Novel: The Folding Dream Kettle

09.25

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Novel is just that—a novel travel kettle that folds up for easy packing. The kettle design, by Slovakian designer Stanislav Sabo is currently patented, but I’m not sure how functional it is at this point. Very little information is available about the technical aspects of how it would work, if it would actually work at all. But what if it did? It would make the ultimate travel coffee kit complete. I want one.

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When I travel,  I always carry my AeroPress, hand grinder, pocket scale, KeepCup and fresh coffee. The missing link is always the hot water. Sometimes you can find it in large boilers set aside for tea, or you can hunt down a nearby café and awkwardly explain that you only need hot water to brew your own coffee. Some hotels have kettles, but they are often pretty scary on the inside—to the point that you wouldn’t want to drink anything that came out of it. But even those hotel room kettles are beginning to be replaced by K-Cup machines. 

The Novel is made from a 100% silicone liner that’s wrapped in heatproof plastic panels, which all fold flat. The pieces, including the lid are held together by magnets which also activate fuses in the electric base. From the illustrations of the prototype, I’m not entirely sure how energy is transferred to boil the water, but this can’t be an impossible task—we landed on the moon damn it!

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I’ve had conversations with manufactures about this type of product, but they’re convinced the market isn’t big enough—I think they’re misjudging the potential. If something like this could be powered in the car or by solar adapter, then backpackers, campers and road trippers of all stripes would be totally into something like this—no more bulky butane kettles taking up valuable space in your pack.

Any product engineers out there want to help Stanislav make this functional and Kickstart it? Or let’s start from scratch and make something awesome. Give me freedom or give me death! Is that really too much to ask?

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[ht PSFK]

posted by on 09.25.2013, under Design, Misc., Products

The Hario V60 Coffee Machine

01.06

Discovered in the depths of Instagram comes this question generating photo of a prototype for what appears to be a programmable, fully automatic water dispersing device for a Hario V60 setup—the V60 Coffee Maker. We want to know more!

Is this something to look forward to in 2013? Does it have a scale? Does it have a timer? Does the base rotate? Will it meet Scott Rao’s approval? Is it fake? Is it the iPhone 6? Will the “v60″ type be kerned on production models? Will it compete in the Brewers Cup? Will Crossland sue? So many questions and so few answers.

I’ve got an email in to Hario for comment, or a cease and desist. Until then, enjoy letting your imagination run wild. If anyone out there has any more details, please share.

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UPDATE

Thanks for all the tips. The mystery has been solved with a bit more digging. It retails for about $165USD and also comes in “wine red.” It doesn’t seem to be available outside of Japan right now, but you can (try to) read more about it here.

posted by on 01.06.2013, under Products

The Blossom One Coffee Brewer

09.17

What’s priced like a Clover ($11,111), designed like an industrial-chic home espresso machine, and works like a manual Trifecta? The Blossom One—I think.

This quirky looking prototype has been making the rounds at cafés, offices, and trade shows for several months to demonstrate its current version—Dev2. While actual photos are limited on their website, the technical drawings illustrate several brewing concepts mashed together to create, in their words, “better brewing through technology.”

Coffee is brewed by first pouring filtered water into the reservoir and loading ground beans into the standard espresso portafilter (but not tamping). Next a brew profile is selected from a list of presets or programmed in using manual mode. Then the machine comes to life, a portioned volume of water is pumped into the boiler and heated to the required temperature. The system then pauses to allow the user to get ready to brew. On the user’s command hot water is dispensed into the brew chamber with attached portafilter. At this point electric heaters in the brew chamber take over. The chamber adds heat to the brewing coffee to maintain a constant temperature. The brewing coffee is stirred manually. After the specified brew duration, the machine beeps to alert the user that it is time to dispense the coffee. The outlet valve is opened by the user and the plunger is pulled to force the coffee out into a cup. The spent grounds are left in the portafilter for easy cleanup.

Blossom One uses standard E61 baskets or a paper filter adapter nestled inside a La Marzocco group head to hold the coffee. With its ability to use paper, I would assume it’s possible to brew coffee that’s cleaner than the Clover or Trifecta—a common critique of both brewers. However, the entire system seems a bit complex for the benefits it offers.

The One proposes a systemized way of brewing that utilizes QR codes for consistent, programmed recipes and temperature stability to name a few. Although, by maintaining manual agitation and plunging there still seems to be ample room for inconsistency in brewing, in which case I wonder how this is better than a $20 AeroPress.

While I’m always fascinated by innovation for coffee bars and improvements in coffee quality and consistency, I also question the energy exerted in making the process of  brewing coffee so complex. With an all-star development team that includes notable designer Joey Roth, along with a former NASA engineer and a product designer with experience at Tesla Motors & Apple, they’re more than capable of building something great. I just hope they’re receiving constructive feedback from the coffee industry to make it practical as well. I’d love to hear from anyone who’s given this a try.

Blossom Coffee

[hat tip Baratza]

posted by on 09.17.2012, under Brew Methods, Design, Products

Anne Mans Über Hose

11.01

One of the coolest new products at the HOST conference was at the very same booth where the World AeroPress Championship took place. The prototype of the Marco Pillar was an eye-catching centerpiece to the company’s showroom display.

The pillar stood proudly above the bar with three hoses hanging down from the top. The hot water bubbled in a transparent window at the top, while magnetic connectors kept the handles firmly positioned near the base. I imagine the idea for something so brilliantly obvious as this comes while washing your Chemex with a sink hose and thinking, “wouldn’t it be great if…”

Sadly, I didn’t get my hands on the hose (Anne was hogging it all for herself) before the WAC began. However, I’d be more than happy to let Paul come install one in my kitchen for lots of beta-testing love.

Video by Noriko Sunaga at Manly Coffee

posted by on 11.01.2011, under Misc., Products

Norwegian Wood & Espresso

05.27

Last summer I wrote about a prototype of a cement espresso machine, and this year I’ve come across one on the opposite end of the materials spectrum—built with Norwegian Poplar. The Linje, as it’s called, has a much softer presence and feels more refined than the cement model, but there’s probably just as little chance of it ever being produced. I really appreciate the natural finish of the wood, it appears much softer without the toxic shine of heavy varnish. The finish combined with the smooth profile of the machine make me want to reach out and touch it.

Created by Øystein Husby, Audun Grimstad, Åsne Kydland and Mariko Kurioka Rohde, their goal was to take a very Italian experience and transform it into something much more Norwegian through design. I think they’ve succeeded.

So, what distinguishes nordic design? Wood, we thought.

We have plenty of it, and the qualities of the material are many. It is esthetic and tactile and therefore a very rewarding material to work with, something we really experienced in this project.

Check out more photos from the construction at Husby’s website


While we’re on the subject, enjoy these other great examples of Norwegian wood.



Good luck Håkon!

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posted by on 05.27.2011, under Design, Misc., Products, Videos