Refrigerators

Café CVE28DM5NS5 French Door Refrigerator Review

This feature-rich refrigerator is worth its premium price

Café CVE28DM5NS5 French Door Refrigerator Review Credit: Café Appliances

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Everything about the Café CVE28DM5NS5 (available at Abt for $3,779.10) screams high-end. From the clean exterior and backlit interior, to smooth-sliding drawers and shelves with spill-capturing edges—this is everything you'd expect from a premium fridge. Even its through-the-door dispenser, which offers both cubed and crushed ice, manages to stand out by automatically filling up glasses with filtered water and stopping before they're full. Part of GE Appliances' Café line—which emphasizes a bold, design-forward approach—this French door refrigerator is well-designed and feels great to use. Of course, there’s a cost for everything. If it’s within your budget, it’ll make a handsome addition to your kitchen. If not, the Frigidaire Gallery FG4H2272UF is another excellent French door fridge.

The Café CVE28DM5NS5 French door refrigerator earns strong points for design. Its sleek, modern exterior features recessed handles and a through-the-door water/ice dispenser, even if it does eat into the storage capacity a bit. Inside you’ll find good storage options, consistent temperatures, and great crispers—all illuminated by smooth LED backlighting. There's also its separate deli drawer with customizable temperature, perfect for chilling wine to the ideal temperature without making your fridge too warm.

Our complaints about this fridge were fairly minimal: It costs slightly more than average per year to operate and there's a bit less capacity compared to other French doors, likely due to its in-door ice maker and water filter.

About the Café CVE28DM5NS5

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Open
Credit: Café Appliances

There's a lot to like about the interior of the Café CVE28DM5NBS5, from its back-lighting to its great storage options—but the through-the-door dispenser does reduce into its overall capacity.

Dimensions: 69.88” x 35.63” x 34.25” (H x W x D)
Usable space: 10.83 cu. ft. fridge capacity; 4.75 cu. ft. freezer capacity
Finishes: Stainless steel with recessed handles, black with stainless steel door handles ($100 extra), white with brushed bronze door handles ($200 extra), platinum glass with recessed handles ($300 extra)
Dispensers: Through-the-door hands-free dispenser for filtered water and ice (cubed and crushed)
Café CVE28DM5NS5 manual and warranty

What we like

Temperatures in both the fridge and freezer are very accurate

When you calibrate your fridge, you want to trust it’s reaching and maintaining that temperature. If you think you’re calibrating the fridge for an ideal 37°F, but the fridge isn’t able to keep temperatures that low, it’s possible that the temperature fluctuations caused by cooling cycles and regular use might put your food into the danger zone of above 40°F, where bacteria can grow more quickly.

Likewise, if the freezer isn’t capable of maintaining a steady 0°F, that can exacerbate freezer burn. Unfortunately, not all refrigerators are able to hit or maintain the temperatures to which they’re calibrated.

This isn’t the case with the Café CVE28DM5NS5, which was accurate and kept consistent temperature. The fridge was able to get down to 37.7°F, which is within 1°F of ideal. Better yet, temperatures didn’t really waver from there, staying within 0.3°F of the target.

The freezer was able to get down to 0.09°F, incredibly close to the 0°F goal. Once there, temperatures only shifted by a very minor 0.42°F. Keeping your food cool consistently is what makes a fridge a fridge, so we were pretty happy to see the Café CVE28DM5NS5 ace this test.

The backlight really emphasizes the luxury experience

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Backlight
Credit: Café Appliances

If you have a flair for dramatic lighting or simply like a nice-looking, well-lit fridge, the CVE28DM5NBS5 is the fridge for you.

The main refrigerator compartment is illuminated by an LED backlight, which we loved both for its practical and purely experiential qualities. Groceries in the CVE28DM5NS5 are lit like they're taking professional headshots. On the practical side, it make it easy to see everything in the fridge without worrying about overstuffed shelves blocking a solitary light bulb in the top center.

In terms of user experience, it adds a touch of class and makes the arrangement of your groceries seem more deliberate, even dramatic, even if your shelves are lined with haphazard pizza boxes and leftovers. It's really something that's best seen in person, so if you have a chance to see this on a show floor, we'd recommend checking it out.

The flex drawer is perfect for platters or chilling wine

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Deli drawer
Credit: Café Appliances

The flex drawer is located under the fridge, but above the freezer, and has its own temperature controls.

