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Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker review: Oxo's 9-Cup makes brew that's a little too bitter

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The Good The Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker brews consistent and drinkable pots of joe. It's attractive and easy to use.

The Bad It's expensive and brews slowly. It makes coffee that's slightly bitter.

The Bottom Line Pass on Oxo's 9-Cup Coffee Maker for something cheaper, brews better or both.

6.4 Overall
  • Performance 6
  • Design 6.5
  • Features 6.5
  • Maintenance 6.8

Chris Monroe/CNET

To serious, daily java drinkers Oxo's $200 9-Cup Coffee Maker may look tempting. The drip brewer consistently makes decent pots of joe, and it's one of just a few coffee makers to earn the SCA's (Specialty Coffee Association) "golden cup" qualification.

Still, the Oxo 9-Cup doesn't brew quite as well or as fast as it should. That's especially true considering its steep price. There are better coffee maker bargains out there, specifically the $190 Bonavita Connoisseur. Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Connoisseur, makes better drip coffee, and in less time.

Even the entry-level $100 Bonavita Metropolitan brews with greater finesse. Both appliances are compact and won't eat up nearly as much counter space as the Oxo 9-Cup either. You're better off waiting for Oxo to bring its $170 8 Cup Coffee Maker to market. Oxo's new machine, due to hit stores later this year, will brew full pots of drip and will come with gear to properly make pour-over plus single servings. And for $170, its price will match Bonavita's finest.  

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This Oxo coffee maker is definitely large and tall.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Handsome but much too tall

The first thing you'll notice about the Oxo 9-Cup is its height. Standing a full 15 inches tall, the coffee maker towers over other kitchen counter appliances. You won't be able to slide the brewer underneath low-slung wall cabinets either (standard height of 12 inches). If space is tight, consider either of Bonavita's latest machines. Both the Connoisseur and Metropolitan models occupy much less space.

As coffee makers go, the Oxo 9-Cup has an elegant appearance, though. Constructed from a mix of brushed stainless steel and black plastic with a transparent reservoir and a minimum of adornments, the brewer cuts a simple, handsome profile. Its large cylindrical main section contains a 45-ounce (1.3 L) water tank on top and a heater assembly below. Directly to the tank's right is the brew basket. It accepts type-4 cone paper filters. Underneath that sits the Oxo 9-Cup's thermal carafe.

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The Oxo 9-Cup Coffee Maker's water tank is clearly marked.

Brian Bennett/CNET

A recessed LED display on the brewer's front face further enhances its premium look. The display's indicators rest flush with the main section's curved surface. There's just one physical control, too: a circular dial that doubles as a push button.   

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The LED display is curved and flush with the side of the coffee maker.

Brian Bennett/CNET

A brain for brewing

Operating the Oxo 9-Cup is relatively straightforward, even if the brewing process is slightly different than with other coffee makers. First, you fill the water reservoir. That's easy to do thanks to a flip-up lid and wide opening. Next you drop a filter into the brewer's filter basket (standard type-4 paper) and add your ground coffee. No surprises here.

Use the dial to choose how many cups of coffee you'd like to make.

Brian Bennett/CNET

To kick off brewing on the Oxo 9-Cup, however, you don't merely flip a switch or press a button. Just like Oxo's other coffee maker, the Barista Brain 12-Cup, this machine lets you choose how much coffee you'd like brew. Turn the dial clockwise to select a regular five- to nine-cup pot of coffee. Swiveling the knob the other way tells the brewer to make a smaller batch of two to four cups. When you're ready, press the button at the dial's center to start the machine.

Unlike the Barista Brain 12-Cup, this coffee maker lacks a scale. As a result it can't automatically detect the volume of water within its tank. That means you'll have to make sure the Oxo 9-Cup's reservoir has enough water to tackle the task you give it. By contrast the Barista Brain 12-Cup tells you how much coffee you can brew (in two-cup increments) depending on the volume of water it senses.

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