back to access the bottom plate
- Locate the four recessed holes on the bottom plate where the Torx screws are located. The screws are tamper-resistant so they can be difficult to remove without the right tools
- Remove the screws. A Torx security bit is the best choice to remove the screws but you can also use a thin flat-head screwdriver to open all the screws. See the video at the bottom on how to use a flat-head screwdriver to open security Torx screws
- Insert a flat-head screwdriver in the seam between the bottom plate and the rest of the housing to push the plate out
- Inspect the rubber tubings, the aluminum parts, and the connections between the tubes and the metal tank to find the leak. You may shine a flashlight on the tubes for a better view. Pay more attention to any corroded spots on the metallic tank
- If the leak is on the aluminum tank, use the sandpaper to sand the rust and apply an epoxy sealant to fix the leak. Epoxy provides a water barrier on the aluminum tank
- Inspect the rubber tubings further to make sure they have no leaks
- In the case of a leak in the rubber tubing, use your fingers or a pair of pliers to squeeze the handles of the metallic clamps on both ends of the tubing and pull the tubing out
- Replace the old tube with a new one or cut out the damaged side of the old tubing and install it back
- Slip the metallic clamps into place on both ends of the rubber hose where it connects to the coffee maker
- Close the bottom plate and screw the tiny screws back into the holes. The leak should be fixed.
The epoxy sealant may emit some smoke and smell when you brew coffee, but there should be no cause for alarm. The smoke and smell should fade with subsequent brews.
3. Cuisinart Coffee Maker Overflowing Problems
Most people wrongly classify overflowing issues as leaking problems. Cuisinart coffee maker overflow problems occur due to:
- a clogged filter basket due to either very fine coffee grounds or excess coffee grounds
- problems with the carafe. A misaligned carafe can cause the coffee to flow back into the water channel and on the chute area or to drip over the carafe onto the worktop. A broken carafe lid or a missing lid can also cause the coffee to be sucked back into the coffee maker
- a damaged valve in the filter basket holder. The coffee filter holder has a valve that is opened from the bottom by the lid of the carafe for the coffee to drip into the carafe. A damaged valve can inhibit the brewing process or cause an overflow
- Check whether the coffee filter is clogged. Remove the coffee filter and dump the coffee grounds. Rinse the filter in running water and soak it in a bowl of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts of clean water for 20-30 minutes. Rinse the filter thoroughly in tap water and reinsert it in the holder
- Inspect the lid and the alignment of the carafe. Ensure the lid is correctly installed on the carafe. Place the carafe on the carafe plate and align it correctly in the coffee maker. The lid of the carafe should open the valve at the bottom of the filter holder when the carafe is properly aligned.
- Inspect the valve at the bottom of the filter holder. If the lid of the carafe or the valve on the filter is faulty, buy the replacement parts specific to the model number of your Cuisinart coffee maker
4. Troubleshooting Cuisinart Coffee Maker Power Problems
The power problems on a Cuisinart coffee maker include
1. Cuisinart Coffee Maker is not Powering on
- Inspect the power cord. Check that the power cord is connected to the power source and the switch at the source is on and working properly. If the cord is the problem then it needs replacement as it is available as a replacement part
- If the cord is ok, hard reset the coffee maker by unplugging and leave it for a minute or two. Plug it back and switch it on and it should work properly otherwise the circuit board is faulty and needs replacing
2. Cuisinart Coffee Maker not Hot Enough or not Heating at all
First, check whether the coffee maker is powering on and do a hard reset. If the Cuisinart coffee maker is still not heating inspect the heating element to see if it’s broken or disconnected using the following steps:
- Empty the water tank and remove the coffee hopper and the carafe
- Flip the coffee maker upside down and remove the bottom plate
- Inspect the soldered joints on the heating element for weakness and disconnection
- If the solder is broken, resolder with a soldering wire and soldering iron
- If the solder connections are intact then the heating element is faulty and you may need to replace the coffee maker as it’s nearly impossible to find replacements for Cuisinart’s heating element. We have actually not found any
Problems with the heating element can also cause the hot plate to stop heating so follow the same process if the heating plate is malfunctioning.