While flex drawers are nothing new, they're still rare, often relegated to higher-end refrigerators. In the case of the CVE28DM5NS5, its flex drawer is its own separate compartment, complete with its own set of temperature controls. This makes it perfect for chilling food or beverages that you either want to be colder or not as cold as the fridge's main temperature.

The controls themselves are also great: They're intuitive, responsive, and have a clear readout. This is honestly one of the better implementations of a flexible compartment that we've seen, so if this is a feature you find intriguing, this is likely a great fridge to buy.

The through-the-door dispenser is a great addition

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Water Filter
Credit: Reviewed / Kyle Hamilton

The Café CVE28DM5NBS5 has a replaceable water filter stored in its left door.

A good through-the-door dispenser is a staple of higher-end fridges, and the Café CVE28DM5NS5 doesn’t disappoint. The hands-free design is easy to use and the dispenser can handle water, cubed ice, and crushed ice. The dispenser also has a water filter, which also lives behind a compartment in the left-hand door. It can be replaced easily.

It has great humidity control

An oft-overlooked function of the fridge is keeping items in the crisper drawer crisp. What that means, practically speaking, is preventing humidity from escaping so the fresh veggies in there don’t lose moisture and wilt.

Typically fridges don’t do a great job at this, which is why the Café CVE28DM5NS5’s good performance is so notable. The average refrigerator loses 0.2 grams of water per hour. The Café CVE28DM5NS5 managed to keep that loss down to 0.07 grams per hour, retaining humidity over twice as well as a typical refrigerator. Expect your veggies to remain crisp in the CVE28DM5NS5.

What we don’t like

There's less capacity than we’d expect

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Ice Maker
Credit: Reviewed / Kyle Hamilton

The Café CVE28DM5NBS5 keeps its ice maker hidden in the left door, behind some storage. While it's a great feature, it does make the door a bit heavy and thick.

Everything has a trade-off, and the cost of having a great through-the-door dispenser is a lot less storage capacity than you’d otherwise have. We measured the fridge compartment at 10.83 cu. ft., which is quite a lot less than the stated capacity of 19.24 cu. ft.

This is typical for French door refrigerators—especially those with through-the-door dispensers. All the additional machinery required for the dispenser has to go somewhere, and French doors in particular tend to have more space dedicated to drawers, which are less space-efficient than shelves.

Energy costs are slightly higher than average

The downside of having incredibly consistent temperatures is needing to use a lot of energy to remove heat as soon as it’s introduced. Every time you open the door to grab something, the Café CVE28DM5NS5 kicks into overdrive to get everything cool again. While this is great for the longevity of your food, it does mean this isn’t the most energy efficient fridge, and it will cost you slightly more than average over the course of the year.

Unless you’re really trying to minimize your carbon footprint, however, the difference here isn’t likely to drive you away. On average, a refrigerator costs somewhere between $20 and $40 per year to keep operational. We estimate the Café CVE28DM5NS5 will run slightly higher, at just over $52 per year.

What owners are saying

GE Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 Shelf
Credit: Reviewed / Kyle Hamilton

The Cafe CVE28DM5NBS5 has a flexible shelf in its top right, which can slide under itself to allow taller items to be stored in front.

There aren’t too many user reviews currently available for the Café CVE28DM5NS5. That being said, based on the dozens of reviews that are available, owners seem to be fairly enamored with their CVE28DM5NS5, awarding it an average 4.9 stars out of 5 across major retailers. Users really love its overall aesthetic, the auto-fill dispenser, and the storage layout. There have been no real negatives reported, and it’s still too soon for any durability issues to have cropped up.

Warranty

The Café CVE28DM5NS5 has a limited one-year warranty for the entire appliance, which covers parts and labor. Additionally, the refrigerating system itself is ensured for up to five years. Typically, manufacturers only guarantee one year for parts and labor—given the CVE28DM5NS5’s price point, we’re really happy to see a longer warranty available.

Should you buy the Café CVE28DM5NS5?

If you can afford it and don’t mind trading some space for the through-the-door dispenser? Yes. The Café CVE28DM5NS5 is a really good fridge, with some solid temperatures and good storage options (if a slightly lower capacity than we’d like).

If you’re looking for a great French door fridge that’s not quite as pricey, we’d recommend checking out the Frigidaire Gallery FG4H2272UF.

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