Oxo, the brand behind innovative and life-easing kitchen tools, is fairly new to the coffee maker game. Despite that, its 9-cup Barista Brain is a breeze to use, and is our pick for best programmable coffee maker. The brand's latest offering is an 8-cup coffee maker, a fairly standard size brewer with one big bonus: single-serve brewing, sans pods. We put it to the test.
My first impressions of the machine was its slim and sleek build. The 8-cup measures just nine inches across, and sports a similar black and silver motif as its predecessor, the Barista Brain. It also only has four buttons: power, 2-4 cup brewing, 5-8 cup brewing and cleaning.
The Oxo 8-cup is an SCA-certified brewer, so I knew going into this review that the coffee would be good (Oxo clarified that only the coffee brewed using the 5-8 cup option were SCA-certified, as the association has yet to set standards for single-serving coffee). Like other coffee makers by Oxo, the 8-cup utilizes a trademarked Rainmaker shower head, which literally rains water over coffee grounds. This process ensures all the coffee grounds are saturated evenly for a more consistent extraction, which is discernible when tasting the finished product. Additionally, the water is heated to a maximum of 205°F, eliminating the chance to brew over-extracted, bitter coffee. And since the thermal carafe keeps coffee warm, the 8-cup foregoes a hot plate.
The Oxo 8-cup shines as a single-serving coffee maker. For the record, single-serving brewing yields between a two-cup (10 ounce) and four-cup (20 ounce) brew. If you're brewing four cups or fewer, Oxo recommends using the added single-serving accessory, which resembles a Kalita Wave dripper and uses the same filter, to reduce the surface area of coffee exposed to water.
When I brewed using the single-serve functionality, I found the brewed coffee to have pronounced floral and citrus notes, which weren't present when brewing a full pot. Surprisingly, the coffee reminded me of what I would brew in my Chemex, albeit not as clean or bright. For what it's worth, I've been drinking Chemex-brewed coffee every day for the past four years so my tastes are more accustomed to pour-over coffee. However, when drinking coffee from the 8-cup, I did not miss my Chemex.
What's Not So Good
The water tank isn't removable, which is fairly standard with comparable models. If you place the coffee maker beneath your kitchen cabinets, you might have to finesse your way to fill the water reservoir. Oxo's designers added a clever reversible well cover to prop up mugs to reduce the the space between the dripper and the serving vessel, however, my low-profile coffee cup was still way too far from the dripper and coffee splashed out of the cup and onto my counter. Consistent as I am, all of my cups and mugs are similarly short, but I would imagine minimal to no splashing if you have one of those diner-style mugs. The thermal carafe also has trouble dispensing every last drop of coffee. I notice a good amount of brew remaining at the bottom vessel, which has trouble coming out even after removing the cap.
Neglecting pod brewers, there are only a handful of direct competitors to the 8-cup. The Technivorm Moccamaster 69212 Cup One Coffee Brewer is $49 more expensive than the Oxo 8-cup, and the Dutch-made machine only brews single servings. At least with the Oxo 8-cup, you can brew as little as two cups to as much as eight cups. For $200 (usually marked down to around $160-$170), the Braun Multiserve Coffee Machine offers nearly the same functionality as OXO's 8-cup with a few extra bells and whistles, which may be extraneous for those who just want a simple cup, or carafe, of coffee. Braun's coffee maker also uses a hot plate to keep its glass carafe warm, which will degrade the coffee quality as it sits over time. Ninja offers an eerily similar product, too. If you have the funds, the $320 Breville Precision Brewer (Brewers Cup Tribute Edition) is the upgrade purchase for its programmability, but produces a comparable coffee to the 8-cup.
The 8-cup brews an excellent cup of coffee. If you're someone who doesn't need to drink coffee throughout the day, the single-serve function is perfect for getting your daily dose. Oxo continues to stake its claim in the coffee machine market. Its Barista Brain is a top-rated brewer, and its cold brew maker remains one of the leading products in the space. With Keurig machines and pods losing steam, the Oxo 8-cup is primed to take over the single-serve coffee maker game.
OXO provided this product for review.