Experimenting with Bonavita Brewing Temperatures

Bonavita auto brewer filter

Not Just Your Average Auto Brewer

bonavita automatic coffee brewer side view

I think we've made it obvious that we really love the Bonavita coffee maker. The Bonavita has proven itself to be temperature stable, producing a consistently quality cup of coffee, time after time, with lots of ease. You could even consider the Bonavita a hot water deliver system; you decide the dose, the grind, and even the dripper (several drippers fit the Bonavita).

Maintains a Good, Consistent Temperature

Several months ago we ran tests on the Bonavita to determine if we were willing to stand behind this maker and sell it. Of course the biggest thing we were concerned with was whether it brewed hot enough, and whether it held that temperature consistently throughout the entirety of the brewing process. We used cold, fresh, filtered tap water, which at our tap is around 65 degrees. At this temperature, the water from the brew head was consistently delivered at 205 degrees, meaning that the bed temperature was around 202-203, a great temperature for brewing most coffees, and within the SCAA standard for brewing.

Experimentation Time

Bonavita glass carafe auto brewer closeup

The other day, we had a delicious coffee in the office, and were wanting to brew a large batch using the Bonavita. This particular coffee was a high-elevation, very lightly developed coffee, with the best results in pour-over brewing coming from very hot brewing temperatures, between 206-208 from the kettle. So we wondered, would using lukewarm water affect the temperature at the brew head? The answer as you can tell from the title was an ecstatic YES! While we would never recommend using really hot water with the Bonavita, we have found that you can safely manipulate the brew head temperature by adjusting the temperature of water in the reservoir from cool to lukewarm. We decided to test this several times, using a basic 500mL and 30g of coffee, and here are three numbers that represent our overall results:

  • 95 degrees in the reservoir = 206-207 degrees coffee bed temperature
  • 65 degrees in the reservoir = 202-203 degrees coffee bed temperature
  • 45 degrees in the reservoir = 196-197 degrees coffee bed temperature

This is a pretty exciting finding! The already excellent Bonavita maker becomes an even more versatile brewing option. Our examples should work for you, barring differences in ambient room temperature (our thermostat was reading 70 degrees) and voltage drawn from the outlet (extension cords, other appliances sharing the outlet). Run your own experiments and see what you find! And for more information on the Bonavita brewers, check out our glass and thermal models.

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The Bonavita certainly does make an excellent cup of coffee. We use green organic beans and roast every day. The BV is the best drip coffee maker we have ever used. HOWEVER... if something goes wrong with it, it is a pain to repair. Stores that sell it to you will NOT handle the repair, and direct you to the distributor. There you have to provide your personal details and an email, along with other personal information - on a NON-SECURE website. The cap on our carafe broke after six months. I expected a simple phone call and my PO box address would have a replacement winging it's way in a day or two. No such luck! A premium product should provide premium service - not so with the Bonavita. The service is rude and unhelpful, almost as if by making it hard for you to claim, they will save money. Based on my experience with this simple repair I would NOT recommend this product to my friends. Perhaps when they remove the barriers, to honest and straightforward customer service at the distributor, and provide premium service for the premium price, I would change my mind.

Interesting post. Makes me much less impressed with this brewer. Needless to say, allowing the reservoir water temp to influence brew temp is a recipe for inconsistency. If you really want maximum control in a drip brewer, including 1 degree increments in water temp, there's currently no better machine than the Behmor Brazen.

Hey Benjamin. We haven't gotten our hands on Bodum's brewer, but — having looked at their website — it looks like it has some promising features. Still, the Bonavita brews a great cup... and the price is right. (: Kalita 185s fit the Bonavita, as do Beehouse drippers and V60 01s. Be advised, however, that not every filter cone shape favors the Bonavita's means of water delivery. V60s, for example prefer a specific pouring pattern that the shower head on the Bonavita can't achieve. The shape Beehouse drippers are similar to that of the filter cone that comes with the Bonavita, so these should work quite well. We'd also expect good results from the Kalita. Enjoy!

You mention that other drippers fit the Bonavita. Could you tell us which of the drippers that you carry would fit?

Bodum's Bistro b.over seems to be a similar idea. I wonder if you have thoughts on its performance in comparison to this Bonavita.(See http://www.bodum.com/us/en-us/shop/detail/11001-01US/?navid=278)

Hm, thanks for bringing that up! We were under the impression that it was copper, so we'll check on that. The one we tested would be the same that you would receive, so the numbers should be comparable.

I was under the impression that the Bonavita uses aluminum tubing and not copper - I was told this by the customer service crew at Bonavita - does this make a difference in the above calculation of desired temperature?

Thanks for posting. The way that the Bonavita works is based on the power of a heating element + diameter of the copper tubing + distance = desired temperature.  Those first three variables are constant and unchanging, so if you consistently put the same temperature water in the reservoir, you will consistently get the same temp water from the brew head. There is no timer; no matter the temp of the water you are brewing between 10-15 seconds every time; it's flash heating. Hope that helps!

I was considering purchasing the Bonvita but this post concerns me. I was under the impression that the maker had a thermostat to heat the coffee to the proper temperature and then begin brewing. From what I read here it must simply have a timer, and it is calculated to heat water from a certain beginning temperature (i.e. 65F) and then begins brewing.

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