Coffee Maker Review: OXO Barista Brain 9-Cup Coffee Maker

OXO On 9 Cup Coffee Maker

Table of Contents

OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker

$159.95
7.9

Price

6.3/10

Coffee Quality

8.3/10

Coffee Maker Quality

8.4/10

Ease of Use

8.6/10

Cleaning Ease

8.3/10

Durability

7.9/10

Appearance

9.3/10

Brew Speed

6.9/10

Versatility

6.8/10

Pros

  • SCAA Certified
  • Available in 9-Cup and 12-Cup
  • Carafe
  • Makes great coffee
  • Freshness counter
  • Easy, sleek interface
  • Clearly marked transparent reservoir
  • Brew pause
  • 7-hole showerhead for even saturation
  • Pulse brew to mimic pour over

Cons

  • Drips when carafe is removed
  • Slow brew (at least 6 minutes)
  • Carafe doesn't pour the last few ounces of coffee

It has been quite a long while since my last coffee maker review, where I took a look at the latest Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) Certified coffee maker at the time, the KitchenAid Pour Over Brewer.

Well, there are some new SCAA Certified coffee makers on the scene, and today I’ll be reviewing one of them.

Today’s review is for the OXO On Barista Brain 9-cup Cofee Maker.

This particular coffee maker is part of the release of a series of coffee products from OXO which includes the accompanying OXO Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder and the 12-cup version of the same coffee maker I’ll be reviewing here.

OXO On Coffeemaker

The Review

Full disclosure: I asked OXO if they would send me the OXO Barista Brain 9-cup for review, to which they agreed. 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. Also keep in mind that I sent back the unit after completing my review.

This is definitely the biggest, but also one of the most attractive coffee makers I’ve reviewed to-date.

It features an LED screen, one button that doubles as a dial, a large, clear water reservoir, and a tall thermal stainless steel carafe.

OXO On LED Screen

I loved using the Barista Brain with its sister grinder (also ambiguously named “Barista Brain”), because dosing was a complete breeze. I will explain why in a little bit, but let’s go over some features and benefits first.

Specifications and Features

  • 2-9 cups (5 oz per cup) of coffee
  • Carafe “mixing tube”
  • Brew pause
  • SCAA Certified
  • Programmable
  • Clearly marked, transparent water reservoir
  • Pulse brew
  • Freshness counter

Easy dosing for 2-9 cups of coffee with a clear water reservoir

One of my favorite things about the OXO On Barista Brain is the large, clearly marked, and transparent water reservoir.

It’s easy to add water to the reservoir, plus, the transparent plastic allows you to easily see the water level and 2 to 9 cup markings. It’s amazing how many coffee makers blow it with the water reservoir when it comes to these 3 considerations, so it was a relief to see that OXO got this right.

The coffee maker either dispenses 2-4 cups of water or 5-9 cups of water with its built-in serving size selector. So this is basically like most auto drip coffee makers in that it simply dispenses all the water that is in the reservoir during a brew cycle.

It wasn’t really clear how choosing the 2-4 cups setting differed from the 5-9 cups setting, so I just chose whichever setting corresponded to the amount of water I added to the reservoir.

Select number of cups

Brewing in 3 quick steps

Once you’ve added your water and ground coffee, brewing is literally as easy as 1-2-3.

You press the OXO button (the only button on the entire coffee maker), select 2-4 cups or 5-9 cups by turning the dial on the OXO button, then press the OXO button one more time to start the brew cycle.

Activating the timer is almost as easy.

Simply hold down the OXO button to access the brew timer, set your time, the number of cups you want to brew, and press the OXO button once more.

The clock icon will appear and your coffee maker will be set to brew for whatever time you set.

OXO On Brew Timer

The Carafe “Mixing Tube”

OXO Carafe Mixing Tube

The mixing tube is actually one of the most unique features that the Barista Brain boasts. When I first read that the carafe had a mixing tube to ensure that over-extracted coffee would be evenly mixed with under-extracted coffee, I pictured some internally moving mechanism inside the carafe that would literally stir the coffee.

