If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best automatic pour over coffee maker is, then we recommend the OXO Barista Brain Coffee Maker as our top pick.
If you’ve reached a point where your standard cup of dripped coffee just isn’t impressing you any more, it might be time for an upgrade.
A pour over machine may be just what you need, providing barista-quality coffee in your home without you having to learn the skills of the trade.
In our guide to picking the best automatic pour over coffee maker, we’ve explained how these machines work. We’ve then provided an overview of five of the most popular machines.
In this article, we’re going to look at the following automatic pour over coffee makers:
- OXO Barista Brain Coffee Maker
- Cuisinart CPO-850 Coffee Maker
- Bonavita BV1900TS Coffee Maker
- Redline MK1 8 Cup Coffee Brewer
- Breville BDC400 Precision Brewer Coffee Maker
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Why buy an automatic pour over machine?
To understand what makes an automatic pour over coffee maker so good, it’s important to understand how we got to this point.
Going back 50 years or more, the only way to make coffee was to brew it in a stovetop percolator. That did the job – and there weren’t any other options! – but there was always the risk of brewing the coffee too long, which resulted in a very bitter cup.
Come the 80s though, and the electric percolator became more popular.
You add the coffee and water to these simple machines, and then the percolator takes care of the brewing process. For the most part, they let gravity do the hard work.
The stream of water is constant though, which means the flavor of the beans isn’t extracted very efficiently.
It’s not the worst way to make coffee, but the carafe then typically sits on a warm plate and the coffee stews over time. The result, again, is a very bitter taste.
The only tried and tested way to get a better cup of coffee was to let a skilled barista take charge. With their skills, they’re able to manually – and carefully – control each delicate stage of the pour over brewing process.
Those skills take a long time to develop though, and that kind of experience is beyond the scope of most of us.
Now, however, we have automatic pour over coffee machines. In essence, these devices take control of the fiddlier stages of brewing, giving you barista-quality coffee in your home.
The “Blooming” Stage
One of the most important aspects of coffee brewing is something known as the bloom stage. It’s an aspect of great coffee that a standard drip brewer just can’t deliver on.
What is blooming though, and why does it matter?
When coffee is bloomed, it is lightly showered with water in a separate stage.
Once coated, the beans rest gently for a short time, which prepares them for a much better extraction during the main brewing process.
The actual mechanism for water delivery in a pour over machine is also much more refined overall.
Drip machines slowly pass a fixed amount of water through the beans and into your cup or carafe. It’s very simple and it just about gets the job done. You don’t get maximum flavor from the beans though.
Once the blooming stage has ended, however, a pour over machine will then shower the grounds evenly throughout the brewing process.
The end result is a more even brew, and a much better cup of coffee overall.
Who are they for?
Automatic pour over machines are designed for those who want the very best coffee experience at home.
Once you’re bored of your drip machine and it’s time to move on, you’ll find it very hard to go back from one of these!
If you want something quick and easy though, a standard drip maker will serve you just fine. You’ll still get a pretty good cup of coffee, and you won’t break the bank in the process.
What to look for in a pour over machine
Those are the basics of the pour over machine – and who they’re suited for – but what should you be thinking about before buying one for your own home?
There’s a very narrow window of opportunity when it comes to the optimal brewing temperature for coffee.
For the best results, the temperature should be carefully maintained between 195 and 205 degrees. Any lower and the flavor of the beans won’t be extracted correctly. Any higher and you’ll end up with burned coffee.
It’s this kind of precision that really makes the difference between drip and pour over coffee.
What about keeping the coffee warm over time though?
Certain pour over machines also include a hot plate function, but they’ve been carefully designed to ensure the coffee doesn’t stew as it’s left there.
That would, of course, defeat the whole point of owning a specialty machine like this!
When you’re looking at these machines, it’s well worth looking for something called SCAA certification.
The Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) is a non-profit organisation that represents the interests of coffee professionals across the industry.
It also sets a very high standard for the performance of the coffee machines it lends its name to.
Pick a pour over machine that’s SCAA-certified and you can be very confident that it will deliver outstanding coffee. It’ll brew at a precisely controlled temperature and taste great as result.
Quality of the beans
Are you prepared to invest in very good coffee beans for your pour over machine? If you want the best experience, it’s vital that you don’t skimp on the quality of the coffee you use.
