“That coffee maker is crap. No offense”, the rep from Ratio said eyeing our office’s coffee maker as his company’s own was being unboxed.
He wasn’t being pretentious, or trying to be cute. He was just being honest. Ratio is a company founded by Mark Hellweg, who also owns the coffee e-commerce site CliveCoffee and is known for taking his coffee seriously. For years Hellweg had been selling high-end coffee makers to enthusiasts and listening to them complain about flimsy parts, overly complicated programming and overall inelegance. He decided to take what he learned and make something better.
His Ratio Eight Coffee Maker delivers top-tier coffee with the push of a single button. Hellweg strove to combine the taste of pour-over coffee with the scaleability of a family coffee maker. As little as 16 or as much as 40 ounces can be brewed at a time, with either option given time to “bloom” in the filter — time in which harsh flavors are released before the coffee trickles into the carafe. The bloom and brew times are based on the amount of water added to the machine; the only thing you have to do is add grounds to your liking (it can use either Chemex paper filters or an Able Kone stainless steel filter) and push the button.
After the button is pushed, water in the rear glass tank — supported by a satin nickel ceramic tube — is pumped through lab-grade blown borosilicate glass and uniformly showered over the grounds at anywhere between 198 and 202 degrees fahrenheit, ideal for releasing pent-up carbon dioxide during the bloom cycle. After blooming, the coffee then drips down into the carafe, which is topped with an ergonomic all-natural cork stopper. Cork also lines the underside of the machine and the carafe to protect your counter from scratches (and you, from yourself). Each machine is hand made in Oregon, with locally sourced black walnut added to the support arms for a natural transition between the glass and aluminum housing.
Hellweg is targeting the slice of coffee consumers who want balance: glass and aluminum balanced by black walnut; pour-over taste balanced by batch-brewing convenience; a complex brewing processes balanced by a single brew button. There isn’t a menu with hundreds of custom options. There isn’t a built-in grinder. Just a beautiful machine designed to be everything you need, and nothing you don’t. The result is an elegant carafe of coffee, the quality of which you’d pay three or four bucks for at any premium coffee shop. The machine’s price tag may seem high, but use it for a season or two and it’ll have paid for itself.
Dimensions: 13.5 x 9 x 14 inches
Capacity: brews up to 40 ounces
Capable With: Chemex paper filters or the Able KONE
Warranty: 10 years