Coffee is a staple in the lives of many. For some it is quite utilitarian, a solution to a sleepy morning or that 2:30 feeling, while for others, coffee is more of a pleasure. They enjoy the complexities of the flavors and the different techniques that artisans employ to make new coffee creations. The Breville Precision Brewer is a dream for the coffee experimenter, it’s definitely not your average drip coffee maker.
The brewer costs $300, which is quite expensive for a coffee machine, but the price reflects its vast functionality. The machine brews coffee with perfect consistency and does so quickly. It fits both cone and flat bottom filters and allows you to customize your brewing functions, including water temperature, flow rate and the length of the pre-soak. The drip coffee maker allows you to create both hot and cold coffee drinks.
The machine looks quite similar to the average premium drip coffee machine, with a stainless-steel exterior and a handy touchscreen controller. However, on the inside, the machine uses PID controller, which controls every aspect of the brewing cycle including the water flow and temperature.
It has a long narrow base with a tower on the left side where the heating system along with the supporting electronics and controls are housed. Above the tower is the water reservoir, with measurement markings that will tell you how much water you need to make different quantities of coffee. To the right is the thermal carafe. Over that is the filter basket, which can hold up to 60 ounces (1.8L), this works out to about 12 cups. It is made for flat bottom filters but includes a special adapter for cone-shaped filters. In addition to that, the filter basket has a permanent, metal flat bottom filter.
The unit’s advanced hardware gives it a range of flexibility that you will not see in other coffee makers. It comes with six automatic brewing modes, including the fast cycle, for quick coffee making, the gold setting that brews a cup of coffee defined by the Specialty Coffee Association as the “gold cup standard” and the strong mode, which lengthens brew time and water temperature to extract more flavor from the coffee grounds.
You can also customize your coffee by using the “My Brew” function and then tweaking the brewing functions. The machine allows you to set your pre-soak time between 0 and 5 minutes, your brewing temperature between 80 and 98 degrees Celsius and your water flow rate at fast, medium or slow. There is also a pour over mode, which you can turn on or off, however, this function requires the “Pour Over Adaptor,” which costs an additional $35 and the pour over drip coves that are sold by third-party vendors.
However, the most intuitive feature of the coffee brewer is the cold brew mode. It is quite difficult to brew coffee grounds using cool liquid, but the Breville Precision Brewer is up for the challenge. The process does take quite a but of time so it requires some pre-planning. You set the brew time between 12 to 14 hours, allowing the liquid to steep the coffee grounds. Once the time is up, the machine drains the filter coffee and voila, you have cold brewed coffee!
Overall, the coffee brewer came in with high marks for consistency with highly accurate and stable heating level. It took about 6 minutes and 35 seconds to create a full pot of coffee and the thermal carafe keeps your coffee warm for over 3 hours. It is indeed an impressive machine!