There's no shortage of devices on the market that aim to make shopping for, cooking, and preparing food easier. The latest technology is going after your morning cup of coffee — which pretty much only requires filling a canister with ground coffee and pressing a button — with flashy gadgets that might just make the humble Mr. Coffee pot obsolete. Actually, even Mr. Coffee looks a little smarter these days.
Below, a review of some of the most intriguing new technology in the coffee space today:
Prisma Cold Brew Coffee Maker
Introduced: July 2016; Available: 2017
How it works: This drip device promises to speed up the cold brew process. The simple machine takes just ten minutes (a small fraction of the typical 24-hour process) to brew a cup of cold brew. A video by CNET shows the device, which utilizes a "vacuum method," at work.
Early reviews: CNET wrote the coffee made by the PRISMA was "not bad, especially knowing it was made in an amazingly brief ten minutes." He added that he would withhold judgment on how the coffee tastes "in real life" (he tested it at the company's facility) until it's widely available. Critics question the ability for such a device to actually extract coffee oils and essences, but since it's not yet on the market no one knows how well it works for sure.
How to buy: According to its website, FirstBuild will launch a crowd-sourced funding campaign through Indiegogo this month. The product isn't expected to be widely available until the summer of 2017.
Introduced: 2014; Available: June 2017
How it works: This coffee and tea alarm clock wakes users up "with the sound of bubbling water and the smell of freshly brewed coffee or loose leaf tea." It comes with plenty of bells and whistles, like a reusable steel mesh filter and a sealed divider tray for storing sugar. There's also a USB port nestled within the wood-and-stainless steel base (because of course there is).
Price: £265 (approximately $344 USD)
Early reviews: Though it hasn't hit the market yet, a lot has been written about the Bariseur since it first came onto the scene in 2014 (it was initially created as a final project by a design student at Nottingham Trent University). Maxim wrote that users can "set it up the night before and in the morning, through half-closed lids, you'll watch the water boil, shoot up through the spout, shower the grounds, and drip into a single cup. Sure beats the shrill sound of your iPhone."
How to Buy: The Barisieur won't be ready to ship until June 2017, but you can donate to its Kickstarter in the meantime.
Introduced: May 2016; Available: now
How it works: This tiny coffee press promises convenience that can fit in the palm of a hand. According to the below marketing video, this means coffee fiends can get their fix pretty much anywhere. It also fits in a car's cup holder, so it seems to be fairly easy to use. The Cafflano brews both hot and cold coffee.
Price: $59.95, according to Kickstarter (though those who crowdfund the project may be able to get it for a bit less).
Early reviews: Boxo touted it among the top five travel coffee makers, as it "has everything you need for a good cup of pour-over coffee from whole-bean to drinking, except for the hot water." The website added, however, that the device has "many many moving parts that could fail or get lost."
How to buy: The device is shipping as of July 2016, according to its Kickstarter (pledge $44 or more via the crowdfunding site and receive a black Cafflano Kompact in the mail).
Mr. Coffee 10-Cup Smart Optimal Brew
Introduced: 2014; Available: now
How it works: It looks pretty much the same as its recent ancestors, but Mr. Coffee's latest incarnation is Wemo-enabled, so users can brew a pot of coffee from anywhere, using their smart phones. The app also allows coffee-drinkers to schedule brews up to a week in advance, turn off their coffee pot, and set reminders (for when the carafe needs to be filled, for instance).
Early reviews: User reviews on Mr. Coffee's website range from overwhelmingly positive ("World's Best Coffee Maker!") to bleak ("a huge disappointment.") One reviewer said his coffee maker "burned the circuit board out before my first pot could even begin to brew," while another noted that the app doesn't function properly and often "fails to recognize the device." Many of the reviews did note, however, that the device looks a lot nicer than the company's other coffee makers.
How to buy: Currently available at standard big-box retailers (Target, Walmart, etc.).
Introduced: February 2015; Available: now
How it works: Okay, so Smarter is actually a lot like the Mr. Coffee device, in that an app allows users to brew coffee whenever, from wherever. But it comes with a few other amenities, like the ability to deep-clean the device remotely (and without actually getting your hands dirty). It is a drip coffee device, though, so don't expect espresso flavors.
Price: Approximately $233 USD.
Early reviews: Trusted Reviews gave the device two-and-a-half out of five stars, citing its poor-quality coffee and flaky sensors as cons. As a "smart" device, however, it got high marks (Trusted Reviews wrote that it was actually smarter than some $1,000 models). The tech aspect isn't enough to save it, though: "The idea is great, but this machine is more for tech-head than coffee fans as the taste of its brew just isn’t close to a proper espresso machine or rival bean-to-cup device." One YouTube user seems to concur, titling his review, simply, "It sucks."
How to buy: The company's coffee maker is currently available for purchase on its website.
Introduced: A limited run was introduced in 2013, but the device became more widely available in 2015.
How it works: This is being branded as a sort of the Rolls Royce of the coffee-making scene: It's big, beautiful, and expensive. Though it's automated, it comes with only one button — which allows users to grind beans and initiative a brew. According to its website, its made with "premium" materials, like "precision-machined" aluminum, borosilicate glass, and a selection of hardwoods. The high style comes with a high price tag, however.
Early reviews: CNET called the Ratio Eight "stunningly beautiful," but added that the water volume labels were inaccurate. Overall, the reviewer said said the device "is a headache to operate reliably unless you're in the habit of weighing your water. The Eight's exorbitant price is at least triple that of its premium drip-coffee competition." Bloomberg also reviewed the device, saying it was "downright sexy," albeit with a high price that wasn't worth it.
How to buy: A handful of colors are available on the company's website (it also comes with a 10-year warranty).