OXO makes two of my favorite coffee makers: The sturdy, boxy, OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker, and the sleek, conically-shaped OXO Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker. And now, the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker has merged the best of the two coffee makers - the sturdiness of the 8-Cup and the sleek water tank on the 9 Cup – to create a more stylish model.
The new OXO 12 Cup also has the largest brew capacity of the three – although it’s only 1 inch taller and one-inch wider (although almost 2 inches deeper) than the OXO 8 cup. Aside from the new design, the OXO 12 Cup also has a new, game-changing feature: a podless single-serve function. For people who like to brew 2 or 4 cups into a mug or travel cup, but hate using pods, this is an ideal scenario. Also, the ability to brew single serve sizes and carafes (the coffee maker can brew every size from 2 cups to 12 cups), provides a level of variety that’s not found in the vast majority of coffee makers.
OXO includes a small, conical brew basket for brewing directly into mugs, and a large, wide brew basket to use with the carafe. This is important because the flat-bottom basket tends to yield flavors that are sweet and fruity, whereas the conical basket produces a more bitter, citrusy flavor – and with dark roasts, the latter also produces a more chocolatey flavor. The inclusion of two baskets allows me to not only vary brew sizes, but also vary flavors.
The mixing tube (removable) in the carafe’s lid stirs the coffee as it’s being brewed to ensure the last cup tastes as good as the first cup. Also, the double walled stainless steel thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for hours. And since the OXO 12 Cup is also programmable, I can set my desired brew time (for example, 8am) and the coffee maker will start brewing at that time.
The OXO Brew 12 Cup is $299, which isn’t cheap, but considering that it is SCA Gold Cup-certified, and has a rainmaker head to evenly distribute water, the coffee maker is comparable to some of our selections for the best coffee makers – and it’s less expensive than some of those models. Keep scrolling to see how I fared with the OXO Brew 12 Cup.
Terri is a freelance writer living in Birmingham, AL. She has tested hundreds of products, including kitchen appliances, vacuums, bedding, furniture, luggage, and tech gear. Terri has bylines at Architectural Digest, Forbes, Popular Science, CNN Underscored, NBC News, The Daily Beast, USA Today, and US News & World Report, as well as TechRadar, Homes & Gardens, and Tom's Guide. Follow her adventures @Territoryone.
Terri drinks (decaf) coffee every day, and tested the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee maker for several weeks, evaluating design, user-friendliness, flavor, and consistency. She was allowed to keep it for ongoing use.
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Key specs
|Row 0 - Cell 0
|Row 0 - Cell 1
|Type of coffee maker:
|14 x 12 x 8in (h x w x d)
|Water Tank Capacity:
|Brew size options:
|2 cups through 12 cups
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: First impressions
I’ve had the OXO Brew 12 Cup for almost three months, and discarded the box a long time ago. However, the coffee maker arrived securely in a large cardboard box. There was an additional paper cloth covering the thermal carafe to protect it from scratches and dents, and the water tank and brew basket compartment were taped down.
In addition to the coffee maker, the other contents include an instruction manual, coffee scoop, drip tray, and filters for the small brew basket. Upon opening the brew basket compartment, both the small brew basket and the large brew basket were inside, as well as filters for the large brew basket.
The OXO Brew 12 Cup is only available in a stainless-steel finish, but I can’t imagine that other finishes would look as sleek and stylish. It’s a high-quality coffee maker that would look good on any kitchen countertop.
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Price & Availability
The OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker (with Podless Single-Serve Function) is priced at $299.99. It’s available at Amazon, and on the OXO website.
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Design
The OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker is on the compact side measuring 14 x 12 x 8in (h x w x d) and weighs 15.32 pounds.
I love the stainless-steel components on the top and bottom of the coffee maker, and they also form the columns surrounding the conically-shaped water tank. The thermal carafe is also made of stainless steel. While the water tank lid and the brew basket compartment lid are made of plastic, they don’t look or feel cheaply-made.
The OXO Brew 12 Cup does not include a water filter, and if you live in an area with hard water, this may be a negative. However, it does have a descaler notification to let you know when the coffee maker needs to be descaled to remove mineral deposits, such as magnesium and calcium, which can clog the machine’s performance.
