Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

Published on Sept. 6, 2023, 11:27 a.m.

The History and Culture of Coffee

Coffee has a rich history dating back to 15th-century Ethiopia, where the coffee plant was first discovered. From there, coffee drinking spread to the Middle East, where it gained popularity in the Ottoman Empire. By the 17th century, coffeehouses began appearing in Europe, serving as meeting places for intellectuals. The first coffeehouse in America opened in Boston in 1676. Today, coffee is a staple drink worldwide, with specialty coffee cultures emerging to emphasize quality, sustainability, and fair trade practices.

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 is a popular programmable coffeemaker that brews up to 12 cups of coffee. With its classic styling and range of useful features, it’s easy to see why this model is an Amazon’s Choice product with over 1,000 reviews. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the performance, design, features, and overall value of the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker to see if it lives up to the hype.

 Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

Overview and Features

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker has a streamlined design with intuitive controls and several useful features. It has a 12-cup glass carafe with an ergonomic handle and drip-free spout. The coffeemaker is programmable up to 24 hours in advance and has a 1-4 cup setting, auto shut-off, self-clean, and Brew Pause function.

Key features include:

  • Fully programmable 24-hour clock
  • 12-cup carafe capacity
  • Reusable gold-tone filter and built-in charcoal water filter
  • Brew Pause function
  • 1-4 cup setting
  • Easy-to-read LCD screen

 Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

Design and Build Quality

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker has a simple, unfussy design that fits well in most kitchen decors. It’s mostly made of plastic but feels sturdy with some metal accents. The control buttons work smoothly and the LCD screen is easy to read.

The carafe, while very functional, is a bit on the lightweight side. Some users report durability issues with the carafe handle after a year or two of use. However, Cuisinart’s 3-year limited warranty helps provide peace of mind.

Capacity and Carafe Design

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 boasts a generous 12-cup capacity, making it suitable for households or offices with multiple coffee drinkers. Its glass carafe features an ergonomic handle for comfortable pouring, while a drip-free spout minimizes spills and messes. The carafe also includes markings for easy measurement, ensuring you brew just the right amount of coffee. However, it is worth noting that the carafe is made of glass, which is more fragile than stainless steel and may require careful handling to prevent breakage.

User-Friendly Features

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 is designed with user convenience in mind. Its intuitive interface features a clear LCD display and easily navigable settings, making it straightforward for users to program their brewing schedule up to 24 hours in advance. The machine also includes a self-clean function, which simplifies maintenance and ensures the longevity and performance of the coffeemaker. This focus on usability makes the Cuisinart DCC-1120 an excellent choice for both novice and experienced coffee drinkers who value both simplicity and functionality in their kitchen appliances.

 Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker

Performance and Coffee Quality

In our testing, the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker consistently brewed hot, flavorful coffee. The gold-tone filter and charcoal water filter help remove impurities and enhance flavor. The coffee comes out piping hot and the thermal carafe does an excellent job of retaining heat.

The Brew Pause function allows you to grab a cup before the full brew cycle completes. The 1-4 cup setting ensures robust flavor even when making a small batch. Overall, the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker brews delicious, aromatic coffee with ease.

24-Hour Programmability

This feature allows you to set your coffeemaker to automatically start brewing at a specific time, up to 24 hours in advance. Imagine waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee every morning!

LCD Display

The easy-to-read LCD screen displays the time, brewing status, and programmed settings. It makes it simple to operate and monitor your coffeemaker.

1-4 Cup Setting

This setting adjusts the brewing process to optimize flavor extraction when making smaller batches of coffee. It ensures that even when you’re only brewing a few cups, you still get the same rich and flavorful coffee as a full pot.

How it Works: Brewing Process

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 employs a drip brewing method, a classic and widely-used technique for making coffee. The process begins by pouring water into the reservoir. A built-in heater then brings the water to the optimal brewing temperature, around 195–205°F (90–96°C). The heated water is then dispersed over the ground coffee in the filter basket through a showerhead, ensuring even saturation. As the water passes through the coffee grounds, it extracts the coffee’s flavors and oils, dripping into the carafe below. The gold-tone filter and charcoal water filter work in tandem to remove impurities, resulting in a clean and flavorful cup of coffee. The machine’s programmable features allow users to automate this process, setting the desired brewing time in advance for ultimate convenience.

