I Waited Months to Try This Trendy Coffee Maker That Kept Selling Out — It Was Worth It

published Jul 10, 2021
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Credit: Daniel Kim Photography/Stocksy

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a Chemex and drip coffee maker had a baby? No, you probably haven’t. Because you likely have other things on your mind! Regardless, I have that answer for you: It’d look like a Ratio coffee maker.

Allow me to explain. Ratio is a coffee maker company based in Portland, Oregon. It was founded by Mark Hellweg who didn’t understand why the automatic coffee maker hadn’t evolved much over the years. Bothered by the fact that coffee drinkers had to choose between either a complicated brewing method or a way-too-simple one, he set out to design a new machine — one that makes pour over coffee as easily as making a pot of drip coffee.

Why Make Pour Over Coffee?

See, the magic of a pour over coffee is not to be underestimated. It creates a robust, more flavorful brew that’s smooth and hardly has any acidity. (It’s a longer brewing process compared to drip coffee, so there’s more intricate flavor extraction.) But it also requires hands-on time. You have to stand there and bloom the coffee and carefully pour the water around the grounds. No stepping away to blow dry your hair like you could with a drip coffee maker.

How the Ratio Eight Coffee Maker Works

The Ratio is an automatic coffee maker that makes pour over. It blooms the grounds and does the careful pour and everything. Oh, and it’s freaking gorgeous. I wanted one. The only problem was that lots of other people did too! The machine was constantly selling out and it took months to finally get my hands on one. After patiently waiting, I’ve been using a Ratio Eight for weeks now. (The Eight is the priciest model and there’s also a smaller Ratio Six, which has a slightly different look to it.) Here’s my honest review.

It's blooming!

First of all, the machine is gorgeous (I know I already said this, but just look at it!). You can get it in five different colors and choose between two different wood finishes. Taking it out of the box was a treat, too. (I’m a sucker for good packaging!) I gave the borosilicate glass carafe a rinse and got going to make my first pot.

The water reservoir! It's easy to fill through the opening at the top.

To brew a pot, you simply pour water into the reservoir through the opening at the top. You can fill it all the way up to the line for 8 cups of coffee or to the halfway mark for 4 cups. Then, you line the carafe’s glass cone with an included paper filter (the company sends you some to get started and recommends restocking with the same ones you’d use for your Chemex) and add 14 or 7 tablespoons, respectively. Put the carafe in place and hit the (only!) button. So simple.

There are three lights at the bottom to indicate the machine’s progress: bloom, brew, and ready. The machine automatically blooms the grounds, which is a fancy way of saying that it adds a small amount of water to pre-saturate the grounds. (This is the first step to getting that flavorful brew.) Next, the machine will start the brewing process, which takes between four and seven minutes. Then, the light will switch to tell you that the coffee is ready. Dump the filter and the grounds, and pour yourself a cup. You can also put on the included lid, which will help keep leftover coffee hot. (Note: There is no heating element at the bottom of the machine.)

I couldn’t get over the simplicity of this process! I did run into an issue for my first couple of pots — of course it was totally due to user error, but I think it’s important to point out. My brew basket was overflowing during the brewing process. Turns out, my DIY coffee grounds were still too fine. “It should be like sugar in the raw,” the company told me. “A touch coarser than a normal Chemex.” I set my grinder to a coarser texture and I also started weighing my beans instead of measuring less-accurate tablespoons.

The company had actually suggested I try switching to their reusable filter, but, while I know it’s wasteful, I prefer the paper ones. (I live in a very old house with finicky pipes and fear of letting even a single ground down my drain!)

Anyway! Since I’ve figured out my grind texture it’s been smooth sailing. I love pour over coffee and convenience — and this machine gives me both of those things. I set it up and it makes pour over for me while I give my sweet pup her breakfast. The coffee is always smooth and flavorful and bright. I love that cleanup is just the act of tossing the filter and rinsing the pot. (For deeper cleans, the company makes a special solution.)

My Final Verdict

My one regret is that I didn’t get one with a thermal carafe. I am a slow drinker. But I can also buy one separately. I definitely do need to note the price: The Ratio Eight with a glass carafe starts at $495. That is not an inconsequential amount of money. That said, Kitchn’s favorite drip coffee maker costs around $320, which is also up there. If you can save up for this machine and you prefer pour over coffee and you struggle to find the time to make it, I definitely recommend it. It’s very easy to use, ridiculously hands-off, very sleek looking, and makes a flavorful pot of coffee. If the price tag is too prohibitive, I still love a Chemex.

How do you prefer your coffee? And what do you use to brew it?