The large brew basket, small brew basket, carafe lid and mixing tube, rainmaker shower head, and drip tray are all removable for cleaning. I washed them in the sink; however, everything except the carafe and lid are dishwasher safe. The water tank is not removable, and that’s perhaps the only part of the design that I don’t like. Admittedly, the water tank isn’t removable on the other OXO models, either. But since a removable tank makes it easier to fill and pour out water, as well making it more convenient to clean the water tank itself, this was worth noting.
There are only two controls on the top front panel for all of the coffee maker's features. The Brew button is on the left, and the Control Knob is on the right. There’s a display panel in the middle that allows me to see the settings for selecting and adjusting the features, which include Brew Now, Clean, Set Clock/Timer, and Brew Later. By turning the knob, each of the features is selected – which leads to additional selections. For example, selecting Brew Now brings up a Brew Range (2 to 4 cups or 5 to 12 cups). And, if I select Brew Later, I can select the cup range, and then set the desired brew time.
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Performance
Per the instructions, after unpacking the coffee maker, I cleaned and washed all of the parts. And then I plugged in the coffee maker and set the clock. I can select from 12- or 24-hour modes, and I chose the former. Then, I filled the water tank up to the 12-cup line, selected the Brew Now selection, chose 9-12 cups, and then pressed the brew button to start a brew cycle (without coffee grounds). This is done to flush out any dust or debris from the manufacturing or packaging process. OXO recommends the use of filtered water; I use this PUR faucet mount water filter from Amazon, which I turn on whenever I need water for food and beverages. After the “flush” cycle ended, I poured that carafe of water into the sink.
My next step could have been a critical error: I immediately filled the water tank with more water – up to the 12-cup line, so I wouldn’t have to keep refilling it. However, my first test was using the small brew basket to brew coffee directly into the coffee mug. I happened to glance down at the directions and noticed that the coffee maker uses ALL of the water that’s in the tank for every brew cycle. And since the water tank isn’t removable, I couldn’t pick it up and pour the water out.
So, I switched to making a carafe of coffee first – changing the quantity selection, and brew basket, and also adding more coffee grounds – since that’s the only way to get the water out of the water tank. Honestly, I usually brew into a carafe anyway (since I tend to prefer carafes to single-serve sizes). However, I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d assumed that the coffee maker would follow my quantity selection and it had instead drained the water tank, resulting in water flowing all over my kitchen island and floor.
After pressing the Brew button, the coffee didn’t start brewing immediately. Instead, Preheat was displayed on the control panel. And then, the status changed from Preheat to Brewing, indicating the brewing cycle had started. A few minutes later, there was a beep indicating that the brewing cycle had finished.
Later, I brewed directly into a coffee mug, using the small brew basket – and remembering to only use the amount of water that would fit into the glass mug. To be on the safe side, I filled the glass mug with filtered water and then poured it into the water tank. Then I placed the drip tray on the base and put the glass mug on top of it. After selecting the 2-4 cups quantity, I pressed the Brew button. Again, the Preheat status indicator was displayed first, followed by the Brewing status indicator. Obviously, the mug of coffee finished brewing much faster than the carafe – although the carafe only takes a few minutes. Whether using the mug or carafe, the coffee maker is relatively quiet. I do like the beep at the end, since I’m not always paying attention once the brewing cycle starts.
Regarding cleaning, I hand washed the carafe and lid, rainmaker, drip tray, and brew baskets (although the rainmaker, drip tray, brew baskets, and mixing tube are dishwasher safe). I also used a damp cloth to wipe and dry the exterior of the coffee maker. Since the water tank is not removable, I left the lid open after each use, so any drops of water could eventually evaporate.
When the OXO Brew 12 Cup needs to be descaled, (which is every 90 cycles), an exclamation mark will appear on the display panel next to Clean. I haven’t had to descale the machine yet. However, it’s a simple process of using a descaling solution (or vinegar) and water, running the cleaning cycle, which takes around 25 minutes, and then following up with a water-only cycle.
While using the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker a measured a noise level reading of 51dB. This is equivalent to a quiet conversation or a quiet home.
OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker: Taste Test
I tried a variety of ground coffee brands when testing the OXO Brew 12 Cup, including Zend Decaffeinated Blend, Big Island Swiss Water Decaf Coffee, and Bellweather Obata Honey Coffee. When using the carafe, I also used the mixing tube, which is located in the carafe’s lid. The mixing tube stirs the coffee as it is brewing in the carafe. I’ve tested several dozen coffee makers, and OXO is the only manufacturer I’m aware of that makes a mixing tube. And OXO includes it in all three models.
The mixing tube does appear to blend the coffee well so that the taste is consistent for each cup of coffee poured from the carafe. Whether brewing single-serve sizes or a carafe, the coffee was consistently rich and delicious. While the mixing tube may play some role, I’m sure this is due, in no small part, to the fact that the OXO Brew 12 Cup is SCA Gold Cup certified, which takes into account the brew ratio, strength, and time, to make the perfect cup of coffee.
That’s why the quantity selections are important. The coffee maker makes adjustments based on smaller or larger quantities to ensure that the coffee doesn’t turn out to be bitter, sour, or watery. (However, keep in mind that sometimes, a tad bit of bitterness or sourness is desired, and conical baskets actually produce a more bitter, citrusy flavor.)
And the thermal carafe keeps coffee hot for hours (if you keep the lid on), eliminating those trips to the microwave to reheat your cup of coffee.
Should you buy the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker?
|Price & availability
|Expensive, but worth it. Easily available.
|Looks good, but water tank isn't removable.
|Makes the perfect cup/carafe of coffee.
Buy it if...
You like single-serve drinks, but not pods
Pods can get expensive and they create waste that needs to be disposed of. In addition, some are proprietary, so you’re locked into using only a certain brand. However, the OXO Brew 12 Cup uses regular ground coffee.
You like (or need) variety in your coffee quantities
The OXO Brew 12 Cup can make single serve quantities and also brew 12 cups of coffee. This makes it a good choice for those who want to switch up quantities, and also for households with more than one coffee drinker. And the two brew baskets let you choose the best one for small and large quantities.
You want SCA Gold Cup certified coffee
This coffee maker is designed to make SCA Gold Cup certified coffee, which is considered the perfect cup of coffee. This system uses the perfect ratio of water and coffee grounds, as well as the perfect contact time, water temperature, and a host of other factors. There aren’t many coffee makers on that list, and if the certification is important to you, this coffee maker delivers.
Don't buy it if...
You don’t like refilling the water tank every time
The coffee maker is designed to empty the tank during every brewing cycle, so you can’t just fill it up, and expect to make several single-cup servings through the day. If, like me, you tend to brew pots of coffee, it’s not a problem. But if you want single-cup servings, you’ll need to add the precise amount of water every time you brew a cup.
You want more control
The OXO Brew 12 Cup has done all of the hard work to make it easy to make the perfect cup of coffee. However, some people like to be in control. If you’d prefer to select and adjust your temperature, strength, and other settings, this isn’t the coffee maker for you.
How does the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker compare?
If you’d prefer a coffee maker with a coffee bean grinder, espresso drinks, milk frother, and also a guided menu with touch screen, consider the Breville Barista Touch. It’s seriously expensive at $1,499.95, but has all of the bells and whistles you could ever ask for.
Pod coffee maker lovers might prefer the Keurig K-Supreme SMART Coffee Maker. The single-serve machine has a dual-position water tank, and it also connects via Wi-Fi so you can control it from your phone. And at $180, it’s expensive for a single serve coffee maker, but a bargain compared to the OXO Brew 12 Cup.
How I tested the OXO Brew 12 Cup Coffee Maker
- Tested for several weeks, alternating between single-serve and carafe quantities
- Tested with a variety of ground coffee brands
I tested the OXO Brew 12 Cup for several weeks, off and on. I have a massive kitchen island that can hold several appliances, so sometimes, I would put the OXO Brew 12 Cup aside, and then come back to test it again. When testing, I evaluated build quality, ease of use, performance, ease of cleaning, and, of course, taste.
Read more about how we test.