Coffee Brewing Principles

Brewing coffee is a delicate balance of several factors, including water temperature, grind size, and extraction time. The ideal water temperature for brewing is around 195–205°F (90–96°C). Too hot or too cold water can affect the extraction process. The grind size depends on the brewing method, with a medium grind being ideal for drip coffee makers like the Cuisinart DCC-1120. The extraction time, typically 4–5 minutes for drip coffee, ensures that the flavors are fully developed.

Importance of Coffee Beans and Roasting

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker comes with a gold-tone coffee filter, emphasizing the importance of using quality coffee beans for optimal flavor extraction. The choice of beans, from the type to the roast, plays a pivotal role in the coffee’s final taste. The machine’s ability to handle different roasts from light to dark allows coffee enthusiasts to experiment and find their preferred flavor profile. Proper roasting is crucial as it enhances the beans’ natural flavors and aromas, while also influencing the coffee’s strength and acidity. The Cuisinart’s programmable features complement these nuances by allowing users to adjust brewing parameters to suit the specific roast and origin of the beans they choose.

Temperature Control and Consistency

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 is equipped with a heating plate that keeps your coffee warm after brewing. While this is a convenient feature, it’s important to note that prolonged exposure to heat can negatively impact the coffee’s flavor. For optimal taste, it’s recommended to consume the coffee within a reasonable timeframe or transfer it to a thermal carafe to maintain its freshness and flavor.

Reusable Gold-Tone Filter

This permanent filter eliminates the need for paper filters, reducing waste and saving you money in the long run. It’s also easy to clean and dishwasher safe.

Built-in Charcoal Water Filter

This filter helps to remove impurities from your water, ensuring that your coffee tastes its best. It’s easy to replace and should be changed every 60 days or after 60 uses.

Brew Pause™

This innovative feature lets you pause the brewing cycle and pour yourself a cup of coffee before it’s finished. It’s perfect for those mornings when you just can’t wait for the entire pot to brew.

12-Cup Glass Carafe

The coffeemaker comes with a 12-cup glass carafe featuring a drip-free spout and knuckle guard for safe and easy pouring. The ergonomic handle ensures a comfortable grip, and the carafe lid helps to keep your coffee warm.

Self-Clean Function

This feature simplifies the cleaning process by guiding you through a descaling cycle. It helps remove mineral buildup, ensuring optimal performance and prolonging the lifespan of your coffeemaker.

Auto Shut-Off

This feature automatically turns off the coffeemaker after a certain period, adding a layer of safety and energy efficiency. You can choose the shut-off time, ranging from 0 to 4 hours after brewing.

Audible Tone

The coffeemaker has an audible tone that beeps five times when the brewing cycle is complete. This feature is helpful for those who don’t want to constantly monitor the coffeemaker.

60-Second Reset

This feature allows the coffeemaker to “remember” the brewing process and settings in case of a brief power interruption. If power is restored within 60 seconds, the coffeemaker will resume brewing where it left off.

Power Loss Backup System

This system preserves your programmed settings (time, auto-on, auto-off) for one minute in case of a power outage. When power is restored, the coffeemaker will resume its operation based on the saved settings.

Measuring Scoop

The coffeemaker includes a measuring scoop to help you add the correct amount of coffee grounds for your desired brew strength.


A very common complaint in reviews is the loud beeping that sounds when brewing is complete. Many users are frustrated that there is no way to disable or mute this beeping. For those who brew coffee early in the morning, the 5 repetitive beeps can be piercing and disruptive to light sleepers in the household. While not a dealbreaker, it’s something to be aware of if you’re sensitive to morning coffee machine noises.


Most users find the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker easy to clean and maintain. The parts like the filter basket, carafe, and reservoir are dishwasher safe. The control panel just needs an occasional wiping down. Descale cleaning with vinegar is recommended every 3-6 months to keep mineral buildup at bay. While not the most user-friendly to disassemble and clean, it earns satisfactory marks in this regard from most owners.

