Wilfa is a Norwegian electronics and appliance company known by coffee enthusiasts for its high-end coffee makers. Founded in 1948, Wilfa has released a range of premium drip coffee brewers with unique, modern, and low-profile, attractive designs.
Wilfa first entered the US markets with the Wilfa Precision – Wilfa’s previous automatic drip coffee maker designed by famous barista and roaster Tim Wendelboe. The Wilfa Precision was sold by Williams-Sonoma, but things didn’t work out and they dropped the product in less than a year.
The Wilfa Performance is an updated automatic drip brewer that promises improved reliability, better build quality, and an excellent-tasting cup of coffee. Lardera Roasters, now the sole importer of Wilfa products in North America, has partnered with Wilfa to bring the Performance Brewer to the US. Let’s look closer at the Wilfa Performance and find out – does it deliver?
Wilfa Performance Coffee Brewer Overview
The Wilfa Svart Performance Coffee maker is a high-end automatic drip coffee maker. It’s set apart by its unique design in which the heating elements and water pump are located in the machine’s base. This gives the Wilfa Performance Maker a clean, modern look.
But the machine isn’t just your standard brewer with a facelift – it has a pump, unlike most home brewers. Its heating element is precise and quickly heats coffee consistently to 192 – 196 degrees Fahrenheit. The brewer also has a stepped flow controller – allowing you to do automatic hands-off brewing, or get more involved with a steep and release brew.
We received a Performance Coffee Brewer from Wilfa, and after weeks of testing and several pots of coffee later, we’re ready to share our thoughts on it.
Unboxing and Features
Taking the machine out of its package, you’ll see that the Performance Brewer comes with a removable water tank, a glass coffee carafe, a filter basket and flow controller, a measuring scoop, and the Wilfa Performance Base.
Body and Build Quality
Upon assembly, I noticed that this machine has a sturdy build quality, and the water tank and filter basket snap firmly into place with no fuss. After fully assembling the brewer, I can see the beautiful but minimalist design.
This brewer looks a bit like a science experiment, so if you want something more traditional, you might not like the looks of it. But as a coffee nerd and enthusiast, I was impressed by this unique design.
All the machine’s components are neatly housed in the base, giving the machine a compact footprint. The base measures 34 x 17 centimeters and, fully assembled with the water tank and filter, the machine stands 34 centimeters tall and weighs 3.6 kilograms.
It’s a fairly small machine and won’t take up too much counter space. The Performance Brewer only comes in a matte black plastic finish that helps reduce fingerprints or coffee oil stains.
Wilfa Performance Base
The power controls, heating element, water pump, water tower, and hot plate are inside the base. The brewer is controlled by a single soft touch LED button – just press it once to start brewing, and it will automatically turn off when it’s done, or press it mid-cycle to stop the machine.
The water pump brings water from the water reservoir to the outlet of the water tower. The heating element ensures your coffee will always brew between 92 – 94 degrees Celcius. After brewing, the hotplate will keep your coffee warm for up to 30 minutes – your coffee will be kept warm as long as the LED touch button is on.
Removable water tank
Water for brewing is stored in the clear plastic water tank. It’s fully removable, making it easy to fill up before brewing your coffee. Its got a capacity of 40 ounces shown by the measurement markers printed on the tank. The suggested amount of ground coffee is printed in grams next to each marker. That’s a nice touch that makes it super easy to remember the correct brewing ratio.
The filter basket easily snaps into the filter anchor and sits under the water tower. While Wilfa suggests you use #4 paper filters from Ladera, any #4 cone-shaped filter, such as the standard Melitta filters, will work just fine.
At the bottom of the brew basket is the stepped flow controller. This allows you to precisely adjust the water flow rate through the filter basket or even stop it completely for a steep and release brewing method. The flow controller is conveniently marked with 8, 16, 24, 32, and 40-ounce markers to match the water tank, so you won’t have to do any guesswork on the proper flow rate.
Coffee Jug and Lid
Coffee brews directly into the supplied glass carafe, which can hold up to 40 ounces of coffee. The thick-walled glass is durable and, combined with the hotplate, will keep your coffee warm after brewing. The plastic lid fits easily into the carafe and funnels coffee into the jug while brewing. The jug has a well-designed spout and pours very well.
How to Brew
I found the Wilfa Performance very easy to use, even on my first batch. Turn the machine on with the power switch on the side of the base – you can leave this on if you’d prefer. Then fill the water tank with your desired amount of water.
Either grind your beans or use pre-ground coffee and fill your filter basket with the suggested amount of coffee grounds. Snap the filter basket in place and adjust the flow controller to the corresponding rate. Then simply press the soft touch button to start brewing.
The brewing cycle is very fast – the Performance Brewer will heat the water to the brewing temperature in about two minutes. The water pump completely drains the reservoir each time you brew, so you always use fresh water.
