I’ve Tried Dozens of Coffee Makers, But This Is the One I Return to Every Time

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It brews a perfect cup and looks good doing it.

<p>Food &  Wine / Williams Sonoma</p>

Food & Wine / Williams Sonoma

As a food writer, I’ve tested dozens of coffee makers. From espresso machines to Mr. Coffees, the spectrum has no end. But few have lasted. Even while I tested machines that could make espresso in seconds, or those that offered fanciful new technology, I still always fell back on good old fashioned pour-overs.

While I love a cappuccino, when I’m at home, all I really want is a black cup of coffee that tastes like the bag says it should. I thought the only way to achieve this was via a Chemex classic coffee maker, a labor-intensive ritual I performed for way too long, despite the influx of coffee makers for testing.

But then, I heard about the Ratio Eight Coffee Maker. Not only did it promise Chemex-quality coffee, but also to automate the process. And, in stark contrast to hulking boxes of stainless steel with LED displays, this machine looked sleek, and completely different.

The founder was kind enough to send me a sample of the product over four years ago, and despite the new machines I’ve tested, the Ratio Eight has been on my kitchen countertop through it all. There is nothing that could replace this machine, unless the brand was to come out with a new model.

<p>Williams Sonoma</p>

Price at the Time of Publish: $745

  • Material: Plastic, Wood, Stainless Steel, Glass

  • Capacity: 8 cups (40 ounces)

  • Dimensions: 14.25 x 9.75 x 13.5 inches

  • Weight: 14 pounds

  • Brew Type: Pour-over coffee

  • Care: Hand-wash

How to Use the Ratio Eight

I’ve used the Ratio Eight every day for over four years, and I’ve never found a machine that could top it. From the moment I got it, it became an instant part of my daily routine because of how simple it is to use.

Here’s how it works. You grind the beans to a medium coarse grind, like you would for any method of making pour-over. You can do a half-batch, which makes 2 cups of coffee and requires 35 grams of coffee, or a full batch, which brews 4 cups and requires 70 grams of beans. Then, you add water to the machine. There are lines clearly marking how much to add depending on the amount of beans you’re adding. Finally, you slide the carafe under the showerhead, and press a button.

From there, the machine heats the water up to 200°F, and a few drops of water come out of the showerhead, simulating a bloom cycle to remove CO2 from your coffee in order to make it less bitter. Once complete, it begins brewing your coffee, and the showerhead simulates concentric circles, the same you’d get with a gooseneck kettle. And this continues until the coffee is ready to drink.

What I Love About the Ratio Eight

<p>Food &  Wine / Daniel Modlin</p>

Food & Wine / Daniel Modlin

It’s simple: The Ratio Eight is a perfect coffee machine. Not only does it brew excellent quality coffee in just minutes, it looks great on the countertop. While making pour-over can be rewarding, the Ratio Eight automates the process and extracts flavors from coffee beans like no other machine I’ve tried. Beyond pure performance, where this machine excels, it is also stylistically beautiful. Everything from the glass water tank to the wooden beams makes it a worthy centerpiece for your kitchen counter.

The Caveats

There are three slight issues with this machine. The first is one you will encounter with any method of pour-over, which is that paper filters can be laborious. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this, a reusable filter you can add on. I’d recommend this regardless of whether you decide on the Ratio or not. While it can only handle a half-batch of pour over (35 grams of beans), it’s still the perfect amount of coffee for two people.

The second issue is that because the Ratio Eight brews coffee at 200°F, an ideal temperature for extracting flavors that many baristas agree coffee should be brewed at, the coffee you make might get cold rather quickly. Thankfully, Ratio offers a thermal set as an add-on to prevent this. I use it, and it keeps my coffee hot for hours, so if I brew it before I’m ready to drink it, I don’t have to rush.

The last issue isn’t so easily fixed: The price point is high. However, when stacked against competitors, I’m convinced the design points alone make this worth the price. Furthermore, while I didn’t buy mine, it’s already outlived my expectations and more. Four years of daily service without the need for repair is much better than many espresso machines and coffee makers on the market. Put bluntly, it has the performance of a top-tier espresso machine, with the reliability of a Mr. Coffee, making the price point well worth it in my opinion.

How It Compares

<p>Food &  Wine / Daniel Modlin</p>

Food & Wine / Daniel Modlin

Beyond making pour over by hand, there is one main competitor to the Ratio Eight, and that’s the Moccamaster. The Moccamaster is $300 less than the Ratio, and to be quite honest, the performance is fairly similar in my experience. If you don’t want to splurge on the Ratio, the Moccamaster is a worthy choice for great coffee. However, the one thing it lacks is design. The Ratio is a beautiful appliance, and few people have come into my kitchen without commenting on it. Aesthetics mean something to us, however, if you’re looking for pure performance at a lower price point, the Moccamaster may be for you.

The Verdict

All in all, the Ratio Eight is an excellent machine, designed to simulate barista-quality pour-over with just the touch of a button. With a beautiful design and high-performance brewing mechanisms, there is no topping this coffee maker.

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