Posted Mon May 27, 2013, 6:28pm Subject: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
I've just recently (last 6 months) gotten into coffee in a big way. Coming from a beer background, I have a deep love for beverages that have rich, varied depth; bodies and monthfeels that run from thin to chewy; and complex flavor profile that can be clear as day or leave you wondering. Unfortunately, my New Years resolution was to lose 20 pounds, and sadly, that goal is mutually incompatible with a high ABV, full-flavored, complex, calorie-laden beer.
Enter coffee. In many ways as complex, but voila, zero calories! In the last 6 months, I started with a Mr. Coffee that works fine, but after experimenting more with pour over techniques and french press, as well as experiencing vac, cold brew and Turkish at local coffee joints, I've discovered just how much my morning cup is lacking.
Sorry for the long intro, I'll cut to the chase... I'm looking to replace my Mr. Coffee with something a bit more discerning. The pour over barista in me loves the Behmor Brazen. Temperature selections +/- 1 degree, adjustable pre-infusion times up to 4 minutes, and even the ability to use it as a precise water delivery system for manual use. However, the paranoid over-caffeinated me wonders how reliable this machine is given the numerous reports throughout the interwebs regarding issues ranging from as benign as carafe leaks to as serious as tanks that won't fully drain. What's more, I've never been one to be an early adopter - the Brazen has been out in the market less than one year.
So, Behmor Brazen users, especially those of you who have had your Brazens for a few months, can you help me make or break my decision to purchase one. The truth is: The Brazen looks like everything I could want in a drip coffee maker. It's just the quality control issues that give me cold feet. My backups are, in order of preference, the Bonavita BV1800, then the Technivorm KBT.
Posted Tue May 28, 2013, 9:14am Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
First, I got a Mr. Coffee for free once. It was a ripoff!
Get the Brazen. It has some minor problems, but nothing to do with the coffee it makes. It is THE drip machine to which all others must be compared. The adjustable temperature alone puts it at the top of the heap. For 4100 less than the Technivorm? The Tech loses. problems: the carafe dribbles a bit if not pouring carefully, the shower head dribbles a bit when removing the basket, and the condensation of the lid causes dribbles if not removed carefully. SOLUTION: get a towel. See my review of the Brazen: http://www.frcndigital.com/coffee/brazen.html
Posted Tue May 28, 2013, 12:35pm Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
I should not comment here because I have had my Brazen only a few weeks. Nevertheless ...
All of the early complaints in the Behmor (big long) thread referenced earlier, I don't have in my unit. So maybe there were some quality-control problems that have been dealt with. For example, my urn does not leak or dribble. It does, however, keep my coffee hot for an hour (as long as it should, before being emptied).
Yes, I do have a puddle in the bottom of the water-heater, probably coming from steam condensing from the large round lid. OTOH, I don't have steam coming out over my kitchen cupboards; it is all condensed. As a previous poster remarked: "Get a towel ...!!"
I am currently on Guatemala Huehuetenango roasted City+. The first brew on the Brazen, at 204F, was over-intense and the brightness was unbalanced, too high. The second brew on my Aeropress (1 mug) at 185F was balanced and excellent. I have a growing suspicion that temperature IS important. My next Brazen pot will be at (say) 195.
While it is too soon to give it a total recommendation, I know there are variables in coffee brewing and that the ability to adjust them will be important.
Posted Tue May 28, 2013, 6:11pm Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
Thanks all for the responses. Believe it or not, I read all 96 pages of the Behmor Brazen thread. (What better way to spend Memorial Day at the in-laws than obsessively researching a coffee maker.) Also read the 10 page thread over at Home Barista.
It sounds like you all have some minor issues with condensation and residual water in the showerhead. I'm OK with that. My Mr. Coffee collects a ton of condensation on the lid and I consider it a non-issue. How much water is typically left over quantity-wise in the water heater?
And how long have you guys had your Brazens?
I'm really leaning towards pulling the trigger on this, as I agree, having the ability to control water temp is so crucial depending on the bean/roast and the Brazen is the only consumer drip brewer with this capability. (Not to mention it has a timer, which sadly is lacking from the higher-end consumer segment. I know it's blasphemy around these parts, but there are some mornings where I like the assurance of waking up to a pot of coffee, even if that means having to deal with stale grounds. Nice to know I can be as precise as necessary with this machine, and still have the flexibility to default to something like a timed brew when I want.)