Water will drip from the water tower and flow through the filter basket into your carafe. The full jug should be brewed in about five minutes. This can be a fully hands-off experience unless you want to dive into steep and release brewing. The hotplate will keep your coffee warm for 30 minutes or until you press the LED button again to turn it off.
Cleaning and Maintenance
After 180 brewing cycles, the LED start button will slowly pulsate to show its time to clean your coffee machine. Wilfa recommends using Ladera cleaning tablets or another coffee detergent, such as Cafiza. To clean the filter, close the flow controller, fill it with warm water and detergent, and let it soak for 30 minutes. You can do the same with the coffee jug.
Descaling is recommended monthly. You can descale with Ladera descaling tablets or some other descaling solution. Simply dissolve the solution in 40 ounces of water in the reservoir and run a full brew cycle through your machine.
Wilfa offers some troubleshooting guides in the manual for common problems with your machine. However, it doesn’t offer any guidance on troubleshooting a pump failure – while the water pump does improve the brewing experience, it can potentially break after long-term use.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve walked through the main features and how to use the machine, we’ll share some thoughts on what we like about the Wilfa Performance and what we don’t like.
Coffee Cup Flavor
The Wilfa Performance Brewer makes an excellent-tasting cup of coffee. When I first received the machine, I knew very little about Wilfa and assumed this was just a regular drip coffee maker dressed up, but I was dead wrong.
The Wilfa Performance Brewer makes delicious, full-bodied cups of coffee using fresh Ladera coffee beans. It really brought out the full range of flavor notes from each batch of coffee I brewed. Following the suggested coffee ratio makes a well-balanced cup of delicious coffee most will enjoy.
I tend to like a stronger cup, so I increased the amount of coffee used by a few grams, and it was perfect. As someone who mostly drinks espresso, it’s been a while since I was this impressed by a drip coffee brewer.
I did notice that when I only brewed 8 ounces in the machine without any steep and release, the coffee wasn’t as well extracted as when I would make a 16-ounce or larger pot. But as long as you’re making 16 ounces or more, you can brew an excellent-tasting pot of coffee completely hands-free.
Easy to Use and Measurement Focused
I really liked how easy Wilfa makes it to get a great cup of coffee out of this machine. If you don’t want to get bogged down with measuring and adjusting for the perfect coffee ratio, this machine makes it easy to get a good cup of coffee.
Each water marker in the reservoir is also marked with how much coffee to use for your brew. The scoop conveniently holds 15 grams of coffee (and we checked, it’s accurate) so that you measure the right amount of coffee for each marker without even using a scale.
The flow controller can then be adjusted to the appropriately marked flow rate, and that’s all you need to do. Start the machine, and you’ll get a great pot of coffee in just a few minutes.
The detachable parts are all easy to use and clean. Using the Wilfa Performance is a simple, intuitive, excellent brewing experience.
Consistent and Fast Heating
The heating element is high quality – it brews your coffee between 92 and 94 degrees Celcius and heats up very quickly. Your machine will start brewing less than two minutes after heating starts. If you’re in a hurry in the morning, this brewer can give you a full pot of coffee in just a few minutes.
Beautiful, Unique Design
I think the Wilfa Performance is a beautiful-looking brewer. It’s a very modern design that will surely impress house guests and look great in your kitchen. If you want a more traditional look, this might not be for you, but if you’re a coffee nerd looking for something different, you’ll appreciate this machine.
While the hot plate works as it should, keeping your coffee hot for up to 30 minutes, I don’t think it’s the best method for warming your pot. The hot plate and glass carafe can overheat and degrade the taste of your coffee over time. The hot plate keeps the coffee a little too warm – slightly too hot to drink and affecting your cup flavor by the end of the 30-minute cycle.
The Wilfa Performance pump is a little loud. This might be a bit of a nitpick, but I’d expect quieter brewing for such a premium machine. This brings me to the final drawback.
The Wilfa Performance is quite a bit more expensive than your average coffee machine. It delivers a very great-tasting cup of coffee, but the high price tag left me wanting a little more.
The plastic finish feels a little cheap, considering the machine’s price. It would be nice to get this machine in a glass or metallic finish. I think that with a little more effort, you could get a comparable cup of coffee from a V60 or pour-over coffee brewer at a much lower price point.
The Wilfa Performance brewer is an excellent coffee machine. It’s beautifully designed, easy to use, and can make a delicious pot of coffee without a fuss. This is a great machine if you’re looking for a modern-designed automatic drip brewer, great-tasting coffee, and a hands-off brewing experience.
The Wilfa Performance makes it easy to get a good cup, even if you don’t know a ton about brewing ratios and drip brewing.
The only drawback of this machine is the high price tag. I would like to have seen a quieter pump and a nicer glass finish to justify its price point. You may want to look at competing machines if you are on a tight budget. And if you’re not concerned with automatic brewing, you may want to dive into the world of V60 and pour over.