Specialty coffee is no stranger to innovative industrial design, from the Chemex to the Clover and all 8 million brewing devices in-between. But right now, I'm fascinated by a recent wave of new products that show just how some of the central concerns of specialty coffee – quality, innovation, and stability – have seeped into the mainstream coffee consciousness.
This new coffee maker from Koziol is a prime example. Called the “Unplugged”, it looks much like any other coffee maker you’d find sitting on the kitchen counter…until you lift the top and discover that it's in fact one of those “pour over” coffee makers we're all so excited about. (Are we still real excited about all that? I digress…) The Koziol sports an easy-looking-to-use manual cone with integrated stand, all with a Scandinavian design aesthetic. Read more here via Appliancist.
On the polar opposite end of the spectrum is Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ new expansion of their Keurig® single-cup brew line, the Vue®. While this new office-oriented product is desperately lacking in the aesthetics department, the new technology behind it shows that GMCR's designers are taking some quality control issues quite seriously. The Vue® system introduces variable beverage size, adjustable “water pressure, timing, and airflow so users can brew to suit individual strength preferences…as well as a brewing temperature range between 187 and 198 degrees Fahrenheit”. All of these variables can be adjusted by touch screen, or according to pre-programmed recipes included in RFID tags in the packaging of their many (now slightly more recyclable) beverage offerings.
I am well aware that many, many learned people think K-cups will be the death of our industry and mankind itself, but the Vue® represents a tangible leap forward in terms K-cup quality, and that's worth investigating. Who knows, maybe in 5 years you’ll able to select desired TDS via the holo-display on your Artisinal Series Keu Vue® Breu 5000 by Dolcepump.
Last up is the Geo line of vacuum-pots from Normann Copenhagen. We all know how important a thermal carafe is to keep brewed coffee fresh and hot, but unless your automatic machine came with one, you might not have one in your kitchen (much less one that looks this fine).
The Geo’s stunning minimalist design and its wide variety of retro and modern color combinations suit me just fine, and better still, it's a great way to store brewed coffee for maximum weekend leisure breakfast enjoyment. Even if many consumers balk at the $90 price tag, I fully expect to see some gorgeous Nordic coffee bar sporting a few of these within the year. Learn more via Better Living Through Design.
Alex Bernson is a staff writer for Sprudge.com @alexbernson .