To all the serious coffee drinkers out there, here’s a great drip brewer for you - OXO On Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker. It is one of the very few models to have SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) certification that can produce the classic “gold-standard” cups of coffee every time.
The OXO Barista Brain is an ideal buy for people who would like to brew a special cup every single day and also those who want to brew hot chocolate, tea, or other such recipes.
In this Oxo Coffee Maker review, we are going to look at its features comprehensively and see how it stands out from the rest:
Table of Contents
There are many great things about the OXO On Barista Brain 9-cup coffee machine as mentioned below. But as a matter of fact, it also has some drawbacks. We think that its pros certainly outweigh the cons:
OXO Barista Brain Coffee Maker has modern and elegant aesthetics with sleek finishing.
The brushed stainless-steel carafe, black plastic accents with clear water reservoir has the ability to enhance any kitchen’s decor. Its minimalistic design is what makes it look simple yet handsome.
Overall the brewer measures 15” W x 8.3” D x 17.2”H, so it might be a bit too tall to sit under the cabinets. You might want to pull the brewer out entirely for refilling or clean up, especially if you have low-slung cabinets.
Main large cylindrical body comes with 1.3L (45 ounces) water tank with a heating system integrated right below it. Right beside the water tank, there’s a brew basket where your type-4 cone paper filter will go. And, underneath the brew basket, there’s premium-made double-wall stainless steel carafe.
The OXO Barista Brain is an intelligent coffee maker with new SCAA certification.
The brewer proficiently meets the “Gold Cup Standard” instituted by the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America). Which also means that it can consistently brew classic golden cups every single time, without compromising with its quality and taste.
According to the SCAA, this brewer will brew your coffee at optimal temperature and time. It makes use of a short brew cycle at first, so the coffee “blooms”. Then the process is followed by several such brew cycles at timed intervals for full flavor extraction.
At the heart of this unit, there’s a microprocessor designed to monitor real-time brewing parameters. Throughout the brewing cycles, the microprocessor will keep an eye on the speed of water flow, water temperature, brewed coffee volume and total brew time.
The “barista brain” chip works to balance these parameters to ideal values and deliver optimum results. The programming will cause hot water to pulse over the coffee grinds slowly, so they “bloom"- just like done by professional baristas in cafes.
The stainless-steel thermal carafe is vacuum insulated to retain heat effectively and keep your coffee hot (above 150°F/66°C) for approximately 5 hours.The water tank is clear and marked, so you can easily read the water level. The flip-up lid of the water reservoir and wide mouth makes filling easier. Whereas, filter basket also has a large opening for easy access.
The LED display on the front is curved and adds to the sleek look of the coffee machine. At a glance, the LED display will show time, brewing status and freshness of the coffee. Once brewing finishes, the coffee cup icon will light up on the LED display. The freshness timer goes on for 60 minutes, so you know how long the coffee has been sitting in the carafe.
The black backdrop and lit LED screen really give the coffee maker a classy appearance.
To control the brewing, there’s just one circular dial, which also doubles as a push button. Twist the dial to choose the number of cups and press the button to start the brewing process. It’s as simple as that.
Twisting the dial anti-clockwise will make smaller batch of coffee cups (2 to 4). Whereas swiveling the dial clockwise will make regular 5 to 9-cups of coffee. You can also set schedules through this dial.
The OXO Barista Brain is equipped with “Rainmaker” showerhead. At timed cycles, the water is pumped to the brew basket and pulsed over coffee grinds to mimic pour overs.
The cone-shaped brew basket ensures the coffee grounds bed is sized for even saturation and full flavor extraction, be it for 2 cups or 9 cups. Such design along with internal mixing tube in the thermal carafe makes sure your coffee is brewed with optimal quality and flavor.
Entire brewing process takes no more than 12 minutes.
Carafe mixing tube is one of the most essential features to have in a coffee maker. This tube is connected to the carafe's lid.
Why is it so important?
Know that, in most traditional auto drip coffee machines, the densely brewed coffee goes to the bottom of the carafe, while the rest of the brewed coffee drops on the top. Which is why, the first pour is weak and does not have a rich taste, as it is not mixed well.
The internal mixing tube is designed to address this problem.
When your drip coffee brews, different elements get extracted from the coffee grinds at timed intervals as more water is poured. The tube will push the freshly brewed coffee towards the bottom of the carafe, whilst also mixing it nicely, instead of just dropping on top.Such design of the tube ensures you receive flavorful, rich cups of coffee right from the first pour up to last. You can easily remove this mixing tube for cleaning.
