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What goes into the perfect cup of coffee? Bean selection is essential, but their treatment during brewing is just as important. Two coffee makers known for doing it right are the Technivorm Moccamaster and the Bonavita.
While most everyone agrees that Moccamaster and Bonavita are two of the best, choosing between them is where it gets a bit tricky. In this article, we’ll help you arrive at a decision by taking a close look at the two brands. We’ll cover:
- What their machines have in common
- How they’re different
- Pros and cons of each
- A comparison of signature models from each brand
Both brands make excellent drip coffee machines. So, this comparison is more about how you like your coffee, rather than which brand is better. They’re both solid choices, and they share a few qualities.
Both Moccamaster and Bonavita are SCA-certified coffee makers. The Specialty Coffee Association’s stamp of approval means both brands brew drip coffee at the right temperature and with sufficient extraction time to produce a lovely mug of coffee.
While both brands produce top-notch drip coffee, how they go about it is slightly different.
Moccamaster coffee machines are a Dutch design and handmade in the Netherlands. Each is also tested by hand to ensure quality.
The Bonavita is a German design, manufactured in China.
If you were to look at them side-by-side, you would notice immediately that the Bonavita has the look of a mass-produced item. It shows a lot of plastic (although the plastic in both brewers is BPA-free). The Moccamaster machines, on the other hand, are more metallic and sturdy.
The Moccamaster comes with a copper heating element, while the Bonavita has a heating element with a copper core encased in aluminum.
Moccamaster machines come with a five-year warranty, while the Bonavita warranty is typically two years. With handmade quality, the Moccamaster brand can offer a longer warranty.
Moccamaster machines are more expensive, but you get what you pay for: a machine that’s been handcrafted and hand-tested. Bonavita machines are generally about half the price of a Moccamaster.
Again, it’s the difference between mass-produced and handcrafted. Bonavita targets consumers who shop by price point first, whereas the Moccamaster brand targets consumers who shop by quality first. That’s not to say that the Bonavita is poorly made.
Technivorm Moccamaster overview
Technivorm has been around since the 1960s. They have experience in handcrafting beautiful products. They focus on building and testing each coffee machine by hand so it will last past its warranty and continue to deliver a quality cup of coffee every time.
Their line includes six standard coffee machines plus office and single-cup models. The bigger machines can drip 15 cups of coffee per cycle, and the smaller machines are great for those who just need one or two cups of coffee per cycle.
When you’re choosing a Moccamaster, you usually have to make a few decisions:
- Glass carafe or stainless steel with double-walled insulation
- Automatic or manual drip stop
- Cylindrical or rectangular casing
- Beautiful accent colors
You should be able to find the style that suits your kitchen and, if you want, avoid the industrial appearance of many coffee machines.
- The 5-year warranty is hard to beat. It emphasizes the handcrafted and hand-tested philosophies that drive the Moccamaster brand.
- Each Moccamaster coffee machine uses recycled materials, and where it matters, they use biodegradable materials. It’s a substantial plus for those who shop from an environmental perspective.
- Coffee quality is what matters most to coffee lovers. Moccamaster machines use optimal brewing temperatures and the brew time is calculated to produce flawless coffee.
- Smart design means easy cleaning, and that’s a big plus. Components come off the machine easily and need little more than a rinse after use.
- High-quality materials and parts such as stainless steel and copper heating elements.
The biggest complaint about Moccamaster machines
The single biggest complaint about Moccamaster coffee makers has nothing to do with the quality of the machines or the quality of coffee. Instead, it’s the price point which typically hovers around $300.
If you shop by price, you may get some sticker shock. If you shop by quality, then the sticker price is to be expected. The higher cost of Moccamaster reflects the handcrafted quality and testing that ensure it functions as designed. It’s also offset by a warranty that’s three years longer than the Bonavita’s.
The question to ask is: Is it really more expensive if it lasts longer?
One other common quibble about the Moccamaster is its nine-hole shower head. This is the part that sprinkles hot water over your ground coffee beans in the filter. The Moccamaster doesn’t disperse water quite as evenly during the brewing process as some other drip coffee makers do. When you look at your bed of coffee grounds after brewing, you can usually see an indent where most of the water was dispersed.
