When navigating the International Home + Housewares Show – the
world’s largest marketplace of new products showcasing the smallest kitchen
gadget to the latest “counter-worthy” appliances, it’s good to have a
plan! A girl can get waylaid by the more
than 2200 offerings of new products over 13-miles of aisles. So I narrowed down my visit to a hunt for
the latest in the coffee category where there is a lot of innovation
From low-tech to high-tech, I found dozens of improvements to ensure consumers produce that perfect cup of coffee with all the ritual, flavor and convenience that make or break a day. From the one-cup-a-day consumer to the coffee connoisseur, habits run deep and the demand for quality consumption runs high!
Here are some products that really perked me up on my Coffee
Simplicity in a high functioning design at Bodum dates back
to 1944 with the introduction of their first French Press and continues today
with the incorporation of the counter top copper trend in the Chambord collection. The distinctly European
flair is evident in every aspect of design which extends their kitchenware to
tableware. This is a pretty way to start
Also new at the show were Bodum’s sleek, manual pour-over drip beakers with cork accents (available soon!). These designs satisfy the pour-over
enthusiast who looks for a minimalist footprint and complete control of the
The original, old world Italian coffee company was the first to understand the importance of the coffee ritual in Italian families with the introduction of the Moka Express in 1933 — the eight-sided aluminum coffee maker. A staple in every Italian kitchen quickly expanded worldwide and today the company continues to innovate across every category of at-home coffee production.
Visiting their booth was particularly poignant as Renato Bialetti, the man behind the iconic coffee hardware died just weeks before. The company and all of Italy mourned the passing of the “King of Coffee” and, per his wishes, his ashes were placed in a replica of the first Moka espresso pot, invented by his father in 1933. How’s that for tradition and commitment to coffee!
While most of us like to be woken up by the grrrr of the grinder, there’s a more zen trend: the counter-top movement to bring the Cold Brew into the home. Leave it to the Italians at Bialetti to jump on this Hipster-Seattle based trend. Not to be confused with an iced-coffee, which is hot brewed coffee over ice, the Cold Brew technique submerges ground beans in cold or lukewarm water and “brews” at room temperature for 12-24 hours. This method produces a smoother, less acidic taste and a naturally sweeter flavor. The cold brew has found its way to big brand coffee shops and fast food outlets which means the demand will grow to create the mellow coffee experience at home! (Available soon!)
How about a little nostalgia in the morning coffee ritual? Peugeot, best known for their stylish automobiles started-out making coffee mills with the production of the moulin a café in 1840. This old-school technology is still doing the job in the box-shaped mill which easily adjusts to different grinds for super fine espresso or coarse finishes for cold and French Press brewing.
KitchenAid which makes a large range of small electrics boasts to be The Coffee Crafters. The have partnered with
leading baristas and coffee experts to find the perfect balance in brew
methods. Most recently recognized by the
Specialty Coffee Association the new Custom
Pour-Over-Brewer heats through the top to mimic manual process to “bloom”
of the grinds. Give the people what
they want in a pour-over — with the touch of a button!
KitchenAid also brings this one-touch convenience to those “whole-beaners” who start their day with the rhythm and ritual of coffee grinding. The coffee crafters prefer to burr than blade grind and the 15 settings of this coffee grinder can measure the smallest to the largest of increments with a built-in scale!
New heights in high-tech, the Siphon Coffee Brewer is based on the vacuum coffee makers of the 1930’s vacuum to produce a clear brew that coffee connoisseurs covet. Using two chambers of vapor pressure and vacuum to brew, science and drama combine to create a sweet, clarified cup of coffee. The glass cylinder is an eye-popping addition to any kitchen counter it looks like a mini-coffee lab at home.
Nespresso‚Ñ¢ was the first boutique brand to elevate the coffee drinking experience at home in the single serve brew mimicking the Italian regime of starting the day with an espresso with shimmering crema. Today their coffee boutiques are found worldwide in ultra-sleek storefronts with distinctive coffee walls–which was reflected in their stylish booth at the McCormick Place. Their fashionable machines have seen a number of innovations and this year the introduction of the Prodigio makes it easier for the Nespresso-committed to stay connected to that perfect cup of coffee. The Bluetooth App let’s your smartphone cue the brewing and, most importantly, keeps track of your capsule stock for instant reordering. That’s a coffee commitment!
Of course, the coffee world is divided over the coffee drinker’s commitment to the K-Cup or the Nespresso Capsule or Illy or Lavazza or other espresso capsule brands! Brooklyn, New York-based Gourmia saw an opportunity to make peace with these different palates and to expand the single serve drinker’s options with the debut of the world’s first coffee maker to brew K-Cup and ALL espresso capsules! The interchangeable “CoffeeCart” system of the GCM5000 allows the coffee drinker to pop the different capsule technologies in an out to discover the ever-expanding flavor profiles of different brands! (Available soon!)
My coffee maker’s smarter than yours boasts Behmor which brings Smartphone control to the Behmor Brewer. This multi-programmable machine activates the artisanal bean roaster, pre-soaks the grinds and cues the machine to brew 40 oz. of coffee into the thermal carafe from your bedside, the car or the office meeting!
The final stop on my Housewares Show was the biggest of the booths solely devoted to coffee machines. Jura ‚Ñ¢, the venerable Swiss brand named for the mountain range near where it is headquartered, is all about cool design and top performance for the commercial to the home kitchen. Their dominance of the high end coffee maker market was on display at the show as the country’s top Baristas served up every specialty coffee from Espresso and Macchiato to Cappuccino. I chose the (hot!) Flat White! The flat white was first steamed up in New Zealand and is now found at most specialty coffee shops. Similar to the Italian style cappuccino it is now a big offering at Starbucks. The new Z6 is the newest machine with a dedicated flat-white setting!
At the Jura booth, the future of coffee was steaming up. My barista defined this moment as the “third wave” of coffee in America where the emphasis is a departure from darker, heavier Italian roasts to a lighter roast for a more subtle and revealing flavor profile. Coffee is no longer just a commodity but a culinary and artisanal art form. With the countless machines and tools available to the consumer — at every price point — there is every opportunity to ride the wave at home.