3. Cuisinart Coffee Maker Shuts Itself off Mid-Brew
To troubleshoot a Cuisinart coffee maker that shuts itself off in the middle of a brew cycle:
- Start by hard resetting the coffee maker and if this does not work,
- Change the charcoal water filter to improve the taste and aroma of the coffee. A clogged water filter can cause the coffee maker to shut off mid-brew
- Run vinegar through the coffee maker to remove debris from the inner water lines and rinse thoroughly
- Clean old ground coffee that may have accumulated under the grinder blades and could be interfering with the brewing cycle
5. Troubleshooting For Cuisinart Coffee Maker Grinder Not Working
The convenience of a grind and brew coffee maker is unmatched when it comes to making drip coffee as the coffee maker grinds and makes your coffee in one smooth process at the touch of a button.
The grind and brew function saves you the extra cost of buying a separate coffee grinder and the inconvenience of configuring the grind size and measuring the coffee grounds every time you brew coffee.
If the Cuisinart coffee maker grinder is not working, it could be due to
- the buildup of coffee grounds under the blades and in the chute area or
- the coffee filter cover is not opening the chute valve hence the grinder shuts down
- Clean the chute area. Earlier in this article, we discussed how to clean the old coffee grounds from the grinder area and the chutes. Leave the coffee filter inside the coffee maker to collect the coffee grinds as you clean
- Use a coin to lift the coffee filter lid. The lid of the coffee filter pushes against and opens the chute’s valve so that the coffee grounds drop through the chute into the basket when grinding. The ridges on the lid wear out over time to a point where they can not reach the valve. Placing a penny on the flat surface of the wall of the basket holder so that the lid sits on the penny can raise the lid to reach the valve. The penny never touches the grounds or the hot water. Eventually, you will need to replace the coffee filter
- Replace the coffee filter lid. Fortunately, the lid is part of the replacement parts for Cuisinart coffee makers. Consider buying the lid and other parts that may need replacing such as the carafe’s lid, and the filter holder
6. Troubleshooting Tips for a Cuisinart Coffee Maker that is Brewing Bad Coffee
If you notice that the coffee from the Cuisinart coffee maker tastes different from what you are used to it could mean that:
- The coffee beans are the problem
- Charcoal filter problem. A missing or old water filter causes the chlorine flavors and other undesirable tastes and odors in water to end up in the coffee
- Old grounds in the chute area
- Scales in the water lines
- Scales in the carafe
- If you recently changed the type of coffee beans that you brew, then the new beans could be the cause of the bad taste in your coffee. Brew a different type of coffee beans to check if the coffee still tastes different
- Change the charcoal water filter. The water filter traps chlorine and bad odors and tastes from the water and it should be replaced regularly for the best results. An old water filter may have lost most of its filtering ability leading to bad tastes in your coffee. Always use a charcoal filter when using unfiltered tap water to brew coffee
- Check for old leftover grounds in the chute area. Remove the hopper and clean the chute and the area where the hopper sits to remove the old grounds. Old grounds in the chute area weaken your coffee and can also stop the coffee maker from brewing
- Descale the coffee maker. Calcium deposits that buildup in the coffee maker over time can cause the coffee to taste like metal. Clean the coffee maker with vinegar to remove the calcium deposits and rinse thoroughly with fresh water
- Descale the carafe. Scales and coffee stains in the carafe can cause off-flavors and bitterness in your coffee. Although the carafe is descaled when you clean the coffee maker with vinegar, it could still be having stubborn scales and coffee stains. Add 1 part of vinegar to 2 parts of hot water to the carafe and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Empty the carafe and rinse with fresh water until it has no vinegar residues.
How to Open the Screws in a Cuisinart Coffee Maker
This short video shows how to open the security Torx screws in Cuisinart coffee makers using a simple flat-head screwdriver.
The main causes of a majority of Cuisinart coffee maker problems include scaling, old grounds in the grinder area, old charcoal filter, and software malfunction. Regular thorough cleaning of the coffee maker will prevent most of these problems. A hard set can also solve minor power problems.
Some of the problems with a Cuisinart coffee maker my require replacement parts that are affordable as compared to replacing the coffee maker. In the case of internal leaks and heating element problems, you need to inspect the inner parts of the coffee maker by removing the bottom plate.