The Kelvin home coffee roaster

So you think you’re on the coffee cutting edge, do you? Whether cold brewed, nitrogen-infused, poured-over or robot-crafted, if it’s a new craft coffee trend, you’ve tried it.

But have you roasted your own beans? Don’t feel so bad. Most people haven’t.

Now, however, may be your chance. That’s because now the Kelvin, a new app-powered home coffee roaster, just launched today on Kickstarter.

The Kelvin is the brainchild of company called IA Collaborative. IA normally helps big companies like GE Appliances or United Airlines create new products and bring to market, only this time they’ve decided to create their own product in the Kelvin.

I interviewed company founder Dan Kraemer, who told me the product spun out of an internal initiative called IA Ventures. Kraemer created Ventures as a way for employees to pitch products that they believe “should exist in the world” to coworkers four times a year.

The Kelvin was one of the very first products pitched and ever since the company has been working on bringing the product to life. Hundreds of prototypes and a design award later, Kraemer believes the Kelvin will help bring home coffee roasting to the mass market.

That’s a heavy lift, in part because home roasting has not historically been very approachable. Not only do consumers have to find green, unroasted beans somewhere – something your local grocery store or Starbucks do not have on hand – but they also need to buy a home roaster and learn how to roast the beans.

With the Kelvin, Kraemer and company have tried to address all of these pain points. First is the price. They knew they had to make the product affordable, since often times small coffee roasters can cost up to $500 or more. The Kelvin early bird launch price on Kickstarter is $200.

They also are going to offer green coffee beans for consumers to buy directly from through the app, either through single purchase or subscription. And if the consumer wants to source their own green beans? They can do that as well (in other words, no Teforia-like vendor lock in).

And then there’s the roaster itself, which allows the user to roast a small amount of beans, ranging from enough for a single cup to a pot.  The Kelvin is about the size of a home coffee grinder, and includes a dial to adjust for time and has an on-board timer display.

But the Kelvin sets it self apart from other home roasters with its app. According to Kraemer, the user can create different roasting profiles within the app, and can save the ones they like so the roast is fairly automated. Kelvin users can also browse and order green beans within the app.

The company plans to ship the Kelvin to backers by the holidays. While ship times for crowdfunded hardware are notoriously susceptible to slippage (hello Spinn), backers can take comfort that the company has spent a year and a half working and existed long before the Kelvin (though, according to Kraemer, they will be creating a separate, privately held company for the Kelvin).

I’m considering backing the Kelvin myself because, unlike other home roaster products (like the large-footprint, all-in-one Bonaverde), it brings everything together to make things fairly straightforward and low-effort in a small countertop device. As excited as I get for new ways to craft food or drinks at home, I’m actually pretty lazy, so searching for green beans and learning how to roast always seemed like too much work. Because I can buy the beans, roast, and then have clean up done with the Kelvin (it automatically separates the chaff), it’s a good solution for a lazy-man, wannabe roaster like myself.

Check out the Kelvin for yourself and see if you want to take to leap into home roasting.

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  1. I have a small home coffee roaster, and I can say with a fair degree of confidence, you probably don’t want to roast indoors. Maybe right next to a window, but outside is best. I’m curious to know if this company has addressed the issue. Very dark roasts can be a bit smoky, but mostly it’s just a strong smell of roasting coffee. Not bad, but for me, it is not contained to the kitchen.

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