When I bought my Alexa-enabled speaker, I knew a could do a lot more than control the lighting and order pizza. Why not ask Alexa to make coffee? There began my quest for an Alexa-enabled coffee maker. It didn’t take me long to find the Behmor Connected Brewer, an SCA-approved coffee maker controllable through both Alexa and the Behmor app.
Introducing the Behmor Connected
The Behmor Connected is a smarter version of the popular Brazen Plus coffee maker. The exterior and interior are mostly the same. The only major difference is the inclusion of Wi-Fi, which lets you connect Behmor to your home network and control it via app or Alexa. The Connected also does not have the same panel of buttons as the Brazen since these functions are controlled via the app. So in terms of the Behmor Brazen Plus vs Connected, they’re basically the same except for the differences noted.
Why is this coffee maker so cool?
- You can schedule brews as part of Alexa smart home routines. When I wake up in the morning and say, “Alexa, start my day,” Alexa will automatically turn on the lights and start the coffee.
- The Behmor app lets you customize each detail of brewing, including water temperature, and save these into custom profiles.
- You can monitor brew status via your phone. The Behmor app will tell you the current brew stage and automatically notify you when brewing is finished.
The unique conical base of the Behmor and top-up construction gives it a compact profile perfect for small kitchens. The customizable brew time also makes it ideal for those living at high altitudes.
The truly dedicated also have the option of setting up a brew delay. With this function the Behmor will heat up water ahead of time. This lets you freshly grind coffee and add it to the brewer just before the water starts dripping as opposed to waiting several minutes for the water to heat up while your freshly-ground coffee loses freshness. This is overkill for me, but will be useful to some.
Note that you can also push a button on the front of the machine to start brewing instead of using the app or Alexa. This starts a “quick brew” by default, but can be customized to start any brew you want.
As for aesthetics, the Behmor won’t win any beauty contests. That isn’t to say it’s ugly– far from it– but I found the design to be a bit dull. That’s probably just as well. Behmor focused on just one thing with this brewer: making good coffee.
Setting up the Behmor Connected Coffee Maker
The Behmor comes out of the box and goes on the counter just like any other coffee maker. Setting it up with Alexa and my smart phone took about 10 minutes.
First, I downloaded the Behmor app for iOS via the Apple App Store. I plugged in the Behmor and opened the app. The Behmor then created a Wi-Fi temporary network, “DADO,” that I connected to. The Behmor app then scanned for compatible products and added the brewer to my home Wi-Fi network.
Note that there’s no need to connect manually to the Behmor each time once it’s on your home network. Some smart home devices only work on 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi, so you might need a dual band router for Behmor to work. I have reached out to Behmor for more clarification on this.
Brewing with the Behmor App
Getting started brewing is very straightforward. Water goes in the top of the brewer. Coffee grounds go in the pull-out filter in the middle. I opted to use the included mesh filter, but you can also use a paper filter instead.
I added water, ground some beans, and started the Behmor app. One limitation I immediately noticed when starting the app is that the Behmor Connected Brewer only has two capacities: 6 cups and 8 cups. Both are too much coffee for a single person. I had only intended to brew 4 cups. Frustrated, I added more coffee and water.
Press the “+” icon in the Behmor app (pictured) to start a new brew. You can choose three options: “Brew,” “Buzz,” and “Craft.” As someone with UX and design experience, I immediately identified several problems with this:
- The “+” symbol is commonly used to add smart devices in the smart home ecoystem, not start processes. It’s not immediately clear if this is the button to add devices or start brewing, or what this button does in the first place at all.
- “Brew, “Buzz,” and “Craft” are all options to start brewing. It’s confusing that only one of them is named “Brew” but all of them are actually for brewing.
- Why not include these options directly on the app home screen and get rid of the “+” button? The fewer taps needed to start brewing, the better.
The “Brew” option asks you to enter the number of cups (6 or 8), the type of coffee (packaged or freshly roasted) and the roast type (light, medium or dark).
The “Craft” option is more advanced. I also asks for the number of cups (6 or 8), but also the specific temperature (190° – 208° F) and the pre-soak time (15 seconds – 2 minutes).
The “Buzz Brew” option contains a variety of presets, ranging from “SCAA Certified Brew” to several options for Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks coffees. This is a nice touch for casual users who want to enjoy the Behmor’s features without worrying about customization.
I chose the “Brew” setting. As previously mentioned, you can also press a button on the center of the machine to make coffee without the app. The brew process takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. The app notified me when brewing was complete.
A few issues with usability set aside, the app is easy-to-use and works flawlessly. I’ve been using the Behmor for a week and have never had problems connecting to the coffee maker or run into errors.
As far as the app and overall experience is concerned, Behmor nailed it.
So, how was the coffee?
Using the “Quick Brew” option with freshly-ground beans, I found the quality to be on-par with the Bonavita and Technivorm coffee brewers I have used before. As noted earlier, the Behmor Connected is essentially the same as the Behmor Brazen.
I later brewed dark-roast coffee using the customized settings in the app. Note that dark roast coffee tends taste better when brewed slightly cooler, and light roasts need a higher temperature. I did indeed notice a difference using the customized brew features. My coffee tasted more robust, less bitter and had a fuller spectrum of flavor. It wasn’t enough to knock me on the floor, but I saw a difference.
I didn’t measure how long the carafe kept my coffee warm. After two hours my coffee was still warm enough to drink.
The inclusion of precise temperature and other controls customized to the roast level makes this coffee maker a no-brainer in my opinion.
How Well does Alexa work?
Once you install the Behmor app, you have to enable the Behmor skill within the Amazon Alexa app. The functionality is pretty basic but covers anything you would want:
- “Alexa, ask Behmor to brew my coffee.”
- “Alexa, ask Behmor for brewer status.”
- “Alexa, ask Behmor to stop.”
As I mentioned earlier, you can also add Behmor to start home routines or schedule coffee ahead of time with Alexa. This is the most useful feature for me and indeed why I bought the brewer. It’s great to wake up in the morning and tell Alexa to start my coffee without getting out of bed.
It’s not possible to get specific settings such as brew temperature or roast type through Alexa. Instead you have to create a profile within the Behmor app and call it through Alexa.
I was impressed with how well the Behmor coffee maker performed. The customization options provided true value that resulted in a better cup of coffee. Behmor has also packaged these features in a way that makes it easy for anyone to use. The included smartphone app and Alexa voice service work flawlessly.
The vertical design of the Behmor also makes it a better choice for small kitchens. With that in mind it’s also odd that this design is perfect for studio apartments and dorm rooms, but the Behmor cannot make coffee for one person. The 8-cup capacity is also too little for more than two people.
Behmor could also do a little more to make its app easier to use and expand the options available with Alexa. They might also look into a splashier design for the next version.
All things considered, Behmor has combined smart home features, one-of-a-kind brew customization, and high quality design in a single compact coffee maker at a very reasonable price. If you’re in the market for a new drip coffee maker, you would be hard-pressed to find something better than the Behmor Connected.
Design & Specifications
- 15.5″ tall and 9″ wide
- Customizable temperature: 190 – 210F
- Customizable pre-soak: 15 seconds – 4 minutes
- Customizable brew time and brew timer
- App compatibility: iOS and Android
- Built-in mesh filter and double-walled carafe
- Built-in “Buzz Brew” presets for popular coffee brands, including Starbucks roasts
The Behmor Connected Brewer combines smart home functionality with SCAA-certified brew quality. It’s an excellent drip coffee maker for techies.