Programmable coffee makers have been around for decades, but modern Web-connected java brewers are still mostly a pipe dream. Auroma Brewing is aiming to change that. The startup has just announced plans to build the $399 Auroma One, a coffee machine that boasts app control and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Equipped with its own burr grinder, internal thermometer and water reservoir, the Auroma One will supposedly have enough electronic brains to control key brewing factors. It'll regulate the flavor of its beverages with variables such as the grind size of its beans, its brewing temperature and the precise ratio of coffee to water it uses. Auroma is saying that users will even be able to adjust factors such as texture, bitterness and even caffeine level.
The One is said to learn your coffee preferences over time and use them to whip up its next cup or batch. The company also claims the product will eventually suggest a range of coffee types, blends and roasts from a library of purveyors, much like the masterminds of the Teforia tea maker have promised.
All of this can be handled from the comfort of your bed before your roll into the kitchen -- but Android users will be disappointed, since the Auroma app is expected to be iPhone and iPad only, at least at launch.
Can connected smarts and coffee mix?
The Auroma One sounds great on paper -- and that's the problem. Despite breathless claims that a smart coffee brewer is right around the corner, the promise of Internet-connected coffee machines has yet to fully become a reality.
The Web is littered with examples. Behmor, creator of the Specialty Coffee Association of America-approved Brazen Plus machine, says it has a connected coffee maker "coming soon" but hasn't delivered the goods quite yet. Meanwhile, the Poppy Pour-Over has been cast in serious doubt since its parent company Quirky recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. And another smart coffee gizmo which promised the moon, the Arist , has missed its July 2015 ship date, causing many of its backers to lose hope.
It also doesn't help matters that the only legitimate smart coffee brewer we've gotten our hands on, the Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew , turned out to be awful at its primary function.
Hopefully, the Auroma One will avoid potential pitfalls by first being a competent coffee brewer, with enough power and control to heat its water to ideal temperatures during the entire brewing process. Its built-in burr grinder will also be key. Grinding beans as close to brewing as possible is critical to good coffee. So is using fresh coffee though, which means unless the Auroma's bean hopper is airtight (not likely), you shouldn't store beans in the machine for long.
If you find the Auroma One coffee machine immediately appealing, I'm sorry to say you'll have to be patient. Auroma Brewing expects the product to arrive in stock no sooner than September 2016 -- a long time to wait even for the most magical of java brewers. The company does plan to offer two versions of the One machine, a unit with a grinder ($399) and one without ($299).
Additionally, if you commit to backing the Auroma One's Kickstarter campaign to the tune of $249, the company is pledging to send you a non-grinder model for that reduced price. Global shoppers will also have a chance to buy this machine since Auroma Brewing says it will sell it worldwide and directly from its website. The US price of $399 converts to around £265 or AU$565.
Just remember the first rule of pledging money to crowdsourced products: caveat emptor.