Oxo products are simply designed and easy-to-use, and the OXO On Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker is a perfect example. The OXO Barista Brain is a tool designed for coffee lovers who don’t want any hassle. Just fill it with water, press a button for the size of brew, and the brewer takes care of the rest!
This machine is excellent for those who prefer manual brew taste like a pour over, but want convenience, a simple interface, and easy clean-up
manual brew taste like a pour over is its quality
the price fairly matches its reputation in the industry
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
Several features of the On Barista Brain are key to its value and use, including the double-walled stainless-steel carafe with no heating element, the 60-minute freshness timer, discrete water burst dosing, and a mixing tube in the carafe that keeps the coffee strength consistent.
While other similar products have one or two of these features, this coffee maker provides all four, and more.
So do all of these features really make Handground a better manual grinder? Here’s our assessment.
So, let’s take a peek under the hood.
The first thing you’ll notice about the OXO On Barista Brain is the design. Unlike many other coffee makers, the tank is not over the carafe, but on the side and above the simple digital controls. This allows the machine to better monitor the water temperature during the brew cycle.
The double-walled and insulated carafe is stainless steel, keeping the coffee hot for up to two hours without the need for a heating element like most coffee makers have. Inside the carafe is a mixing tube that reaches to the bottom of the carafe, preventing the coffee from being stronger at the bottom and weaker at the top, a feature that most coffee makers don’t have.
With the one-dial, backlit interface you can toggle between two modes: 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups. The cup measurement is 5 ounces, instead of the typical 8 ounces we think of for cooking; two-four cups is good for one person; 5-9 is good for sharing. In each case, the machine will automatically adjust the brew time based on the water level.
A microprocessor controls the water temperature, bringing it to about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The internal pump brings the water up and across from the tank to the filter with an initial heavier flow and a series of pulses afterward. This burst method produces a bold, full-flavored brew that brings out the coffee’s true notes.
The water filters down into the rainmaker shower head, evenly disbursing the water over the coffee grounds. The filter is cone-shaped, which can make the brew spotty in some machines, but the showerhead flow seems to offset that, creating a consistently great cup of coffee.
When you remove the carafe, the brew cycle will stop for 60-seconds, long enough for you to fill your friend’s cup and your own. Replace the carafe, and the cycle will begin again. This is great, but remember that if you don’t replace the carafe within that time, the brew cycle will start over again. The other thing to consider is that when you remove the carafe, it tends to drip onto the holding plate. However, because it is not a heating element, the cleanup is effortless.
One of my favorite features is the 60-minute timer that starts after the brew cycle finishes. This keeps the coffee from getting stale. There is also a programmable wake-up timer to brew coffee whenever you want to have a fresh cup.
The OXO Barista Brain will notify you when it needs descaling with a red exclamation mark. Simply take some descaling fluid, fill the reservoir, spin the knob until it turns red, and press. The process takes about 60 minutes, which is longer than most, but it is easy to initiate.
On the downside, this coffee maker is not meant for outside use or with transformers. For fresh brewed coffee-smell lovers, the tight-sealed carafe does not allow that familiar smell you might be used to waking up to in the morning. It’s also on the pricier side.
However, for ease of use, simple design, and the consistent brewing capabilities, this is a great coffee maker.
Let’s see how the OXO On Barista Brain stacks up against some of its most popular competitors.
Comparing the OXO On Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker to the Bonavita Brewer 8-Cup, the first thing you’ll notice is that the OXO On Barista Brain is digital versus the Bonavita’s simple manual controls.
As the name suggests, the OXO On Barista Brain has programmable settings for convenience. One area the Bonavita has an advantage is the shape of the filter basket; it’s U-shaped design works to thoroughly saturate grounds evenly, while the OXO On Barista Brain has a cone-shaped filter and tends to have more saturation in the middle.
If size matters, the OXO On Barista Brain has a 45-ounce versus a 40-ounce reservoir. With the stainless steel carafe, the OXO does not have a heating element, like the Bonavita, and still maintains hot coffee due to the carafe’s double-walled insulation.
One thing the Bonavita has that the OXO On Barista Brain doesn’t is pre-infusion, which creates more consistent flavor extraction. However, because the controls are manual and there is no auto-start, brewing a cup of coffee is more involved than the OXO On Barista Brain.
All-in-all, they are both simple to use, but if you are looking for more features and convenience, but for nearly the same price, I’d recommend the OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker.
The Cuisinart 14-Cup Programmable makes a great cup of coffee but is harder to clean and use than the OXO On Barista Brain. On occasion, it’s reusable filter allowed some sediment get through into the coffee. One other note is that to make a great cup of coffee on the Cuisinart, we found that we had to add a bit more coffee beans.
Regarding ease of use, the Cuisinart is average. The Cuisinart has a large LCD display and clearly labeled buttons, but it isn’t as streamlined as other coffee makers. The plastic spout can make a mess, and the prep and cleanup time is longer, as well as the brew time. However, it also has the programmable brewing time, for those who want that feature. On the plus side, it’s about half the price of the OXO.
While on the pricier side, the overall features, ease-of-use, and coffee taste make the OXO Barista Brain 9-cup Coffee Maker one of the best overall finds on the market.