One more question while I remember: Do any of you brew less than a full 40 oz pot with this? I typically brew 20 oz pots, and a recent thread here alludes to the fact that the Bonavita doesn't brew less than a full pot well, so wondering about the Brazen's ability in this department.
RandomTask Senior Member Joined: 30 Jan 2013 Posts: 62 Location: Saskatchewan, Canada Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Barratza Encore Drip: Behmor Brazen Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed May 29, 2013, 11:04am Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
I've owned my Brazen for almost 4 months and I'm loving it. I brew a pot every day and it has yet to dissapoint. It's also become the envy of my coffee consuming relatives. I dig the adjustability and while it's usually set a a temp and time I've found to work (201F/1:15 presoak) I still mess with it from time to time just to make sure.
For the condensation, I tipically have very little water in the tank all of it from condensation. I'd have to say a few mls, but if you want I can measure it tomorrow morning. Mine doesn't have enough condensation that I can't wipe it out with a single peice of paper towel. I was worried about the left over water, but if you check right after brewing, the tank is dry.
I've never brewed less than a full pot (8 cups/40 oz) myself, I tend to drink it all without much effort (the coffee is just too good). It does have fill lines on the tank for 6 cups (30 oz) so I have no reason to assume that it shouldn't be able to handle it. That might be something I'll try on the weekend. On normally weekdays less than a full pot wouldn't fly.
woodscomp Senior Member Joined: 29 May 2013 Posts: 14 Location: Knoxville Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Wed May 29, 2013, 8:47pm Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
I signed up for this forum because of this one thread. I own a Brazen coffee maker and for myself it was the biggest waste of money I have ever spent. And I will detail to you why.
Like the OP I enjoy a full bodied beverage whether it be hot or cold. When my Brazen is working it does make an excellent cup of coffee, and that is the single reason why I purchased it.
However in the 200+ pots of coffee I have made through this thing I have had several issues with it. Starting with the carafe. These machines are made in China, Behmor not being a big company with lots of resources has little control over the quality of the final product they are selling. I have had two carafes since October (or whenever this thing was released). Both of them leak if you try to pour with the lid in place. It is a poorly executed design. The carafes are made in sections, so it is not a seamless one piece design nor is it a two piece design where the halves are put together where liquid can not penetrate the inner tub of the carafe. My first carafe after a few months of use had developed a leak on the inner seam. Well what goes in eventually will work it's way out. Have you ever drank 3-4 week old coffee? I have thanks to the Behmor Brazen carafe. I will let you know it was pretty nasty stuff. Behmor sent me a new carafe, no questions asked. In fact when I described the taste of my coffee they knew exactly what my problem was before I knew what my problem was. That in itself for me is self admittance that they are having QC issues and have not done anything past sending out replacement carafes to correct the issue.
Moving forward. I have cleaned my Brazen every week since I got it, typically I use a teaspoon of Lemi-Shine to 2 cups of water and run a cycle through. If I do not do this every week the machine fails to function properly, it will leave about an inch of water in the kettle. In the past two months I have had to step up this cleaning to after every fourth to fifth pot.
Behmors response to this was check your water at a website that sells filters for mineral content. Claiming that mineral content is my issue and then telling me that I may want to purchase a reverse osmosis to correct the problems I am experiencing. I went to that website, which is a sham at best. They claim FDA ratings for mineral content in drinking water. Well they tell half truths at best. FDA only regulates labeling for mineral content in mineral water sold in stores. No minerals = no flavor. You have got to have some, mine is relatively low according to there site. Behmor seems to think mine is way to high. I think they are way to high.
I currently run a Bunn commercial filter to my source then that is filtered with a secondary carbon filter. The bunn takes care of minerals, and is the same type of filter I have used on my commercial machines (urns/airpots/thermals/pour overs and espresso machines) for 30 years. Behmors response was that my filter is not good enough for a commercial machine, insinuating that the Brazen is commercial quality? And that Bunn filters are not suitable for commercial coffee makers. Gee that is news to me. Somebody forgot to tell me when I was spending thousands of dollars on Bunn equipment that it is not commercial.
