Bonavita PID Kettle - 1st Look

Coffee preparation techniques besides espresso like pourover.
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EricBNC
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Postby EricBNC » Mon May 07, 2012 8:55 am

I have been a supporter of Bonavita since discovering last year the company was finally introducing the Melitta Aroma to the North American market. Melitta dropped the ball IMHO by not bringing it over long ago. I do own one of their BV-1800 coffee makers and their original electric kettle and have been happy with both.

After an exchange of pleasant emails the Bonavita VP of Business Development sent me this new electric kettle with programmable temperature controls in exchange for my impressions of the product. Mine is an engineering sample so things could change between now and when these become available for retail sale.

Outside of the popular Pino electric kettle, this market segment is a wasteland so a decent competing product should be welcomed. I have used this PID kettle for over a week for my pour over coffee. While this is not long enough to make predictions about long term durability, this kettle gives the impression it will hold up.

Here is a photo of the Bonavita PID Kettle next to my new Eva Solo Cafe Solo:

Image

The capacity is one liter - same as my original kettle. In fact the PID kettle looks and pours like my original Bonavita electric kettle except the red "ready" light and auto shut off lever are missing. The post underneath this new kettle is larger than the original so the kettles are not compatible to transfer from base to base. Another thing I notice is a three-prong plug on the programmable model - maybe a cafe demand directed product here?

Temperature presets on this sample include 140, 176, 185, 190, 205, and 212 F, but the plus and minus buttons let the user pick the target temp, so full variability. I checked the accuracy and it is spot on with my thermometer. Once heated to 205, the kettle went as low as 203 and as high as 206 so the variability while idling is minimal.

Speed to 205 this morning is slower than with the original by a minute or two since it coasts into the target preset without over shooting. The original runs full bore to boiling so the electronics here must be throttling power as it closes in on the setting. For example, 50 degree water in a 71 degree room takes 6 minutes to hit 195, but it takes another minute and a half to hit the 205 preset.

The auto shut off is set for one hour on this model - long enough to go through a liter of water for some pour over coffee without having to add any water for me. I considered a Zojirushi water tower after using one at CoffeeCon 2012 (might still get one for the kitchen - they are nice) but the compactness of this design is appealing. Considering I still need a pouring kettle with the water tower, this Bonavita PID Kettle does simplify things.
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Postby jbviau » Mon May 07, 2012 10:35 am

Lucky you!

EricBNC wrote:Temperature presets on this sample include 140, 176, 185, 190, 205, and 212 F, but the plus and minus buttons let the user pick the target temp, so full variability.

Are we talking 1-degree increments in Fahrenheit? I see a F/C button, too. In Celsius mode, I'd assume the increments change accordingly. True?
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Postby EricBNC » Mon May 07, 2012 12:42 pm

Yes - the temps are adjustable in one degree increments in F & C measurements. I am more familiar with F settings so that is what I used in testing.
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Postby jbviau » Mon May 07, 2012 3:17 pm

Thanks. Well, with apologies to fans of the Metric system, it looks like Fahrenheit is the way to go with this thing then if you're into fine-tuning since that scale gives you almost two increments for every one in Celsius.
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Postby Bob_McBob » Mon May 07, 2012 3:20 pm

How well does it maintain the set point at less than full capacity? The huge dead band and wild overshooting with lower volumes of water are two major drawbacks of the Pino kettles.
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Postby EricBNC » Mon May 07, 2012 3:51 pm

Bob_McBob wrote:How well does it maintain the set point at less than full capacity? The huge dead band and wild overshooting with lower volumes of water are two major drawbacks of the Pino kettles.

The 203 (most of the time it's 204 or 205) and 206 outliers came after pouring 250 mL out to make some coffee. I didn't make a 2nd cup so I am not sure what 500 mL would create for variation but I will find out.
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Postby sweaner » Mon May 07, 2012 4:05 pm

This kettle would be perfect IF there was a way to defeat the 1 hour auto shutoff. We like to have water hot all day. Does anyone know if this shutoff could be defeated in some way?
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Postby Louis » Mon May 07, 2012 4:07 pm

jbviau wrote:Thanks. Well, with apologies to fans of the Metric system, it looks like Fahrenheit is the way to go with this thing then if you're into fine-tuning since that scale gives you almost two increments for every one in Celsius.

Assuming the precision of the system as a whole is better than +/- 1°C.

Makes me think about the 0.01g display on my cheap scale, with its +/-0.5g precision

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Postby EricBNC » Mon May 07, 2012 4:16 pm

sweaner wrote:This kettle would be perfect IF there was a way to defeat the 1 hour auto shutoff. We like to have water hot all day. Does anyone know if this shutoff could be defeated in some way?

I do. You pick it up off the base and then set it back down. This resets the clock back to zero.

Your usage pattern with the Pino might be different, but for me if I am wanting it on and hot all day I am going to be using it or refilling it often enough (hourly) to justify leaving it on - it isn't that slow if you want hot water only once every 4 or 5 hours (maybe morning, then lunch, & dinner so 7 AM, 12P, and 5P).

Otherwise every time you use it and hit the hold temp button the 1 hour timer is reset.

Edit: technically this isn't defeating the shut off. :wink:
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Postby yakster » Mon May 07, 2012 6:08 pm

You could almost use it for Sous Vide without the one hour shutoff