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Bonavita 1800SS versus 1900TS

Published by Mark
November 10, 2014 4:17 pm

The arrival of the the latest version of the Bonavita coffee brewer prompted us to pitch these machines against each other in the Battle of the Brewers. The original version, the 1800SS, is described as an 8-cup brewer with a stainless steel carafe. The new 1900TS is also described as an 8-cup brewer with a stainless steel carafe.

So what’s the difference? Here’s what we found.

Design:

The 1900TS is has a sleeker, curvier look with a more ergonomic feel than its older cousin. The unnecessary blue tint has been removed from the water tank, and the water level indicators are much more subtle and easy on the eye.

Power:

Bonavita has gone with a slightly shorter power cord for the 1900TS. There are pros and cons associated with this that will boil down to your particular kitchen layout. They have also upped the unit heater’s power from 1400 to 1500 watts, though the benefits of this change are unclear, as in our side-by-side comparison test the brew time was the same. The automatic power-off switch is a handy and practical addition to the newer model.

Filter Basket:

Perhaps the most obvious difference between these two brewers is the filter basket shape. The 1800SS filter basket is conical. The 1900TS has a flat base. For this particular type of brewing equipment, we found the latter to be more suitable. And there is a good reason why.

Because the Bonavita shower heads are fixed in place, the coffee in the flat filter basket will receive a more even share of the water during brewing. In the conical filter there is significant channeling in the coffee, resulting in a poor extraction.  The coffee at the outer edge wasn’t fully saturated by the end of the brew cycle.

We ran a few identical tests and found the results to be the same. If you’re brewing a full carafe, the 1900TS with flat filter tends to have a more even extraction pattern.

Shower Head:

The shower head is larger on the 1900TS than on the 1800SS. The importance of this change can not be overstated. The wider diameter delivers hot water to a larger surface area of the coffee grounds, allowing a more even extraction. The combination of this with the change to the flat filter basket have exponentially improved the extraction capability of this model.

Pre-infusion:

The optional and somewhat elusive pre-infusion mode added to the 1900TS model will only be known to those who read the user manual (or this blog). It is activated by holding down the power switch for 5 seconds prior to starting the brew. The pre-infusion allows freshly roasted coffee to degas a little prior to brewing. This feature will be a big bonus for the coffee aficionados out there who love to get the most out of their freshly roasted, freshly ground beans. It’s a little tedious to have to do this manually, but the option is a nice feature to have.

Brewing Time:

We brewed both machines with 68g of ground beans to produce 8 cups coffee.  Both machines took 5 minutes and 30 seconds to complete their brew cycle. When activated, the pre-infusion added about 45 seconds to the overall brew time of the 1900TS.

Flavor:

Although the 1800SS produced a good cup of coffee, the 1900TS created a great one. It was smoother, cleaner and more vibrant than its counterpart made from the exact same batch of beans. We have the redesign of the shower head and the change to the flat filter basket to thank for that. However, the flavor difference was only detectable to the more discerning taste buds on our panel.

Conclusion:

For $169.99 the Bonavita 1800SS will brew you a consistent, rich, full cup of coffee every time. The $179.99 Bonavita 1900TS grants you the auto power-off feature and a smoother flavor profile. We think these benefits make that extra ten dollars money well spent.


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31 Comments

  • Written by: Adam

    This was extremely helpful.  One question, what about when brewing 4 or 6 cups?  I saw one review at coffeegeek.com that the 1800 did not do well with smaller amounts (the reviewer mentioned heat and strength), and I wonder if the 1500 watt solved this issue in the Bonavita 1900.  Thanks for any help.

  • Written by: Kevin Haugen

    We brewed 4 and 6 cup batches on both the 1800SS and 1900TS models. We found the resulting coffee from both machines to be slightly weaker and just a touch cooler than their 8 cup versions. The reason behind this is the machines need a little running time to warm up to full temperature. Although the 1900SS has a slightly more powerful heater it’s not quite enough to overcome this barrier.

    The best workaround for this is to fill the reservoir up to 8 cups and turn on the machine to run the water down to your required level before you put any coffee in the filter basket. This will not only help to warm up your machine to the optimal brewing temperature but will also preheat your carafe. Just remember to empty it before you add your coffee to the filter basket and start brewing!

    If you’re brewing 8 cups this isn’t necessary as the machine has enough time to warm up during the standard brew cycle.

    Hayley

  • Written by: Carmella

    This discussion was very helpful as I noticed that most stores did not carry the new model and so I was wondering about the advantages. I will definitely purchase the newer model.

  • Written by: laure

    Thanks so much for your post! I have been on the fence as to which coffeemaker to purchase. Your blog was extremely helpful and informational! Now I know which one I want for Christmas!

