How Does It Compare?
Everyone’s talking about the Ratio Eight Edition Coffee Maker and Chemex Ottomatic Coffeemaker, so we naturally have a Crew Comparison for you today! What’s all the buzz with these new coffee makers? These machines are a marriage of automatic drip and traditional pour over technique in a new brew method we’re calling automatic pour over. Both machines pre-infuse coffee and allow the grounds to bloom as you’d do for pour over making both a new class of brewer.
One of the most debated topics we’ve seen between the Chemex Ottomatic and the Ratio Eight Edition is about plastic. We know the plastic debate is a big one in the coffee community and we hate to disappoint, but the Ratio Eight Edition does feature an internal plastic component. Before you stop reading this—we know some of you are die-hard no plastic fans—there’s a good reason for the component to be plastic. Plastic performs better when heated. Under the website’s FAQ section, Ratio mentions it is “FDA-grade silicone and a single BPA-free plastic component are used internally.” It’s clear that Ratio is dedicated to creating a high-quality product that people desire.
Both machine feature shower heads to evenly wet grounds for optimal extraction. The pulsing brew system allows grounds to bloom and rest before showering again. Back to our plastic debate, the Chemex Ottomatic is built with a plastic shower head whereas the Ratio Eight Edition is stainless steel. However, Chemex’s high-quality craftsmanship is not lost. The iconic hourglass carafe wrapped with the beautiful wood and leather tie sits delicately on the Ottomatic. The Ratio Eight Edition’s carafe is hand-turned from a heat-resistant glass as is the Chemex so both will withstand the heat.
Built with 40-ounce reservoirs, the Ratio and Ottomatic clock in at about seven minutes with a full tank. Ratio only offers one size carafe but we could totally fit any Chemex from a 3 to 8-cup carafe! If you wanted, you could squeeze your 10-cup under there, but remember the reservoir holds 40-ounce. Also, just so you don’t make the same mistake as we did, the Ottomatic comes with a 6-cup carafe, so don’t be overfilling your reservoir, if you like your coffee in the pot and not on your shoes. Fortunately, Chemex added intuitive markers to show the different water lines in cups.
Staying true to their automatic nature, the Ottomatic and Eight Edition perform all the handy work of pour over. Turn them on and let them brew! You can watch the lights on the Ratio as it takes your coffee from “Bloom” to “Brew,” which is a nice feature on an uncluttered interface. Both machines are incredible user-friendly since both only need to be turned on to start brewing. Oh! We should mention you can’t brew with the Ratio without their specially designed carafe. Ratio included a magnetic that engages the brew unit so you’ll never miss the pot again—keeping the coffee of your shoes.
When the brew is done and the pot’s full of piping hot coffee, that when you’ll notice the machines start to differentiate. The Ratio Eight Edition automatically shuts off and a cool, white light shines above the “Ready” icon. Connoisseurs will enjoy the fresh and never overheated pot from the Ratio, but what about us busy folk? The Chemex includes a heating element to keep the coffee piping hot all day long—literally. The one downside to this convenient feature is it doesn’t include an auto-off functionality, which completely mystifies us since the Ottomatic has other tech-savvy qualities. The Chemex’s famous high-quality heat-resistant glass offers extra assurance if you leave it for a couple of hours, but just like your kitchen oven, don’t forget to turn the Ottomatic off when you’re done.
Easy on the eyes, both machines are a beautiful addition to a home brewer’s kitchen. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, the Ratio Eight Edition Coffee Maker is another elegant creation. It’s meant to be placed front and center in your kitchen and not hid between the pantry and plastic microwave. That’s where these two machines differ—the Ratio is built with premium hardwood accents, smooth aluminum body and borosilicate glass reservoir and carafe. The Ottomatic features aluminum design, but the shower head, body and water reservoir are made of plastic. The Chemex Ottomatic deserves love for its modern style, iconic carafe and lower price point—we often see the price as a hindrance when comparing machines, but in this instance, the plastic components compensate buyers.
The iconic Chemex carafe is a staple of many home brewers and if it’s not already in your home, just look up #chemex in Instagram—you’ll quickly snag one of those elegant carafes. Chemex had to create an equally stunning machine for to match with their carafe and we think they hit the nail on the head. Crafted with a soft aluminum sheen and matte black, the Ottomatic is a sophisticated looking machine. Its sleek design smoothly integrates with the countertop and the salt and pepper look complements modern kitchen appliances.
Thinking about the Ratio again, one thing we’ll add: The Ratio is designed to be the centerpiece of your dining room table like a family brunch. But trying to look over it will prove a bit challenging. It’s a massive machine that’ll quickly become the focal point in any room. With light maple wood arms and aluminum casing that glow beneath the chandeliers—people still have chandeliers, right—so we’re OK with it’s larger build. The Ottomatic’s smaller footprint and oblong shape are reminiscent of a Technivorm that could be placed lengthways against the wall or pulled out. Its style and size will easily incorporate into home brewers kitchen.
Side-by-side you couldn’t go wrong with either of these machines. Preferences in style and material will likely be the determining factor when choosing between these two. Glancing at the Ratio Eight Edition, the attention to detail, such as the two chambers in the reservoir that siphon water, is a testament to Ratio’s craftsmanship for coffee. The Chemex is there with Ratio with their iconic carafe that’s lasted through the ages. The recognizable hourglass shape and homey wood and leather tie create a look that’ll always be relevant. Whether you choose the Ratio or Chemex, if you’re looking for this new wave of automatic pour over coffee makers, we highly recommend either.