Everyone has a morning routine that is, not to say delicately, but rather very important.
If you’re like me then the staple of your day often includes firing up the drip coffee maker and making a pot of coffee. It’s a great way to get through the morning successfully.
So selecting the right device to fulfill your coffee quota is a very important part of making your day run smoothly. If the coffee pot doesn’t work it’s likely that you won’t either.
Choosing Between Bonavita and OXO Brewers
Both of these brewer-creating companies are highly regarded in the coffee world.
The Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker and OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker brew at the ideal temperature (197 to 204 degrees Fahrenheit) earning their spot as an SCAA certified product. The coffee wizards are looking out for you when it comes to the ideal brewing temperature. So it’s widely understood that these drip brewers deliver excellent coffee.
A crucial step in brewing great coffee is reaching—and maintaining—the optimal water temperature.
Water that’s too hot or too cold produces an imbalanced flavor profile and other undesirable qualities. First, both of these brewers are fitted with a powerful and precise heater that reaches the optimal temperature quickly and maintains that temperature throughout the brew. This results in faster brewing and, of course, more delicious coffee.
Importance of an SCAA Rating
To add some perspective to the SCAA rating, it is basically the way that the Speciality Coffee Association of America has brought about their decades of knowledge, research, and experience developing standards for coffee makers. Why would this happen? Imagine a long time ago when society wasn’t so sure how healthy coffee was. Although the benefits seemed obvious, some things just seem to good to be true.
Now the SCAA exists and ensures that you can be sure you’re getting the best coffee at home.
The Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup
Drip coffee has never been easier than with these machines. The Bonavita 8-Cup sticks to the basics with simple manual controls, while the OXO Barista Brain—as the name implies—features programmable settings for convenient morning brew sessions. What if your coffee maker was an alarm clock? For those convenience seekers, the OXO Barista Brain features auto-on for instant morning coffee—need we say more? Let’s dive into the brews and brains of these two SCAA-approved drip brewers.
This brewer features a sturdy and stainless steel-lined carafe.
The Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker (model BV1900TS, in particular) brews up a flavorful cup of coffee thanks to the U-shaped filter basket. The U-shaped design works to fully saturate grounds and when we pulled the basket out to check. Often the standard coffee filter will prevent even water distribution from the sides to the center.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup brewer differs with a cone-shaped filter, so we saw more saturation in the middle. As we know, drip coffee makers, including the hybrid drip and pour over automatics like the Chemex Ottomatic, can have a tough time evenly extracting coffee, so we were more than pleased with the Bonavita 8-Cup’s performance.
The Bonavita features a U-shaped filter basket that improves saturating grounds. The Bonavita features a U-shaped filter basket that improves saturating grounds.
These brewers are named for their cup size, but in the coffee world, cup size is a tricky animal. You wouldn’t want a coffee maker that skimped on the amount it produced, but that’s a tricky subject when it comes to brewers. This is mostly because of the conversion from US standard measurements to Metric.
The Bonavita 8-Cup has a 40-ounce reservoir and the OXO Barista Brain has a 45-ounce reservoir. So if size matters, you’ll have one more cup of joe with the OXO.
Let’s discuss the OXO brewer next.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker
As we said before this is also is an SCAA certified drip brewer. Major plus signs are that the temperature and stability are proven features. Additionally, if you’re brewing for the whole family then the OXO’s 45-ounce reservoir will get you there.
Just the name Barista Brain is impressive enough. The programmable auto-on feature is—going out on a limb, here—the highlight of any home brewer’s morning. It’s also not a hassle to program; to set the auto-on time, simply press and hold, then use the dial to spin to the time of your choice. You can also set the clock and change the number of cups you brew between 2 to 4 or 5 to 9 cups. Since the OXO Barista Brain comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe, there isn’t a heating element. But it’s not missed, the thermal carafe will keep your coffee toasty for about an hour.
With the OXO, you can program the clock, set the auto-on or change the number of cups you’re brewing. With the OXO, you can program the clock, set the auto-on or change the number of cups you’re brewing.
Another brainy feature on the OXO Barista Brian is the pause and pour. Remove the carafe and the brewing process stops so you can pour yourself a glass midway—yes, please. Although, we did notice that there was a considerable amount of dripping coffee after removing the carafe. When you’re done pouring, make sure to place it back within 60 seconds to resume brewing or you’ll start the process all over. And, while this isn’t super brainy, we’ll add that OXO added a silicone mixing tube that channels the coffee from the carafe opening down to the bottom of the pot to thoroughly mix the brew.
The OXO’s pause and pour feature allows you to get a cup mid-brew. The OXO’s pause and pour feature allows you to get a cup mid-brew.
The Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker, while built with basic controls, features something the OXO doesn’t have: pre-infusion! What we love about pre-infusion is it’ll create more consistent and even flavor extraction, thus giving you that bright, flavorful cup of coffee you deserve in the morning. See, drip coffee doesn’t have to be terrible. The pre-infusion needs to be manually started and then it will go into the brewing process. That’s to be expected since the Bonavita 8-Cup doesn’t feature an auto-on function. In all honesty, it’s not difficult to start, but it’s more involved than pressing the pot on and letting it brew. If you have 30 seconds in the morning—come on, we know you do—we think you’ll be able to use this feature.
Use this button to turn on and activate the pre-infusion. Use this button to turn on and activate the pre-infusion.
The Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker’s brushed stainless steel casing sports matte black accents, creating a timeless looking coffee maker. And we enjoy the matching stainless steel lined thermal carafe, which will keep your coffee warm for about an hour. Bonavita no longer offers the glass-lined carafe’s and we haven’t noticed any difference in the quality of the coffee. The only beef we’ve heard about the carafe is that it doesn’t pour out all the coffee. Fortunately, coffee friends, we tested it out for you and it only left 0.75 ounces in the carafe. Our solution was to tilt the carafe about 45 degrees over the cup to get the majority of coffee out.
The Bonavita’s new stainless steel-lined carafe keeps coffee warm for about an hour. The Bonavita’s new stainless steel-lined carafe keeps coffee warm for about an hour.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker has similar looks to the Bonavita with stainless steel casing and a glossy black body. However, the design feels robotic with the clear reservoir and sleek shape. The OXO’s digital display adds modern flair with the convenient technology we see on products today. The best feature for the caffeine-deprived is the pause and pour—that’s luxury at its finest. As we mentioned, the only downside is that it’ll drip a little, but with no heating element to burn the coffee, clean up is a breeze.
Correct Brewing Procedure
The real issue with the classic coffee maker isn’t that it’s a bad brew method.
In fact, it’s just the that the home user is rarely educated about the proper brewing procedure. In this case, we could all use a bit of a reminder. If you just follow the best-practices provided below you should be able to produce coffee that is almost on par with the local coffee shop and their selection of drip coffee.
To get the most value out of your brewing device – no matter which one – it’s important to adhere to the following guidelines:
Freshly Ground Beans
Invest in great beans and a good quality burr grinder. If a burr grinder is out of your budget at the moment, purchase your coffee freshly ground in small batches and store it in an airtight or vacuum-sealed container.
You don’t need to refrigerate it; simply keep it airtight and out of direct heat.
It’s tempting to measure the water by looking and measure the coffee by scooping, but you’ll get a much more consistent cup of coffee every time if you use a scale. A good brewing ratio is usually around 66 grams of coffee to 1 liter of water. You’ll need a scale that can be reset to zero so you can get an accurate measure of weight minus your carafe. If possible, look for a scale that reads both in grams and in ounces. Also, a battery-powered scale will take up less counter space.
The Right Water
As with brewing anything, coffee, tea, even beer, the right water is important. Perhaps the most important. Use great tasting water with the right mineral content. Many people forget that coffee’s main ingredient is water. If the water isn’t tasty the coffee won’t be tasty. Ideally, you should use rather soft water with a mineral content around 90-150 TDS.
Always rinse the paper filter before brewing! You don’t want that unpleasant papery taste in your brew!
It goes without saying – but cleanliness should be a top priority! Clean the carafe and the filter with a brush and some cold water. That should be sufficient. Once in a while use a descaler and give the whole apparatus a thorough cleaning with baking soda.
Now you have all the knowledge you could ever need in order to find the perfect drip coffee maker. If you choose one of the machines in this article I’m extremely confident that you’ll be able to make barista-level java juice at home.
Remember, that one thing is the machine… another thing is the brewing technique. Always clean your machine after each use and use good beans as well as water.
That’s it. May the caffeine force be with you.
Brewers In Conclusion
If you’re looking for impressive drip coffee, then look no further than the Bonavita 8-Cup Coffee Maker or the OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker. Both are SCAA-approved, which means they’re guaranteed to deliver hot and flavorful coffee. If you’re looking for more features and convenience, however, then we’d recommend checking out the OXO Barista Brain to fuel your mornings. The Bonavita 8-Cup is simple to use and features pre-infusion for those who want a little extra control.
Back in the days, it was common to use the combination of a glass server and a heat plate. On the surface, this seems like a good solution but there is one problem. If you like to brew bigger batches and pour as you go, eventually the coffee will go rancid and stale in the glass server. This happens because heat plate is actually evaporating a tiny bit of the coffee all the time. At the same time, the free air flow oxidizes the brew, making it less delicious.
For that reason, I recommend a thermal carafe for coffee drinkers who want the flexibility of making a big batch to last all day. Yes, it’s more difficult to clean the thermal carafe but you will have a fresher tasting brew for a longer time.