Can One Machine Roast, Grind and Brew Your Coffee?

Last week, the coffee world was buzzing about the Bonaverde, a coffee maker that will, according to company founders Felix and Hans, roast, grind and brew coffee to deliver the freshest cup of coffee possible. The Kickstarter-funded project has more than doubled its original funding goal of $135,000, surpassed its $300,000 stretch goal and is closing in on its $350,000 goal. If they reach it, they’ll be adding an automatic timer to the machine that already takes your coffee from green to cup.

As cool as the idea of an all-in-one roaster-grinder-brewer may seem, the engineering concept is only one part of Bonaverde’s marketing concept. The other part is a new, untried model that allows coffee farmers to sell green coffee beans direct to consumers, a model that appeals to today’s socially conscious and cost-conscious coffee consumer.

The buzz about the Bonaverde has extended far beyond the coffee world, with reports about the new concept in coffee brewing with NBC News, Engadget, CNET, the Huffington Post and others gushing about the machine and the company’s model. Within the specialty coffee world, though, the Bonaverde buzz is a little more skeptical. Specialty coffee roasters note, for example, that freshly roasted coffee needs a “resting” period to degas after roasting, and most coffees are actually at their best one to seven days after roasting.

In addition, while the concept of buying directly from coffee growers is an admirable – and quite fashionable – one, many specialty coffee drinkers are already eliminating many of the 17 steps to which the Bonaverde founders refer. In fact, many of our roasters have established – and continue to pursue – direct trade relationships with coffee farmers to ensure that a fair portion of the price paid for coffee goes into the farmers’ pockets.

Finally, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all roast profile. Our roasters put a great deal of time, effort and knowledge in developing the right roast profile to bring out the best flavors in each coffee they offer. That professional expertise is probably not something that a countertop multifunction coffee machine, even one as trendy and cool in concept as the Bonaverde, can replicate.

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