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Bonavita Connoisseur review: Bonavita's improved coffee maker is its best one yet

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The Good The Bonavita Connoisseur creates fabulously good pots of coffee for a lot less money. It's compact, easy to use, and has few parts to clean. Its thermal carafe keeps contents hot for hours.

The Bad It's not as attractive as brewers built by Technivorm.

The Bottom Line The Bonavita Connoisseur is the best coffee maker to buy if you want to brew superb pots of drip and spend less cash.

8.6 Overall
  • Performance 9
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Maintenance 9

It's been three years since the Bonavita BV1900TS coffee maker hit the scene. Back then it won our Editors' Choice award. I loved it for its comparatively low price and hassle-free design. That and the delicious pots of coffee it made. Now Bonavita has a follow up brewer it calls the Connoisseur. Snobby name aside, the coffee maker has the same reasonable $190 (converts to £140, AU$245) price tag as its predecessor. Bonavita tweaked this new model, too. The result, the Connoisseur makes coffee every bit as delicious plus easier to use.

This machine might not be a work of art like the hand-crafted $299 (£220, AU$380) Technivorm Moccamaster. Neither is it as sophisticated as the $329 (£245, AU$ 420) Behmor Connected or $300 (£220, AU$380) Breville Precision Brewer, both equipped with smarts and electronic controls. On the other hand the Connoisseur is just as competent yet costs a whole lot less. That's why it's an outstanding buy, and worthy of our Editors' Choice award. Of course you can always take a look at other high-end coffee makers we've reviewed and decide for yourself.

Still simple but slightly better

The new Bonavita Connoisseur cuts an almost identical identical profile as the BV1900TS. Both brewers consist of a flat oval section up top and a matching oval base below. Sandwiched between the two are the coffee maker's main components. A water tank (and heater unit) sit on the base's left side. A filter basket is to the right of the tank with a thermal carafe directly below that.

Like its predecessor, the brewer looks attractive but isn't what I'd call stunning. For that you'll have to shell out big bucks for the $299 Technivorm Moccamaster. Hand-built in the Netherlands, the coffee maker's classic design is striking yet highly functional. Still the Connoisseur's stainless steel body and black plastic trim blends well with contemporary kitchen decors. 

The Bonavita Connoisseur uses basket-style flat bottom coffee filters.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The brewer uses standard 8 to 12 cup basket-style coffee filters. They're the same filters called for by the BV1900TS. There is one notable difference between the two coffee makers. The Connoisseur's filter basket slides in and out of its own dedicated slot.

The filter basket slides into its own slot.

Chris Monroe/CNET

It's a definite improvement over the previous design. The older brewer balanced its filter basket precariously in place on top of the carafe. The new suspended basket also lets you brew into your own containers like mugs and travel cups if you'd like.

Just press one button

Bonavita resisted the urge to add extra complexity to this new model. Filling the Connoisseur's tank is a snap. Just flip open the tank's flap and pour water directly into its wide mouth. The reservoir has a maximum capacity of eight 5-ounce cups (1.2 L, 40 ounces).

There's just one button-shaped switch on the Connoisseur. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

The coffee maker is simple to operate, too. There's one button, that's it. It's more of a switch that's small, round, and button-shaped. Flipping it on kick-starts the brewing process. Pressing the switch down for five seconds activates (and deactivates) the pre-soak function. Pre-soaking is a useful way to remove excess gas from fresh grounds. Freshly roasted beans, toasted within a few days, typically contain lots of CO2 that can create off-putting flavors.

Bonavita says it improved how the carafe pours. That's not the case in my view. To me it feels, and pours, the same as the old pitcher. For instance you can decant the pitcher without its screw-on lid. Pour too quickly, slowly, or tilt the container too much right or left though and it will spill. The carafe does retain its thermal construction designed to keep its contents hot for hours.

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