Quick Answer: I would recommend buying a Bonavita coffee maker, in particular the Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup.
This is my Bonavita coffee maker review.
I have never owned a Bonavita coffee maker. I do, however, own a very similar machine (the Breville Precision Brewer).
I also spent a whole day researching these machines, and users’ experiences with them online to put together this review.
Throughout this review, I will be focussing on the Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup, as this seems to be the most popular model on the market right now. I will also touch upon other Bonavita coffee makers as well.
Let’s get started.
Should I Buy a Bonavita Coffee Maker (Quick Answer)?
I would recommend buying a Bonavita maker.
Bonavita machines make some of the best coffee of all domestic drip coffee machines. They also cost a fraction of what most coffee makers that make this standard of coffee cost.
In other words, Bonavita machines, in particular, the Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup and Bonavita Connoisseur 5-Cup are bargains.
Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup
What Bonavita Coffee Makers Are Available?
Bonavita has a handful of coffee makers, but by far the two most common ones are the:
Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup: A drip coffee maker that is designed to make between 20 oz – 40 oz of coffee in one go.
Bonavita Connoisseur 5-Cup: This is basically the same as the Bonavita 8 Cup but is designed to make 15 oz – 25 oz of coffee.
I could also find a machine called the Bonavita Metropolitan 8-Cup, which is just the Bonavita 8-Cup with a glass carafe rather than a thermal one.
This seems to be a bit rarer than versions of the Bonavita that have a thermal carafe.
Since there are far more similarities than differences between these machines, I will review Bonavita coffee makers as a whole and point out any specific differences between the different models as they arise.
Quality of Coffee
Bonavita coffee makers make excellent coffee that can stand toe to toe with any drip coffee maker, regardless of price.
America’s Test Kitchen ran a comparison of seven premium drip coffee makers and found that the Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup made the second-best coffee of all machines tested, narrowly missing out on the Technivorm Moccamaster KGBT.
America’s Test Kitchen specifically commented that the Bonavita 8 Cup massively outperforms its price tag in terms of the quality of coffee that it makes. I’ve embedded their analysis of this machine in the video below:
The Bonavita 8-Cup is certified by the Speciality Coffee Association of America (SCAA).
This certification means that the machine meets the currently accepted best practices for brewing drip coffee. These best practices can be broken down into three main criteria.
- Consistent brewing temperature: Bonavita machines heat your brewing water to the ideal brewing temperature of 195-205 Fahrenheit throughout the entirety of the coffee brewing process. Most machines only hit this temperature at the end of the brewing process, so your coffee is mainly brewing below this ideal temperature. This ideal temperature leads to optimal extraction of your ground coffee into your brewing water, resulting in a richly flavored final drink.
- Correct brewing ratio: Bonavita machines have a large enough brewing basket that it can hold enough ground coffee to brew at its maximum capacity and still keep the ideal ground coffee to water ratio of 1:16. Most drip coffee makers do not have a brew basket big enough to do this and therefore make watery coffee when brewing larger batches.
- Optimal brewing time: Bonavita machines brew your coffee in around 4-6 minutes depending on the volume of coffee you are making. Most machines brew much faster than this and do not give enough time for your coffee to extract into your brewing water. Bonavita machines, therefore, make a far more complexly flavored coffee than other drip coffee makers.
I should note that the Bonavita 8-Cup and Bonavita 5-Cup are both SCAA certified. You can find a full list of SCAA-certified coffee makers here.
In short, Bonavita machines make some of the best drip coffee you can get from any domestic coffee maker.
Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10
Ease of Use
Bonavita coffee makers are super easy to use because they sacrifice unnecessary functionalities in favor of simplicity.
All you have to do to make a coffee with a Bonavita machine is fill it up with ground coffee and water and press the brew button.
The machine will automatically brew your coffee at a hard-coded brew time and temperature. These hard-coded times and temperatures are in line with the SCAA’s best practices for brewing drip coffee.
The only “option” you have with a Bonavita machine is whether you want to pre-infuse (“bloom”) your coffee prior to brewing.
To turn “pre-infuse mode” on, all you have to do is hold down the brew button for a few seconds until it beeps.
Once it does this the machine will always pre-infuse your ground coffee until you turn “pre-infuse mode” off. You do this by holding down the brew button again until it beeps.
The machine does not have a removable water tank. This means that you have to fill it up with another vessel, which is a bit annoying.
The machine will brew with all the water you put in its water tank, so you have to fill it up each time you want to make a coffee. In fairness, most drip coffee makers (even the pricey ones) do not have a removable water tank.
The measurements on the machine’s water tank are very clear to read so you can brew with a precise brewing ratio so long as you weigh out your ground coffee (the machine does not have a built-in scale).
Ease of Use Rating: 9/10
Design and Build Quality
Bonavita coffee makers have a good internal brewing system but a relatively poor external build quality. This means they are not the most durable machines.
Internal Build Quality
Bonavita machines have a brewing system that is capable of making excellent coffee, but which will also likely deteriorate after a few years of regular use.
The very fact that most Bonavita coffee makers are SCAA-certified means that their brewing (heating and pumping) systems are of high quality.
The most expensive part of a coffee machine is always its heating system. This is why many cheaper machines have heaters that only heat your water to its ideal brewing temperature by the end of brewing.
Bonavita machines keep this ideal brewing temperature throughout the entire brewing process. In this sense, the machine has a very high internal build quality.
I did, however, find many complaints online about Bonavita machines’ heating and/or pumping system deteriorating over time. You can find an example of such a complaint on Reddit here.