  • Written by: Seth

    I’m trying to decide if the Bonavita 1900TS holds the same amount as its rival the Technivorm Moccamaster. The Bonavita is described as holding 40 oz but not sure if that is the carafe or the water reservoir. The Technivorm says it holds 10 cups and the Bonavita says it holds 8 cups. I understand it all depends on how big a cup is but Is it worth the extra $100 for 2 extra cups and is that discrepancy accurate?

  • Written by: Mark

    Hi Seth,
    Indeed, it is a bit confusing! Bonavita calls a cup 5oz, while Technivorm calls it 4oz – both models have a tank capacity of 40 oz (1.25 liters), with 2-3 ounces of water typically absorbed by the ground coffee. So, the extra cost for the Technivorm goes towards a slight upgrade in material quality (the housing of the coffee maker is extruded aluminum on the Technivorm; the Bonavita is a plastic shell with a stainless steel sheet wrapped around it) and the “heritage” of the Technivorm brand, which is assembled by hand in Holland. The Bonavita has a better showerhead in our opinion, with more even saturation of the grounds. They are both great machines and brew coffee in very similar ways! Let us know any other questions.

  • Written by: Jay

    I’m wondering if there are any alternative carafes available for the Bonavita. I must say the lip makes it near impossible to completely pour out all liquid. I am sure it’s design-related but still wondering if there are any options to the carafe that comes with the 1900ts.

  • Written by: Mark

    Hi Jay,
    The only other carafe we use with the Bonavita is the 8 cup Chemex – it pours beautifully, then you can transfer to the thermal carafe if you’d like. You can see a picture of it here: http://www.clivecoffee.com/learn/2012/05/japanese-iced-coffee/
    Hope that helps!
    Mark

  • Written by: Robert Garmer

    Would the 10 cup Chemex fit under the 1900ts or just the 8 cup?

  • Written by: Mark

    Hi Robert,
    As we don’t sell the 10 cup Chemex and don’t have them on hand, it’s hard to say for sure but the 8 cup is a pretty optimal fit – I have a feeling the 10 cup might cause a coffee bloom to hit up against the showerhead.
    Thanks!
    Mark

  • Written by: MM

    You wrote “It’s a little tedious to have to do this manually” concerning the preinfusion mode. Since you only have to do this once (as long as you don’t unplug the unit, or change your mind), that seems like a trivial point. And what would “automatically” mean anyway? that it always does it, you can’t turn it off? Um, no thanks.

  • Written by: Hayley McNabb

    Hi, thanks for your feedback. You’re right! It’s not really a big deal. Since we posted this blog we’ve used this machine extensively and love the preinfusion function just as it is.

  • Written by: A. Garth

    We bought the Bonavita 1900ts after reading all the rave reviews by both consumers and professional reviewers. I was surprised that no one mentioned some of its significant design flaws. First, you can’t pour the coffee directly out of the carafe without the lid on or it will run down the side of the carafe and spill all over the counter. Second, if you use the lid to pour your coffee, it will leave a quarter cup of coffee in the bottom (i.e., not all of the coffee comes out). At this point you take the lid off and tip the carafe really far over to get the rest of the coffee out (which is why at this point it won’t run down the side and spill on the counter). Third, even after all of this, there will always be a few table spoons of liquid (whether coffee or water from washing) that never get out because of the lip on the top of the carafe. It is part of the design and nothing can be done about it. When I emailed the company they said that the last bit of water has to come out through evaporation, or try to squeeze your hand down there with a paper towel to mop it up. Are you kidding me? For $300. Am I missing something? Why are people in love with this coffee machine?

  • Written by: Gary Rabinowitz

    I would like to buy an 8 cup coffee maker with a glass lined thermal carafe.Which model Bonavita has that?

  • Written by: Hayley McNabb

    Sorry to report that Bonavita no longer make the glass lined carafe. All their thermal carafes are now stainless steel lined.

  • Written by: Peter Cook

    I must be missing something on the above discussions. Our 1800 has always cut off automatically. To achieve a richer blend of coffee with the cone, we will often stop the brew cycle briefly mid way (or sooner), gently shake/turn the filter holder to resink the grounds from the sides to the bottom of the filter while it still has liquid in it and restart the brewing. How long does one have to wait to be able to buy a basket filter holder for the 1800?

  • Written by: Ben Piff

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, we’re definitely here to help.
    1. What type of grinder are you using (blade or burr)? It sounds like you may need to adjust the grind finer or increase the grounds, because you shouldn’t need to stop and stir.
    2. We do stock the filter basket holder, what’s happening with yours?

