Third-wave coffee got you down? Having to know what third-wave coffee is got you even more down? After a decade or more of pour-over, Clovers, and enough safety glass beakers to turn a kitchen into a regional theater production of Frankenstein, the appeal of an old-fashioned plug-and-play coffee maker has revealed itself anew.
Fortunately modern automatic coffee makers like the OXO On Coffee Brewing System combine the best of old and new: smart timers to treat grounds with a little more respect by replicating analog coffee making methods with the convenience of 1960s digital alarm clock technology.
They’re expensive. Let’s get that out there—nobody is going to buy a $300 coffee maker unless it makes a fantastic cup. (And that’s before you splurge for the matching grinder.) Fortunately, the brain tonic that comes out of the OXO On Coffee Brewing System is about as good as you’re going to ever have, thanks to both smart design choices and an “intelligent” set of sensors OXO calls “Barista Brain” that measures time, temp, and volume for each batch.
The larger, 12-cup coffee maker includes a removable water kettle and a setting for heating water up to the right temperature for your tea. (Many teas are best extracted at temperatures far below boiling.) A built-in scale pairs to the temperature sensors to spray water through a shower-head-type sprayer in the brewing chamber at just the right heat for coffee, and even does a little presoak over the grounds to help with extraction. Coffee lands in an insulated carafe, so it stays warm without getting scorched on a heating element.
There’s one thing the OXO On doesn’t factor into its calculations, though, and that’s bean variety: different roasts and bean varietals respond individually to temperatures and brew times, and the OXO On treats all grounds the same.
Still, only a few coffee makers get a SCAA seal—that’s the mark of certification from the Specialty Coffee Association of America—and for years the list included mostly coffee-specific manufacturers like Bonavita and Technivorm. Those coffee makers are great, too—and can be found for quite a bit less than the OXO. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
All Photos: via OXO