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Thread: Behmor BraZen Plus -Review and my thoughts on the accurate electronic pour-over.

  1. #1
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    Behmor Brazen Plus; who's using it and thoughts

    just curious to what people think of the brazen plus as an alternate to espresso as I'm not drinking as much coffee and need to cut milk.

  2. #2
    TC
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    I don't see the Brazen as an alternative to espresso.

    It's (for me) the pinnacle of drip filter coffee. I am yet to have a bad cup out of mine- no scales, just freshly ground by eye and bang on every single time.

    We have one on demo for anyone in Melbourne who'd like to play.
    Last edited by TC; 13th July 2015 at 06:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    I really, really, really want one. I may even sell my V.4 Silvia to buy one. I may even sell my racing bike to buy one. Or two.

  4. #4
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Behmor BraZen Plus -Review and my thoughts on the accurate electronic pour-over.

    Inspired by another thread on the CoffeeSnobs forums I thought I would post some of my thoughts on the 220v/230v/240v:

    Behmor Brazen Plus.


    Firstly, the required disclosure: I sell these! However anyone that knows me also knows that I wouldn't touch them with a barge-pole unless I personally thought they were the best product available with excellent value and top warranty support if ever needed. The Brazen is all that and much more.

    This is what it looks like:



    Some history.
    I've known about this device for longer than I care to count, Joseph Behm (owner of Behmor Limited) showed me the first hand-made mock-up of this forever ago at the factory and I agreed to non-disclosure until it was released. It was hard to keep my trap shut, this was going to be a "game changer" in the filter market and even from those early models we knew this was going to do a better job than anything else we had ever used yet in true Behmor fashion, would be priced well enough for everyone to own one.

    Released in the USA as a 120v version a few years ago it received great reviews everywhere it went. It received the "Peoples Choice" award at SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association America) and Best New Product at SCAE (Speciality Coffee Association Europe). Huge praise for a new product in markets that are full of brewers.

    It took a fair while longer for the Brazen to hit our shores in a voltage that we could use. We (errr, that would be I) annoyed Joseph with some minor design variations that he happily did for the Australian version and then it headed off to Europe for certification. The "gotcha" with certification is that once you change the voltage (from 120v to 240v) all sorts of things change and need additional tweaking to work as they should. It's a time sponge as every little change requires re-certification and more testing. When completed it then had to be done in Australia too to meet our regulations. We passed with flying colours at Christmas (2014) and the factory started building them for us soon after. We landed the first container June 2015.

    What is it?
    Well... the manual and the carton call it a brewer and I do too sometimes but in our market that invokes terrible memories of 1980's dripolator machines. Cheap devices that over heated the water and we fed with stale coffee, then we wondered why it tasted bad. I'm calling this an "accurate electronic pour over" which is much more descriptive of what it does.

    How is it different?
    Nearly every domestic brewer on the market heats water to near boiling to get it to rise to the bed of coffee, typically the temperature that the water hits the coffee is too high and that imparts all sorts of flavours that you don't want in your cup. Those other brewers then drip in the middle of a cone causing over extraction in the centre, and under-extraction on the outer then if those factors weren't enough to give you grief they have a hot plate that stews the coffee creating a bitter brew that you have to dose with sugar to consume.

    The Brazen:

    * Heats water to an accurate and adjustable temperature before releasing it.
    * Uses a wide shower head to evenly distribute water over the whole bed of coffee.
    * Has an inbuilt and adjustable "pre-soak" time which allows the coffee to bloom first then extract more even.
    * Uses a thermal carafe to keep the coffee hot without stewing.
    * Can use much lower brewing temperatures as it uses gravity to release the water.
    * Has a "wake-up" timer function so you can set it up the night before and wake to the smell of coffee.

    Standards met and exceeded.
    The Brazen coffee brewer is one of only an handful of machines worldwide that meet the SCAA Gold Cup brewing standard.
    http://www.scaa.org/PDF/SCAA-Certifi...er-Booklet.pdf
    It was important to the Behmor company that their brewer met these standards. More important to me, it managed to far exceed those standards and has a lot more functionality and produces a better coffee than all the other brewers.