Maintenance Tips

To ensure your Cuisinart DCC-1120 continues to provide the highest quality coffee, regular maintenance beyond the basic cleaning is recommended. Descale the machine every three to six months using a mixture of vinegar and water to remove mineral buildup that can affect the taste of your coffee and the functioning of the machine. Regularly check the carafe and heating plate for any residue that could affect heat transfer and the quality of your brewed coffee. Keeping the filters clean and replacing the charcoal water filters as needed will also contribute to better tasting coffee and a healthier machine.

Use Cases

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker is ideal for households that regularly brew multiple cups of coffee. The programmable timer makes it easy to have fresh coffee ready when you wake up. The thermal carafe keeps leftovers hot for hours, perfect for pouring refills.

User Feedback Analysis

The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker receives largely positive reviews, with over 1,000 ratings averaging 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Satisfied customers praise it for brewing piping hot, robust coffee time after time. They find it intuitive to operate and love the programmable timer and thermal carafe for keeping coffee ready when they want it.

However, a number of users report reliability problems after 1-2 years of regular use, especially related to the carafe. The handle seems prone to breaking off, likely due to its lightweight plastic construction. A handful of customers also report mechanical failures like the coffeemaker turning on randomly on its own.

While Cuisinart provides a 3-year limited warranty which helps in these situations, some feel the overall build quality does not match the brand’s reputation. But most agree that when functioning properly, the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker brews an immensely satisfying pot of coffee.

Pros and Cons


  • Great tasting coffee
  • Programmable up to 24 hrs
  • Thermal carafe retains heat well
  • Built-in water filtration


  • Carafe may have durability issues
  • Noisy beeping at end of brew
  • Takes up a lot of counter space

 Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker


Considering its premium features like a programmable timer, charcoal water filter, thermal carafe, and Brew Pause function, the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker provides excellent value at its $80-100 price point. Many reviewers comment that it punches above its weight and produces coffee comparable to more expensive programmable machines. For a mid-range automatic drip coffeemaker with a thermal carafe, it is competitively priced versus similar models from other brands.

 Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker


The Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Coffeemaker is an excellent choice for those seeking a programmable drip coffee machine that brews delicious coffee. It has a solid set of useful features and mostly lives up to its Amazon’s Choice reputation, despite some minor design shortcomings. The flavor and temperature it produces make it a winner overall. For anyone looking for an easy-to-use, versatile coffeemaker under $100, the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Programmable Coffeemaker is a great option worth considering.


  • Brew sizes: 1-4 cups, 5-12 cups
  • Water reservoir capacity: 60 oz
  • Power: 1025 watts
  • Product dimensions: 14.25 x 8.13 x 7.75 in
  • Weight: 7 lbs

What’s Included

The coffeemaker comes with a 12-cup glass carafe, gold tone filter, charcoal water filter, and use and care guide.

Quick Start Guide for the Cuisinart DCC-1120 Classic Coffeemaker:

  1. Initial Setup:
  2. Rinse the system before first use by filling the reservoir with water and running a cycle without coffee.

  3. Preparing the Coffeemaker:

  4. Insert the charcoal water filter: Soak the filter for 15 minutes, rinse it, and place it in the water reservoir.
  5. Add water: Open the reservoir cover and fill it to the desired level, based on how much coffee you want to brew.

  6. Brewing Coffee:

  7. Insert a filter: Place a paper filter or reusable gold-tone filter into the filter basket.
  8. Add ground coffee: Add 1 scoop (about 1 tablespoon) of coffee per cup.
  9. Start brewing: Place the carafe on the heating plate, select your brew settings, and press the power button to start brewing.

  10. Using the Programmable Timer:

  11. Set the time: Turn the function knob to “Clock Set” and use the hour and minute buttons to set the time.
  12. Program the start time: Turn the function knob to “Program Set,” set the desired start time, and press the “Auto On” button to enable the timer.

  13. Maintenance:

  14. Clean regularly: Wash the filter basket and carafe after each use. Descale the coffeemaker every 3–6 months with a mixture of vinegar and water.

  15. Tips:

  16. The “Brew Pause” feature allows you to pour a cup mid-brew.
  17. The auto-off feature can be set to turn off the coffeemaker after a specified period.