October 2016 Newsletter
Kickstarter campaigns for coffee brewers seem to be the crowdfunding
equivalent of Nigerian scams. To the best of my knowledge there
hasn't been a single brewer brought to market and all the eager
people who opened their wallets have done their dough cold.
The granddaddy of these projects was the 2011 ZPM Nocturn Espresso
Machine, which raised just under US$1,000,000 with Kickstarter and
pre-delivery sales, and delivered nothing. The original premise was
a PID temperature and pressure profiling machine with a 58mm group
for US$300.00. In the end the technology (such as it was) was sold
to Decent Espresso who have been promising to have a machine for
sale for just under US$1000.00 any day now.
This was followed by the Arist Superauto machine, which raised
around US$800,000 for an again all-singing all-dancing $300.00
production. This was a scam from day one, the founders had no
prospect of delivering the promised features at the quoted price
point. They were marketers and designers with zero real world
espresso machine experience. Basically they thought of every
desirable feature a superautomatic should have, then said "Yeah! Our
machine will do that!" with absolutely no idea of the engineering
Then there are those who see crowdfunding as simply a method to
raise sufficient money to bring their bright idea to the attention
of venture capital firms, ala the Invergo drip brewer. Which was a
good idea except some guy in Taiwan was already making an
equivalent, and it was also similar enough to another company's
technology for a patent infringement suite.
Novel technology like the 2014 La Fenice induction heated espresso
machine got heaps of publicity and lots of contributions, but 2
years on not a single machine has been shipped. One thing that many
of the designers and builders of the machines often forget is the
need for official certification, a lengthy and costly process. Any
time you are attempting to combine water, heating and electricity a
government organization will need to be involved before you are
allowed to sell a single unit.
In the meantime, companies like Breville, which already have the
experienced staff, will have produced a mass market machine with 95%
of the functionality and have it for sale in retail stores. So my
advice is that the next time a coffee brewing machine Kickstarter
campaign pops up, ignore it!
In contrast to all the ideas that took heaps of cash and produced
nothing, there was an idea that asked for no cash, just input from
hobbyists, and produced an innovative and effective espresso brewer.
Andre Vornbrock, screen name "Droshi", is the inventor.
project-t34309.html tells the story of the invention of a portable
manual espresso brewer all the way from initial concept to final
saleable product. I'll be buying one myself for travel brewing,
It's simple, non electric and it works brilliantly.
Due to a flood of class coffees I've got the specials for the next 3
months sorted already. This month we've got Costa Rica SHP Coope
Tarrazu Tirra Estate Red Honey, otherwise known as
Costa Rica Tarrazu Rojo Miel
Smooth, rich, intense, the epitome of coffeeness (I just made it up)
and slightly more flavourful than even our last Miel offering. Get
it while it lasts!
Until next month