For those going for a modern kitchen aesthetic, the Behmor Brazen Plus is certainly an attractive choice. The Brazen Plus backs up those modern looks with some modern features, like a permanent gold filter that reduces waste, and a programmable brew schedule that lets you wake up to a freshly brewed pot. It is also reasonably easy to use and clean, and makes a very smooth cup. It does lack some robustness, so those that like their coffee strong may want to look at other machines like the Editors' Choice winning OXO, or the more reasonably priced Cuisinart 14-cup programmable.
Behmor Brazen Plus ReviewPrice: $170 List | $151.93 at Amazon
Pros: Very smooth taste, permanent filter saves waste
Cons: Taste is on the weak side
Bottom line: A decent machine that produces smooth but somewhat weak tasting coffee
Automatic Brewing: Yes
Dimensions: 9" x 9" x 15.3"
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Behmor Brazen Plus is a high priced coffee maker that brews a good, smooth, but not particularly strong cup. If that seems to match you desired palette, this is a good choice. If you want something stronger, the OXO On 9 Cup would be a better choice, or the less expensive Cuisinart 14-cup programmable.
The Brazen Plus was an above average but not stellar performer in every one of our tests. More details follow in the sections below.
We would almost say that the Brazen Plus' taste occupies a very specific niche. We found the taste to be incredibly smooth, but lacking a bit in terms of robustness and flavor. If you like the mellower taste of a light roast, but wish it had a bit less acidity, you might like this machine. It tends to take the edge off, both in terms of bitterness and, but also in terms of strength. Those that like a strong cup of coffee likely won't be huge fans of this machine and would be better served by the OXO On or the Cuisinart 14-cup programmable, both of which make heartier brews.
The Brazen Plus comes with a reusable gold filter, which greatly reduces waste. However, we found that preground coffee (which often has smaller grinds than freshly ground coffee) does sometimes get through the filter, leaving some grinds in the pot. This can make the coffee taste more bitter if you let the pot sit for a while before drinking it.
The Brazen Plus is somewhat slow out of the gate. Factoring in putting coffee into the filter, filling the tank, brewing, and cleaning out the filter, it took us 10 minutes to brew 6 cups of coffee. The average of all our machines was 5 minutes, with the comparable OXO On and Cuisinart DCC-3200 clocking 6.5 and 7 minutes, respectively. That extra time isn't much, but it can seem like an eternity during a rushed morning.
Luckily the Brazen Plus makes up for its slow speed out of the gate with a programmable function. This allows you to prep the coffee and fill the water tank before bed, then set the maker to start brewing automatically when you wake up in the morning. That way all you need to do in the morning is clean out the filter. This feature is also available on the OXO On and Cuisinart DCC-3200, so it doesn't exactly differentiate the Brazen Plus, but does make up for its slight shortcoming in speed.
The Brazen Plus was above average but not at the front of the field when it came to our user friendliness testing. The interface is reasonably intuitive, but the LCD screen is on the small side and may be hard to read for some people. That's no problem if you're just brewing a pot, but you might find yourself squinting a bit if you're trying to set the programmable brew timer. The carafe itself has a nice handle and is easy to pour, but it does have a fairly large opening. This makes it easy to spill if you're a bit overzealous on your first pour, but overall isn't a big deal.
This experience is about even with that of the Cuisinart DCC-3200, which is fairly easy to use but also has some minor oddities. The OXO ON Barista Brain is slightly more intuitive, as OXO really prides themselves on providing the best possible interface (and it shows).
Ease of Cleaning
The Brazen Plus was an average performer in our ease of cleaning tests. This put it about even with its main competitors, as only the super convenient capsule machines faired much better in our round of tests.
We were pleasantly surprised that the reusable filter was quite easy to clean. We initially worried this may add some significant cleanup time, but with a quik rinse and just a bit of a scrub with soap for sterilization and it was good to go. The carafe did add some difficulties, as you really need a long bottle brush to get down into its crevices. No part of the Brazen Plus is dishwasher safe.
Descaling (which generally must be done every 3-6 months) took us a grand total of 35 minutes and didn't cause much of a mess. This again was right around average.
The Brazen Plus provides value only to a very specific person: one that likes their coffee very smooth and not particualrly bold. If that doesn't describe you, you're much better off spending the $200 you would have spent on the Brazen Plus on the OXO On instead. Or you could save a bit of money and get a much stronger cup from the Cuisinart 14-cup programmable.
The relatively expensive Brazen Plus is really only worth the money if you like your coffee very smooth and on the weak side.