Best Mid-Range Brewer – Bonavita Connoisseur

The Bonavita Connoisseur BV1901TS Coffee Brewer is the lowest priced SCA certified home brewer at around about half as much as a Moccamaster. It offers bare bones, no frills one touch operation with great results and, like the Moccamaster, has an almost cult like following. It only offers one setting and cannot be programmed and also cannot be used with a timer switch due to the spring-loaded power button that cannot be left in the “on” position.

This is their latest model that offers a hanging basket which is easier to use than their older models where the filter basket awkwardly sat on top of the carafe. There is no drip stop on the filter basket so watch out for dripping when rinsing the filter paper or dumping the grounds, what I do is just leave an empty mug under the dripper after I remove the carafe and then dump the grounds when it fully stops dripping.

The Bonavita Connoisseur has a 1.3 liter (just under 44 fluid ounces) capacity and comes with a thermal carafe. It uses standard type flat bottom basket filters. Moccamaster, Braun MultiServe (review) and the Cuisinart PerfecTemp (review) all use #4 cone filters. You can read all about the latest research here into flat bottom vs. cone filters.

It has a showerhead for even water distribution over the grounds and the only thing you can set on this machine is the pre-infusion option which mimics the bloom process we do in pour over. Hold the power button down for 5 seconds until you hear two beeps and the LED flashes. You will know it is working because the light will flash during brewing if pre-infusion is enabled, the light will be solid if it is not. It will keep the pre-infusion setting until the machine is unplugged. This is highly recommended if you are using fresh roasted coffee to help the grounds degas as part of the brewing process. If your coffee was roasted 6 months ago it won’t make a big difference.

With a 700 ml (about 24 ounces) brew size the coffee temperature was 178F in the carafe and the coffee tasted great and well extracted. The carafe has a little bit of the same issue as the PerfecTemp with pouring the last bit of coffee, but it wasn’t prone to dripping which made this a non-issue. The PerfecTemp issue was that you had to turn the carafe almost all the way upside to get the last bit of coffee out, which caused coffee to drip all over.

Another machine I took a close look at was the OXO Brew 8 Cup Coffee Maker for and I almost bought it. It has roughly the same capacity as the Bonavita Connoisseur at 40 ounces, however it uses a combination of a flat bottom basket filters and a specialty filter for single servings (20 ounces or less). Excuse my nickel and diming, but a standard basket filter is about 1 cent each, a #4 cone filter is about 3.5 cents each, a Hario V60 filter is about 6 cents each, the Kallita Wave 185 that you need to use with the OXO is 13 cents each. I started this process with cost in mind and just felt 13 cents per brew for a paper filter seemed high and I also didn’t want to deal with two different filter types with two different filter baskets. You can check out a video comparing these two machines here.

Check out the Bonavita Connoisseur manual here.

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