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Can a Humble Bag of Coffee Challenge the Mighty K-Cup?
Keurig founder John Sylvan may regret his invention, but he was definitely onto something when he invented the K-Cup. After all, what’s not to love about a system where you just hit a button to get a perfectly portioned cup o’ joe?
Quite a lot, actually. The single-serving coffee pod — whether from Keurig, Nespresso, or others — might be the height of consumer convenience, but it’s wreaking havoc on the planet and often tastes a step or two below what you get at a gas station.
But as I wrote yesterday, entrepreneur Josh Wilbur’s Steeped Coffee method finally launched nationwide this week and could be a competitor to K-Cup. It’s his attempt to combine taste, convenience, and sustainability into a single-serve cup of coffee. It looks like a tea bag, functions sort of like a French press, and is 100 percent compostable.
Whether that’s enough to change peoples’ minds about the K-Cup remains to be seen, but Steeped certainly has the convenience factor going for it, which is key to any company’s competitive edge these days.
Synthetic Booze Could Mean the End of Hangovers
A hangover-free drinking night might be closer than you think. A scientist at Imperial College London has created what’s essentially synthetic alcohol and, as Catherine wrote, “stimulates the same receptors in the brain as alcohol but without all the bad stuff that harms your organs and makes you feel icky.” Called Alcarelle, the substance could be on the market in as few as five years.
Now they just need to create synthetic booze that leaves out the hangover and keeps you from engaging in idiotic behavior that winds up all over Instagram the next day . . .
Sous Vide, Meet the DVR
Mike took us on a walk through time this week when he reminded us how exciting the DVR — better known as TiVo — was when it launched in the early 2000s. But tech was eventually relegated to being just another feature on other products, in what’s known as digital convergence. Now, that concept has come to the kitchen, and sous vide looks to be the next technology ripe for feature-izing.
Anything to save space on the countertop is a welcome addition (subtraction?) in this age of cooking gadgets. So while you’re ditching the Keurig in favor of a more eco-friendly brew, keep an eye on what new features the next generation of all-purpose equipment has in store.
Finally, this morning Mike looked at whether Sweetgreen is looking to roboticize its restaurants. They might be and they’re not the only ones. If you want to hear the latest from both startups and big chains looking to incorporate robotics and automation into their restaurants, make sure to get your ticket to ArticulATE. There are limited tickets left, so you’ll want to hurry. Just use discount code NEWSLETTER10 for 10% off tickets.
That’s it for now.
Thanks, and have a great rest of your week!
In the 04/03/2019 edition:
By Michael Wolf on Apr 03, 2019 07:00 am
Last fall, fast-casual darling Sweetgreen became a newly minted unicorn when it raised $200 million at over a $1 billion valuation. At the time, the company’s CEO talked about leveraging technologies like IoT and blockchain to build upon what the company called its “best-in-class” operating model and supply chain to create a restaurant “platform“.
By Catherine Lamb on Apr 02, 2019 07:29 pm
You just got one step closer to being able to legally purchase CBD-infused chocolates, sugar, beer and more. Today the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement announcing a new action plan to jumpstart regulations for “the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.”
By Catherine Lamb on Apr 02, 2019 01:52 pm
I’m not one to get excited about sporting rivalries, but I do get excited about grocery rivalries. And Amazon V. Walmart is shaking out to be the matchup of the decade. Today Walmart made moves to challenge Amazon in the game of voice-controlled grocery ordering by announcing Walmart Voice Order.
By Jennifer Marston on Apr 02, 2019 11:39 am
As someone who often makes a cup of instant coffee out of sheer busyness laziness, this news piqued my interest: Steeped, a Santa Cruz, CA-based startup, has launched a coffee brewing method that combines the speed of an instant brew with the quality of a high-end, single-serve cup o’ joe.
By Catherine Lamb on Apr 02, 2019 09:53 am
Today, online catering marketplace ezCater announced it’s closed a $150 million Series D-1 round, co-led by Lightspeed VenturePartners and GIC. This comes nine months after ezCater raised a $100 million Series D round. It brings the catering giant’s total funding to $320 million and puts them at a $1.25 billion valuation, making them a food […]
By Michael Wolf on Apr 02, 2019 07:36 am
Back when I worked at Gigaom, every year we’d invite Amazon CTO Werner Vogels on stage at our big cloud computing conference and interview him about the future of the Internet and distributed computing. Nowadays Vogels is conducting his own interviews, heading out to far-flung locales to talk to innovators about how they are using […]
By Catherine Lamb on Apr 01, 2019 01:55 pm
As of now, cultured meat comes out looking one way: like mush. That’s because scientists have figured out ways to replicate animal muscle, fat, and tissue cells, but not how to make them grow to make fibers.
By Michael Wolf on Apr 01, 2019 10:00 am
It may be hard to remember in a world with Hulu, Netflix, and Apple TV Apple TV+, but back in the early 2000s one of the coolest new technologies was this thing called the digital video recorder (DVR).
By Catherine Lamb on Apr 01, 2019 08:39 am
At Burger King, having it “your way” could soon mean making that whopper 100 percent meat-free. Starting today, the fast food chain will offer a Whopper made with plant-based “bleeding” patties from Impossible Foods (h/t New York Times). Called the Impossible Whopper, the burger is now available at 59 stores in the St. Louis, Missouri area.
By Catherine Lamb on Mar 31, 2019 06:00 am
For anyone who’s experienced the vision-blurring head pain after a night of heavy drinking, we have an important announcement: A scientist in London has created a synthetic version of alcohol that contains no toxins and leaves you with absolutely no hangover.