This step-down Bonavita still makes excellent coffee

Automatic drip coffee makers worth your money tend to cost an arm and a leg, typically two to three hundred dollars. Our Editors' Choice winner, the $190 Bonavita BV1900TS, came in just under that price barrier, brewing pot after pot of fantastically good coffee. Now the company has a new model, the $140 BV01002US, which Bonavita promises will make java every bit as good yet is even more affordable.

True to Bonavita's word, this coffee machine whips up superb batches of drip that are in line with those of its fancy sibling. Bonavita had to cut corners somewhere though, and here you'll find a cheaper build as well as a hot plate and glass pitcher rather than a thermal carafe. All this makes Bonavita's latest coffee maker perfect for frugal shoppers who seek quality drip coffee. If you'd like a machine with more elegance plus brewing chops, a $299 Technivorm Moccamaster KBT 741 or Bonavita BV1900TS will be more your speed.

Design and features

Those who've used previous Bonavita brewers should find the BV01002US very familiar. Its shape is similar to the company's previous BV1800 line right down to the tall, rectangular tower and trapezoidal water tank that both products share. Unlike the BV1900TS, this appliance is equipped with a glass carafe and not an insulated thermal container. That's another characteristic in common with the base BV1800 brewer model.

This Bonavita has a shape similar to the BV1800 series.

Chris Monroe/CNET

To keep the carafe's contents warm, the coffee maker relies on an electrically heated metal hot plate. The plate itself sits on top of the machine's thick base. Additionally, the filter basket here is conical and designed to accept Type-4 paper filters. Again, this matches the filter setup of Bonavita's BV1800 series brewers, but not the BV1900 series which use flat-bottom filters.

The button layout on the BV01002US, however, is entirely new. Up until now, Bonavita coffee makers came with just one button or switch to control brewing. Outside of other keys for programming a brew in advance, this button turned the machine on and off. The BV1900TS' power switch also enables and disables its presoak function.

The button layout is slightly different.

Chris Monroe/CNET

This brewer has a dedicated presoak button in addition to one for power and another labelled "Clean." Hitting presoak before the power button tells the device to drip just enough hot water into the filter basket to saturate your coffee grounds. After the presoak cycle completes, roughly one minute, brewing begins in earnest.

As you might have guessed, the clean button kicks the coffee maker into descaling mode to help scour away any lime deposits that may have built up over time. The button is linked to an internal cycle counter, too, and will glow red when it thinks you're due for a descale. Keep in mind you must use special descaling agent for the task, sold in a powder or liquid solution.

Other than these differences, the Bonavita BV01002US is cut from the same cloth as the company's other products. The coffee maker is an eight-cup brewer and accepts a maximum of 1.3 liters (44 ounces) of water. Depending on what coffee you use and your preferred grind size, you can expect between 38 and 40 ounces (1.1 to 1.2 liters) of coffee in each pot.

The water reservoir holds up to 1.3 liters (44 ounces).

Chris Monroe/CNET

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