Time to buy a new drip coffee maker

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by MSS »

For the last five years we have been using the Bonivita coffee brewer with an 8 cup Chemex (kone filter). Unfortunatly, the Bonivita is dead and we are looking for another brewer. We considering the following:

1. The Bonivita, does make a good cup of coffee, has good features and priced competively.
2. The Chemix Ottomatic, we have been using a chemix for a good while. Wondering if the brewer makes a difference? Can the ottomatic match a hand poured over coffee?
3. The Technivorm - reviewed over the decade as the best coffee brewer, is this true?
4. The Ratio 8, looks great and a show off piece. But does it make a better cup of coffee?

Could use some help as far as getting the best cup of coffee from the above. We have a dedicated Vario grinder with steel burrs to feed the machine. We use roasted coffee from good companies, our roaster normally gets the coffees to us three days past roast. We have had the Bonivita for several years and like it, is there a better brewer in the above list? Thanks for the advice


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#2: Post by drH »

This can certainly be a hard choice - especially because there is so much more to a brewer than taste in the cup: aesthetics, quality, fun factor, repairability, etc.

I also love the Chemex and considered and Ottomatic. It's beautiful but the online reviews aren't great; that said I haven't seen too many expert reviews. I felt that if I wanted to make a Chemex my best bet was to just do it manually or invest in a Ratio machine that could work with a Chemex-style vessel.

The online reviews for the Ratio brewers are excellent (I've never tried one), and based on James Hoffman's reviews I put that down to good temperature stability and good distribution of the water over the coffee grounds. As I did my research, it seemed to me that the Ratio brewers were probably among the best if you just want a push-button-walk-away experience.

Despite that I chose a Technivorm. Why? Well, it's beautiful and handmade in the Netherlands and I appreciate that. It's simply made with easily available parts, and has a proven track record of longevity and repairability.
How do I like it?
First, I should say that sometime in the last few years, Technivorm updated the water distribution wand and it is somewhat better at distributing water - not 100% better, but a bit. In my experience, left to it's own process, it does a good job at making a tasty cup of coffee.
On medium to darker roasts, it's wonderful, and I don't feel I'm getting imbalanced extractions by letting the machine do it's thing. With lighter roasts, I make it a point to open the lid of the brew basket about a minute into the brew and stir the grinds. This ensures a more even extraction. You can stir again a minute or two later, but I don't bother. With this small intervention, I think the results are excellent. I can understand someone making a different choice. For me, it's one of those pieces of equipment that is beautiful to look at and fun to use - that matters to me and I love the MoccaMaster, but your ultimate choice will depend on your priorities.

MSS (original poster)

#3: Post by MSS (original poster) »

thank you for your reply, excellent recommendations.


#4: Post by chsreason37 »

I've owned 3 of those 4 and can provide some feedback!

I started with the Bonavita (after also having tried the first Behmor Brazen). I thought the Bonavita made great coffee inilt it died. I had issues with the carafe but that's been the theme for every machine I've owned it seems. In retrospect I probably could have / should have just bought another -- but I generally try to buy less and hold on to things longer.

We moved to the Technivorm. I thought it made good coffee. This also coincided with buying lighter coffee and I felt that I needed to be more hands-on with the brewing process than I wanted to be (stirring the grounds and such). Many times I got busy and the pot brewed itself and somehow tasted pretty similar. My wife preferred the looks of the ratio eight so that was what we switched to afterward (despite no real complaints from the Technivorm)...

The ratio eight. Every reviewer loves it. Is it attractive? Yes. It's also huge. Honestly -- I was disappointed with it, for a few reasons. Ultimately I think if it had been much cheaper I would've had more bandwidth to deal with it's quirks. For one, I never got an even dispersion from the showerhead. I checked the levelness of my counters, I shimmed the feet pads to try to level it out, but it always focused on one corner and completely missed the center of the brew bed. So from day 1 I was stirring grounds or spinning the brewer on top of the carafe. I sent it in and the unit I received back didn't improve by much.

The water tank also has little crevices that retain water and even in a normal humidity situation we developed little pink mold in the tank despite daily use and leaving the lid off in between brews. That ended up being the final straw for me eventually. Regarding the actual taste of the ratio's brews -- they were good... My pour overs are quite a bit better, and that's what I eventually moved back to for the mornings. I figured if I was going to be as actively involved in brewing as I had been with the ratio I might as well get the best coffee and that for me was with pour overs.

I think the big decisions between these units is ultimately how much do you want to spend / do you care about looks and then will you be a person that hovers and intervenes while it's brewing. If you can stay hands off I think it would be easy to go back to the Bonavita, or if you like the looks -- the Technivorm -- for longevity's sake.

MSS (original poster)

#5: Post by MSS (original poster) »

Thank you for your input, good to know