Well, this wasn’t even close to what this mixing tube actually is.

It’s simply a silicone tube that connects to the carafe lid to push the most-recently brewed coffee towards the bottom of the carafe.

You see, traditional auto drip coffee makers have the most densely extracted coffee brewed first. Therefore, it theoretically ends up at the bottom of the carafe, meaning that your first pour will consist of the weakest coffee.

The mixing tube is meant to address this.

Whether it makes a difference or not, I really couldn’t say. This wasn’t really something I could split-test, unfortunately.

Still, cool that OXO took this into account. I don’t think it hurts the coffee, that’s for sure.

carafe-warning

Freshness Counter

The “freshness counter” (as I’m deciding to call it) displays how many minutes it has been since your coffee was brewed. It only counts up to 60 minutes, but I found this to be a pretty cool feature for keeping track of how long your coffee has been aging since it was brewed.

I don’t know if this has much utility for most people, but I still thought it was pretty cool.

freshness-counter

My Ratings

These are my ratings for the OXO On Barista Brain across the 9 different rating categories I use. To learn more about how I rate coffee makers, click here.

Price

The Barista Brain certainly isn’t cheap for an auto drip coffee maker, but given its SCAA Certification it is currently offered at a very comparable price to those SCAA coffee makers with the same number of features.

It also makes more coffee than most of the competition, so this should definitely be considered when evaluating the OXO’s overall value.

Score: 3

The Coffee Quality

No issues in terms of how the coffee tasted. It was hot and pretty much delicious every time.

The ground coffee appeared to be sufficiently and evenly soaked by the showerhead, and the fact that the coffee maker brews the coffee using a “pulse pour” (small amount of water distributed over even intervals) means that the process is similar to that of a pour over.

It would have been nice to have the option to adjust the water temperature, but I thought the coffee was consistently great.

Score: 5

The Coffee Maker Quality

The coffee maker is mostly comprised of stainless steel and plastic. I actually really loved the design.

The LED screen against the black backdrop is a really nice touch. Even better is the transparent water reservoir and pump where you can watch the hot water shoot up towards the shower head.

OXO On Coffeemaker Reservoir

The few flaws in this coffee maker’s overall quality are probably its size, its thermal carafe, and the residual dripping once the carafe is removed.

My issue with the carafe is that there is always a bit of leftover coffee that can’t be poured out unless the carafe is flipped completely upside-down.

I know that this is a common issue in thermal carafes, but it would have been nice if it poured every last drop of coffee.

The last issue I had in terms of the coffee maker’s overall quality is that when removing the carafe from under the brew basket, there was always residual dripping that would end up in the circular region where the carafe sits.

This seems like a slight design flaw, but nothing to get too worked up about.

Score: 4 

Ease of Use

Easier to use than the Brazen Plus, but slightly more complicated than the Bonavita BV1900.

To brew coffee, it really only takes a few button presses. However, setting the timer is a little bit less intuitive.

The instruction manual is fantastic and clears up all confusions though.

Score: 4.5 stars

Cleaning Ease

Everything that would need cleaning in this coffee maker is accessible. Also, almost all of the removable parts are top-rack dishwasher safe, including the showerhead.

There is also an indicator for when it’s time to descale the coffee maker, although there is no included descaling solution.

Score: 5

Durability

Of course, since I’ve only been using the OXO On Barista Brain for a short period of time, it’s impossible to say how long it will last.

What I can say is that it’s backed by a 2 year warranty and I haven’t seen many reports of the coffee maker failing amongst other reviewers yet.

I will update this review if I have any issues in the future or hear of others reporting issues, but for now, it gets a perfect score.

Oh, and it’s covered by a 2 year warranty.

