Bonavita Metropolitan 8-Cup brewer review: Bonavita's budget brewer makes top-notch drip for just $100

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MSRP: $99.99

The Good The Bonavita Metropolitan brews excellent coffee for a very reasonable price. It's simple to use, compact and easy to clean.

The Bad It doesn't have a thermal carafe. Coffee in its glass carafe cools quickly. Its body is all plastic.

The Bottom Line Buy the Bonavita Metropolitan coffee maker for its low price and excellent drip, but slow drinkers should save up for a thermal carafe model.

7.9 Overall
  • Performance 8.2
  • Design 7.2
  • Features 7
  • Maintenance 9

Review Sections

Automatic, affordable coffee makers that brew quality drip are hard to find. What comes out of cheap machines is usually awful stuff. Enter the $100 (converts to roughly £75 and AU$130) Bonavita Metropolitan 8-cup Brewer. Yes, it costs a little more than budget $40 coffee makers. The Metropolitan, however, has almost the same impressive brewing abilities as its premium sibling, the $190 (roughly £140, AU$245) Bonavita Connoisseur. It's also easier to use and clean than the capable $100 (roughly £70, AU$125) Braun BrewSense KF7150.

To cut the Metropolitan's price, Bonavita made a few trade-offs. The biggest sacrifice is that it lacks a thermal carafe. Instead, the Metropolitan comes with a glass carafe and warming plate. As a result, coffee brewed in the machine stays hot for only about an hour, so slow java drinkers should skip this brewer. Still, if you tend to drain pots quickly and you want excellent drip for less, then the Metropolitan is a sound investment. Check out some other compelling coffee makers, though, to see if you agree.

Plastic with some class

It's clear right away that the Metropolitan doesn't fit the luxury appliance mold. Its body is constructed entirely from plastic. That's a stark contrast to the stainless-steel exteriors you'll find on the Moccamaster and Connoisseur. Even the Braun BrewSense has a few brushed-metal sections. As plastic goes, the material Bonavita chose for the Metropolitan isn't truly basic. Somewhere between charcoal gray and black, the polycarbonate has an attractive matte finish. In fact the texture and feel remind me of classic Motorola and Nokia phones.

The Bonavita Metropolitan takes the simple, functional design of the Connoisseur and gives it a glass carafe.

Brian Bennett/CNET

The coffee maker's overall design is very close to the Connoisseur's. An oval section on top matches an oval base below. Between these two flat planks are the brewer's main components. There's a water tank and heater unit (below it) on the base's left side.

To the right of the water tank is the filter basket. Like the Connoisseur, the basket slides into its own slot. It keeps the basket suspended over the brewer's carafe. The brewer uses standard eight- to 12-cup basket-style coffee filters, too. They're what you need for the Bonavita BV1900TS as well.

The ripple pattern on the carafe's bottom is a nice touch.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Instead of a steel, double-walled pitcher, the Metropolitan has a glass carafe. It rests on a metal hot plate that actively heats the carafe for an additional 45 minutes after brewing. That can't touch the performance of true thermal carafes. They typically keep their contents hot for multiple hours. Still, the glass container is handsomely crafted. I especially like the 1.3-liter pitcher's ridged bottom. It mirrors the ripple pattern caused when droplets strike a liquid surface.  

Here's the droplet ripple effect in action.

Brian Bennett/CNET

This machine is nice and simple

Since it shares the same basic design as the Connoisseur, the Metropolitan is just as simple to use. A wide mouth makes filling the brewer's water tank a breeze. Just open its flap and pour away. Both the carafe and water reservoir have a maximum capacity of eight 5-ounce cups (1.2 L, 40 ounces). It's much harder to do this task on the BrewSense. Its tank opening presents a much smaller target. That fact led to many spills while replenishing that coffee maker with water.

To start the brew cycle, you switch the machine's circular button to its on position. That's it. There's just one control to fuss with. You do have the option of engaging (or deactivating) the brewer's presoak function as well. To do this, you hold down the same button for 5 seconds. With presoak mode on, the coffee maker saturates grounds first then pauses (for 30 to 45 seconds). After that, it pushes the rest of its water supply through the filter.

Presoaking helps remove excess gas from freshly roasted beans. Coffee that's just a few days out from roasting is usually packed with CO2. A quick bath in hot water releases it along with any unpleasant flavors from the gas.   

Performance and taste

The Bonavita Metropolitan might have a modest price, but it makes surprisingly good coffee. With an average brewing time of 7 minutes and 34 seconds, this machine is slower than its premium rivals. For example, both the Bonavita Connoisseur and Technivorm Moccamaster took 6 minutes, 25 seconds and 5 minutes, 45 seconds, respectively, to make a full pot. That said, the Metropolitan's brew cycle is still under the 8 minutes or less the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) recommends