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How We Designed the OXO Brew 9-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker

How We Designed the OXO Brew 9-Cup Automatic Coffee Maker

Words Erin Meister

All about drip coffee? Learn more about the design process of the OXO Brew 9-Cup Coffee Maker, OXO’s automatic coffee maker, designed to start your morning off right.

Coffee is such a simple pleasure, but there is an art and a science to brewing it. The 9-Cup Coffee Maker brings that coffee shop craft into the kitchen by replicating what a barista does at your favorite coffee shop: the machine pours water over the grinds then pauses to let it bloom. Once the blooming cycle is over, it pours water over the grinds again and pauses in short intervals, continuing to replicate what a barista does. With the automated brewing cycle, we control the brew time and brew temperature (the two most important factors in brewing great coffee) all while replicating the barista’s hands-on brewing style. Even if you are half-awake, you really can’t mess this one up. There’s only one button to push. Once you’ve started the cycle, the machine takes over.

rainsmaker drawing3

If you watch baristas, they pour water in circular motions so all the coffee in the filter comes into contact with the water for the same amount of time (for even extraction). If you were pouring water in a steady stream only in the center, that coffee would be over-extracted (bitter) whereas the coffee on the outside of the filter would still be under-extracted. Good coffee is balanced coffee, where all the coffee is extracted for the same amount of time. Our shower head device, known as the Rainmaker—pretty great name, right?—ensures that all the coffee gets wet uniformly.

9cup coffee maker

Another part of the design inspiration—it’s probably cliche, but the one-button interaction was somewhat inspired by today’s smart phones. We went with a slim, stainless steel design to match most modern kitchens. We wanted it to sit on your countertop all the time (as coffee makers do) and look discreet and elegant.

Volume is definitely something that most people struggle with when brewing at home, since most automatic-drip brewers are designed to make a specific amount of coffee—typically more than the average individual wants to drink, 5 or 6 or even 9 cups. The 9cup Coffee Maker can brew much smaller batches, even down to just two cups—it maintains an even extraction, regardless of how much you’re brewing.

pouring water into coffee maker

When brewing a smaller amount of coffee, it’s important to slowly pour the water over the coffee so it has some time to extract all the good flavors. Water needs to be in contact with coffee for at least 4 minutes to achieve a good extraction, so you don’t want the water to flow right on through all at once. This translates into a slower brewing cycle, which means our machine takes more breaks for smaller amounts. This machine really allows you to experience the subtleties from roast to roast very easily.

Can’t get enough coffee? Try these easy iced coffee upgrades, coffee soda recipes, and tips for making the perfect French press.

By Erin Meister

Erin Meister is a freelance writer for OXO. She is a specialty-coffee professional with 15-plus years as a barista, café manager, wholesale account representative, speaker, and educator; she currently sells green coffee for the Minneapolis-based importing company Café Imports. You can also hear her on weekly episodes of "Opposites Extract: A Debate Podcast about Coffee," available on iTunes.

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