Like it or lump it, the Kickstarter crowd sourced funding model has woven its way into the fabric of modern small business culture. Today we’re bringing you two current projects that have caught our eye – one for coffee, and one for chocolate, coffee’s delicious, mysterious sibling.
Colin Gasko is awesome. He’s Rogue Chocolatier, and rose to fame out of a 400 square foot space in Northeast Minneapolis, where he cleaned, roasted, winnowed, ground, refined, conched, tempered, molded, and packaged directly sourced cocoa with help from our friends at Cafe Imports. He’s recently moved to a bigger space in Amherst, Massachusettes, and he’s a few days and a chunk of change shy from buying some important equipment to make his ridiculously good chocolate even better. We appreciate Mr. Gasko’s candor in his Kickstarter copy:
“We work directly with farmers and producers to procure the best quality raw materials we can find. In addition, we pay high quality-based premiums that are on the order of 2-4 times the minimums required by Fair Trade organizations.”
Unfortunately, even simple, elegant solutions cost more than we have capital for at this time, so we are asking for you to help us with this project through Kickstarter. We want to be able to continue to develop new ways of approaching and improving chocolate, and this is the first step to get us there. Remember that Kickstarter is an all or nothing funding system, so if we can’t reach our goal we get nothing and you get your money back. Also, we only have 30 days to pull this off.
Bean-to-bar chocolate is slowly growing in popularity. Options abound, of which Rogue Chocolatier should be towards the top of your list, alongside Askinosie Chocolate from Springfield, Missouri, Mast Brothers in Brooklyn, Cacao in Atlanta, and Dandelion Chocolate in SF – to name just a few!
Seattle-based filter makers Kaffeologie are building good buzz for their mesh Aeropress insert, the S Filter. The device boasts more than 50,000 holes per square inch (that’s a lot of holes), and is covered by a Certified Lifetime Guarantee, commonplace on the Home Shopping Network but unheard of in the specialty coffee realm. Pledges on Kaffeologie’s Kickstarter campaign go to fund production at their Seattle workshop.
The S Filter is a reusable filter for AeroPress coffee makers. It’s made of ultra-fine stainless steel mesh fused to a durable stainless steel ring. With more than 50,000 holes per square inch, it will filter smaller particles than any other metal filter (by far), and it won’t clog, fray or absorb oils.
We’ve already built the prototype, tested it (a lot!) and purchased some tools, but we need your help to launch this product. Your pledges will fund our Seattle workshop setup and the first production run of the S Filter.
Pledges begin at the $10 level, and go towards pre-order of your very own S Filter, due to ship in September. Larger pledge amounts can secure a custom monogrammed filter, a bag of Kuma Coffee‘s roast of El Salvador Finca las Brumas (winner of the 2012 El Sal COE), and a t-shirt by Seattle clothier Charity Jones.
To our eyes, this is a pretty similar product to the 2011 Sprudgie Award winning DISK filter by Able Brewing – they’re both re-usable metal filters for Aeropress, though one is mesh and one is stainless steel. Are you a stainless steel kind of gal? Or a mesh man? Regardless, the folks at Kaffeologie have certainly taken a page from Able Brewing’s wildly successful Kickstarter pre-order model, and are doing pretty darn well for themselves with it.