Coffee Maker Review: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker
OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker$159.95
Coffee Maker Quality8.4/10
Ease of Use8.6/10
- SCAA Certified
- Available in 9-Cup and 12-Cup
- Makes great coffee
- Freshness counter
- Easy, sleek interface
- Clearly marked transparent reservoir
- Brew pause
- 7-hole showerhead for even saturation
- Pulse brew to mimic pour over
- Drips when carafe is removed
- Slow brew (at least 6 minutes)
- Carafe doesn't pour the last few ounces of coffee
It has been quite a long while since my last coffee maker review, where I took a look at the latest Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Certified coffee maker at the time, the KitchenAid Pour Over Brewer.
Well, there are some new SCAA Certified coffee makers on the scene, and today I'll be reviewing one of them.
Today's review is for the OXO On Barista Brain 9-cup Cofee Maker.
This particular coffee maker is part of the release of a series of coffee products from OXO which includes the accompanying OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder and the 12-cup version of the same coffee maker I'll be reviewing here.
Full disclosure: I asked OXO if they would send me the OXO Barista Brain 9-cup for review, to which they agreed. While I don't want or think this will impact my review in any way, please be advised that I did not purchase this coffee maker. Also keep in mind that I sent back the unit after completing my review.
This is definitely the biggest, but also one of the most attractive coffee makers I've reviewed to-date.
It features an LED screen, one button that doubles as a dial, a large, clear water reservoir, and a tall thermal stainless steel carafe.
I loved using the Barista Brain with its sister grinder (also ambiguously named “Barista Brain”), because dosing was a complete breeze. I will explain why in a little bit, but let's go over some features and benefits first.
Specifications and Features
- 2-9 cups (5 oz per cup) of coffee
- Carafe “mixing tube”
- Brew pause
- SCAA Certified
- Clearly marked, transparent water reservoir
- Pulse brew
- Freshness counter
Easy dosing for 2-9 cups of coffee with a clear water reservoir
One of my favorite things about the OXO On Barista Brain is the large, clearly marked, and transparent water reservoir.
It's easy to add water to the reservoir, plus, the transparent plastic allows you to easily see the water level and 2 to 9 cup markings. It's amazing how many coffee makers blow it with the water reservoir when it comes to these 3 considerations, so it was a relief to see that OXO got this right.
The coffee maker either dispenses 2-4 cups of water or 5-9 cups of water with its built-in serving size selector. So this is basically like most auto drip coffee makers in that it simply dispenses all the water that is in the reservoir during a brew cycle.
It wasn't really clear how choosing the 2-4 cups setting differed from the 5-9 cups setting, so I just chose whichever setting corresponded to the amount of water I added to the reservoir.
Brewing in 3 quick steps
Once you've added your water and ground coffee, brewing is literally as easy as 1-2-3.
You press the OXO button (the only button on the entire coffee maker), select 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups by turning the dial on the OXO button, then press the OXO button one more time to start the brew cycle.
Activating the timer is almost as easy.
Simply hold down the OXO button to access the brew timer, set your time, the number of cups you want to brew, and press the OXO button once more.
The clock icon will appear and your coffee maker will be set to brew for whatever time you set.
The Carafe “Mixing Tube”
The mixing tube is actually one of the most unique features that the Barista Brain boasts. When I first read that the carafe had a mixing tube to ensure that over-extracted coffee would be evenly mixed with under-extracted coffee, I pictured some internally moving mechanism inside the carafe that would literally stir the coffee.
Well, this wasn't even close to what this mixing tube actually is.
It's simply a silicone tube that connects to the carafe lid to push the most-recently brewed coffee towards the bottom of the carafe.
You see, traditional auto drip coffee makers have the most densely extracted coffee brewed first. Therefore, it theoretically ends up at the bottom of the carafe, meaning that your first pour will consist of the weakest coffee.
The mixing tube is meant to address this.
Whether it makes a difference or not, I really couldn't say. This wasn't really something I could split-test, unfortunately.
Still, cool that OXO took this into account. I don't think it hurts the coffee, that's for sure.
The “freshness counter” (as I'm deciding to call it) displays how many minutes it has been since your coffee was brewed. It only counts up to 60 minutes, but I found this to be a pretty cool feature for keeping track of how long your coffee has been aging since it was brewed.
I don't know if this has much utility for most people, but I still thought it was pretty cool.
