It’s not breaking news that we are huge coffee drinkers here at GearOwner.com which is why the OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System is the perfect machine to review. I’ve been learning the art of the pour over for years, and it’s still not something I’ve perfected. Perhaps that just my inability to be consistency, or my general impatience, thankfully the Oxo coffee maker removes a lot of the thought from making a great cup of coffee.
Let’s start from the beginning. Regularly brewing great coffee is all about consistency. You have to grind the beans in the right way, weigh all the elements correctly and then combine the correct temperature of water at the correct speed in the most consistent way. You could just drop a couple of spoonfuls of Cafe Bustelo into a Mr Coffee and fill it up with tap water. As you probably now know thats not how we roll over here. We need to work out the best way to solve a problem, and for years that was using the pour over method. It allows you to control all the elements needed. I would pour 340 grams of filtered water from my gooseneck Bonavita 1.0L Electric Kettle to 21 grams of (medium setting burr) ground coffee. The morning task of brewing a single cup of delicious coffee took around 5 minutes. That time is doubled most mornings when I make coffee for my wife. After a few years I lost the peaceful feeling of carefully crafting each cup, and it just started to feel like a chore.
I had stopped looking for a machine that would understand the intricacies of crafting a great cup of coffee, mainly because I don’t trust the general publics need for tasting the subtleties of coffee. Most people seem to love Nespresso machines, and in my opinion they make a pretty rough cup of joe, not to mention the environmental disaster that are those little pod. There’s nothing better than adding used coffee grounds to the compost pile for next seasons raised beds. Well, finally I decided with my second child coming that my 15 minute coffee ritual had to change, so I did some basic googling of new machines, and quickly found the OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System. There weren’t many clear reviews online, so I found a reputable retailer who would take the machine back if I wasn’t satisfied and made the leap. There were a few key features that helped make this decision. The machine has a built in scale, it times the brewing period for each size of pot, it allows you to set the temperature and the water compartment is a separate kettle (for my afternoon tea habit).
There are a few things that this machine does not do for you that are still important parts of my coffee drinking ritual. It does not purify the water that it brews the coffee with, so you still need to add clean water to the machine. I use a British Berkefeld Gravity Water Filters for all of our household drinking water. It’s the best and cheapest way to produce fresh tasting water. The Oxo Coffee machine doesn’t grind your coffee for you, so I use a Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder for that. It also does not weigh the coffee grounds that you need to put into the machine, so for that I use a Hario Coffee Drip Scale/Timer.
So what does this machine do for me? It allows me to get the whole coffee process started and then walk away while everything brews. It also consistently makes a solid cup of coffee, so I can dial up or back the volume of grounds depending on the individual beans or my taste. It keeps the coffee warm in a double walled carafe that doesn’t continue to cook the coffee or overheat the brew. It has a timer that alerts you to how long the coffee has been brewed up to 60 minutes, which at first was an odd feature, but has become a nice point of reference when you walk back into the kitchen and realize you had spent more time than you thought procrastinating. It controls the water temperature perfectly for a prolonged period, so that you can use the left over water to heat a mug, or brew a separate cup of tea for the non-coffee drinker. I use the ratio of 9 grams of coffee per cup, which means at a bare minimum you’re grinding 36 grams of coffee for the 4 cup setting. I find that the drip system doesn’t seem to cover 36 grams of coffee perfectly, and 4 cups isn’t enough for 2 people in the morning, so I tend to grind 54 grams of coffee for the 6 cup setting. I would advise you detach the kettle from the coffee maker and boil the water before you grind your beans, otherwise your freshly ground beans will be sitting around for a few minutes before they get soaked. I’m not sure that 3 or 4 minutes makes a big difference, but why freshly grind coffee to then watch it sit around for anymore time than it has to.
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System Features
Water Chamber as kettle – The water chamber that doubles as an electric kettle is a huge feature. The biggest comparison most people will make to this machine is the 9-cup version also by Oxo. There are a few small differences in the machines but the main deciding factor was the separate kettle on the 12-cup coffee brewer. It’s hard to justify the $100 price increase and I was worried about the extra counter space it will take up, but when I realized that I would be gaining back the space from losing the electric kettle, it was a no brainer. The removable kettle allows you to make tea but it also leaves you some hot water to heat a coffee mug before pouring your drip coffee.
Scale – The built in scale is not immediately that impressive of a feature. It can’t weigh grounds, for example, but it does control the volume of water that goes into the coffee and it appears to do that very accurately.
Water Temperature dial – You could just leave this dial set at 212 degrees and just let the water boil, but if you’re a tea drinker this feature allows you a lot of flexibility. Green Tea and Black Tea require very different water temperatures. Most coffee brewing guides recommend using water that is at 205 degrees. Of course you can adjust this with taste but you should not have the water set at the maximum 212 for coffee.
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System Pros
- Makes up to 12 cups of coffee
- Separate kettle feature for tea
- Accurately heats water to desired temperature
- Keeps coffee warm without burning
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System Cons
- Very expensive for a home kitchen drip coffee maker
- Takes up a lot of counter space
- Doesn’t brew single cup accurately or less than 6 cups consistently.
- More parts to keep clean than pourover
- Digital display button slower to respond than I like
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System – Recommended Accessories
OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System – Conclusion
Brewing Coffee is much like transporting cameras, theres not one system that solves every problem. However for most home brewers theres an easy trade between taste and convenience that with a few small adjustments can allow for some pretty darn good coffee. I have definitely gone through most of the home brew methods trying to find one that works the best. I own a chemex, a french press, a mocha pot, several pour over options and a few coffee machines. They all have features that are desirable at certain times and features that are a pain at others. The OXO On 12-Cup Coffee Brewing System is my current machine of choice mainly for its convenience and ability to brew 6-12 cups of consistently good coffee much like a pour over but in greater volume. This is the perfect machine for a couple who both drink a couple of cups of coffee throughout the morning. I still occasionally make a single cup pour over or flick on the espresso machine for a quick flat white, but for the day to day cup (or three) in the morning I’m more than happy with my Oxo.