Product Reviews: Remington’s iCoffee and the Bonavita Coffee Maker
When, for instance, a new coffee maker comes on the market making claims that it produces an impossibly smooth cup of coffee, it’s easy to think, “How different can it be? There’s water, coffee grounds, and a pot.”
But for this lifelong coffee drinker (my mother drank coffee while feeding me), the java Remington’s iCoffee Steam Brew Coffee Maker made was a revelation: Hot, smooth, and flavorful. Everything I expect from a specialty coffee shop and more than I’ve ever expected from a home brewer.
How it works
The iCoffee’s secret appears to be two-fold:
- Steam: The coffee maker first steams your coffee grounds with moisture and heat.
- Tumbler: Next, their patented SteamBrew rotational hot water jets further steam, tumble, and stir the grounds to release optimum flavor and minimum bitterness, producing superb coffee crema.
And, just for fun, the big window at the front of the machine allows you to watch this system in action as the grounds tumble and swirl in the hot water and the crema is produced. (The manufacturer says fresh, medium coarse to coarsely ground coffee produces the best results, but I noticed a difference even with branded coffees purchased from my grocery store.)
And, good news for coffee drinkers who don’t always fix a full 12-cup pot: The effects of the iCoffee seemed to work just as well, producing a smoother, fuller, cup of coffee whether I made a full pot or something less. I tested it on 4-cups and 6-cups, as well as the full 12-cup (5-ounce cup measurement) setting.
Finally, Remington suggests the iCoffee will allow you to use less coffee (15 percent less) to get the same results—and that claim stood up to testing, as well. For the first day of testing, I used my normal amount of coffee and the taste was smooth, rich, flavorful—and a little too strong for me.
The next day I cut back on the amount of grounds (I aimed for what I thought would be 15 percent, but math and I have never been friends) and was very pleased with the result. The same smooth, rich flavor, but dialed back a little on the intensity meter. A win-win for me and my wallet. By the way, the iCoffee comes with a premium goldtone coffee filter, eliminating the need for paper coffee filters.
Next up: Steve Cylka, a new voice on the CHEFSMix Blog, reviews the Bonavita Coffee Maker.
Steve Cylka is a recipe developer, freelance blogger, and publisher of The Black Peppercorn. Having a wide range of culinary skill, Steve’s specialties range from grilling and smoking to sous vide and other modernist cuisine. Steve has participated in various culinary competitions, winning the 2012 Courvoisier Collective Culinary Masterpiece. High profile websites and newspapers like Huffington Post, Times Picayune, The Examiner, and more have featured his recipes.
The Bonavita Coffee Maker is relatively new to coffee scene, but it has hit the market with a splash as one of only four residential drip coffee machines approved by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. Why is this a big deal?
The SCAA is quite strict regarding what machines are awarded as Certified Brewing Equipment. To qualify, a coffee maker must meet the association’s high standards in correct water temperature, contact time with grounds, and extraction rate. The fact that the Bonavita is one of a few machines that have attained this certification testifies to both the quality of its design and of the parts used in this machine.
Cool beans look
The design is a combination of both retro and trendy. Surprisingly small, the Bonavita does not take a large footprint on your kitchen counter. It is mostly made of brushed stainless steel, but the water reservoir is clear plastic.
In an age when small appliances seem to have an excess of buttons and options that people rarely use, the Bonavita is simplicity. The on/off switch is the only button on the machine. There is an auto shutoff, which turns off the warming element, after 90 minutes.
It’s hot. Your coffee, I mean.
Water temperature is critical for proper extraction of flavor out of the coffee grounds. The machine has a 1400W heater that heats water to just over 200F as it hits the coffee grounds. Once it is finished brewing, the temperature of the coffee in the carafe is around 180F. This is some of the hottest coffee any residential drip machine can make. (I tested the glass carafe version. The Bonavita also comes in a thermal carafe version).
But, while the heat is vital, there’s also the question of how much water comes into contact with the grounds. Many coffee makers have one stream of hot water that falls into the filter, which causes coffee grounds in the middle of the filter to be oversaturated and the edge of the filter to barely get any water. The Bonavita has a showerhead and the water falls onto the grounds like rain.
As hot water falls evenly across the #4 cone filter, it maximizes the saturation of the coffee grounds. An 8-cup (5-ounce cups) carafe of coffee is fully brewed in around 5 minutes. This is nice and fast, keeping the coffee fresh and hot.
Good quality coffee depends upon many variables: water, coffee grounds, and the coffee maker. When using filtered water and fresh coffee, the Bonavita Coffee Maker produces some of the best tasting coffee around, matching brews delivered by any specialty coffee shop. The coffee is smooth, without bitterness. Robust and maximizing the intricate flavor notes of each roast, the people behind the design of this machine know how to make a good cup of java!
Coffee your way! See more blogs on coffee tips, techniques and tools, right here at CHEFS Mix.
- Coffee: Make It At Home
- Coffee: Techniques and Tools to Go Pro at Home
- Coffee: Alternative Brewing Methods
- Personalized Coffee?
- Product Reviews: Remington’s iCoffee and the Bonavita Coffee Maker