Barista Brain utilizes pour-over and drip method as its brewing technology. It makes use of a disposable paper filter, conical brew basket and wide showerhead for full flavor extraction and precise saturation.
Once heated, the temperature of water is maintained at 197.6°F to 204.8°F throughout the brewing cycle to derive optimal results.
To activate the 24-hour brew timer, simply hold down the ‘OXO’ button for a few seconds. Now, all you need to do is set the time, select number of cups to be brewed and press the button once again.
The LED display will show clock icon and the machine will be all set to brew your coffee at the preset time.
Setting the timer can feel a bit less intuitive. But you can refer to the instruction manual to get a clear idea.
Best thing about OXO On Barista Brain is that it is programmable and lets you select how much coffee to brew and when to brew. It will turn off automatically and there's also a ‘brew pause’ feature that lets you enjoy your cup of coffee before the brewing cycle finishes. Remove the carafe and the brewing cycle will pause, pour your cup and replace the carafe within 60 seconds to start the brewing process again.
Last but not the least, it has a ‘freshness timer’ that indicates how long the brewed coffee has been sitting after the cycle is finished. So, you will know whether the coffee is stale or fresh.
To conclude, OXO Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker comes with significant bells and whistles seen in contemporary machines today, which makes it the best bang for the buck.
The OXO Barista Brain mimics pour over method, as it disperses water evenly over coffee grinds in discrete bursts and produces bold, rich flavor. Which is why, the pour over fanatics are also going to love using this brewer. It definitely does not give that plastic taste during first few brews.
And, the coffee tastes delicious and hot every time. The ground coffee is soaked fully and evenly by the showerhead.
This coffee machine is built by keeping user-friendliness in mind. The controls on the front face of this unit are intuitive and streamlined.
The parts don’t feel flimsy at all. The water tank and thermal carafe are well-designed. And, the carafe has impressive heat retention. The unit comes included with a coffee scoop and 10 paper filters for ease of use.
This is the only drawback about OXO Barista Brain Brewer - its brew time. Though it might not be a big deal for many.
As compared to other machines, this one here takes about 12 minutes to brew 6 cups of coffee, including prepping time and clean up. Its step-by-step pre-infusion brewing cycle is the main reason why it takes so long to brew. The wait is definitely worth the taste, richness and quality of coffee produced. But there is also a possibility of over-extraction from coffee grinds due to the elongated contact time.
You can schedule the machine to start brewing automatically, in order to reduce its brew time and prevent over-extraction of grinds.
Though not such a deal breaker, the OXO brewer does not allow you to adjust pulsing of water or overall brew time. Lack of this feature might not appeal advanced users.
The stainless-steel carafe has a large opening and needs to be cleaned by hand. The unit utilizes paper filters, so disposing used coffee grinds is quite easy.
OXO Barista Brain will indicate when it needs to be descaled and the whole process takes about 60 minutes. And, it is quite easy to run the descaling program. Since its a drip coffee machine, it doesn’t come with various parts to be assembled. The configuration is kept minimal yet efficient.
There is a clear feeding tube integrated right in the center of the water reservoir. If you see any mineral build up in this tube, you can run a manual descaling program.
All the removable parts, including the showerhead, are top-rack dishwasher safe. The brew basket can also be fully removed for cleaning.
Only flaw about this unit is the residual dripping that happens as you remove the carafe. So, you need to clean the carafe area frequently.
OXO Barista Brain is quite easy to set up, program and clean up. It is a bit bulky and tall to sit on the kitchen countertop, so you need to consider the space before buying this brewer.
The OXO coffee machine has got quite a few cool features, along with the traditional ones. And that is what makes it so versatile.
But when it comes to experimenting with pre-infusion or water temperature, there’s limited scope. Other than that, it still ticks all the boxes of a good drip brewer.
The OXO Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker is a great option for people who want a premium SCAA-certified drip coffee maker that can produce multiple cups of rich coffee and keep it hot for hours. It is also an ideal buy for people who are looking for a programmable drip coffee machine.
The Barista Brain is one of the largest coffee makers with SCAA certification to offer 9-cup as well as 12-cup models.
If you already have a premium coffee grinder and utilize gourmet beans, this coffee machine is going to make the most out of them.
The OXO On Barista Brain 9-cup coffee maker tilts on the costlier side. However, if you want to brew rich, golden cups of coffee every single day, then the Barista Brain is definitely worth investing in. It produces top-notch, well-extracted, flavorful taste at a reasonable price.
Besides, its programmable design, SCAA certification and 2 years of warranty further add to its reputation.