EDITOR'S NOTE, 11/5/2014: After briefly being pulled from Kickstarter due to an intellectual property dispute, Arist's campaign is now back online.
Coffee lovers are always in pursuit of the perfect cup, and they know the value of a good barista capable of getting them to the promised land. With its already successful Kickstarter campaign, Arist Café wants to bring that value to your kitchen counter via an elegant-looking, app-enabled coffee machine that claims it can adapt to your tastes and brew complex java concoctions on demand.
Arist's hardware is reminiscent of high end coffee and espresso machines. Inside, you'll find separate chambers for beans, water, milk, syrup capsules, and other ingredients, along with some sophisticated-sounding mechanics for grinding, heating, and frothing them all into your morning mochaccino.
You'll be able to control each step of the process, with a full coffee-making interface outsourced to the Arist smart phone app. From your Android or iOS device, you'll be able to adjust the water temperature, fine tune the grind size, tweak the brewing pressure, and more.
As you do so, Arist promises to learn and remember your drink preferences, and even begin predicting what sort of coffee you'll want -- and when.
The machine itself only has a single brew button. Press it, and Arist will brew your default beverage of choice. Or, just open the app and tap "Brew" to get the process started remotely.
At the end of the day, Arist claims it can automatically self-clean its plumbing, leaving the machine fresh and ready to go in the morning. If you're running low on ingredients, the app will let you know. Arist also promises to recommend new beverages based on your existing stock of ingredients and its understanding of your tastes.
In addition to all of that, Arist features a near-field communications (NFC) reader built into the base, and comes packaged with six NFC stickers. Slap one on the bottom of your favorite mug, and you'll be able to teach the machine to brew your specific beverage of choice simply by setting your mug down on the drip plate.
Arist plans on opening its coffee machine up for pre-order next year at a price of $349 (£216 and AU$394, converted). Kickstarter backers, however, can lock in an early-bird discount and pay just $299 (£185, AU$338). That's obviously a lot of money for a coffee maker, but you'll pay a similar amount for many standard high-end brewers that don't do nearly as much as Arist promises.
Then again, those brewers can be had right now (the Arist Coffee Machine won't ship out until July 2015 at the earliest), and they come from well-established names within the world of coffee. There's also stiff competition to be had from the newest generation of pod-based brewers , along with a WeMo-compatible Mr. Coffee smart brewer .
The Arist team, led by former Microsoft engineer Benson Chiu and supported by a Hong Kong government science initiative, hopes that their product's eye-catching design and bold functionality claims put them ahead of the pack. If they can deliver on all of their promises, Arist might just get there.