Needless to say I am at my whits end with this machine. Behmor while responsive at first with customer care, has now taken a different approach. A reverse osmosis, really? If I wanted to make fresh water from salt water I suppose. If my water quality was so bad that I could not stand it, maybe. But definitely not for a home coffee maker. The people at Brazen are hacks at best, they do not belong making coffee machines. They have no business being in the food service industry where they could possibly hurt somebody with there rookie mistakes, cheaply built pieces of junk.
Sure I could get a towel and dry stuff off. I could clean the machine daily if need be. But I don't do that. Why? Because when I purchase a piece of equipment I have a reasonable expectation that it will do what it is designed to do, all the time. You know the bare minimums, I put in 40 ounces of water I am receiving close to 40 ounces of product in return. Not 20, not 24, nor 32. I understand cleaning, I teach it, I certify other chefs in servsafe.
One last thing, technically the Brazen does not have the capacity to infuse anything. All that delayed timer does is stop the flow from the kettle to the brew basket long enough to let the grinds settle. The fresher the grind the larger the bloom. If you rush the water in to fast you are going to be chewing your coffee as well as drinking it. This is not infusion by any means. Think of it more as if your sink is partially fouled and you let 20 gallons of water down the drain all one time, your going to have a big mess on your hands. That is not infusion, it is diffusion. Nothing special is happening there.
The best way I explain my Brazen to new people who come to my home is, if I were to die tonight that coffee maker would be out of this house before I would. That is how much my wife likes it.
Posted Thu May 30, 2013, 1:26pm Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
Woodscomp, Interesting opinion. Just curious, when did you get the Brazen ? Did you have these issues from the first brew ?
I've had the Brazen since the beginning of Feburary and haven't experienced any of your issues. Sure, the carafe pours poorly, but it's nothing more than a light dribble. I live south of East St Louis and I have never used filter for my water, yet I have never had a clog and the reservoir empties completely after each daily use.
Sounds like you tried to clean it a lot, was a weekly cleaning necessary ? Were you sure that your cleaner had completely dissolved before adding it to the reservoir ? And did you pass it with the brew cycle or the manual release ? Maybe you had something else - lint, dish detergent, whatever - that got caught in your machine. Do mineral deposits accumulate enough in 7 days to cause a clog ?
What I'm having a hard time trying to understand : did you hear or feel coffee in the carafe when it was empty - indicating that the carafe liner had stale coffee in it.... Did your free replacement carafe fix that issue ?
Unfortunately, it didn't work for you. Happily find a different coffee maker. But, I have to take your opinion with a grain of salt... You signed up on this forum specifically to trash the Brazen. Make some positive, credible input on this forum before you call the makers of this machine hacks at best.
Posted Thu May 30, 2013, 1:48pm Subject: Re: Behmor Brazen users weigh in
Well ...shucks ...
If you had spent more time on this forum you would have realized that we are 'Coffee Geeks'. We buy exotic beans from all over hell's half acre, roast them ourselves, brew them 16 different ways, delude ourselves into thinking that we can taste blueberry, stone-fruit, tobacco, saddle-leather and creosote in the cup, measure TDS (and everything else we can think of) and write long articles about the results.
If you had spent more time on this forum you would know that Joe Behm, the developer and owner of the company, also makes and sells the Behmor 1600 Coffee Roaster, an excellent piece of gear at the right price-point and has captured a SUBSTANTIAL piece of the household roaster market. But more than that, he has built his business plan around excellent service and ...not advertising... but word-of mouth recommendation. It is an admirable policy that is taking root in other businesses.
If you had spent more time on this forum, particularly in the VERY LONG THREAD for the BraZen Brewer, you would have known in advance of the QC problems around puddling in the kettle, the leaky urn and the issues with very hard water.
And yet, we Geeks still buy BraZen coffee-makers, and have faith that, eventually, Joe will make things right.
And you, a Coffee Professional, should have known better. Buy a Bunn, a proven product with no issues.
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