Coffee Maker Quality9.5/10
Ease of Use9.5/10
- Heat-water-only setting (delay brew)
- Easier to use than the Brazen Plus
- New features added over time with firmware updates
- Stainless steel water reservoir
- Large showerhead
- Brew delay
- Altitude calibration
- Programmable brew timer
- Only capable of brewing 6 or 8 cups
- App interface could be a little better
Longtime Coffee Concierge readers know that my go-to auto drip coffee maker has been Behmor's Brazen Plus for several years now. So when Behmor announced the impending release of the new Behmor Connected, few people were as excited as me to give it a try.
Could the integration with a smartphone app possibly make the Behmor Connected better than its predecessor, the Brazen Plus? Or does it take a step backwards?
Let's find out…
Full disclosure: Behmor sent me this coffee maker in exchange for a review. While I don’t want or think this will impact my review in any way, please be advised that I did not purchase this coffee maker.
So your first burning question is likely:
“What's the difference between the Brazen Plus and the Behmor Connected?”
Glad you asked, my friend. Let's break down the distinctions.
1) App integration vs. built-in control panel
The Brazen Plus is controlled via 8 buttons and an LED screen on the front panel of the coffee maker, right above the brew basket.
The Behmor Connected is controlled via a smartphone app. It also has two buttons on the front panel of the coffee maker, but these buttons have nothing to do with customizing the brew. They are strictly for starting and stopping the brew cycle, as well as connecting to the WiFi network.*
*I'm told that the center button can also do the following:
Can be used as a non-app connected brew button. Can save brew profile in quick start and then touch the center button to brew with.
Holding in the center button for 10 seconds or so will take the brewer back to factory reset.
2) Brew timer vs. brew delay
The Brazen Plus has the option of setting a brew timer to make the coffee at the time the user designates.
The Behmor Connected now (as of 5/12/16) has a brew timer too, that is controlled directly through the app.
Initially, the Behmor Connected only had a “delay brew” feature, that allowed the user to heat up the water without beginning the brew cycle. This feature came in handy if you wanted to grind your coffee fresh as close as possible to the actual brew time.
I believe there are plans to combine the two features in a future firmware update, meaning that you'll be able to set a timer to heat up the water only. However, since adding the brew timer feature, the delay brew feature is only available as a separate feature, meaning that they don't work as a combination…yet.
I imagine this is only temporary though.
Specifications and Features
- 15.5 inches tall with a 9 inch diameter circular base
- Brews up to 8 (5 oz) cups of coffee
- Thermal, stainless steel carafe
- All stainless steel water reservoir with filter
- Large showerhead with so many holes, I'm too lazy to count
- Brew pause (i.e. you can temporarily remove carafe before brew cycle has finished)
- Brew delay (heat up water only)
- Adjustable brew temperature
- Adjustable pre-infusion time
- App notifications when coffee is ready
- Brew timer
- Altitude calibration
- Firmware updates for future features
This last point is a big one because it will allow you to update your coffee maker's features without having to physically upgrade the machine itself.
Future updates are handled through firmware updates handled by the app. One of these updates will allow users to use the Behmor Connected as an “electric kettle” for automating pour over patterns on manual brewing devices like the Chemex.
App option overkill
I think the app is pretty good so far. Definitely better than Mr. Coffee's WeMo.
There is one thing I don't like about it though, and that's the 3-pronged menu you're greeted with at the beginning.
Brew, Buzz, Craft.
Which one do I press and what is the distinction?
Even after going through the manual, it still wasn't intuitive to me. Having more than 1 option seems like overkill to me.
I imagine that this will be worked out in the future, but I think a short description under each option would be helpful for the user to understand the distinction between the 3 different settings.
By the way…
- The “Brew” setting will choose a water temperature and pre-infusion time for you, based on a couple questions. This is meant for the non coffee geek.
- The “Buzz” setting is still be under development but will include roasters coffees and their set brew recipes in the future.
- The “Craft” setting is most similar to the original Brazen Plus. You choose the pre-infusion time and water temperature.
Simple calibration, with a catch…
Many coffee makers do not heat water sufficiently at higher altitude given their one-size-fits-all approach to the coffee maker's heating element.
Behmor on the other hand, takes water temperature very seriously, which is why this feature is especially important for those who live at high altitude.
With the Brazen Plus, calibrating your coffee maker required you to select roughly how many feet above sea level you live before starting the calibration process.
On the Behmor Connected however, this is not necessary.
Here's a timelapse showing the calibration in action. That water is really boiling!
