An obsessive coffee aficionado uses the pour-over method to get the absolute maximum control over the way the cup comes out. But not everyone has 20 minutes to sit there babysitting every cup, making sure 500 mL of water takes exactly 4 minutes to saturate the grinds.
Can you do less work and still get a perfect cup of coffee? That's the idea behind the Brazen brewer, an automatic coffee maker with more customizable settings—and hands-on control—than you've ever seen on any drip machine.
What Is It?
A $200 coffee machine that makes minute adjustments to produce a precise brew.
Who's It For?
Not for the type of guy who just drinks whatever comes out. This is for coffee nerds who want the convenience of a drip machine with the quality of a manual extraction.
Beautiful. Futuristic. A heating element warms water in a stainless steel reservoir. That water exits a spray head, which evenly soaks a basket full of grinds, then drips into an insulated pot.
Grind beans, fill reservoir, dial in several settings and brew up a precisely calibrated carafe.
The Best Part
You have an incredible amount of control over the brew. Use a (separate) grinder to get a chosen coarseness, then program the desired water temperature (between 190 and 210 degrees), set a pre-soak time, and hit start.
All that customization is a lot of work. And you have to know what you're doing. This is comparable to the effort of pour-over, except the machine has a thermometer and timer built in.
This Is Weird...
It's so detailed, you have to set your altitude so it can factor in the effect on the water's boiling temperature.
- Did a blind taste test with 3 people (including Buchanan) using coffee brewed from two other systems—the Bloom pour-over and the Technivorm MoccaMaster.
- We tested using Kenya Ngunguru beans from the uncompromising Tonx roasters.
- The pour-over coffee was the best in the test. Cleanest and smoothest by a noticeable margin.
- The cup from the Technivorm, long considered one of the best drip machines you can get, was not bad. But it was a bit sour compared to the bold, fresh cup from the Brazen. So, Brazen over Technivorm.
- With 10 ounces of water, the Brazen brewed in about eight minutes.
Should You Buy It?
This is not the coffee maker you're going to just grab by chance on your next trip to Costco. But if you really care about coffee—so much that you'd be willing to spend the better part of a half hour making a manual cup—then yes. The Brazen, by comparison, is very easy to use, yet customizable enough for you to control any aspect of its performance. Very accurate extraction. Really smooth cup of coffee.
• Price: $200
• Capacity: 1.2 Liters/ 8 cups
• Temperature control: Variable, 190-210 degrees
• Material: Plastic with a stainless steel insulated pot
• Color: Black and chrome
• Height: About 16 inches
• Gizrank: 3.5 stars
Photos by Michael Hession