These machines can take care of the brewing process exceptionally well, but at the end of the day they can’t pick the coffee for you.
It’ll do the best job it can with whatever you feed into it, but if you’re not going to buy premium beans it might be best to stick with a regular drip machine.
Automatic Pour Over Coffee Machine Reviews
In this next section we’re going to take a closer look at five of the most popular machines available now.
All of these are highly rated, but we’ll focus on what separates them so you can find a machine that’s right for you and your own circumstances.
The OXO maker is consistently picked as one of the top automatic pour over coffee makers on the market today, and it’s not hard to see why.
It has the crucial backing of the SCAA, and regulates the brewing temperature to a fine degree – between 197.6 and 204.8 degrees.
That means exceptional extraction of the coffee flavor, and throughout the entire brewing process.
To enhance the brew further the machine features a shower head that delicately and evenly disperses the water over the grounds. The result is uniform saturation and excellent flavor.
If you just want a couple of cups to kick the day off with, that’s perfectly possible with this machine. If you need to scale up for guests – or the household – then it has a maximum nine cup brewing capacity.
You should find it pretty easy to use as well. The LED screen is backlit and clearly explains what stage the brew is at.
You can also program the machine to start up to 24 hours in advance, which is handy when you want to prep tomorrow’s first cup of coffee tonight.
You enter all the settings into the machine using a simple, single dial as well. By turning it you can select how many cups you want, and when you want them made. It’s pretty fool-proof!
The OXO machine doesn’t make use of any kind of hotplate, which could degrade the quality of the coffee over time. Instead, you get a double-walled stainless steel carafe out of the box, That should be enough to keep your drink warmed for around two hours.
- A clean, modern look that will work in just about any kitchen.
- Very simple controls.
- Indicator light alerts you when you need to descale the machine.
- Shower head is extremely effective at soaking the grounds. No need to check!
- Thermos retains the heat well – up to 180 degrees after an hour.
- Narrow carafe pouring channel makes serving a little slow.
- The carafe is a bit fiddly to clean for the same reasons.
- Light water leakage can occur when opening the lid.
- A larger footprint than other machines of its type.
- Steam can accumulate in the water chamber, although you can fix this by leaving the lid open.
The Cuisinart CPO-850 is another machine that’s certified by the SCAA, so you can be confident of a very high quality brew. The coffee’s bloomed with a specific pre-wetting stage to maximise the extraction potential.
Unlike some of the machines I’ve reviewed for this article, you also get the option of choosing between a mild, medium or bold strength.
That means you can cater for different tastes in your house, or just wind down your coffee intensity as the day goes on.
Likewise, you can pick between two different temperatures, and without affecting the overall quality of the coffee. If you want a particularly hot brew, for example, there’s an Extra Hot function which definitely delivers.
Handily you also get the option of choosing either a glass or a thermal carafe. If you go for the glass option, the warming plate has an adjustable timer for up to two hours.
I don’t think you’d want to leave your coffee cooking any longer than that, and not when you’ve invested in a machine like this!
Design-wise I don’t think it’s not the most elegant machine in this round-up, but it still looks pretty smart on the countertop.
- A generous selection of temperature and strength settings to play around with.
- Produces a rich brew with deep flavors.
- Hot plate retains warmth well and without burning the coffee.
- One of the faster automatic pour over machines in the round-up.
- The carafe pours well and doesn’t create any dribbles.
- Some owners have reported the stainless steel carafe leaks over time.
- Requires more experimentation than other machines to get your coffee just how you want it.
- The carafe is a little on the small side.
- Panel lights have a tendency to dim over time.
- The machine beeps quite loudly once the brew has finished.
Bonavita’s machine is also SCAA-certified and uses an impressive 1500 watt heater to get the water to the correct temperature quickly. It’s then maintained between 198 and 205 degrees.
The blooming process, however, is optional. I guess that could be useful if you were in a rush, but given the reasons for buying the machine I wouldn’t want to skip it myself!
The BV1900TS makes use of an extra-wide showerhead which does a good job of soaking the coffee grounds evenly.
Flavor is further enhanced by a filter basket that has a flat bottom. This helps to ensure an even saturation across the coffee.
Overall the brewing time is impressive too. You can expect to brew an entire carafe’s worth (eight cups) in about six minutes. That’s not a terrible amount of time to wait if, say, you want to get a pot on after feeding your friends.