Score: 5 stars

Appearance

I’ve already mentioned how aesthetically pleasing I find this coffee maker. I wish it was a little bit smaller, but I can’t really complain too much about this since it brews 9 cups of coffee.

Score: 5

Brew Speed

The brew speed is comparable to the Brazen Plus in that it’s pretty slow for a full pot. I tested it out and it took roughly 9 and a half minutes for a full pot.

5 cups of coffee took 6 and a half minutes. To me, that’s not bad but definitely not the fastest.

In the end, there are certainly faster options, but the only one that will likely heat your water up sufficiently that brews faster is the Bonavita BV1900.

Score: 3 stars

Versatility

The Barista Brain has a lot of cool new features, plus some classic ones. To me, it’s right in the middle in terms of versatility.

It can make coffee, and it can make it well. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much room for experimentation with other brewing parameters like water temperature and pre-infusion. There is also no way to calibrate the boiling point for different elevations (which is really only a feature that a few coffee makers, like the Brazen Plus, have at the moment).

Score: 3.5

Is the OXO On Barista Brain for you?

So is this the coffee maker for you? Let’s break it down:

The OXO On Barista Brainis a great option for those who want an SCAA Certified coffee maker that can make the most amount of coffee. The Barista Brain is currently the largest SCAA Certified coffee maker, offering both 9-cup and 12-cup models.

The Barista Brain is also a great option when its used side-by-side with the Barista Brain Conical Grinder. When these two pieces of equipment are used together, dosing your coffee consistently is so easy.

If you have enough room for it in your kitchen, then it seems like a better option than the Bonavita BV1900TD for its reservoir alone. They both retail at the same price, so it’s really a toss up otherwise.

However, if a programmable timer isn’t important to you the Bonavita BV1900TS seems like a no-brainer option.

The BV1900TS is less expensive, and it has a better carafe. Plus, the BV1900TS brews more quickly than the Barista Brain.

To add the 9-cup (45 oz) Barista Brain to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:

To add the 12-cup (60 oz) Barista Brain to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:

To read my review of the Bonavita BV1900TS, click here.

To add the Bonavita BV1900TS to your shopping cart on Amazon.com, click the button below:

Share your thoughts!

Own the OXO On Barista Brain already? Have questions? If so I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below.

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  • Price

    7.8

    Coffee Quality

    5.2

    Coffee Maker Quality

    9.7

    Ease of Use

    10

    Cleaning Ease

    9.7

    Durability

    0

    Appearance

    10

    Brew Speed

    9.1

    Versatility

    6.6

    I bought this because I wanted to make great coffee at home. Unfortunately, this does not make even good coffee in my opinion so I will be taking it back.

    The way it worked and quality of build seemed very good and the carafe was nice.

  • Price

    10

    Coffee Quality

    10

    Coffee Maker Quality

    10

    Ease of Use

    8

    Cleaning Ease

    10

    Durability

    10

    Appearance

    10

    Brew Speed

    10

    Versatility

    10

    I’ve been using the Oxo On 9 for about a week. I’ve read several online reviews of this coffee maker, all of which point out the “problem” with “residual dripping . . . when removing the carafe from under the brew basket.” It seems there’s a simple cause and cure for the dripping. There’s a small o-ring seal inside the brew basket, which is blocked from closing the stop-drip mechanism if a particle of coffee gets under o-ring. The cure: place paper filters carefully so that they’re fully open and, when washing the brew basket after use, operate the stop-drip mechanism manually to make sure that hot water runs through it and clears any possible loose particles.

  • Price

    6

    Coffee Quality

    8.5

    Coffee Maker Quality

    9

    Ease of Use

    10

    Cleaning Ease

    10

    Durability

    8

    Appearance

    8

    Brew Speed

    9

    Versatility

    9

    I bought one about six weeks ago (I was going to get a Moccha Master but it sounded too fussy, had too many parts to clean, and looked like it was built down to a price), and I have been using it every day. Very simple and fast, no complications at all, only two parts to clean, and best of all, it makes really excellent coffee, particularly when paired with a burr grinder. (I use the cheapest Barrata, called the Encore.) I liked mine so much that I bought two more of these coffeemakers and gave them to friends after I tried mine. I’ll probably get one more for the office. So overall I’d rate it a solid but obviously subjective 8.5 to 9.0 out of 10.

