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Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker review: Oxo’s latest coffee maker is our new favorite drip machine – CNET

Meet our new favorite drip coffee maker, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup.

Brian Bennett/CNET

A quality drip coffee maker should brew fast and hot, but it shouldn’t scorch your grounds. Few coffee machines can pull off this delicate balancing act, but the $170 Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker is one of the rare machines that does. For $20 less than the well-respected $190 Bonavita Connoisseur, the Oxo Brew delivers SCA Golden Cup-rated coffee that tastes just as good.

How it stacks up

Like

  • Compact
  • Attractive, sturdy design
  • Brews excellent pots of coffee quickly
  • Thermal carafe doesn’t drip while pouring

Don’t Like

  • The filter basket could be easier to fill

Oxo’s latest electric coffee maker also comes with a thermal carafe that, unlike the Bonavita’s, isn’t prone to messy drips and spills while you pour from it. The Oxo coffee maker is compact, easier on the eyes than the Connoisseur, and it feels sturdier, too. All that makes the Oxo Brew 8-Cup an outstanding purchase, and enough to earn our Editors’ Choice award for drip coffee makers in 2020.

Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker side

Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker side

The Oxo Brew 8-Cup is compact, sleek, and stylish.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Small and sleek

Physically, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup is everything its beefy Oxo 12-cup and 9-cup predecessors weren’t. Those machines were huge and bulky monstrosities, especially the Oxo Barista Brain 12-Cup Brewing System, which towered over other small kitchen appliances and ate up valuable counter space. 

The Oxo Brew 8-Cup is comparable in size to the Bonavita Connoisseur. Both coffee makers are compact enough to tuck away under kitchen cabinets when they’re not in use. Because of the Oxo’s sleeker lines, plus lots of open space between its various parts, the Brew 8-cup appears downright svelte next to the chunkier Connoisseur.

Aesthetics aside, the Brew 8-Cup is set up like many other high-performance drip coffee makers. A heating unit tower and water tank (40 ounces, 1.2 liters) sits on one side of a long base. You’ll find a double-walled thermal carafe across from that. A funnel-shaped brewing chamber lives directly above the carafe.   

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Here’s a view of the top of Oxo’s latest coffee maker.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Using the Oxo Brew 8-Cup

Making coffee with the Oxo Brew 8-Cup is a straightforward process. First, fill the coffee machine’s water tank. Its maximum (and default) size is 40 ounces. That’s the same water capacity as other premium coffee makers such as the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 and the Bonavita Connoisseur.

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Flip up the lid of the water tank to access it.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Next, flip open the brewing chamber lid. The filter basket inside that accepts standard 8-cup size, flat-bottomed paper filters. Release the basket by swinging its handle arm upwards Then drop a filter inside, add your ground coffee, and place it back into the machine. 

Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker controls

Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker controls

Select your preferred brewing mode, 2 to 4 cups, or a full pot.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Make sure the switch on the brewing chamber is set for a full carafe. Likewise, hit the power button and tap the button labeled “5-8 cups”. If you’d like to brew less there’s also a 2-4 cup button for that purpose. Oxo also includes an optional brew basket designed especially for single-cup brewing. It accepts Kalita wave filters (Kalita 185).

I do have one minor gripe here. The Oxo’s filter basket doesn’t sit flat on countertops. That made it tricky to fill with grounds unless I held it in one hand. The Connoisseur’s filter basket has a flat bottom, so is easier to fill while it’s resting on your countertop.

Performance and taste

Both the Bonavita Connoisseur and its predecessor, the BV1900TS, performed extremely well on my tests. So did the Oxo Brew 8-Cup Coffee Maker. In terms of raw brewing speed, the Oxo Brew was able to fill its pot in an average of 6 minutes and 8 seconds. That’s close to the brewing speed of the BV1900TS as well as the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 (both coming in at 5 minutes, 45 seconds), and faster than the Connoisseur (6 minutes, 25 seconds).  

As outlined in the manual, I used a brewing ratio of 40 ounces of water to 2.26 ounces (64 grams) of medium ground coffee. I also tested with my usual whole bean test coffee sourced from Costco (Kirkland Colombian Supremo).

Regardless, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup’s brewing time is well under the 8 minutes or less the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) recommends for good drip. 

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Thermocouple readings confirmed the Oxo Brew 8-Cup controls its brewing temperature well.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Speed isn’t all that’s required to brew excellent coffee. Precise water heat levels are also vital. Specifically, the correct water temperature range (197 degrees Fahrenheit/92 Centigrade to 205 F/96 C) is critical to making outstanding coffee. I can confirm that the Oxo coffee maker kept its water temperature within a very tight range. 

In the first minute of brewing, the average temperature inside the grounds was 190.3 F (87.9 C), according to thermocouple readings. That’s faster than the Connoisseur, which had a lower average temperature at the 1 minute mark (147.9 F, 64.4 C). At 2 minutes, the temperature inside the Oxo’s brew chamber remained rock solid (189.4 F). By minute 3, the temperature crept up to 197.6 F, then to 199.3 F at minute 4. From here heat levels were steady, barely increasing more than 3 degrees.  

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Reflectometer measurements also confirmed this coffee maker is worthy of the SCA Golden Cup standard.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Our refractometer, which measures the amount of coffee dissolved in the liquid, showed similarly consistent performance from the Oxo. Across three runs using the Oxo-recommended 64 grams of coffee grounds, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup notched closely grouped TDS (total dissolved solids) percentage results (1.4, 1.5, 1.6%). These numbers translate to an average extraction percentage of 25%. 

That’s slightly outside of the ideal range, commonly held to be between 18 and 22%. The Oxo Brew’s manual also suggests using a less precise “8 scoops” of coffee with the bundled plastic scoop. When I measured 8 scoops of my test coffee, it weighed out to precisely 69.6 grams. After brewing again with 40 ounces of water, I recorded a TDS percentage of 1.3. This calculates to an extraction percentage of 19%, which falls squarely inside the SCA range.  

The coffee was strong, complex, balanced, and had no hint of bitterness. The drip I made with fewer grounds (64 grams) tasted fine too, just a little weak. I also made coffee at a strong ratio of 83 grams coffee to 40 ounces of water. Bold, intense, and super-concentrated, this was my favorite pot. With an extraction percentage of 23%, it was also a hair outside golden cup range. Regardless of the ratio, the Oxo brewer made coffee that was never bitter and very drinkable. You might have to adjust the coffee and water ratio to your exact preferences, but Golden Cup-territory is very achievable with the Oxo brewer.

Similar to the Connoisseur, the Oxo’s thermal carafe can keep liquid inside it hot for hours. I recorded 3 hours and 45 minutes before coffee in the container dropped below 150 degrees F (66 C). That’s slightly shorter run than the Bonavita 1900 which hung on to its heat longer (almost 4 hours), although the thermal carafe champion is still the Moccamaster (6 hours).

A new option for better drip

I have to say I’m very impressed with Oxo’s latest electric drip coffee maker. The $170 Oxo Brew 8-Cup performs well, whipping up pots of tasty joe quickly. It’s also compact, and attractively styled. I also like that it comes with a single-serve accessory for making automated pour-over, one cup at a time.

All this stacks up favorably against the competition. Until now, my drip coffee maker of choice has been the $190 Bonavita Connoisseur. However, the Oxo Brew 8-Cup brews just as well and faster, and looks better doing it. It costs $20 less too, and does a little more. That’s why it’s clearly superior in my book, and the winner of our Editors’ Choice award.