If there's one thing the universal "we" still have in common, it's our undying chemical dependence on coffee. Using the pour-over method, the world's most popular drug can now be brewed with the precision of Walter White – but it takes 20 minutes to do it properly and requires careful babysitting. What, then, is the time-strapped coffee nerd to do?
Enter the poorly named but impressively built Brazen by Behor. It's an automatic coffeemaker, but one with a fantastic array of customizable settings – far more than you'll see on any standard drip machine, and enough to make the difference between an average and an excellent cup of joe. It's made for coffee obsessives who want the quality of manual extraction with the convenience of a drip machine they can turn on and forget about. And it works.
Making your coffee is a straightforward procedure, but you're presented with more choices than your standard home machine. After deciding how finely to grind your beans (you'll need your own grinder), for instance, you choose whether to pre-soak your coffee grounds for anywhere between 15 seconds and four minutes; the longer you choose, the more intense the flavor. Some experimentation will be required to figure out what settings suit your palate the best. But that's the fun part.
What makes the Brazen special is its ability to precisely control heat and ensure brewing temperatures between 190 and 205 degrees. And the result is noticeably better coffee, smooth and not sour, brewed for you in less than 10 minutes.
There is a slight downside, and it's simply a matter of chemistry: The Brazen doesn't do all that well with high mineral levels in the water (better known as "hard" water), and can become blocked up by accumulated mineral deposits. This can be quite easily dealt with – by either spending five minutes once a week descaling the machine or by using distilled water – but it's something to be aware of.
The Brazen comes with a two-year warranty and feels as though it's built to last many years. Avoid the single-brew K-cup machines, not only because they're destroying the environment, but because you deserve a damn good cup of coffee in the morning. [$199; roastmasters.com]