The Behmor Brazen Plus is a fascinating coffeemaker from a company you’ve probably never heard of. It’s got an unconventional design reminiscent the Bunn HB, but with a feature set that simply doesn’t exist on any other consumer coffeemaker.
Based in Nevada, Behmor is a relatively small (at least compared to the likes of KitchenAid or Cuisinart) maker of extremely feature-loaded coffeemakers and home coffee roasters. This unit’s big brother — the Behmor Brewer — even has full control via app and Alexa. So when I found the unit for only $159 at Bed Bath & Beyond, I knew I had to pick it up.
This is Going to be Awesome
It sounds cliche, but from the moment you open the box, you know this is an entirely different kind of coffeemaker. The very first step is to set your altitude (in increments of 250 feet) and run the built-in calibration program. This is because water boils at different temperatures at different elevations. Most of Central PA is around 300-600 feet, so the default setting of 500 works just fine for most of us locals. But if you want your water hitting the grounds at 202 degrees, why not calibrate it to hit at exactly 202 degrees?
For most coffeemakers, that’s a moot point, because you don’t have any control over water temperature. But the Behmor Brazen Plus is very, very different. Here’s why:
For decades, the bane of automatic drip coffeemakers was temperature control. Water was usually heated by running it under the warming plate, then pumping it up top and pouring it over the grounds. But as you know from being a smart reader, water temperature is critically important to coffee quality. Too cool, and your coffee will taste weak or dull. Too hot, and your coffee will taste bitter.
In recent years, some manufacturers have started producing coffeemakers that carefully regulate water temperature into that golden 195- to 205-degree range. But even in that golden range, there’s a huge difference between what you get at 195 and what you get at 205. And even THAT varies by what type of coffee you’re using, how it was roasted, and your personal preference!
Take It A Step Further
The Behmor Brazen Plus takes temperature control a step further. It doesn’t just land the water somewhere in that golden range — it actually lets you program the water temperature from anywhere to 190 to 210 degrees! Not only does this give you maximum control over your daily cup of joe, but you can now experiment and see exactly how temperature bends the flavor of your coffee.
The other big feature that’s coming of age nowadays is presoak. This sprinkles (or “jimmies”, if you’re from Philadelphia) a small amount of water over the grounds immediately before the brew process in order to help extract maximum flavor. Trust me on this one: it makes a difference. While the Brazen Plus isn’t the first coffeemaker with a presoak function, it is the only consumer coffeemaker I know of that lets you adjust the presoak time — from 15 seconds to four minutes.
The manual recommends starting with a temperature of 202 and a 45-second presoak, and experimenting from there. This is a pretty good starting point.
Getting it Done: Usage and Design
The Behmor Brazen Plus has a unique, industrial appearance that somewhat resembles Bunn’s consumer model styling. I like it.
A stainless steel reservoir on top of the unit holds up to 8 cups of water. Water levels are clearly marked via metal stamping. Filling the tank is facilitated by a removable 7″ locking lid.
However, two words of caution: first, pour from the side. The front control panel is not spill resistant. This is a significant oversight.
Second, the sealed lid means there will be a lot of condensation on the lid — even 24 hours after brewing. Because of its shape, you must take care when opening the lid. Otherwise, a small amount of water will spill everywhere. The only hassle-free solution is to crack the lid a few minutes after brewing (careful, the reservoir will be scalding hot!) so the tank can air dry.
The Brazen Plus has a hefty, well-built feel to it. The term “industrial strength” comes to mind. This isn’t meant to be cute or dainty; it’s a tool engineered to deliver a damn good cup of coffee, day after day after day. It’s got a job to do and it knows it. If this were a movie character it would be played by Danny Trejo. Vikings would carry this coffeemaker into battle and sing hearty songs about the rich coffee it cranks out.
But how does it taste?
Minor design issues aside, the Behmor Brazen Plus appears to be a coffee geek’s coffeemaker. It’s loaded with features that you simply can’t find on any other consumer model at any price. But that means nothing if it can’t brew a good cup of coffee.
I’m going to spend a week using this beast as my daily driver. At first glance, it’s the most complex (or “customizable” if you’re a coffee geek like me) coffeemaker of the batch. But once you set it up, it’s mostly hands off. And if those extra options help brew an amazing cup, then so much the better! Check back at the end of the week for an update!