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March 2018 Newsletter

Back in October 2016 I wrote about several coffee related
Kickstarter projects, most of which appeared to me to be seriously
dodgy. I thought that an update on the progress of these projects
might be timely. What brought this on was the news that the Decent
Espresso machine was almost ready to ship.

The Decent Espresso started life as the ZPM Nocturn and US$1,000,000
of Kickstarter funding back in 2011.The funding is long gone, and
all those who pledged money lost it cold, but the design lived on,
and was improved and brought to reality by Decent Espresso. So there
now exists an espresso machine with really tight computer control of
all aspects of brewing.

As an ancient curmudgeon my own opinion of the machine is that if it
had arrived in 2012 at the original price point it would have taken
over the domestic espresso market. In 2018 that market has reached
saturation point and the Decent Espresso machine will struggle to
gain traction, especially at a much higher price than originally
planned. However, based on specs and brief trade show glimpses of
the prototype I believe that the commercial version of the machine
might be a success.

It would be cheap enough to allow the installation of 3 or 4
machines side by side, at the same cost as a current high end
machine. Just the redundancy (one breaks? move to the next!) would
be a huge advantage, plus the shot control is as good or better than
anything else currently available.

The rest of the Kickstarter projects I highlighted in 2016 haven't
faired nearly as well. The Arist Superautomatic Kickstarter,
promoted in 2014 by a couple of Hong Kong "wide boys", has yet to
produce a single saleable unit. The boys themselves seem to have
made a career out of crowdfunding without actually delivering.

The Invergo drip brewer again never managed a single actual sale,
and sorry folks, the money is all gone. Which seems to be a pretty
consistent theme with all these "better mousetrap" products. The
creators raise the money, spend a little on a rough concept
prototype, then all the rest goes to salaries and promotion. Some
never even display a prototype, the La Fenice induction brewer being
a case in point.

That's not to say there haven't been successful crowdfunding
campaigns for coffee equipment. There have been several I know of
and probably many more I've missed, but they have all been for
coffee accessories, not plug-into-the-powerpoint coffee machines.

Any machine proposal that involves heat, water, electricity and
consumers faces a veritable horde of government agencies and
regulations across several countries. Even the Decent Espresso
machine is still awaiting final UL certification after seven years
of development. Note that the actual certifiers are Insurance
companies so it's a far easier process for established
manufacturers. I guess the best advice for crowdfunded brewing
machines is "backers beware!"

This month's special is the tiniest coffee beans we've ever offered.

Brazil Catui Peaberry

These little peaberries are absolute flavour bombs, with an
incredibly intense taste. The best way I can describe the flavour is
hazelnut with a chocolate aftertaste and a really creamy body, sort
of an unsweetened version of Ferrero Rocher.

Until next month


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