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When OXO approached me about sending me their new 8 cup coffee maker for review, I was a little leery. This is a manual brewing blog after all and I have been championing manual brewing methods for the last six years. After some deliberation, I decided a sponsored OXO 8 cup coffee maker review could be fun. The auto drip coffee maker scene has seen some changes since I last visited the subject in 2014. Let’s see what this new wave of automatic brewers is all about.
OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker Pros and Cons
The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is a lovely looking coffee machine. I had the brief (fleeting) fancy to shoot an unboxing video on my YouTube channel when it arrived but I abstained. The branding and the machine itself are beautiful, a nice appearance upgrade to many of the automatic coffee makers out there.
I spent a month or so testing this brewer and evaluating it. I made coffee for the office* with it, I made lazy Saturday morning coffee with it and I made one and two cup batches with it. My overall impression is that it is a well made and thoughtfully designed machine.
I did not prefer coffee brewed with the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker to my usual pour-over ritual but if you are looking for an automatic coffee maker, this one should be seriously considered. Here are the pros and cons of this automatic brewer:
- Looks great- As I mentioned above, this coffee maker is beautifully designed and doesn’t need to be hidden in your kitchen’s appliance garage (if you have one of those).
- Can brew a single cup (it is pretty good too)– This is a very nice feature. The achilles heel of many “golden cup” automatic coffee makers is that they brew their best coffee with a full batch. The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker makes a great single cup of coffee.
- SCA certified brewer- I will talk a little more about this feature later but this basically means it has been tested by the Specialty Coffee Association and it meets their standards.
- Thermal Carafe (no heat plate)– Sitting on a heat plate is bad for coffee, this coffee maker includes a thermal carafe that keeps your coffee warm without scorching it and ruining the taste.
- Good size (not overly large)- Compared to some of the coffee makers in it’s class, the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is a reasonable size (14.8″L x 9″W x 16.125”H). It fits neatly under upper cabinets and leaves space on the counter for other things.
- Reasonably priced (compared to other SCA brewers)- While the price of this coffee maker will vary, this coffee maker is on the lower end of the price scale for SCA certified brewers. (You can check the current price here).
- More convenient than manual brewing- If you are looking for convenience, brewing with an automatic coffee maker like the OXO 8 cup coffee maker is certainly a little less time consuming and intense than manual coffee brewing.
- Can brew good coffee at full capacity- This coffee maker brews a good cup of coffee at full capacity with golden ratio (1:16.6 coffee to water ratio) dosages. This is important because a common automatic coffee maker “hack” is to brew at about 75% capacity so you can fit all the coffee grounds in the brewing basket without it overflowing.
- Small capacity- The OXO 8 cup coffee maker maxes out at eight 5 fluid ounce cups of coffee or about 1183 mL of coffee. This is an amount that can be reasonably brewed in a large Chemex.
- Limited filter options- This coffee maker is a flat bottom brewer. It also comes with an insert to brew smaller batches with a Kalita 185 filter. It would be really neat if they made a v60 insert that could be sold separately. I was able to use my Bairro Alto Air with the filter basket removed (it took a little finagling).
What filters does the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker use? The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker uses standard sized flat bottom filters for larger batches and Kalita 185 filters for smaller batches. For large filters, I recommend using Melitta’s white coffee basket filters.
- Not a manual brewer- It can be hard to give up the control and ritual of manual brewing for the consistency and ease of an automatic coffee maker. I enjoy coffee brewed manually over coffee brewed with this machine.
- Needs a little intervention to brew the best cup- I found this coffee maker brews its best coffee when I stir the coffee bed in between the bloom cycle and the brew cycle. (Maybe that is just the manual brewer in me wanting to participate). This is quite common with automatic drip coffee makers and manual brewers alike.
OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker Review- Key Features
There are two key features that deserve a little more unpacking. These features make the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker stand out in a field of ordinary coffee machines.
SCA Certified Coffee Brewer
The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is one of the few coffee makers that is certified by the SCA to brew within SCA Golden Cup standards.
What does that mean?
It means the OXO has submitted their brewer to be tested by the SCA and it meets their requirements for water temperature and brewing time as well as some extraction criteria. To learn more about the SCA certification process you can read about their minimum certification requirements and uniformity of extraction evaluation procedures.
What is the short and sweet of all this? Coffee scientists who have more equipment and experience than me have put this thing through the ringer and have given it their stamp of approval. The OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker is capable of brewing great ‘golden cup’ standard coffee.
The Coffee Pod (K-Cup) Challenger
One of the best features that makes this coffee maker stand out from many in it’s class is it’s ability to brew smaller batches of coffee. This means you can get rid of the K-cup machine and upgrade to a more functional coffee maker. It makes great coffee in single cup batches all the way up to a whole carafe.
Despite the appearance coffee pod machines try to give of some level of brewing control, you really have a limited number of variables to augment on a coffee pod machine. You can control the dosage by adding more or less water but you can’t brew a whole pot or two cups at once.
Replacing a K-cup machine with an automatic brewer does come with a few caveats. To get the maximum affect from this coffee maker, you may want to consider grinding your coffee fresh. You will also need to source good coffee and make sure you keep filters on hand. (Kalita 185 filters are not cheap by the way, expect to pay 13 cents per filter).
I don’t own a K-cup machine but I have no doubt that a carefully brewed cup of coffee from the OXO coffee maker will be vastly superior.
How does this feature of the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker compare to a manual brewed cup of coffee? I found it to stand up tolerably well. While I preferred a cup of coffee brewed by hand, the coffee out of this machine turns out great. Perhaps with some personal tweaking and experimentation you could get a cup of coffee that rivals (or betters) your manually brewed Kalita pour-over.
OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker Review- Final Thoughts
Maybe you are looking for a coffee maker to make coffee in the morning or for hosting. Maybe you like to brew your coffee manually but your spouse would prefer a coffee machine. There are lots of reasons to own an automatic coffee maker.
While I prefer to brew my coffee manually, there are many times that I am grateful for the ability to “press the easy button” and spend my time focused on something of a higher priority.
If you are looking for a new coffee maker, the OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker should make your short list. Besides it’s solid construction, design and price point, this coffee maker meets the SCA’s certified standards and can brew a variety of batch sizes. It is a versatile brewer the can fill the gap between meticulous manual brewing and “dump and run” drip coffee.
If you have an OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker, what do you think? Are there features that I should have noted? Are there drawbacks I haven’t considered? Would you be interested in a V60 style filter basket attachment? Let me know in the comments below.
*As I don’t exactly work in an office, I use this term loosely.