This was not a one-off problem, with many users complaining that the machine either fails to heat or pump your water properly after around 3-5 years of use.
Bonavita coffee makers seem to lack the durability of more expensive alternatives like Technivorm or Breville coffee makers.
External Build Quality
Bonavita coffee makers have a mediocre external build quality with many of their external components being made out of thin and quite brittle plastic.
Bonavita coffee makers have many external parts that are made out of food grade, but ultimately brittle, plastic.
This means that the machine is not durable when it comes to relatively minor blunt trauma such as being dropped or knocked over.
Its brew basket is made out of plastic, and this will come into direct contact with hot water.
While this plastic is BPA-free, if you have concerns about the contamination of plastic with hot liquids then you may want to avoid this machine. Here is my roundup of the best plastic-free coffee makers, if this is a concern for you.
Bonavita’s tend to come with thermal carafes as standards, although I have seen models with glass carafes.
Their thermal carafes are very well insulated, but their spout can be drippy when you pour from them. This often makes an annoying mess on your counter.
I’d therefore recommend buying a version of the machine with a glass carafe, if possible.
Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10
Bonavita machines have relatively few functionalities, instead opting for simplicity rather than having all the bells and whistles under the sun.
As I mentioned earlier, Bonavita machines basically have two settings, “pre-infusion mode” and “non-pre infusion” mode.
I’d always go for pre-infusion mode; it just makes better coffee.
All other brewing variables are just controlled by the quantities of coffee and water you use and how you grind your coffee.
This means that Bonavita machines are relatively functionality-sparse by drip coffee maker standards.
Some machines (including my Breville Precision Brewer) let you control variables such as:
- Brewing time
- Brewing temperature
- Preinfusion time
- What time it starts brewing (auto-on)
Bonavita coffee makers don’t do any of this.
I actually quite like the simplicity of this. It means that there are much fewer things that can go wrong with your machine, and its default brewing conditions are pretty much as good as you can get them.
Functionalities Rating: 5/10
Value For Money
Bonavita coffee makers offer very good, but not outstanding, value for money.
Bonavita coffee makers offer good value for money in the sense that coffee makers that make a similar standard of coffee to a Bonavita machine tend to cost a lot more than them.
Bonavita machines are, however, a fair bit less durable than other premium coffee makers.
I, therefore, think you can get better value for money for a more expensive, but more durable machine if you are willing to take this upfront cost.
Value For Money Rating: 8/10
Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Pros
Makes one of the best-tasting coffees of all drip coffee makers.
It is much cheaper than machines that make coffee to a similar standard (or worse).
It can brew large batches of coffee without the coffee being watery (most machines cannot do this).
Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup Cons
It is not the most durable machine and will unlikely last you more than five years without deteriorating.
What Users Say
The Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup (the most popular Bonavita machine on Amazon) has been reviewed 3,325 times with an average rating of 4.0 stars out of 5.
Positive reviews of Bonavita coffee makers comment on how good a coffee it makes:
Amazon review of Bonavita 8-Cup, January 2019: “The unit is very well made and sturdy and it makes a fantastic smooth cup of coffee, the grind at the end is absolutely perfectly saturated, no holes no blasting it all over. The carafe kept my coffee hot for over 3 hrs”
Negative reviews of the machine comment that its carafe can be very messy and that the machine just isn’t very durable in general.
Amazon review of Bonavita 8-Cup, December 2022: “The unit stopped working one day recently and like most appliances these days it is basically unrepairable. Four years to me is not that long but so be it…The carafe is ergonomically not great, it’s like it’s just not well designed to smoothly pour coffee and the balance of the pot is off so that pouring is not “nice” compared to other thermal carafes we have. “
Generally, with product alternatives, I want to try and recommend cheaper products that still have similar strengths to the ones that I am reviewing.
However, Bonavita is the best cheap alternative to a high-quality drip coffee maker. So instead I am going to recommend coffee makers that I think might offer better value than the Bonavita 8-Cup, even if they are not necessarily cheaper.
Alternative 1: Bonavita 5-Cup (Better For Smaller Servings)
The Bonavita 5-Cup is just a smaller version of the Bonavita 8-Cup (the machine I have been focussing on for the majority of this review).
It still brews to the same (very high) standard as the 8-Cup, with some on Reddit saying that it brews smaller batches of coffee better than the 8-Cup. You can follow the thread that talks about this here.
Personally, I have my doubts about whether the 5-Cup makes smaller servings of coffee better than the 8 Cup.
The 5-Cup is generally slightly cheaper than the 8-Cup, so if you are only looking to make small servings of coffee (5 Cup’s maximum serving size is 25 oz) then this machine may represent better value than the 8-Cup.
Alternative 2: Technivorm Moccamaster KGBT (More Expensive But More Durable)
The Technivorm Moccamaster KGBT makes coffee at least as well as any Bonavita machine.
Although it is significantly more expensive than a Bonavita, it makes up for this with its durability. The machine can last decades; the same cannot be said for a Bonavita coffee maker.
I, therefore, think that in the long run, the Technivorm Moccamaster KGBT offers better value for money than a Bonavita machine because of this added durability.
If it costs you twice as much but lasts you five times as long, then you have more than made your money back.
I would recommend buying a Bonavita coffee maker, specifically the Bonavita Connoisseur 8-Cup.
Bonavita machines make some of the best coffee of all domestic drip coffee makers and are also less expensive than machines that make comparable (or even worse) coffee.