One question we’re often asked is: “Why does Ratio Eight cost so much?”
We get it: most people are used to Mr. Coffee prices. But Mr. Coffee prices equal Mr. Coffee taste and Mr. Coffee longevity (read: “not great” and “not long”).
But that’s the thing: We never set out to compete with Mr. Coffee. We set out to make the world’s best coffee maker.
There are plenty of products in the world that are just barely “good enough” and will last “long enough” for lesser amounts of money. We feel that most products aren’t truly good enough when you consider the overall time of ownership, which is why we designed a machine for coffee consumers with higher standards. Those individuals that want it all: nuanced flavor, batch-brewing convenience, pour over nuance, simplicity, and longevity. And they want in a form worthy of their kitchen remodel.
To that end, we followed a rigorous, iterative design process, and at every turn, we chose options we felt resulted in a better experience, a more durable machine, or simply a more beautiful form. In many cases, that means a more expensive part, process, or material.
Here are just 10 of those decisions that add up to why the Ratio costs more (and tastes better) than everything else out there.
1. Less plastic
We believe materials should be chosen carefully. Plastics come in both cheap and expensive forms.
For the Eight, we were determined to use as little plastic as possible. There are only five pieces of plastic in the Ratio, used to ensure there are no leak points in the brewer, and they are made of food grade, BPA-free copolymers.
2. Real hardwoods
Few things complement a minimal, technical design as the organic and beautiful nature of solid hardwoods. All of our wood trim options are precision cut, sanded and lacquered by hand. Woods like walnut, mahogany, parawood, and ebonized parawood add character and warmth to Ratio’s otherwise strong posture. Finished with a waterproof layer, these pieces are not only aesthetically pleasing, they are built to last.
3. Borosilicate glass
Coffee is around 98% water, so we were determined to have your water touch as little plastic as possible (see #1). Which is why we decided to use hand-blown, lab-grade borosilicate glass for our carafe and supply lines. It takes around an hour to create each carafe and supply line including quality control. It’s time consuming, but we think the result is worth it.
4. Cast metal
The Ratio Eight is built primarily of precision die-cast aluminum parts. These parts have a wall thickness of 4mm, meaning they are extremely durable and heavy duty. The alumimum is first anodized, then sealed with high quality food-safe coatings for a beautiful finish. The water tank fill lid is also made of cast aluminum, and you will likely grow to look forward to the sound of metal on metal that indicates it’s nearly time for coffee.
5. No pumps
There are no pumps, because pumps are typically the first parts that break on espresso machines. We didn’t want parts prone to fail designed into the Ratio. Instead, water is heated with a 1,400 watt heating element to boiling in around 30 seconds. As water heats, it generates pressure. The Ratio harnesses this pressure to send the water up through the supply line. This tube runs through the top of the brewer and connects to the shower head. The water is distributed by a Fibonacci shower head designed to mimic a manual pour over. In the end, the coffee brews at an optimal temperature that meets SCA Gold Cup Standards.
6. A system of sensors + onboard firmware for adaptive brewing
Onboard firmware drives the Ratio’s “adaptive brew” system, which detects how much water is in the tank at the beginning of the brew cycle and automatically synchronizes power to the heating element to ensure a perfectly timed brew. The Ratio measures coffee in brewing profiles of five-ounce increments (not just “half” or “full”), automatically dialing in the optimal amount of extraction time for the amount of water you pour into the tank.
7. Precision heating elements
Most coffee makers employ a low-wattage heating element to raise the temperature of water before it’s delivered to the grounds, resulting in water that’s often too cold at the beginning and too hot at the end. Our heating element consistently delivers water near 200º fahrenheit, so it uniformly showers over the grounds at the ideal temperature for releasing pent-up carbon dioxide during the bloom cycle.
8. Two-piece Fibonacci spiral shower head
Speaking of water delivery, we designed the Ratio to shower water over the grounds in a Fibonacci spiral pattern which, after an exhaustive series of tests, delivered the best saturation of the grounds. The pattern supports the vital brewing feature of an automated “bloom,” an all important pre-infusion of the grounds that releases the flavor of the coffee before the full brew cycle begins.
9. Assembled by hand, one at a time, in the USA
Labor in the US is expensive. But we believe our hands and eyes should assemble and inspect every machine before it goes out the door to ensure our customers receive an expertly crafted brewing machine.
10. Backed by a 5-year warranty
Most coffee makers are used daily. And because of their cheap parts, they fail pretty quickly. We designed and built the Ratio to be fully serviceable and easy to repair. In the rare event that a Ratio does experience an issue, our customers can be confident they’ll get their machine serviced or replaced in a timely manner and with the expert assistance of our dedicated team.
So what’s the result of all of this? 1) Great tasting coffee that’s 2) easy to make, 3) simple to use, 4) beautiful to behold.