The Barista Brain certainly isn't cheap for an auto drip coffee maker, but given its SCAA Certification it is currently offered at a very comparable price to those SCAA coffee makers with the same number of features.
It also makes more coffee than most of the competition, so this should definitely be considered when evaluating the OXO's overall value.
The Coffee Quality
No issues in terms of how the coffee tasted. It was hot and pretty much delicious every time.
The ground coffee appeared to be sufficiently and evenly soaked by the showerhead, and the fact that the coffee maker brews the coffee using a “pulse pour” (small amount of water distributed over even intervals) means that the process is similar to that of a pour over.
It would have been nice to have the option to adjust the water temperature, but I thought the coffee was consistently great.
The Coffee Maker Quality
The coffee maker is mostly comprised of stainless steel and plastic. I actually really loved the design.
The LED screen against the black backdrop is a really nice touch. Even better is the transparent water reservoir and pump where you can watch the hot water shoot up towards the shower head.
The few flaws in this coffee maker's overall quality are probably its size, its thermal carafe, and the residual dripping once the carafe is removed.
My issue with the carafe is that there is always a bit of leftover coffee that can't be poured out unless the carafe is flipped completely upside-down.
I know that this is a common issue in thermal carafes, but it would have been nice if it poured every last drop of coffee.
The last issue I had in terms of the coffee maker's overall quality is that when removing the carafe from under the brew basket, there was always residual dripping that would end up in the circular region where the carafe sits.
This seems like a slight design flaw, but nothing to get too worked up about.
Ease of Use
To brew coffee, it really only takes a few button presses. However, setting the timer is a little bit less intuitive.
The instruction manual is fantastic and clears up all confusions though.
Score: 4.5 stars
Everything that would need cleaning in this coffee maker is accessible. Also, almost all of the removable parts are top-rack dishwasher safe, including the showerhead.
There is also an indicator for when it's time to descale the coffee maker, although there is no included descaling solution.
Of course, since I've only been using the OXO On Barista Brain for a short period of time, it's impossible to say how long it will last.
What I can say is that it's backed by a 2 year warranty and I haven't seen many reports of the coffee maker failing amongst other reviewers yet.
I will update this review if I have any issues in the future or hear of others reporting issues, but for now, it gets a perfect score.
Oh, and it's covered by a 2 year warranty.
Score: 5 stars
I've already mentioned how aesthetically pleasing I find this coffee maker. I wish it was a little bit smaller, but I can't really complain too much about this since it brews 9 cups of coffee.
The brew speed is comparable to the Brazen Plus in that it's pretty slow for a full pot. I tested it out and it took roughly 9 and a half minutes for a full pot.
5 cups of coffee took 6 and a half minutes. To me, that's not bad but definitely not the fastest.
In the end, there are certainly faster options, but the only one that will likely heat your water up sufficiently that brews faster is the Bonavita BV1900.
Score: 3 stars
The Barista Brain has a lot of cool new features, plus some classic ones. To me, it's right in the middle in terms of versatility.
It can make coffee, and it can make it well. Unfortunately, there isn't too much room for experimentation with other brewing parameters like water temperature and pre-infusion. There is also no way to calibrate the boiling point for different elevations (which is really only a feature that a few coffee makers, like the Brazen Plus, have at the moment).
Is the OXO On Barista Brain for you?
So is this the coffee maker for you? Let's break it down:
The OXO On Barista Brainis a great option for those who want an SCAA Certified coffee maker that can make the most amount of coffee. The Barista Brain is currently the largest SCAA Certified coffee maker, offering both 9-cup and 12-cup models.
The Barista Brain is also a great option when its used side-by-side with the Barista Brain Conical Grinder. When these two pieces of equipment are used together, dosing your coffee consistently is so easy.
If you have enough room for it in your kitchen, then it seems like a better option than the Bonavita BV1900TD for its reservoir alone. They both retail at the same price, so it's really a toss up otherwise.
However, if a programmable timer isn't important to you the Bonavita BV1900TS seems like a no-brainer option.
The BV1900TS is less expensive, and it has a better carafe. Plus, the BV1900TS brews more quickly than the Barista Brain.
To add the 9-cup (45 oz) Barista Brain to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:
To add the 12-cup (60 oz) Barista Brain to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:
To read my review of the Bonavita BV1900TS, click here.
To add the Bonavita BV1900TS to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:
Share your thoughts!
Own the OXO On Barista Brain already? Have questions? If so I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.