Ratio Eight vs Wilfa Svart Precision
Coffee makers and automatic brewers are not necessarily known for their design - sometimes far from it (just look at the filter coffee section of an Argos catalogue). With so much effort and science behind producing a café-quality pour over brew, most brewers will sit hidden in a corner somewhere.
That’s not the case for the products we are reviewing today: two players part of the specialty movement who are in a league of their own in terms of cup quality and great design; From Portland, US the hip and stunning Ratio Eight, and from Norway, the modern scandi-inspired Wilfa Svart Precision.
Ratio was born of a simple question: in the age of super premium espresso machines, why hasn’t the automatic coffee maker evolved? For so long, when selecting a coffee solution for the home, coffee enthusiasts had to choose either a complex brewing method (quality over simplicity) or an overly simplistic one (convenience over quality). And none of them were beautiful. This is where the EIGHT comes in.
Wilfa, the premium scandinavian domestic appliance manufacturer have collaborated with World Barista Champion, Tim Wendelboe on a number of their lines. The Svart Precision brewer being the next installment of a best in class coffee proposition, for home.
Company: Ratio Coffee
The stunning Ratio Eight combines precision brewing technique, top-quality construction, materials and a design that will elevate any environment.
Wilfa Svart Precision
Designed in collaboration with Tim Wendelboe, and with SCA standards in mind, the Precision delivers brewing accuracy and minimised temperature fluctuations.
✓ Forefront of design - it’s the best looking brewer we’ve ever seen
✓ Cup quality
✓ Auto adjusting brew cycles
✓ Ease of use
Pros✓ Handy detachable water tank
✓ Adjustable flow rate
✓ Pump operated - superior cup quality
✓ Temperature consistency
x Price will put some off but it’s easy to translate where the cost is spent
x The hot plate might put off the most discerning of coffee drinkers
The first things that jump to mind up when looking at the Ratio Eight is its sheer size and absolutely beautiful design. With its high-quality metal, glass and wood finishes, this brewer elevates and brings a sophisticated touch to any environment, (as long as it’s able to fit!).
Ratio Eight is built with precision-machined aluminum, borosilicate glass, and a selection of premium hardwoods (walnut and rubberwood)..
The Ratio Eight automatically detects the water in the tank and changes the brew cycle given the amount of liquid - this is taken care for you which is brilliant.
Different from Wilfa, the water tank is not detachable nor have measurement markings with recommended coffee to water brew ratio. Just two simple indicators: half and full.
The optimized shower head at the top of the brewer is big enough to cover most of the ground coffee area, the Ratio Eight coffee maker simulates a skilled barista pour over, precisely metering the water flow during both the bloom and brew phases. All the taste without the work.
The one-button operation on Ratio Eight makes the brewing process pretty straight-forward. Not many variables at play here, just fill the water, add your coffee grounds and watch the beautiful spectacle of this machine in action. Each stage of the brewing process is shown via soft glowing lights on the base of the brewer.
Ratio’s glass carafe is a beautiful and functional piece of design on its own right, based around the iconic Chemex. It has a sharp and precise spout that provides a beautiful and extremely precise pouring. It has a rubber base, protecting from hard counter tops, and a magnet that prevents brewing until the carafe is in place at the machine.
PERFORMANCE & BREW QUALITY
Ratio delivers water at or near the optimum temperature of 93ºC degrees. The machine runs smoothly and silently.
Brew time takes approximately 6 minutes depending on the quantity of water. The brew quality resembles a lot a hand brew pour over, with very clean and bright coffee.
Wilfa Svart Precision
The Wilfa Svart Precision will sit comfortably in most kitchens and office spaces. The design is not as impressive as Ratio’s, but is still great looking, modern, and the one-piece aluminium body is really nice in the flesh.
The Svart Precision comes with a really handy detachable water tank, making it easier to adjust your water level (especially if you accidentally spill more water than you originally intended). The water tank also has measurement markings with recommended coffee to water brew ratios.
What is really key though, compared to all other brewers, the Wilfa has an internal pump, which ensure that all the input brew water is used. There is no residual water from brew to brew which guarantees the best cup quality. This is good to avoid water tasting metallic after prolonged contact with the internal tubes.
The brewer has a hotplate that automatically shuts off after 1 hour. This is perhaps controversial because, even though it is a convenient feature to keep your coffee hot for longer, this will make the water in the coffee evaporate and there will be a faster development of quinic acids in the coffee leading to a bitter and astringent taste. Professional baristas may not appreciate this, but for busy households - we find this a great feature.
Another great feature is the variable flow rate at the base of the filter holder, allowing you to customise your water flow rate according to your grind size. You can also “close” the flow rate after the brew is finished to avoid spilling.
Wilfa’s carafe is compact, functional, and has a little mixing tube in the lid, that mixes the coffee better during brewing.
PERFORMANCE & BREW QUALITY
The Wilfa Svart Presisjon has a very precise temperature control (92ºC – 96ºC) and the brewing water gets to the right temperature only seconds after you start the brew. We tested this with temperature probes and the Wilfa was up to temp in less than two seconds. And importantly, it stayed there for the duration of the brew.
The Wilfa Svart Precision offers many possibilities to brew your coffee, through the flow control on the filter holder, and those directly impact the taste of your brew. However, by following best practices we were able to get consistently good results with a clean brew.
Both brewers are at the premium end of the scale and we’d have liked to see some bluetooth connectivity, app functionality around customising your brew cycles.
But simply put, the Wilfa and Ratio brewers are at the top of their categories in terms of performance but also price. With Ratio Eight really emphasising their design prowess and Wilfa offering more custom options to finetune your brew.
The Ratio might be up there with the most attractive appliance in your household but it comes at a cost. The Wilfa for us ticks most of the boxes and the cup quality really shines.