Recently, I bought the OXO Brew Single Serve Pour Over and have been using it for a week and wanted to give my impressions. I bought the OXO Brew for $12.79 and, at the time of writing, it was well reviewed online. Reviewers mostly seemed to find it to provide both a convenient and reliable cup of coffee.
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But what is the OXO Brew Single Serve Pour Over (“OXO Brew”)? The OXO Brew is a pour over brewer made by, well…OXO! OXO is manufacturer of a variety of different kitchen tools and other houseware. The OXO Brew comes in three attachable pieces- the pour over cone, the attachable water tank, and the lid.
The central concept and the primary appeal of the OXO Brew is in the attachable water tank allowing for adding all of the water for your pour over at once. The ingenuity is in the specially designed holes at the bottom of the water tank that OXO prototyped to control the water flow. This allows you to, in theory, walk away and come back to a great cup of pour over coffee!
And for dark roasts, the OXO Brew generally gets the job done. A helpful card is included with the suggested coffee to water ratio for different volumes of water. I’d suggest wetting the filter beforehand to avoid papery notes. After adding the coffee, I’d also suggest wetting or slightly blooming the grounds to allow gas to escape, particularly as the brewer won’t be completely open-air after adding the water tank on top. After waiting about 30 seconds, attach the water tank on top, add the remaining volume of water, and sit-back and water the brewer work. I have been able to consistently achieve a solid cup with the OXO Brew when using a dark roast.
However, lighter roasts end up being more problematic as I’ve consistently had issues with underextraction. Even after playing around with the coffee to water ratio, I never found the taste to be quite right. The fundamental problem is that the whole concept of the OXO Brew is to remove the variable of brew time that you normally have control over in a pour over. I found the brew time to be too quick and the resulting coffee to be underextracted. To remedy this, I was able to draw out the brew time by doing a few manual pours before adding the tank, but this ends up defeating the whole convenience purpose of the OXO Brew. I think a design with adjustable holes to control extraction probably would address this issue, but sadly the OXO Brew Single Serve Pour Over is not that device.
I don’t want to be too negative regarding the OXO Brew- it’s a neat device that probably makes sense for a lot of coffee drinkers, particularly if they like dark roasts. However, personally, I think I’ll stick to other pour over devices like a V60 or Coffee Gator. The versatility these pour over devices provide generally outweighs the convenience factor of the OXO Brew.
My biggest take-away is how this experience underscored the importance of controlling variables being key to great coffee. I alluded to this concept in our post regarding making a great cup of coffee with a simple coffee pot. One of the variables I should have really have listed is brew time. My experience with the OXO Brew has highlighted brew time as a very important variable for coffee- and the downside to giving up control of it.