  • I purchased this coffee maker based on the predominantly positive reviews on-line. Unfortunately, my wife and I find the coffee very bitter. I like strong coffee, but it should never be bitter. Water that’s too hot, or longer brewing times where the water remains in contact with the grounds can lead to bitter coffee. So I measured the water temperature as it exited the basket with an empty filter in place. It was around 185 degrees F, which seems about right that the temperature would be 10-15 degrees cooler coming out of the basket vs exiting the shower head.

    The brew cycle is fairly long (around 8 minutes for 7 cups). I noticed other reviewers that took the time to measure the dissolved solids found that indeed the OXO output of dissolved solids is higher than the the optimal target. Maybe that’s why the coffee is so bitter?

    Finally, the clear plastic reservoir may look nice, but it remains steamed up with water vapor after brewing. That vapor eventually condenses after it cools down, leaving liquid water inside. It seems ripe for mildew growth, and indeed reviews from other owners found the reservoir to smell musty after a few weeks of use. You can’t remove the reservoir to clean it, and you can’t leave easily the lid open to air dry without closing the basket lid because the two lids are hinged back-to-back, and only one lid can remain open to air dry at a time. Very poor design decision.

    I’m returning this unit primarily due to the overly-bitter coffee and the longer brewing times, which I believe are related. The annoying lid design that promotes mildew growth over time with no way to clean it is also troubling.

    • Now that’s what I would call a proper review. Thanks for information on how the coffee actually brewed and not just on the maker. Bravo

  • I have been looking for a “good” coffee maker that is preferrably BPA free. However, I have seen the OXO brand show up everywhere I search online so I decided to watch your review. You mention the Bonavita BV1900TS. I just bought it and find that the coffee is warm right after brewing. We pour the coffee right after it finishes brewing and it’s not hot. I’m returning it. Sadly, so far, our Mr. Coffee does better.

  • Price

    4

    Coffee Quality

    9

    Coffee Maker Quality

    6

    Ease of Use

    5

    Cleaning Ease

    1

    Durability

    1

    Appearance

    8

    Brew Speed

    4

    Versatility

    7

    I have owned this coffee maker for 3 months. It now does not pump the water to make coffee. Cleaned the unit multiple time and still only get an intermittent pump on the water. The unit is good looking and the coffee is good. Durability and cleaning are a problem.

  • I really like my OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffee Maker. For us the brewing time is short compared to many others we’ve owned. Coffee is delicious. Not as hot as I like it but a few seconds in microwave does not bother me at all. I open the lid to release the condensation buildup which is no big deal either. Never smell any mildew. Just having to go out today and find the descaling solution since the warning light just appeared this morning. Anybody know where it is sold? Prefer OXO brand. Think maybe Bed Bath and Beyond, which was the only store in my entire city that carried this brand in stock (unbelievable), may carry the solution. Will call before I face driving in all the Christmas shoppers traffic! After trying so many different coffee makers we have decided this is the best one for us. We are pretty happy with it!

  • Price

    6.4

    Coffee Quality

    9.8

    Coffee Maker Quality

    9.9

    Ease of Use

    8

    Cleaning Ease

    7.3

    Durability

    9.5

    Appearance

    9.4

    Brew Speed

    8.9

    Versatility

    9.3

    Own 9 cup 3 months. Brew 6 cups daily, process takes 6 min. including grinding coffee and filling reservoir – do prior to shower! Slower brewing and shower head allows all water to soak through coffee, not overflowing above grounds. Temp is hotter than all previous drip makers, getting more flavor from coffee. Learned that slightly more coarse grind than average eliminates overflow above grounds and provides better flavor over a finer griming, contrary to my previous belief. Cleanup easy, – no issue with a few drips on plate after carafe is removed – part of after brew clean up!
    Highly recommend!

