When it comes to making coffee at home, the great struggle is between quality and convenience. On one end, you’ve got your hand brewed, pour-over coffee—your Chemexes, your v60s, your Origami Drippers and Kalita Waves, etc. They require a greater amount of time and care, but the result is generally considered to be of a much higher caliber. On the other end of the spectrum is the single-serve pod machine. You just put a thing in a thing, press a button, and drink whatever comes out.
One company is trying to find the gooey center, bridging the divide between persnickety deliciousness and unfussy meh-ness. xBloom combines the ease and convenience of a pod system and hopes that you won’t mind adding a few extra steps for a better overall result.
Launching soon, the xBloom is the product of former Apple engineers that brings an all-in-one coffee brewing system of a capsule machine with a few modifications for the pour-over crowd. And lots of new tech.
The system looks very much like a 21st century, William-Sonoma-ready capsule coffee maker. And while it does take a pod of sorts, that’s about where the two begin to diverge. The xBloom uses its own proprietary capsule that is made of sugarcane fiber and 100% biodegradable. In each capsule is a paper filter as well as a pre-measured dose of whole bean coffee. When it comes time to brew, users place the capsule on the top of the machine, where it will read an RFID at the bottom of the capsule to decipher what coffee is about to be brewed as well a brew recipe from the roaster (it will also give you “the story behind its journey” if you’re into that sort of thing).
One the machine knows what coffee is about to be brewed, the user will then pour the whole bean coffee into the attached conical burr grinder, which will then dispense the ground coffee back into the capsule, now acting as the pour-over device, filter and all. The app-driven coffeemaker (because of course there is an app) will then apply water to the brew bed and voila, you’ve got yourself a coffee.
xBloom promises all coffee to be specialty grade and has thus far partnered with big name roasters like Intelligentsia, Sightglass, and Joe Coffee, with more roasting partners in the works.
Still awaiting an official launch, the xBloom is currently accepting reserve invites. The retail price has yet to be announced, but per the website, initial pre-orders can save up to 50% off the full price.
High quality, super convenient coffee has become a bit of a holy grail for coffee brands. We’ve seen programmable capsule machines made specifically for specialty coffee, all manner of instant coffee, frozen concentrate spheres, and now the xBloom. While it does sacrifice a bit of the convenience-at-all-costs mentality, if it lives up to its claims, the xBloom may find the sweet spot, where one or two extra steps by the user provides exponential benefits in flavor. For more information, visit xBloom’s official website.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.