In theory this should lead to uneven extraction, with coffee around the focal point getting more extraction than coffee around the perimeter. However, we’ve found this to have limited impact on the results. The reality is that Moccamasters make good coffee!
Bonavita hasn’t been around as long as Technivorm, but their coffee machines of German design and engineering produce excellent coffee. They are about half the price of Moccamaster machines, with a two-year warranty. The machines are mass-produced in China.
- Bonavita machines have a pre-infusion function that sends an initial burst of hot water into the grounds to saturate them. This begins the process of releasing carbon dioxide from the beans before brewing begins in earnest, so you have less CO2 mixed in with your coffee.
- The shower head is more substantial than the Moccamaster’s, sprinkling water over a wider surface area on the coffee grounds.
- Automatic shutoff when the brew cycle is complete, which you can override manually
The mass-produced look and feel, which cheapens the appearance, is one of the biggest complaints across the Bonavita brand. The shorter two-year warranty kind of screams you get what you pay for, but this is offset by the quality of the coffee these machines produce.
The compact design is a plus in smaller spaces, but it means more work to clean the units.
Signature Moccamaster model: The KBGV Select
The KBGV Select brewer is easy to use, designed with precision and built by hand. Start it up with a flick of a switch and let the technology produce a quality cup of coffee.
Its unique volume control feature allows you to brew only half a pot without straying from the ideal saturation time for your coffee grounds.
Plastic components are BPA- and phthalate-free, and the handsome design features stainless steel and aluminum, with a copper heating element.
- Brews up to 40 ounces of coffee per pot
- Volume control for brewing half a pot as needed
- Uses standard filters
- Auto shutoff after 100 minutes
- BPA and phthalate-free
- Made from recycled materials for a “green” cup of coffee.
- Built by hand
- 5-year warranty
- High price range
The KBGV Select brewer is quite a traditional coffee maker. Other Moccamaster models like the Cup One are designed for people on the go.
The KBGV’s glass carafe sits on a hotplate with two settings for keeping coffee warm at the temperature you prefer. The difference between the KBGV Select and its cousin, the KBGT, is that the latter has a thermal stainless steel carafe, so no hotplate.
The Bonavita 8-Cup One-Touch Coffee Maker is a smaller unit that can fit easily into your daily life. The eight-cup capacity is perfect for a home or a small office setting, and the stainless steel design gives it a semi-professional look.
- Removable parts are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup, including the cone filter basket
- Pre-infusion allows allows you to degas ground coffee
- Larger brew basket and showerhead for more even saturation of grounds and extraction
- Double-walled stainless steel thermal carafe keeps coffee warm for hours
- Simple on-off switch for activation
- 1500-watt heating element for quick brewing
- Cheaper look and feel
- Shorter two-year warranty
- Mass-produced, with none of the handcrafting or hand-testing of Moccamaster
The bottom line is that both these brands make machines that produce an excellent cup of coffee. However, it’s also fair to say that we’re not comparing apples to apples. One brand offers handcrafted products with a rich environmental record, and the other is mass-produced.
Much of the Moccamaster vs. Bonavita debate comes down to price vs. quality.
Both brands offer coffee machines that produce quality cups of coffee by adhering to Specialty Coffee Association standards—particularly optimal brewing time and temperature.
Bonavita prices its machines lower in an attempt to gain market share against Moccamaster. However, pricing and value are not always the same thing.
Moccamasters are handcrafted and hand-tested, whereas Bonavitas are mass-produced.
The Bonavita warranty is three years shorter than that offered by Moccamaster. Suppose your Bonavita machine broke down after two years of use. In that case, it would not be less expensive than the Moccamaster when you factor in the cost of replacing your Bonavita machine before the warranty has expired on the Moccamaster. That’s the difference between price and value.
Where the two machines are equal is in the quality of coffee they’ll make for you. Both can and do make excellent coffee. That is ultimately what it’s all about.
Overall, it becomes a choice of which coffee brewer you can afford, and how much stock you put into the more sustainable manufacturing process of the Technivorm Moccamaster machines.