This past weekend was the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, and it was a playground for all things java, joe, and bean juice-related. We saw robot baristas, we saw electric coffee roasters, we saw coffee connection apps — and we also drank lots and lots of free samples.
Here are five things that piqued our highly caffeinated interest on the show floor. Maybe they’re hinting at the new wave of specialty coffee trends to come?
Beanscrop’s handheld espresso machine
For those who love their espressos (and macchiatos, cappuccinos, etc.) but don’t have a few grand to drop on a home espresso machine, Beanscrop might be a good investment.
From South Korea, Beanscrop’s coffee makers require no electric power, disposable filters, or cups. Their Cafflano Klassic is a coffee grinder, filter, and travel mug all in one — just add hot water. But the product that really caught our eye was their handheld espresso maker: it weighs less than 6 ounces and uses hydraulic water compression to help users push down with exactly 9 bars of pressure — the magic number for espresso-making. The coolest part? According to their team at the booth, it works with hot or cold water. The Kompresso is available on Amazon for $109.95.
Ground Control’s flashy batch brewer
Ground Control‘s Cyclops coffee brewer machine won Best New Product (Commercial Equipment) at the expo. The machine looks like something that would be in Frankenstein’s lab, complete with coils and glass bulbs. What Ground Control says makes its coffee so special is the multiple infusions. Basically, the machine siphons hot water over a bed of coffee grounds, then extracts all that coffee and siphons it out into the glass bulbs on top of the machine. It then re-infuses the grounds with more hot water and combines the two extractions, resulting in what is, apparently, an amazing cup of coffee.
I couldn’t taste the difference, but I did really enjoy the awesome-looking brewing process as the coffee spews out of the top.
SpeedETab mobile ordering platform
You know when you really want a latte but the line at your local coffee shop is too long to mess with? SpeedETab wants to help you skip right to the front by allowing its users to order and pay for drinks and food ahead of time.
The Miami-based company provides a white label ordering platform independent coffee shops. Other companies like QuickCup and Joe Coffee also let users order their coffee ahead and skip the line, but what sets SpeedETab apart is its malleability. They work with their coffee shop clients to make specialized apps tailored to their particular brand. SpeedETab starts with their templated app, then adds in the icon, logo, and color palette of their clients’ coffee shop in an effort to push brand loyalty.
SpeedETab charges shops flat fee for all their services and ingrates directly into their PoS system. The platform seems like a valuable tool for smaller coffee shops which don’t have the money or staff to design and run their own app, but want to get in on the order-ahead trend.
Individual pourover coffee bags
Quite a few booths featured single-serving pourover coffee bags. Individually packaged like tea bags, these pre-filled coffee filters balance over your coffee mug. All you have to do is slowly pour hot water over the top, stirring once or twice to agitate the grounds and extract all the flavor. Coffee Blenders and Twin Peaks are two that I noticed specifically, but this coffee delivery system was definitely out in fine form at the expo.
As someone who is quite the coffee snob and sometimes finds myself in situations without good coffee, these little on-the-go bags could be lifesavers. Many are also compostable, so they would be great options for camping or other trips where you’re not sure you’ll have access to a high-quality cup of joe.
IceColdNow keeps your cold brew chilled
We’ve seen products that can keep your coffee hot or keep it cold, but how about one that can go from one to the other? Ice Cold Now‘s electric chiller, the Cafe Cold Wave, takes hot, freshly-brewed coffee and cools it in one minute thanks to a refrigerant-filled stainless steel coil. Users can set their desired temperature on a screen on the machine.
“Basically all iced coffee being served is old,” said Ice Cold Now founder David Dussault. “This is going to be fresh, just like your hot coffee.” This enables coffee shops to serve cold coffee without spending 12 to 24 hours cold-brewing, which requires a lot more coffee beans and also doesn’t extract all of their flavor. With Ice Cold Now, you also don’t have to use ice, so there’s no dilution.
Here’s a video we took of the Cafe Cold Wave in action on the Expo show floor. The product is available for preorder now on Ice Cold Now’s website.
Did we miss any other cool coffee gadgets, tech, or trends at the Specialty Coffee Expo? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @thespoontech!