I do have a small grievance with the calibration though. When it was done calibrating, the water was not purged from the reservoir. So I tried to run a brew cycle to purge it and was met with this message:
Fortunately, after asking the folks at Behmor about this I was told that the reservoir can be purged by holding the center button until the illuminated ring turns blue.
You won't be able to use the water you calibrated with for your next brew, so make sure you have some time to spare if you plan to brew up some coffee immediately after calibrating.
A few other notes
- Everyone in a household must sign in with the same user sign on ( I hear same as Nest thermostat requires)
- Will only work on wifi that has a password (closed network). No open wifi. It won’t work presently with wifi passwords with symbols – only letters and numbers.
- Estimated remaining brew time status displays during brewing.
The Behmor Connected is about 50% more expensive than its predecessor, the Brazen Plus. I personally don't think the enhanced user experience that comes with the app is worth the additional cost, yet.
Granted, you're also getting the added benefit of future features, like the programmable timer (integrated with delayed brew feature) through future firmware updates, but I still don't think this is quite there yet as a value add. My opinion on this will likely change with future updates, but until then, this is where I stand.
I imagine the price may also go down in the future, but until then I think most people would go with the Brazen Plus based on price alone.
The Coffee Quality
Coffee quality usually has more to do with the person making the coffee than the coffee maker itself, and the Behmor Connected is no exception to this theory.
Having said that, the Behmor Connected still brews coffee to SCAA standards, and that's good enough for me.
The Coffee Maker Quality
Yes, the Behmor Connected is a high-quality auto drip coffee maker.
Sure, it's made in China and uses quite a bit of plastic (like the rest of the competition), however, the all stainless steel reservoir, large showerhead, and surprisingly dependable functionality with the app make the Behmor Connected top-notch in this department.
Ease of Use
If you really wanted to, you could press the button on the front panel of the coffee maker to get your next pot. But as I've already mentioned, doing this on a regular basis practically defeats the purpose of owning this coffee maker.
The app is pretty straightforward, but at the same time I feel like it definitely needs some work. And Behmor is totally aware of this (I was warned before receiving the coffee maker that there is still a lot of work to be done with the app), so I can't really take away too much here.
Score: 4.5 stars
Behmor does not want you to use vinegar when cleaning this coffee maker, so don't say you weren't warned. Instead, they recommend that you use citric acid like Dezcal to run through the brewer during a cleaning cycle.
The carafe is also not dishwasher safe.
All areas of the brewer are pretty easy to access though. Just make sure you remember to put the carafe under the brew basket. If you forget this important step you'll end up with a mess that looks like this:
I'm always weary of the dependability of technology, especially when there are a lot of moving parts.
My biggest issue here is that if the app malfunctions, the Behmor Connected will lose a lot of what makes it worth using to begin with.
So far, the Behmor Connected has held up nicely, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have some concerns here.
Score: 3.5 stars
Looks just as spaceship-y as the Brazen Plus, except it has a super bright light in the front that changes to all kinds of funky colors, depending on what stage of the brew cycle the coffee maker is currently in.
The good news is that this bright light will be muted in a future update to the firmware.
6 cups of coffee took 10 minutes, which included a pre-infusion time of 45 seconds.
But you have to cut Behmor some slack here, the long brew time is really just a byproduct of heating the water sufficiently, which is something most auto drips fail to do.
Score: 3 stars
Versatility is the name of the game with the Behmor Connected.
Custom brew temperatures and pre-infusion times make it one of the most versatile coffee makers of its class.
I can't give it a perfect score without a programmable timer though. I know it's on the way in the next firmware update though, so I'll be sure to update this score when the feature is added.
Is the Behmor Connected for you?
So is this the coffee maker for you? Let's break it down.
- Are comfortable and/or addicted to using a smartphone
- Want to control your brew temperature or pre-infusion time
- Don't want to fidget around with too many buttons
- Want to be able to make at least 6 cups of coffee at a time
- Want new features in the future without having to upgrade your coffee maker
Then I highly recommend the Behmor Connected.
- Don't like the idea of using an app to control your coffee maker
- Want to control your brew temperature or pre-infusion time
- Are on a relatively tight coffee maker budget
If you want an auto drip coffee maker that simply makes great coffee without anything more than the flip of a switch, my choice is the Bonavita BV1900.
For smaller doses (5 cups or fewer), I recommend the Bonavita BV1500.
Share your thoughts!
Own the Behmor Connected already? Have questions? If so I would love to hear from you. Please leave your questions or comments below.