Hot or cold, there’s no beverage I love more than coffee, and because of that one of the features I made sure I had in my new kitchen was a coffee bar. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was what kind of coffee makers to add to it. I was just asked to review 3 new appliances from OXO: will these be just what I have been searching for?
I’ve tried quite a few different makes and models of coffee machines over the years, and I have both an espresso machine and a single cup brewer right now. But as my husband has switched to coffee over the past few months, I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t switch back to a drip brewer. After all, drip brewers are more economical, you can make an entire pot of coffee at one time, and if you use a drip brewer like the OXO Barista Brain, you can make an amazing pot of coffee in 5 minutes of less.
I tested out the OXO Barista Brain for a week, and along with it I used both the OXO Clarity Electric Kettle and the OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated scale. On their own they’re amazing appliances that do their jobs quickly and effectively, but put together they form an amazing system anyone with a love of good coffee would appreciate.
Testing out the OXO Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker
I knew it was time for my old drip coffee maker to retire when I realized the coffee I made at home was never as good as the coffee at my friend’s house, but now that I’ve used the OXO Barista Brain, I’m not so sure anyone outside of an actual barista can compete with the cup of coffee I just made at home.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker isn’t an ordinary drip coffee maker. To start, it doesn’t look like a drip coffee maker at all. It’s got a clear water reservoir and an insulated carafe to hold your coffee. Inside the water reservoir is a tube that bubbles when the water is pumped out, and it’s a sleek system that’s very counter-top friendly. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed watching coffee brew before this. Even my kids were captivated by the bubbles.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker can make a great cup of coffee because it was designed to focus on water temperature, optimal flavour extraction, and has a microprocessor to control the brew cycle. The water is heated to the perfect temperature before it is distributed over the coffee grounds, and the pump distributes the water over the coffee in the cone in timed cycles, just like an espresso machine would. That means it doesn’t just drip water over your coffee and pour out a cup: with the OXO Barista Brain, you get the ultimate flavour extraction from your coffee grinds.
The coffee is expressed into a double insulated carafe that keeps your coffee piping hot but is cool to the touch. The second your coffee is done brewing you can take the carafe and put it anywhere without worrying it’s going to heat up your table or counter.
How does it taste? It’s pretty amazing in my opinion. I was surprised the coffee was just as good as my single serve brewer, and the best part? The OXO Barista Brain coffee maker can make you single serving if that’s what you’re interested in.
It also brews very quickly, which is really helpful in the morning when you’re ready for it, and there’s a 24-hour programmable brew start so you can wake up to the amazing smell of coffee filling your kitchen. It stays hot too: I checked the coffee in my pot after 5 hours and it was still really warm.
Included in the box with the OXO Barista Brain coffee maker are several paper cone coffee filters so you can make coffee right away, and they are a great green switch if you’ve been using single serve cups the way I have.
Using the OXO Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale
Before you can brew coffee at home you either have to buy ground coffee or grind your own beans, and for the best cup of coffee, I highly recommend grinding your own beans. Just try it once: if you’re a coffee fan, you’ll notice the difference in your first cup.
Although I love ground beans, my own coffee grinder is a small, handheld device that really only has one option: just press it down and wait for your beans to grind. I have to rely on a visual inspection to see if they’re ready to use.
That’s why I was pretty excited to plug in a coffee grinder like the OXO Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale. I’ve never used a coffee grinder with this many features, and now that I have I don’t think I’ll ever be able to turn on my little coffee grinder again.
The OXO Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale has so many choices for grinding that it’s hard to know where to start. Once you place your beans in the top reservoir you can select whether or not you’re grinding beans for your espresso maker, drip coffee maker, or French press. There’s options in between too, so you can customize your grind. Once you’ve decided you can also choose a strong or medium grind for your beans.
It takes just one touch to start the OXO Conical Burr Grinder and your beans will start grinding in the holder. It’s been specifically designed to not heat up your coffee beans while grinding, so you are extracting the max flavour without any bitter after taste.
If you’d like to grind your beans according to weight, you can do that too. To use the integrated scale you just need to turn and touch the dial and watch. As the beans are grinding, the burr grinder is weighing the coffee. This is handy if you’re looking for an exact amount of coffee to use for an espresso machine or drip coffee maker.
It’s surprising that the OXO Burr Grinder is so easy to use considering how great it works and how it lets you customize your bean grinding. With beans ground this perfectly, you’re definitely getting the best cup of coffee every time.
Testing the OXO Clarity Cordless Electric Kettle
Why would you want an electric kettle when you can use your stove or microwave for hot water? I had no idea until I used one, but now I know: it’s far faster and more effective to boil water in an electric kettle.
When I unpacked it, the first thing I noticed about the OXO Clarity Cordless Electric Kettle is the clear glass design. It’s easy on the eyes, and if you’re putting it on a coffee bar with the OXO Brain Barista lineup or a stainless steel coffee machine, it fits right in.
Setting it up was as simple as adding water and plugging it in. It has a light up switch so you can just tap it and you’ll know it’s turned on, and it begins boiling water almost instantly. I watched it as it began to heat up and bubbles began appearing at the 30 second mark.
The OXO Clarity heated up the water to boiling point in just a few minutes, and because it’s a cordless kettle, all you have to do is lift it up and you can take it anywhere without being tethered to the wall outlet.
I loved how hot the water was so quickly, and it was much faster than trying to heat water up in my microwave. I have a great, brand new range with burners that heat up instantly, but the OXO Clarity kettle was much faster than my stove top kettle too.
Although the kettle heats up, the handle does not, so you can easily pick it up. It also has an auto-off switch so if you walk away while it’s boiling, it will turn itself off.
Overall thoughts on the OXO lineup
I’ve used OXO accessories for other tasks in the kitchen so I was familiar with the brand, but I was really impressed with the OXO Barista Brain coffee maker, conical burr grinder, and the Clarity electric kettle. They work great, and they also look great on the counter top.
I’d use each of these OXO appliances on their own any day, but when you put them together you’ve got an amazing coffee and hot beverage system at home. You can find OXO Brain Barista and OXO Clarity Electric Kettle on Best Buy right now.