XBloom Studio Review

A few short months after the first Xbloom units started shipping to customers, the brand has released a new “Studio” version of their innovative automatic specialty coffee system. On paper, the XBloom Studio has more features, a new display, physical controls, and it costs LESS than the original. But what did the sacrifice to accomplish that, and is it a worth your consideration? Let’s find out!

Discount Code: xBloomStudio-Matt

Build Quality / Design

Starting-off, it’s an important clarification to make that this is not a new separate model in the XBloom lineup. The Studio is intended to replace original Xbloom which only started delivering to customers 3 or 4 months ago!

With that in mind, the new Xbloom studio obviously maintains much of the same design language, except this time with a matte plastic surface finish versus the metal finishes found on the original.

While the new plastic shell is clearly one of the areas they have used to reduce the overall cost on the Studio, in terms of appearance I think I actually prefer the look of the matte finish, at least in the black version I received. So although there is technically a sacrifice in build quality here, I’m not particularly upset about it in this instance.

A few other subtle changes I noticed were that the bean chute now has a sliding door, the Xpod holder is lower-profile, still metal, but lower profile, and the door on the water tank is now a satisfying hinge. What unfortunately HASN’T changed, is the still very small water reservoir that needs constant refilling. You will have the option to plumb in this machine to a jug of ANY size, which is pretty convenient, but the built in reservoir is still a shortcoming.

One of the not so subtle changes, is now the inclusion of physical dials on the front of the machine, which we’ll chat about the functions of a little later. However, in terms of build quality, these pleasantly surprised me with their knurled metal finish, reminiscent of something you’d see from Buster and Punch. I’m glad Xbloom took notes to still spend the money on high touch-point areas like this.

Another one of the bigger visual changes on the machine is the inclusion of a drip tray. In contrast to the new dials, the plastic this is made of is very cheap and glossy, and I would have definitely preferred a nice metal grate at the very least. However, if a plastic drip tray it what it took to offset the costs of the other added functionalities, then I guess I’m on board.

Built-In Scale

Hiding underneath that drip tray is the first big addition to the Xbloom studio, a built-in scale.

This scale can be used independently to weight beans, or just for other uses around the kitchen with a capacity of 2kg, although work space on the space is a bit cramped due to the overhead parts. The scale also contributes data to the live graph readouts we now see as part of the app. Propping up your phone in the machine is a great party piece showing the progress of the brew, each pouring step, flow into the coffee bed, as well as flow into the cup.

The scale functionality is controlled using the farthest right of the three new knobs. Similarly, the other two knobs are programmed to independently use both the grinder and hot water dispensing.

Manual Pouring and Grinding

This ability to piece out the functions of the machine, and do so without the use of the app, is probably the single biggest change to the XBloom studio overall.

With the middle knob, you can control the temperature, pouring volume, and even pouring pattern to use the machine like a very accurate gooseneck kettle.

With the left knob, you can operate the grinder with control over not only the grind size but also the grinder RPM, which is of course very trendy to play around with, especially on conical grinders.

Hardware Updates

The grinder has also seen some improvements, which include new static-free materials in the grinding path in addition to the existing active anti-static, as well as a physical sweeper arm.

The result is a even cleaner grinding experience compared to the original, which was already no slouch in this department, but the new one is pretty darn impressive. There is also a separate magnetic dosing cup if you do want to using the grinder for an external brewer, or even espresso which the grinder CAN grind fine enough for now.

The new “Omni Dripper 2” is also made from anti-static materials, and is overall a much more polished item than we saw in the original kickstarter. It has a removable base for cleaning, and even a clever lip to keep filters properly seated at all times.

Last but not least, and this embarrassingly took me a while to notice, XBloom have moved away from the original Electrostatic Pouring System and have replaced it with a Kinematic Spout which has all the same pouring characteristics, but was apparently much simpler to calibrate, adjust, and mass-produce in a cost effective way.

New Workflows

This piecing out of the functionalities was widely requested on the original, but I don’t think using each without ANY automation is going to be a common way people use this new machine. Instead, the app now allows you to program in a workflow that works for you, using as many or as few functions of the machine as you like.

You can still opt to use their XPods which will program in all the correct parameters and do all the grinding and brewing for you according to how the roasters themselves recommend.

But now if you have your own grinder, you can simply turn off the grinding step in the routine and just use this as an automated pour over system. You don’t even need to use the XPods or Omni Dripper, you can simply place any brewer of your choice on the scale and have it pour a pre-set recipe. However, cup height will be a consideration if you’re using a wide brewer like a V60.

If you want to use your own beans, you can use the scale to weigh out your dose, and then once again use any combination of grinder, brewing device, and pouring technique you like.

They’ve even added a functionality for a bypass step if you want to make a concentrate recipe, and then dilute afterwards. Once the brewer stops dripping, it will move out of the way, and then the XBloom will dilute by the requested amount.

Any of these custom configurations can be then programmed on to an included Recipe Card, so that you don’t always need to pull out the app. You can simply tap your custom card, and it will recall your desired settings

Personally, there are still two ways of using this machine that I would REALLY like to see:

Number one, I think it would be super neat if you could simply “record” your desired workflow, and then save that as a recipe going forward. You would put it in programming mode, set the grind parameters, and then do the pouring recipe manually using the kettle functionality. This would be a MUCH more intuitive method in my opinion versus the still slightly tedious process of manually entering each step.

The second functionality I would like to see is the ability to save a default recipe onto the machine so that you don’t even need to tap the custom card. If no RFID is detected, the machine will just recall the default recipe. In this way, you could use the machine in a completely analog way by just dosing your beans, and tapping on the brewing cradle.

Despite those two items on my wish list, I am overall pretty happy with the improvements to workflow and recipe building made to the XBloom Studio! I think they’ve done a very good job of appeasing the enthusiast market, while also not sacrificing ease of use for those who simply want to use the curated XPods and associated recipes. Not to mention, this machine will still be getting over the air updates after release so we can probably expect so see some added features down the line.

Final Word

Holy smokes, that was a LOT of changes, for a machine that on the surface looks pretty darn similar to the original. But I’m curious to hear what you guys think! With all these new functionalities, and a DROP in price, is the Xbloom Studio now something that you would consider??

Personally, and completely transparently, I was MUCH more excited to get this version of the XBloom on my counter because it just allows me much more freedom to use it how I wanted. From what I’ve heard, the curated and sometimes very limited edition XPods have been selling well, and I do think it’s a great way to experience a variety of curated coffees without needing to worry about dialing in. But for me, I really only see myself using it with my own beans, and my own recipes. And for that reason the Studio was a pretty exciting update that was generating a lot of buzz in its appearance at SCA this year.

To sum it up, I think that XBloom as a company have done a good job at listening to early customer feedback, and launching an updated machine VERY very quickly. I’m currently using the Studio in my kitchen on busy mornings when I need some automation, and unless I need to brew for a large group, I don’t think it’ll be leaving any time soon.

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Products Mentioned

Discount Code: xBloomStudio-Matt

Discount Code: xBloomStudio-Matt

Discount Code: xBloomStudio-Matt