Appliance maker Gourmia is the latest company to promise the world a line of connected coffee makers. The $200 (about £145 and AU$258) Gourmia Pour-Over Coffee Maker (model GCMW3375), along with three other models, isn't merely app-controlled -- Gourmia says it can interact with Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant. There's even future support planned for Cortana, the AI helper baked into Microsoft Windows 10.
The announcement comes ahead of the International Home and Housewares Show, a home goods trade show that kicks off next week in Chicago. The pour-over coffee maker will be available in the second quarter of this year.
Gourmia said the coffee maker also has the ability to learn your tastes over time and remember them. For example, you could have different results when you tell the coffee maker to "make me my usual." Early in the morning, the phrase might produce a strong, concentrated cup. In the evening, those words could instruct the brewer to create the opposite.
Besides intelligence, Gourmia says the appliance is a competent coffee maker, as well. The machine should keep tight control over its brewing temperature. An internal scale also helps the appliance maintain an ideal water flow rate. This in turn promotes proper flavor extraction from your ground coffee. Of course, this assumes you put the right amount of coffee in the brewer to begin with.
Hopefully, Gourmia's plans don't translate to just talk. The list of smart java brewers on the drawing board is long, but few have actually materialized. There's just one I'd mildly recommend: the Behmor Connected (it was originally $329, but it's on sale at Amazon for $140). It's not perfect, but it does brew pots of quality joe. I can't say the same about the Smarter Coffee 2nd Gen or Mr. Coffee Smart Optimal Brew.
My main gripe with connected coffee makers is that humans remain part of their equation. You still have to maintain them, clean them and replenish them with supplies. It's faster to simply grind and brew in the moment. Connected coffee makers won't be useful or convenient unless they can automate the whole coffee-making process, from grinding your beans fresh each morning to dispensing the proper amount of grounds to the actual brewing. One connected coffee maker notably tries to do it all. The $1,000 Bonaverde Berlin roasts, grinds and brews pots of hot coffee in one go. Unfortunately, it's obscenely expensive, and you're locked into using only approved green beans.
For the record, Gourmia also plans to sell three other connected brewers that address some of my concerns. The GCMW4750 Barista Butler makes up to 10-cup pots and grinds its own beans. The GCMW4875 10-cup Coffee Maker brews big batches, too, but lacks a grinder. The GCMW4850 Coffee Grinder & Maker tops out at six cups but has a grinder and programmable timer. The company hasn't released pricing yet for these models, but they will also be available in the second quarter of this year. All of the models will also work with Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana.