What’s in our cups and mugs keeps evolving: We’ve gone through drip phases, French press eras, and these days, single-serve pod machines like Keurig and Nespresso loom large on many a kitchen counter. Some of us are fine with whatever’s hot and available (insert joke here), and some are obsessed with the perfect brew or steep. If you’re part of that second set, check out the latest technology takes on our morning habit of coffee, tea or (alternative) milk (and the raddest vessel to put them in).
A caveat: Many of these products don’t exist yet— they’re being funded and crafted as we speak. So if one looks interesting to you, you might want to jump in and be a part of birthing process, or hang back, and wait for reviews. Either way, an amazing morning beverage is in your future.
You know that espresso snob friend of yours, the one with the $3,500 Italian espresso machine he calls Sylvia? Let’s one up him. Auroma One boasts a beautiful design and incredible performance. This fully-automatic, bean-to-cup machine replaces all your current coffee tools, and has the collective knowledge of the best barristas built in. It consistently makes the perfect cup: The app allows you to control all variables such as grind size, temperature, coffee to water ratio, and more coffee science stuff that’s over my head. Save your preferences and send them to the machine like you’re sending a text. If you’ve ever bought beans from your favorite café, only to brew them at home and get a lackluster result, this is the answer to your prayers. It also has an amazing “tasting flight” feature, which allows you to brew three shots of different beans, and then explore the nuances of each at home. It looks like they won’t be shipping this product until late 2016, so you’ll have to wait for that perfect cup.
If you want to start with roasting beans at home, the Behmor 1600 Plus can hold up to a pound of green coffee beans at a time, using pre-programmed roast settings (via app) or manual controls. The Behmor Connected Coffee Brew System is also controlled via your smartphone. Use the company’s app to toggle between controlling the roaster and the brewer, with a swipe of your finger.
For bean roasting, you also might also like Ikawa’s digital micro coffee roaster. You can choose a recipe for roasting your beans from the smartphone app, then just add your green coffee beans, and watch through the see-through top as they get toasty, following the whole process on the app. This product is available for pre-order and will ship in May.
Ratio Eight is a stunner in beautiful colorways like Dark Cobalt and Champagne Nickel (pictured), but looks are just the surface: It’s at once a new experience in coffee brewing, and a harkening back to simpler times. The sounds, smells and transparency allow your senses to interact throughout the process, and the hand-blown carafe you can take to the table is pure art. With a coffee maker that looks this good, you may want to remodel your kitchen just to keep up.
And here’s something fun in the “future coffee” category: You’ll soon be able to use a Briggo Coffee Haus kiosk to grab a cup, just how you like it, on the go. This startup company froths up the best in mobile tech, cloud computing and robotics to make a darn good cappuccino or Americano. Briggo Coffee Hause kiosks use robots instead of baristas, with a computer to analyze moisture and humidity to optimally adjust the coffee grind. Customers order to their liking, pay ahead using the smartphone app, and receive a text when their order is ready. Briggo plans to introduce the kiosks in places like airports, college campuses and hospitals.
It looks like an hourglass dreamed up by NASA, yet the Teforia system honors one of the world’s most ancient traditions: tea drinking. The system features an infuser, single-origin tea pods, and an app, which lets you dial to control variables like caffeine and bitterness to truly customize the brewing temperature and duration. I also love how the carafe looks when it comes off the infuser; it’s chic enough to display right on the table. You can’t do that with any old teakettle. and Available for pre-order and the price has been slashed from $1,299 to a still-prohibitive $749, and you’ll have to wait ’til Spring 2016 to get your steep on.
A lot of people are telling cow’s milk to moo-ve over these days. If you want to save some moo-lah (okay, I’m done now), make your own non-dairy alternatives.
The Presto Pure Automatic Soy Milk Machine can make 1.9 liters at a time of soy, nut, seed, rice, coconut, hemp or oat milk. It looks like a sleek coffee maker, unlike some of the super Thermos-y models I’ve seen, and is also good for households with kids, as the exterior of the machine doesn’t get hot while it’s working.
Tribest’s Soyabella Soymilk & Nut Milk Machine takes about 15 to 20 minutes to make fresh rice milk, soymilk and other milks and can even be used as a coffee grinder and mill.
Now, before you pour that perfect coffee, tea or milk into any old mug, may I suggest a better way? An Ember smart thermos will keep your bevvie at precisely the right temperature for up to two hours on the go, or all day long if you use the charging coaster. Twist the bottom of the mug to adjust the vessel to the preferred temperature—the company says for most folks, that’s about 135 degrees. Available for pre-order now for $129 and shipping April 2016.
The Cortica mug is another notable: It’s not connected, but it’s intelligent: The insides are made of porcelain, so you coffee tastes like it does at home (no tinny or plasticky flavors imparted) and the outside is made of cork, which insulates your liquid sustenance and looks beautiful to boot. The whole thing is bio-degradable and eco-friendly.
I feel like Starbucks is looking pretty paltry compared to all these high tech solutions. What about you? And if you want a laugh, check out this comic about Social Media Coffees.