Oxo Burr Coffee Grinder Review: Complete Buyer's Guide
The world of gourmet coffee revolves around a few key facts: expertly roasted beans require precision grinding and proper extraction to achieve the best possible flavor no matter how its brewed.
It sounds simple enough, but in reality, it can be an incredibly complex series of steps.
One of the most essential appliances in this journey is the coffee grinder itself. We're taking a look at some unique features in this OXO coffee grinder review to see how well it holds up to its promise of precision and consistency.
Do the OXO Barista Brain grinder's conical burrs and integrated scale really help it stand out from the rest? Let's find out.
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This OXO grinder pairs adjustable step grinding with programmable settings that include grinding by weight, time or quantity.
You also have the ability to dial in a strength preference on top of all those specifications, which adds an extra opportunity to personalize your results that isn't found on many other coffee grinders.
The hopper's 16-ounce capacity is almost double the size of most grinders in the same price range and with similar functionality.
It has a built-in scale for measuring by the gram, which is a welcome treat in comparison to many of its competitors, too.
There is a lot to list in terms of technical specs for this grinder, but check out what we think are its best features to see which bells and whistles really impress us.
What the OXO burr grinder proves is that this brand knows the science behind good coffee. To that end, they've packed their Barista Brain grinder full of interesting and useful features.
While some of these are standard features for most grinders, OXO adds a special innovative touch to the way they function on this grinder.
Other ideas completely change the game for grinders at this price range by giving professional-grade capabilities in the comfort of your own kitchen at home.
While this grinder is priced for entry to mid-level aficionados, some of its settings and features require a small learning curve to master--we'll tell you how to make the most out of them a little later on.
What type of coffee is best suited for the OXO Barista Brain grinder?
Judging which brewing methods and devices the Barista Brain favors are where things start to get tricky.
Despite the all-purpose nature of a grinder that has so many stepped adjustments and extra touches to further dial in fine-tuned tweaks, it's impossible for the OXO to get it just right for every type of coffee.
What it does do best sits right in the medium range of grinds. This means the regular drip brew machines and standard pour-over devices will pair beautifully with this grinder.
Depending on what kind of coffee bean you're grinding, it will do just fine as you move along the coarser side of the grinding scale, like for press pots and cold brew options.
Unfortunately, it doesn't perform as well for the finer grinds that steam-powered espresso machines require. There just isn't the consistency required to pull a shot with the perfect amount of crema every time.
Turkish coffee, one step further into the ultra-fine territory, also needs more reliable production than the Barista Brain provides.
Making the most out of this grinder
As we mentioned earlier, some of the features that make this grind pull ahead of the pack are also features that may take a little longer to learn how to use properly.
When using functions that depend on the integrated scale built into the machine, make sure it's fully tared so that you get a true measure of how much coffee you're grinding. You can do this by holding down the button until it shows 0 grams on the digital interface.
In order to find the sweet spot for your chosen brewing device, play around with the recommended grind settings by scaling it up or down by a couple of notches.
Most manufacturers suggest something that should be in the middle of any given industry standard, but your personal tastes and your own device may require minor changes from there.
It's fair to expect a little tweaking when getting used to a new grinder, but there are some inconvenient design details that could get in the way of making the most of this grinder. Read on to see where we felt this device failed to live up to its promises.
The downside of this OXO burr grinder
The OXO Barista Brain burr grinder does have a lot of features that we love, but unfortunately, not all of them work as well as we would hope given their professional design.
How to clean this grinder
Cleaning the OXO Barista Brain is a fairly straightforward set of steps. Electric grinders should never be submerged or soaked in water, but you should also be careful while wiping down the digital screen to be sure excess water doesn't seep into the seams and ruin the interface.
1. Remove hopper, container and scale plate.
These can all be wiped down easily with warm or soapy water depending on how deep your cleaning will be.
The hopper's bottom piece has a locking door to block beans from spilling, so that makes spot-cleaning the burr assembly easy.
2. Remove upper burr from its seat.
The upper burr lifts out easily and can be wiped clean or brushed with a bristle brush. Avoid washing this piece with soap and water unless absolutely necessary since the water can lead to bacteria build-up if not allowed to fully dry.
3. Brush out the inner burr assembly and chute.
You can turn the machine over a bowl or bin and tap out loose grinds after giving the inner grooves a vigorous brush.
There are other products on the market that can be sent through the grinder to help clean out the grooves of these pieces, too, but must be used while the machine is fully assembled.
4. Put everything back together.
All interlocking pieces fit only one way. The no-bean censor of the hopper depends on a proper fit and the machine will not turn on if the hopper is empty or doesn't fit.
Main competitors to the OXO Barista Brain burr grinder
Some of the features that the OXO burr coffee grinder boasts just can't be found in grinders that share its price point, while others provide more consistency or versatility for the same cost or less.
The Capresso Infinity is not only more affordable, generally speaking, but it does a better job of grinding fine enough for most espresso and Turkish coffee brewing methods.
Its interlocking bin also contains stray grinds better than the OXO Barista Brain. There's nothing digital about this grinder and it doesn't allow as many adjustments as others, but it's solid and straightforward.
This grinder matches the Barista Brain's digital interface and programmable settings, but minus the built-in scale.
That can work out just fine for some consumers, however, especially considering it has settings for the per-cup measures and keeps its grind selections to a minimum for those who don't need as much versatility as they do dependability.
The OXO Barista Brain burr coffee grinder has plenty of extras packed into a fairly durable build. Some of those features are trend-setting and truly impressive at this price point, like the scale and the strength selector.
It might not be the best fit for those who want a lot of variety along the scale from coarse to fine. However, it's a great fit for those who know what they like in that medium-coarse range with a choice to grind enough for a little or a lot.