  • Price

    4.3

    Coffee Quality

    0

    Coffee Maker Quality

    9.7

    Ease of Use

    8.7

    Cleaning Ease

    4.7

    Durability

    4

    Appearance

    7.3

    Brew Speed

    7.9

    Versatility

    0

    I just got this coffeemaker, and it will be going back to the store. I found the design awkward – it needs to sit parallel to the counter edge so that you can fill the reservoir, and that takes up too much space in my small kitchen. But the main reason I’m returning it is because the coffee is too bitter. I gave it a few tries, followed the directions, weighed my beans and used the correct grind -but my old Krups Aroma Plus made much smoother, more mellow coffee. I’d be using it still, but i broke the carafe and they’ve discontinued the design.

  • I bought the OXO Barista Brain 12 cups 2 year 6 months ago. It stopped turning on the heating element, just one clicking noise; sounded like circuit trying to kick in. I called the company: they stopped making the 12 cups version, not offering repair service, and have no spare parts available. Since the warranty was only for 2 years, I’m out of luck with OXO. Oh well, the search for a great home brewer continues…

  • Price

    8

    Coffee Quality

    3.5

    Coffee Maker Quality

    7

    Ease of Use

    8

    Cleaning Ease

    8

    Durability

    7

    Appearance

    7

    Brew Speed

    5

    Versatility

    5

    I have had this Oxo 9-cup machine for two months now, and I use a Breville Smart Grind Pro. I’m definitely having issues with bitterness — no matter how fresh the roast, what type of coffee, etc., varying the grind size within the recommended range, etc.

    So my questions:

    – Do others have/use the Smart Grinder Pro with this Oxo machine, and if so, at what courseness?
    – Do folks have a preferred region they like the beans to be from for this particular model?
    – Could the fact that I’m using (and cleaning regularly) the metal filter instead of paper be contributing to this?
    – How many ‘cups’ do people se the Smart Grinder Pro at to deliver 9 cups on the Oxo machine.

    I know, very specific questions, but trying to avoid tossing the Oxo and starting over.

    • One major downside to the Smart Grinder Pro is that regardless of the grind you try and use, there will still be a lot of fines. It has a hard time producing consistent grinds at the coarser levels, which is what the problem may be.

      First thing I would do is keep reducing your grind. Even if you have to go to the coarsest setting, do it. Keep in mind that you can also adjust the inner burr setting by removing the metal rod and twisting the plastic on top of the burr to a coarser setting.

      Two additional things you could try:

      1) If you’ve already gone down to the coarsest grind setting possible, reduce your coffee:water ratio by using less coffee with the same amount of water

      2) Use a sieve to “filter out” the fines in your grind. I often use the Kruve in conjunction with my Smart Grinder Pro on those coarser settings, works great.

  • Price

    5.6

    Coffee Quality

    7.1

    Coffee Maker Quality

    8.3

    Ease of Use

    7.7

    Cleaning Ease

    2.5

    Durability

    7.4

    Appearance

    9.7

    Brew Speed

    8.3

    Versatility

    5.7

    I have been using the oxo 9- cup coffee maker daily for 7 months now and descaled it once manually. Today I noticed a slimy residue inside the reservoir which descaling with citric acid solution did not remove. As I reflect what’s causing this, it occurs to me that I routinely fill the reservoir the night before and set the machine to brew at 6:00 am. The reservoir grows algae lust like an aquarium does. Also, as pointed out by others, moisture remains in the reservoir after the brewing cycle adding to the problem. I don’t think this is mold what i am seeing but algae. The solution would be to make the reservoir removable.
    Interestingly, customer service at Oxo voiced complete surprize over my report and asked for photographs.

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