OXO On Barista Brain Conical Coffee Grinder [REVIEW]
I like to try new things, and when the OXO On “Barista Brain” Conical Coffee Grinder first came out, I wanted to try it because it looked kind of cool. Here’s what I liked and disliked about it:
Features Of The OXO Barista Brain
The OXO On “Barista Brain” Conical Coffee Grinder is a well thought out coffee grinder that has a modern and sleek exterior made from stainless steel. Being the “Barista Brain”, I think the design deliberately made the grinder look more human, with the hopper resembling the brain. As for the footprint, the machine measures 9.2 x 5.4 x 14.3’ (23.4 x 13.7 x 36.3cm) and weighs 5lbs (2.3kg).
The OXO grinder uses 40mm conical burrs made from stainless steel. The coffee mill’s unique selling point is the automatic features. All you have to do is set the number of cups to make, and the dosage per cup (defaulted at 8g), and the grinder will do the rest.
Is The Brain Right For Me?
Compared to other coffee mills, the OXO Barista Brain is suitable for a smaller group of people. Although the device claims to produce grinds ranging from fine to coarse, I disagree. At its finest setting, the grinds are not fine enough for a non-pressurized espresso machine. When I switched it to a coarser setting, the results became inconsistent. If you’re a French press aficionado, I recommend you NOT to buy this device.
For a burr grinder, producing quality grinds is obviously important. Even though this machine doesn’t deliver the full range, it still performs well in the medium setting. As such, if you’re going to make a filter or something to go with your drip coffee maker, then this is still an excellent choice!
More importantly, this burr grinder is an excellent choice for those who go through a coffee ritual every morning. If that’s you, the automatic feature will save you a lot of time! Once everything is set up (grind size, cups, and dosage), all you have to do is press a button, and it’ll deliver the grinds. It’s hassle free, and if you’re like me who never have enough time in the morning, then this is the perfect grinder for you.
What's Good About This Grinder
- Consistent grinds in medium settings - perfect for drip or filter coffee.
- Large 12oz hopper with "trap door" features.
- Lots of automatic and convenient features that make this product hands-free and hassle-free!
I like how convenient the OXO Conical Burr Grinder is. I’ve worked in the coffee industry for just over 10-years, and this is one of the easiest coffee grinders I’ve ever used. Other than the automatic features, it comes with a well thought out bean hopper.
The bean hopper is made from UV-blocking plastic and comes with a “trap-door” feature at the bottom. This feature ensures the beans are trapped inside, and allows for easy storage, easy dispensing, and most importantly, produces less mess!
The manufacturer also took time in making this product “idiot proof”. They designed the hopper in the same size as the container. As an automatic grinder, this is important because assuming the container is smaller (which it usually is); there is a good chance it’ll overflow when you’re not looking. At best, this will create a lot of mess, but at worst, it’ll damage your burrs – YOU DON’T WANT THAT!
The burr mill also comes with an on-board “no-bean” protection system that prevents the user from activating the burrs when there are no beans detected. This is truly an “idiot proof” coffee grinder, so unless you buy one from a bad batch (more details below), this machine will last very long.
OXO Barista Brain's Improvement Area
- Narrow grind range, need more expensive espresso machines and can't make good French Press.
- Static! Grind sticks to lots of plastic parts.
- There seem to be a bad batch sold on Amazon around the late-2015s and early-2016s.
The OXO grinder is not just all positives. I already mentioned the grind size issue; it doesn’t do fine enough grinds for non-pressurized espresso machines.
Another problem is the material choice. The device is mostly made from plastic cased in metal. Not all the plastic part is covered, and when the machine is grinding, it creates lots of static, which causes the coffee to stick. I’m not sure about you, but this irritates me a lot, and they’re not easy to wipe off the plastic parts.
Lastly, while making sure Amazon sells this product, I noticed there seem to be a bad batch being sold there in the late-2015s and early-2016s. When doing my due diligence, I read many customers reporting that their grinder broke in less than 5 minutes of first-time use. It seems to not happen as frequently now but even if it does, OXO customer service don’t appear to have a problem replacing it – so don’t worry too much about it!
Other Products Similar To The OXO
If you’ve read other reviews on the blog, then you’ve probably guessed it. The Breville Smart Grinder is a very close alternative to the OXO Barista Brain Grinder. They both offer automatic features, but I think the Barista Brain looks better, and Smart Grinder is more intuitive and easy to use. Find out more about the Smart Grinder.
If you’re in the UK, Breville is known as Sage, someone took their name there.
If you don’t really like drip coffee and prefer an espresso or French press, then you may want to consider the Baratza Virtuoso instead. There’s a detailed review here, but you can also read what other customers are here on Amazon.
The Coffee Barrister's Verdict
Overall, the OXO On Barista Brain Conical Burr Grinder is a machine that specializes in producing medium sized grinds, the ideal size for drip brew. It’s also one of the most convenient machines I’ve used in my coffee career. If you’re someone who’s looking for a trouble-free burr mill, then this might be the one.