As for the controls, Bonavita’s machine is a very simple affair. You have a single button to get the machine going, and there’s a built-in Auto Off function too in case you forget to power down after brewing.
Design-wise you’ve the options for a glass or thermal carafe. Depending on the type of carafe you pick you can also choose from a stainless steel or black finish.
Personally I prefer the stainless steel effect, as it always looks a little more luxurious than plastic. Consider what will work in your own kitchen.
It’s pretty easy to clean as well, as many of the components are dishwasher-safe. That’ll be a bonus if you have limited time to spend on cleaning up.
- The carafe doesn’t leak, even if you turn it upside down!
- A very strong heater gets the water to the right temperature quickly.
- Flat-bottom basket enhances the flavor of the coffee.
- Can be used to make really good iced coffee.
- A very well-made and durable machine.
- A very simple machine without any customisation options.
- Carafe doesn’t retain heat particularly well, even if it’s pre-warmed. You might want to buy a better one alongside the machine.
- You can’t pour the carafe without the lid on as there’s no spout.
- I’ve heard of reliability issues from people who have owned the machine for a while.
One of the unique features of the MK1 is something Redline calls “Parking Brake”. If you really can’t wait for the brew to finish, you can activate this and grab a quick cup without making a mess.
If you’re serious enough about your coffee to buy one of these machines though, I’m not sure this is a feature that’s going to be a big plus for you. A little patience goes hand in hand with owning this sort of coffee maker!
Still, the coffee’s made in around six minutes and has a maximum capacity of around eight cups. You’ve only the option of a glass carafe here though, so make sure you don’t leave it on the hot plate for too long.
To the best of my knowledge it isn’t SCAA-certified, but it does have a pre-infusion mode. Once activated (by switch, so don’t forget), it’ll give the grounds a good soak and work towards that blooming effect for better extraction.
Overall though, this is one of the more budget-orientated machines I’ve reviewed. As an entry-point into this kind of appliance it gets the job done.
Compared to some of the other machines I’ve looked at though it’s pretty primitive stuff.
- You can grab a quick first cup before the brewing cycle has finished.
- A very budget-friendly entry point into this type of machine.
- Carafe is surprisingly well made and not prone to leaking.
- Very easy to set up and get going.
- Makes great coffee considering the investment required.
- A real barebones machine. Easy to use, but limited in that sense.
- No thermal carafe option, unless you buy one separately.
- You must remember to activate the pre-infusion “blooming” mode.
- Some of the plastic elements can scratch quite easily.
Finally, the Breville BDC400 is another SCAA-certified machine. In the case of the BDC400, a temperature of 197 to 204 degrees is maintained.
This mode is one you have to activate though, and it’s something Breville calls its Gold Cup preset. This ensures the coffee is brewed at the requisite temperature.
Those presets are pretty flexible as well. You can get a particularly quick cup if you need it, for example, or a much stronger coffee. There are also bespoke settings for iced and cold brew coffee.
There’s also a preset to play around with called My Brew. This allows you to control many aspects of the pour over process, from adjusting the bloom time to controlling the brewing temperature.
I think that’s quite a clever idea. It means you can start off with a preset pour over (and be sure of getting a great cup of coffee), but then stamp your own mark over the end result as your confidence grows.
Finally, Breville’s been working on a bit of tech it calls Steep and Release. This keeps the water in contact with the coffee when smaller servings are being brewed, which results in a knockout flavor.
- A hugely versatile SCAA-certified coffee maker
- The option to customise your brew precisely how you want it
- Makes small and large servings that taste great.
- Despite the range of customisation options it’s very easy to program.
- Supplied with a gold tone filter which improves the flavor even further.
- A common complaint is that the reservoir doesn’t empty completely.
- Quite a tall machine so check your measurements carefully before buying.
- It’s a little bit louder than other machines of its type.
- You can’t set a timer for the hotplate which is a bit of a missed opportunity.
Of the five machines I’ve reviewed for this article, my top pick is the OXO pour over coffee maker. It’s SCAA-certified and offers the most precise temperature control of them all.
It’s simple to use but produces fantastic coffee. That’s thanks to a very effective shower head that coats the coffee for blooming and brewing. The carafe does an excellent job of keeping your coffee warm for a long time too.
Click here to find out more about this very popular pour over coffee maker.