When I cranked this blog up again last month, I pondered the question: What is The Coffee Minimalist? I had no answers then, just as I had no clear definition for those I met at Coffee Fest when asked what I write about. But as I continue to explore the role that specialty coffee plays in my life, it’s easier to figure out what this blog is not.
And I know this: The Coffee Minimalist is not an expert review site.
Although the early days of this blog included explorations of various brew methods, I think that was just an excuse to collect as much coffee gear as possible. Now I am in the process of slimming down my brewing equipment, focusing on what brings the most joy, and I’ll leave the gear reviews to professionals.
For example, this article on Reviews.com goes into great detail on the best drip coffee makers. It’s an interesting read, even for someone with fair coffee knowledge, and their approach to testing and comparing coffee makers is almost scientific. (I would argue that although many home brewers might use a cheap blade grinder, the inconsistency in particle size would prevent a truly accurate side-by-side comparison.)
While they give top marks to the OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System (and it’s smaller 9-cup sibling), my inner coffee-nerd was more excited to read about the performance of the Behmor Brazen and the newer model from Bonavita. I wrote about our own Bonavita two and a half years ago, and that machine is still going strong, currently setup at my office so I can brew good coffee where it’s most needed.
Since I started curbing my unnecessary spending, I never bothered to look into the newer models from Bonavita, but this article pointed out a few interesting changes. The current Bonavita Brewer has a flat bottom filter basket, as opposed to the Melita-shaped cone of my older model. While it maintains a single button for operation, there is now a pre-infusion cycle which can be activated by holding down the button until it blinks.
I’ve been handling pre-infusion manually on our Bonavita, turning the machine off after enough water is dispersed over the grounds, then turning it back on after it’s had time to bloom. I also use another trick late in the brew cycle, giving it a little “Rao Spin” to shake up the grounds, which helps dislodge anything stuck to the sides of the cone to create an even bed during the latter half of the extraction.
So I won’t be upgrading our Bonavita anytime soon, but there are certainly more highly-capable brewers available today than there were three years ago. Thanks to the crew at Reviews.com for stumbling across my blog and reaching out with their coffee maker article, and I hope it proves useful to anyone shopping for a better automatic coffee brewer.