Blue Bottle Coffee, an international specialty coffee roaster headquartered in Oakland, California, has purchased Perfect Coffee, a Bay Area startup dedicated to advancing coffee preserving and grinding technologies, and the creators of a pre-ground coffee system that—wait for it, here’s a value judgement—does not suck. This marks the third major acquisition for Blue Bottle Coffee in the past 10 months, following the company’s purchase of Handsome Coffee Roasters and Tonx.org in April of 2014, and less than a year after Blue Bottle received 25.75 million dollars in a round of venture capital funding.
In the spring of 2014, around the same time Blue Bottle’s successful funding efforts made news around the world, we brought you a first look at Perfect Coffee in a feature several months in the making. The main figure behind Perfect Coffee is Neil Day, a Silicon Valley technologist and ardent coffee lover who, through years of research and trials, developed a patented set of technologies around optical grind analysis and pre-ground coffee stabilization. Day is well-suited for such endeavors; our article from last year says his “CV narrates like a Valleywag long read,” starting at Apple in 1990 and moving on to manage online systems for the likes of Walmart and Sears, creating the successful startup MediaMaster, and serving as Senior Vice President and CTO at Shutterfly.
Day joins Blue Bottle Coffee with the title of “Principal, Coffee Technologies”, bringing his team at Perfect Coffee into the Blue Bottle fold. It’s a carefully chosen title, one that implies much more coffee technology development at Blue Bottle with Neil Day at the helm. Speaking exclusively to Sprudge.com, Blue Bottle co-founder James Freeman said: “One of the reasons we’re excited about this at Blue Bottle is not because we think Neil has one great idea in him.”
Perfect Coffee’s individual serving packets will be offered in stores and online over the coming months, as the product is tweaked and focused for Blue Bottle’s core audience. Previously Perfect Coffee had worked with a variety of roasters; that will end in March 2015, as the brand and its technology come under the Blue Bottle umbrella, Freeman and Day told Sprudge.
From the soon-to-be-widely-spread press release, there’s a thesis statement of sorts from Neil Day on the Perfect Coffee project: “We used the latest in analytics and engineering to hide all the hard parts and allow coffee lovers to focus on great taste.” A simple, pre-ground, ready to brew pouch of coffee isn’t life-changing for a committed coffee nerd or home brewing enthusiast, but it might be life changing for their mom, or their auntie, or anyone in their life who digs good coffee but can’t imagine spending hundreds of dollars on a home set-up. Combined with the digital direct sales initiatives Blue Bottle acquired when it purchased Tonx.org, this has the potential to be a bellwether moment for improving the at-home coffee experience for the masses.
“I like the idea of controlling our experience that we provide to our guests as much as possible,” Freeman told Sprudge. “It means providing ways for customers to connect with us where the coffee is beautiful, carefully sourced, well-roasted, and delicious. I just want to make it easier for people to have that experience.” For his part as Blue Bottle’s first-ever Principal, Coffee Technology, Day is “fired up to figure out how we bring the best in technology to the world of coffee in the service of making great coffee more accessible to everyone.”
You can learn more about the sale and Blue Bottle’s “Coffee Technology” plans in Sprudge’s upcoming interview with Neil Day and James Freeman, the founder and CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee, due out tomorrow.
Blue Bottle Coffee and Perfect Coffee are advertising partners of Sprudge.com.
Photos courtesy Perfect Coffee.