CoolBeanz Senior Member Joined: 3 Feb 2013 Posts: 8 Location: Colorado Expertise: Just starting
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 5:04pm Subject: Brazen or Bonavita
I'm somewhat new here and new to trying to make the "perfect" cup of coffee. I enjoy coffee daily out of my aging Saeco machine using a blade grinder and beans from my local Safeway that roasts fresh daily or from Starbucks. Obviously a lot of room for improvement :)
I want to buy a new drip machine. I'm stuck between the Brazen and Bonavita. Leaving out the Technivorm as I do not want to spend $300 for a machine at this time. I like the adjust-ability of the Brazen and the simplicity of the Bonavita but I'm not sure which way to go. They both seem to get good reviews. I prefer the look of the Brazen but could live with either. The Bonavita is $50 less, not a big deal, but $50 is $50. Any thoughts on which way I should go, pros, cons? If it makes any difference, I live at 9000' - would the Brazen be the way to go since I can, in theory, better compensate for my elevation?
I will purchase a decent quality burr grinder at the same time, budget around $200 for the grinder.
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 6:01pm Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
About ten years ago home espresso machines made espresso at whatever temperature (or temperature range) the machine was designed for. Now many of them come with electronic temperature controls. Anyone really serious today gets an espresso machine which has adjustable temperature- maybe not as the first machine, but certainly as a second. Is there even one other home drip machine which has this sort of control other than the Brazen? Even discounting all the other features like the calibration function, altitude adjustment, preinfusion (which makes a big difference), the adjustable temperature, and precise temperature control put it at the top of home drip brewers... in my opinion. It gives repeatability, day after day, that allows you to really taste the difference small changes make, and when you find something that works, it is easy to repeat the effort. Add unsurpassed customer service, and I have to ask, "Are there any other questions, class?" See my review on my website for details.
Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013, 9:09pm Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
I own a Brazen, and agree with Randy on it's merits. But to be fair, many nice words have also been said about the Bonavita. My choice also involved the level of customer service (if ever needed) that Behmor provides. They have lots of experience, as they also manufacture the popular Behmor 1600 coffee roaster.
IMO, the Brazen offers the ultimate control for getting the best from your beans via drip method. BTW, one thing often not mentioned about the Brazen is it's ability to emulate a manual pour (Chemex/Hario) style brew profile using the "Manual Release" function. Also, the pre-infusion ability and it's adjustability is unique in an auto drip brewer.
Of course, being a BraZen owner, I'm familiar only with it.
I'm sure you'll hear from happy Bonavita owners as well.
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 6:52am Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
Unless you build a pressurized chamber, nothing can compensate for a 9000 foot altitude. But since the brazen does have an adjustment for altitude it should do a bit better since at least it know where it is at.Check with the Behmor folks and ask specifics about that.
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 7:11am Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
I don't have a Brazen, so this is based only on what I learned on another well respected forum, from a well respected poster.
The reason you set the altitude is so that the device can calibrate it's temperature settings.
The device heats the water until it detects that it is boiling.
By reference to the set altitude, and a resulting assumed atmospheric pressure, it can then calculate what that boiling temperature is, and calibrate its internal settings against that.
Not sure it makes much difference in the actual coffee making process, but it does mean you get the water temperature you set, and allows you to re-calibrate in the future to compensate for any component inaccuracy and drift over time. I'm guessing it then may also stop you from setting a brew temperature higher than boiling, but not sure.
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 10:09am Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
I would guess that if a machine with a boiler open to the atmosphere (not a sealed boiler) is set to boil water at 210, as an example, and has a sensor that will not begin the brew cycle until the water reaches that set temperature, and the machine is at a high altitude where water boils at a lower temperature, the water will never reach that set temperature, the machine will never start the brew cycle, and it will boil itself dry trying to achieve its programmed temperature.
Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013, 10:56am Subject: Re: Brazen or Bonavita
In contrast to that, the Bonavita will just heat water until it boils in the heating element tube, and then pass the water out to the spray head at whatever temperature it comes out at. The Bonavita is consistent and fairly well built, and consistently hotter than most machines, but it's not going to give you the controllability you may need to get the best from your coffee at high altitude.
(Currently drinking an excellent home roasted Costa Rican from my office BV, but at more like 45' above MSL)
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