I recently reviewed the OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup coffeemaker and overall, I was pretty impressed. Still, I knew that even before giving it a try I would need to compare it side-by-side with the Behmor Brazen Plus, which is the only auto drip I'm currently using on a regular basis.

The reason this is a compelling Coffeemaker Showdown is that both coffee makers are SCAA Certified. In other words, the way the coffee is actually brewed is of the utmost importance.

But you already knew that, right?

If you'd like to see the individual reviews for each of these coffee makers, follow the links below:

Behmor Brazen Plus

OXO On Barista Brain 9 Cup Coffeemaker

Behmor Brazen Plus

Brazen Plus

I fell in love with the Brazen Plus a few years ago when I first discovered it at Coffee Con SF.

Sure, I found it to be pretty ugly, but as the Temptations said: “beauty is only skin deep.”

The Brazen Plus is packed with features. I like to think of the Brazen Plus as the perfect solution for the coffee enthusiast who wants to make the large batch of coffee that's unattainable with a Chemex, Hario V60, AeroPress, or other small manual brewing devices.

While it doesn't make quite as much coffee as the Barista Brain, water temperature can be adjusted easily for unlimited experimentation.

OXO On Barista Brain

Unlike the Brazen Plus, the Barista Brain is a very attractive, albeit wide, coffee maker.

What it lacks in features it makes up for in usability and design. With one simple button/dial, you can brew up a pot of coffee without any headache from trying to adjust different settings.

Some of the unique and beneficial things about the Barista Brain is that it currently makes more coffee than any of its SCAA Certified competitors, offering both a 9 cup (45 oz) and 12 cup (60 oz) version.oxo-barista-brain

The carafe also features a “mixing tube” to push the most-recently brewed and thus, most under-extracted coffee, to the bottom of the carafe. This is aimed to make your first cup of coffee your best cup of coffee, theoretically. Who knows though, it could just be anecdotal pseudoscience.

There are a few additional features like the “freshness counter” and the serving size selector too, but these aren't features that I think are significant enough to make anybody choose the Barista Brain over the alternatives.

How These Coffeemaker Showdowns Work

If this is your first coffeemaker showdown, welcome!

Basically, I take two coffee makers and declare a winner amongst the 9 rating categories I normally look at in my reviews. These are:

Price, coffee quality, coffeemaker quality, durability, brew speed, versatility, appearance, ease of use, and cleaning ease.

You can learn more about how I rate coffeemakers here.

The Showdown

Results

It's almost impossible to ensure that all variables are the same across both coffee makers. Additionally, I usually run very few trials across a very small sample size of people, so the results will never be perfect.

So here's what I did for this showdown:

  • 30 grams of medium grind coffee
  • 540 grams of water for an 18:1 brew ratio
  • Blind taste of the two coffee samples once they cooled down
    • The coffee was a light roast, can't remember what I used.

If you watched the video you saw that I preferred the coffee that was brewed by the Brazen Plus. Again, this was just one trial from one person with one set of parameters, so take the results with as many grains of salt as you want.

Price

Both of these coffee makers are very comparable in terms of price, at least at the time of this showdown.

If we're only talking about value though, I'd give this to the Brazen Plus for its additional features, particularly the temperature customization.

Winner: none

Coffee Quality

I can't knock on the coffee that either of these coffee makers will brew up for you. Both do a consistently good job if you're using good coffee and the right grind.

But, temperature matters.

While the Barista Brain meets the temperature standards of the SCAA (195˚-205˚F), it can't be calibrated for those who live at high elevation.

The Brazen Plus can calibrate its boiling point for high elevations. Additionally, the water temperature can be adjusted which certainly matters when it comes to the roast you're using.

Winner: Brazen Plus

Coffee Maker Quality

There aren't really any major differences in construction between these two.

Both are comprised of stainless steel and plastic.

One is large from a vertical perspective (Brazen Plus), the other is large from a horizontal perspective (Barista Brain).

Let's talk about some of the “quality” characteristics I prefer in the OXO On Barista Brain first:

  • The water reservoir is clearly marked and the water is easily visible
  • The LED screen is way easier to read and looks great against the black body
  • Will not brew without water in the reservoir or the carafe out of place

For the Behmor Brazen Plus, the following is what I prefer:

  • Water temperature control
  • Larger showerhead for a more even extraction
  • No dripping when carafe is removed
  • No flipping the carafe upside-down to get the last drops of coffee
  • Stainless steel reservoir

So while I feel the OXO On Barista Brain wins in some regards here, I have to give this to the Brazen Plus overall.

Winner: Brazen Plus

Ease of Use

8 buttons on the Brazen Plus vs. 1 button/dial on the OXO On Barista Brain is the main thing you need to know if you wanted to jump to conclusions about ease of use. And I have to say, neither of the two are so intuitive that you'll be brewing without the instruction manual.

If I had to choose though, this one goes to the Barista Brain. Just two button presses and you'll be brewing great coffee.

You can technically start brewing after pressing just one button with the Brazen Plus, but for your very first brew it will take quite a bit more to set your default brew customizations.

Winner: Barista Brain

Cleaning Ease

Both coffeemakers have some dripping issues post-brew, but this is really the only thing that makes either of them a hassle to clean.

The Barista Brain has an indicator light that comes on when it's time to descale.

Winner: none

Durability

I haven't experienced any performance issues with either coffee maker. I will update this if and when something goes wrong.

Winner: none

Brew Speed

It takes at least 6 minutes for the Barista Brain to brew up a few cups of coffee. The Brazen Plus takes at least 10 minutes, regardless of how much coffee you make.

Neither are fast-brew coffee makers by any stretch, but to me this is a small price to pay for great coffee.

Winner: Barista Brain

Appearance

Although I don't like the size of either of these coffee makers, I find that the OXO On Barista Brain is one of the more attractive auto drip coffee makers on the market.

For what my opinion is worth I suppose…

Winner: Barista Brain

Versatility

The Brazen Plus is still one of the most versatile coffee makers out there given its expansive list of features.

This doesn't mean that the Barista Brain falls short of features, but it's simply up against a juggernaut here.

Winner: Brazen Plus

Brazen Plus or Barista Brain?

If you tallied up the scores you might have noticed that it was a 3-3 tie, given that I didn't declare a winner in 3 of the other categories.

This is a Coffeemaker Showdown first!

It seems like a fitting finish too, because I truly believe most people who are considering these two coffee makers could flip a coin to decide and be satisfied, no matter the result.

But I won't make you flip a coin.

Instead, I'll see if I can steer you towards the right solution for your home coffee-making needs.

The OXO On Barista Brain is best-suited for those who:

  • Want to make the most coffee possible without using a commercial coffee maker
  • Value aesthetics over features
  • Value simplicity over customizability
  • Don't live in high elevation
  • Don't like measuring their coffee and water (easier to eyeball)

The Behmor Brazen Plus is best-suited for those who:

  • Want to experiment with their coffee without too much effort
  • Value features over aesthetics
  • Live in high elevation
  • Don't mind digging into instruction manuals
  • Don't mind measure out water and coffee beforehand

Share your questions & comments!

I'd love to hear what you think about this coffeemaker showdown, so if you have any comments or suggestions please leave them below. Same goes for questions, ask away!