Best Smart Coffeemaker: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Brewing System
As a former Seattle barista, I feel strongly about my coffee. I’ve used a French press, a stove top espresso maker, an Aero press and conventional drip machines but I keep going back to the taste of the pour over set-up. The steeped flavor you get with filtered water and precisely weighed fresh ground beans is really superior, but I wanted to cut out the annoying manual part where I hover over the paper filter, slowly pouring the boiling water in concentric circles so it moistens and blooms the grounds just so. All the major coffee manufacturers want to ease the pain with an electric pour-over style machine that replicates the manually produced flavor. OXO is our pick for the best version in this category because it gives you the bells and whistles of an electric (solid construction, programmable interface, vacuum-insulated pot) combined with a cup of coffee that tastes like you slaved over it.
BUY: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Brewing System, $200; amazon.com
If you're in the market for a coffeemaker to cut down the time from bean to brew, there's a lot of great contenders. The original pour over pot maker (their version has a spot in the Museum of Modern Art), Chemex makes the Ottomatic machine ($350; crateandbarrel.com) which will pre-infuse between 198 degree and 204 degree water down onto your coarse grind coffee grounds. But when you use their beautiful glass pot with its signature hourglass shape you have to drink it quickly before it goes cold or risk it burning on the heated plate. Another industry favorite, the Bonavita ($180; williamsonoma.com) also features a pre-infuse option but the water distribution was uneven and relies on a hot plate. Bodum makes an attractive looking machine called the E-Bodum Bistro ($130; target.com) with pebbled rubber housing that looks as cooly modern as their French press machines but it lacks any programming ability other than on or off.
The Oxo Barista Brain in contrast excels in the structural design details, such as the insulated brewing pot that has an internal silocone mixing tube to circulates the coffee as it brews and doesn’t need to be opened to pour a cup. The machine also brews a full pot quickly, in about six minutes. It will even pause the brewing if you need to remove the carafe to pour a cup mid-cycle.The only small drawbacks for environmentalists are it requires No. 4 paper cone paper filters and the pot can’t be washed in the dishwasher. Small flaws in an otherwise excellent machine.
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Wins for: Appearance, Taste, and Sturdy Construction
- Back-lit LED display for programming start time and pot size
- Freshness timer to track how long its been since the coffee stopped brewing
- Double-walled stainless steel carafe for keeping coffee hot without a heated plate
See the rest of InStyle's 2017 Best of Tech picks here.