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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.