    Give us a call at (800) 520-2890

    Ben

  • Written by: JZ

    Hello,

    This will be only my second coffee maker I’ve purchased, just never had much of a need prior to now. At this time, there is a significant difference in price between the 1800SS and the 1900TS ($139 vs. $179). Is the 1900 worth the difference? I appreciate good coffee, but ease of use, quality of build and cost of different types of filters (is the conical vs. flat bottom less expensive and easier to find?) are also important attributes.

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi Josh,

    Great question! Personally, I find the 1900 to have a much more balanced and smooth flavor compared to the 1800, and that is because of the wider shower head and flat bottom basket allowing for an even extraction. As far as the filters go, it is probably slightly more common to find the conical filters, but we always carry the flat bottom! Overall I prefer the 1900, but if you aren’t too picky about your coffee, you wont be disappointed with the 1800 either.

    Give us a call if you have more questions!

    Victoria

  • Written by: Al Muhhlenbruck

    I just purchased a 1900, grind my own coffe and would welcome your input on the size of grind?

    Your blog is very informative!!!!

    Thanks!

    Al

  • Written by: Dan Smith

    It appears that there is a carafe style A and a carafe style B, options for this unit. What is the difference?

  • Written by: s hoffman

    is there a pause feature to allow having some coffee before the pot is finished brewing?

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi Dan,
    The thermal carafe that comes with this unit has a steel housing and is stainless steel lined. Hope this helps!

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi there,

    Unfortunately there is no pause feature for this unit. I find that I prefer a specific coffee to water ratio, so when I have a cup of coffee halfway through the cycle it doesn’t taste as good as when the full amount of water has brewed and the coffee is fully extracted. Hope this makes sense!

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi Al,

    Glad you are enjoying it! I would recommend the coffee be close to the size of table salt. Hope that helps!

  • Written by: Marie

    Hi,
    I did tons of research before finally purchasing the bonavita 1900 coffee maker and the capresso infinity conical burr grinder for myself this Christmas. I was expecting to FINALLY enjoy a great cup of coffee that I could previously only enjoy in fine coffee shops. However, I am disappointed that I am still brewing a bitter tasting cup after trying 3 different kinds of coffee; Colombian ground dark roast from Level Ground Trading Company, Dominican Republic Cafe Santo Domingo beans & Doi Chaang – Organic, Fair-trade Single Estate Dark Roast Coffee beans.
    I have been keeping track of how much coffee to water ratios & trying to get it right. Seems I’m not figuring this out very well & failing every time. Do I need to weigh the grinds as many do? I realize some beans weigh more than others, perhaps I’m needing to watch a tutorial or something. Any advice you can pass on would be greatly appreciated!
    Still waiting to brew that perfect cup,
    Marie

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi Marie,

    Sorry to hear about your trouble! Sounds like you have a good setup, so what I would suggest is maybe coarsening up the grounds a little bit and see if that helps. A grind that is too fine can really slow down the brewing process and leave you with bitter coffee. Also having a proper coffee:water ratio will also make a big difference in your flavor. I like to use 70g of water per batch of coffee. As always, feel free to give us a call if you have any issues or questions. Good luck!

  • Written by: a kotz

    >REGARDING Written by: Victoria Gormley: “I like to use 70g of water per batch of coffee. As always, feel free to give us a call if you have any issues or questions. Good luck!”>

    Victoria: Do you mean 70g of coffee? And if so, to what ratio of water? I am also getting a quite bitter taste (with the 1900version) and am trying to figure out my problem. Thank you.

  • Written by: Victoria Gormley

    Hi there,

    70g per 40oz of water (the full 8 cups). Also, it could be the grind size, so be sure it’s not too fine. Too fine a grind will make the coffee brew very slowly and taste very bitter. Try coarsening up the grind a little bit until you reach the balanced flavors you’re looking for. Please give us a call if you are still having trouble!

  • Written by: KAY MCLAUGHLIN

    I AM WONDERING IF THE ELECTRICAL CHANGE WILL ELIMINATE SOME OF THE COFFEE MACHINES ‘BURNING OUT’ DUE TO THE ALUMINUM WIRING…… I WOULD LIKE TO GET MINE REPAIRED AS I ONLY USED IT LESS THAN 20 TIMES WHEN THIS HAPPENED. IT WAS A GIFT SO DO NOT HAVE A RECEIPT, AND I HAD STORED IT IN THE ORIGINAL PACKAGING FOR 2 YEARS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE DUE TO TRAVEL. THE BONAVITA COMPANY WILL ONLY RESPOND WITH “YOU MUST HAVE A RECEIPT.”

  • Written by: Mark

    Hi Kay,
    We have sent you an email with the receipt from your purchase along with instructions – please let us know if you don’t get assistance from Bonavita!

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