    Rules for use
    Here is the good bit, THERE ARE NO RULES. I get annoyed at regurgitated Internet stories that say you have to use a super light roast, you have to grind to a particular size or you have to brew within a specific temperature range or you are producing rubbish.

    As with home roasting, PLEASE throw the rules out the window and do what tastes good to you.
    The SCAA document above defines the temperature of 92C - 96C as being the "right" range. The Brazen will brew within those temperatures if you want but following my "no rules" mantra please try your coffees at different temperatures too. In many blind taste tests of the same coffee, same grind, same dose the lower than "standard" temperatures have been the favourites across a range of palates. Personally I tend to start at 90C and move around from there but have also had great coffees at 88C (well outside the accepted standard).

    The beauty of the Brazen is that you get to determine what suits you best. Other brewers (even those costing nearly double) have one temperature setting that falls somewhere in the 92-96 range. The best you can hope for is a lucky hit instead of accurate to a degree every time.

    Grind Size
    As above, there is no right size. Having said that, too fine and risk producing a muddy cup that will remind you of Turkish ibrik coffee, too coarse and it will be watery without body. Follow Goldilocks and try too fine, too coarse and then you will hit the just right spot. For a starting point try coarser than espresso, if it's bitter go a little more coarse, if it lacks body and depth go a little finer.

    Dose Size
    55g per litre (SCAA standard) or 60g per litre (the accepted Cupping Standard)
    Are all good starting points and in the 1.2 litre Brazen that equates between 66g and 72g in the basket. If you are using the scoop and not a set of scales don't worry, you can just use 6-7 scoops and you should be in the ball park. You will taste the difference between 6 and 7 scoops too so try both and see what suits your tastes the best. I would also suggest dosing the same each time when you start and only vary the grind size... too many changes at once can become confusing.

    Roast Depth
    WHATEVERYOULIKE. I'm of the strong opinion that good coffee roasted well can be brewed in a variety of devices for different results and most will be enjoyable. Often a change of grind or dose can compensate for a less desirable roast depth. A bean roasted correctly will have good development and caramelisation of sugars, a bean that was briefly pan fried will be sour-grassy and taste like cardboard, a bean that was roasted too much will taste like BBQ. If you normally have a preference for a particular roast depth start there and adjust the grind size to yield what you want. Break the rules, you might be surprised. In blind tests CS9 espresso roasts have yielded excellent long blacks in the Brazen with a coarser grind and by the same token, lighter roasts that produce disinteresting espresso can produce a crisp, bright pour-over that's far more interesting.

    Coffee Age
    This is an interesting one. Like everything else I've said above, please do this to your own taste and I think you will find similar post-roast rest times to other brewing methods. On more than one occasion I've walked from the roaster to the Brazen and used "still warm" coffee. The biggest risk is the coffee bloom might rise to the top of the basket but typically that's only if you ground very fine too. Flavour wise anything within a couple of weeks suits me.

    Drink Before
    From memory consume within 20 minutes is either in the manual or the SCAA temperature standards. Such is my life that half my coffees get finished stone cold an hour later. The beauty of the Brazen is that it uses a thermal carafe to keep the coffee hot for ages so it doesn't stew if left. I've poured a second cup a couple of hours later and it was still hot. I've also drunk it cold many hours later with no negative flavour changes... in fact I think its one of the best "made hot then drunk cold" coffees I've had. I've also known Brazen owners to microwave a cup later in the day and they said it was still great.

    So there you go...
    if you want to buy one we have them CoffeeSnobs - BeanBay - Other Stuff - Behmor Brazen Plus - Coffee Brewer and if my rambling above didn't answer all your questions fire away.

    Enjoy!

