PROS / Bonavita's 8-Cup coffee maker works well with either a glass carafe or a stainless steel thermal carafe.
CONS / This coffee maker cannot be programmed to start brewing in the morning on its own.
VERDICT / This no-frills unit is great for those who want a fast cup of delicious coffee.
Bonavita's 8-Cup coffee brewer, our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner, strips away a lot of extras found on other machines and includes only what is necessary to create great coffee. The one-button simplicity of this unit won us over early in the testing process. Its speed and unique design make it one of the best coffee makers on the market.
The flavor of the coffee from this machine impressed our taste-testing panel, and that is not surprising considering the differences in the design. This machine has a large showerhead for distributing water more evenly over the coffee grounds than other units. The large showerhead is designed to encourage uniform extraction and better saturation than machines that send water through the grinds in a much more concentrated stream of water. Also, the filter basket is flat instead of pointed like most others in our drip coffee maker reviews. This encourages more even extraction, too, by giving the water a chance to reach the grounds around the edge more and to stay there long enough to saturate them.
This is not the machine for you if you value a lot of bells and whistles. You can't program it to start the coffee for you in the morning. Someone has to push the button. There is no easy and tidy way to sneak a cup mid-brew either. This might not be an issue because this machine is so fast – the fastest, in fact, of those in our drip coffee maker reviews. You will have a whole carafe full of coffee in less than five minutes.
This is one of a few machines in our comparison that is certified as a home brewer by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. That is certainly not the only consideration, but it is good information. It means this coffee maker has undergone testing to see if it meets standards that are agreed upon by SCAA members – people that are passionate about coffee – in regard to brewing time, temperature, extraction, clarity and more.
This unit gives you a couple options. It comes with a stainless steel thermal carafe, but you can purchase a glass carafe if you prefer that. The glass carafe can be nice because it is dishwasher safe. The thermal carafe requires a little more cleaning. Even though there is no warming plate, the glass carafe is double-walled and the lid is designed to retain heat. Both the thermal and the glass carafe do a decent job of keeping your coffee hot, though on our heat retention tests Bonavita was not the strongest. The coffee stayed hot but not quite as hot as with other units. This coffee maker takes up very little space on your countertop, which can be nice if you have a smaller kitchen.
Conveniences & Safety
We gave Bonavita the only perfect score for ease of use for its wonderfully simple design. You really just have to add coffee, pour in water and then push one button. It may be overly simple if you value being able to program your machine, though. This coffee maker will not wake up on its own and start brewing in the morning. You have to push the button to start, but it does turn itself off when it is finished brewing.
The simplicity also means you will not get an alert when it is time to clean. You will just have to follow the manufacturer's instructions about how often to clean and with what chemicals.
Warranty & Support
Bonavita stands by this machine with a two-year warranty and good access to customer support when you need it. A FAQs page and an online manual will cover most questions, but you can also contact the company with other questions via email or phone. Representatives were responsive to our inquiries.
You may miss a coffee maker that wakes itself up in the morning, but in all other ways this machine is wonderful. The large showerhead design makes it easier for the water to reach all of the grounds for better extraction, and the brewing time was the fastest in our comparison. This machine is simple and small but still manages to get the important things about coffee making right.