    Andy.
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  5. #5
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    Hey Andy,

    Wanted to find out about a few things:
    1. Can we use paper filter and if so what paper and where can i get it from?
    2. Can we order an extra carafe if needed?
    3. What is the total time of brew?
    4. Can we add hot water to speed up the boiling process?

    Thanks

  6. #6
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    1: Paper? Yes. The gotcha is that the Australian distributor of Bunn filters took days to get back to me and eventually after a few more days of back and forward emails I find they only carry commercial sized ones (insert something about mammaries on a male bovine). I hope to source something else but have no ETA yet. I must say, the gold filter works a treat and I personally can't see any reason to use paper.

    2: Extra carafe? Maybe. We landed a small amount of them as spare parts (just in case they were ever needed), didn't really think there would be a call for multiples with each machine.

    3: Time? It's fast. 8 minutes odd (give or take) depending on your cold water temperature.

    4: Start with hot water? Sure. Because it heats the water in a stainless reservoir it won't damage anything if it's hot. As long as you are careful and it's clean water I can't see a problem using the BraZen to just add the last few degrees of temperature to already hot water.
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  7. #7
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    I actually bought a bunch of paper filters from the usa and had them mailed. Would be happy to share a few if people want to try the difference.

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    Bumping this thread.....

    I guess there are just so many brews of French Press coffee one can serve. I enjoy the method, and I enjoy the drink.

    But....some days I truly think I wish there was another way. There is a bit of work to be done before the dream machine Espresso comes home along with the requisite you beauty grinder

    I digress however.. Do I gather this machine is no distant relative to those percolators of eons ago. These days we are drinking milk coffees with da needed fresh beans, & little sugar.

    What is the hype? I like what I see but for those vague perc' memories.


  9. #9
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    It's not a percolator, GBG, it is a very precise and controllable drip filter machine. The water is not re-cycled through the grounds....it just get one go

    I really like mine....the only time I have trouble is when something tells me to grind coarser, and I do it, and I don't like it.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    The Behmor Brazen Plus is nothing at all like a percolator. A percolator recirculates the boiling water/coffee over the grounds again and again for ~15 minutes, resulting in one of the poorest cups of coffee around. The Brazen Plus dispenses the water through the grounds a single time. The Brazen Plus also lets you set the water temperature to a precise and repeatable point. This allows you to find the temperature that produces the best in the cup experience. Additionally the pre-soak time of the grounds is also programmable. All-in-all a very far cry from the old percolators.


    Java "It also works great for brewing tea." phile
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    Thank you both!

    I had not grasped the method fully.

    Tops to hear.


  12. #12
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Can't wait to get one!

  13. #13
    GRB
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    The Brazen is working great for me. I either use it in std form (metal filter and thermal carafe) to make about about a litre or I use a kalita wave for single cups. So quick and easy. I use it at work so its V important to get it all happening quickly. I spend a few minutes filling water and grinding coffee, press go and walk away. When I get back its ready to go.

    I am using 60 g/l, 20 sec pre-brew and 92 deg C. So far have used SO beans "roasted for filter". I had recently tried some Yirg at a local roaster brewed with kalita wave and a Marco splurty/phase 9 device which was exceptional so that's what I was trying to reproduce. Was unsuccessful with Perth's water minus sediment and chlorine - always got a muddy kind of result. I switched to some cleaner water around 30 ppm TDS and straight away got great results.

    My combo of brazen, sunbeam grinder and kalita is about $400 - excellent bang for buck as long as you put a premium on speed/efficiency.

    Graeme
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    Hi Andy, you wouldn't have any re-seller near Brissy/GC for the Brazen would you?
    What's the usual shipping time over to 4208 in case the only option to get one is via BeanBay?

    Can you suggest me a budget grinder to go along with it? Would Sunbeam's EM0420 be good enough?

    Cheers,
    Sidds

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowarrior View Post
    Hi Andy, you wouldn't have any re-seller near Brissy/GC for the Brazen would you?
    What's the usual shipping time over to 4208 in case the only option to get one is via BeanBay?

    Can you suggest me a budget grinder to go along with it? Would Sunbeam's EM0420 be good enough?

    Cheers,
    Sidds
    Your questions are best asked directly to Andy via the Contact Us link at the bottom of all pages.


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    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  16. #16
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    I agree, if shadowwarrior used the Contact Us link it would have been answered already.

    Quote Originally Posted by shadowarrior View Post
    Hi Andy, you wouldn't have any re-seller near Brissy/GC for the Brazen would you?
    What's the usual shipping time over to 4208 in case the only option to get one is via BeanBay?

    Can you suggest me a budget grinder to go along with it? Would Sunbeam's EM0420 be good enough?

    Cheers,
    Sidds
    BeanBay is fast, if you ordered and paid today it would have shipped already. Delivery time varies and obviously Christmas is the slowest freight time of year but we can get to pretty much any address in the country between over night and under a week.

    Grinder? The EM0420 would be fine. Like all coffee grinders the more you pay the better it will work (mostly true) but because the Brazen is a pour-over and not under pressure the difference is more marginal. Buy what you can afford!

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    Awesome Placed an order just now.

  18. #18
    Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    comparison to the bonavita batch brewer? heard that one's pretty decent - also recommended by SCAA.

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    I received a Brazen for Christmas : ) We are very happy with it. Great flavour, and even pleasantly surprised with the brew of the Decaf WOW beans (my roast). Very impressed.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member LFM60's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpea64 View Post
    I received a Brazen for Christmas : ) We are very happy with it. Great flavour, and even pleasantly surprised with the brew of the Decaf WOW beans (my roast). Very impressed.
    Got me thinking...............
    sweetpea64 likes this.

  21. #21
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhouse View Post
    comparison to the bonavita batch brewer? heard that one's pretty decent - also recommended by SCAA.
    The question is off topic for this thread but to answer it...

    ALL other brewers are pale in comparison as they brew at a fixed temperature which may or may not be suitable for the bean. Once you have the temperature control of brewing between 89C-99C in 1 degree increments you wouldn't ever want to use anything else, even brewers costing double the Behmor Brazen can't do that.

    Any brewer that has no pump then has to lift the water by heating it too hot for making great brewed coffee.

    The Bonavita batch brewer overheats the water for most beans and the temperature varies during its use (hotter at the end of the cycle than the start) making for sometimes burnt flavours and mostly unrepeatable brews. I really didn't like it when I tried it in the US this year.

    The SCAA was a good start to making coffee brewing tangible, some other brewers now meet the SCAA criteria but only the Brazen exceeds the criteria and gives you the control you need to really experiment with brewed coffee.

  22. #22
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    I've been happy using the metal/mesh gold filter with the Brazen and making many a tasty brew. I've seen mention of Bunn papers, and have wondered whether 110 mm crimped paper filters for the Moccamaster filter brewer would work with the Brazen?

    Andy, a second carafe would definitely come in handy for small events where you want to have one brew ready available for pouring and then have another carafe brewing up a second pot. Guess I could get a Moccamaster Airpot or Carafe for those situations too.
    What sort of price would Brazen carafe be?

  23. #23
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    You could be waiting a long time to get an answer from Andy in here. Use the Contact Us link found at the top and bottom of every page for a quick response to your question.


    Java "Best to ask directly" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Is anyone able to tell me if you can just make a cup or two? Is there a minimum amount?

  25. #25
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Not sure what the "official line" is but you can make a couple of cups.
    Fill to the calibration line (about 500ml of water from memory) and add 35g of ground coffee (about 5g extra due to the low load). Works fine.

    ...but having said that, its rare for us to do less than a full pot. It keeps warm in the thermal jug for at least an hour and even when cold, because it wasn't stewing with heat it's still drinkable (me) or microwavable if you want it hot again (wife).

    I've actually really taken to drinking the second cup cold mid afternoon and it changes very little, if it was good coffee hot then the cold result is good too!
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