Updated: Smarter Coffee Machine – App-Controlled Java
A Smarter Way To Brew
That morning trudge from your warm bed to the dark kitchen to get your daily pot of java brewing is a long one. Weren’t we supposed to have robot companions by now? And where are all these drones everyone keeps talking about? You’d think by now there would be a better way to make a fresh cup.
Coffee lovers, prepare to drop your next spare £100 on Smarter Coffee, a wifi-enabled smart coffee maker that grinds beans, brews your coffee just how you like it, and even nudges you to wake up when it’s ready. Yes, you still have to get out of bed to pour a cup. Smarter Coffee indulges lazy tendencies, but only up to a certain point.
Smart coffee machine prices when reviewed: from $34.99
An iKettle Cousin
Smarter is the company behind the already successful iKettle, and the Smarter Coffee machine shares a lot of features with its water-boiling relative. It connects via wifi to a home network, allowing you to get your coffee going by using the companion iOS or Android app. Just tap the start button, or you can set up a start time.
The Smarter Coffee maker also lets you know when it needs refilling so you’ll never wake up to — surprise! — a coffee pot full of nothing but disappointment. The app can give you a wake-up notification when your coffee’s hot and ready, and its welcome home setting will even buzz you to ask if you’d like a fresh cup when you walk in the door.
From CES To You
While the Smarter Coffee maker isn’t the first smart coffee pot on the market, it looks promising. The first offerings in this category, like the first offerings in any category, had drawbacks, and Smarter looks like it’s remedied some early complaints about the other products already on the market. However, it has been noticed that as of now, the Smarter pot is not compatible with home automation systems — a tick in the negative column for some.
The early reviews and feedback from CES 2015 have been encouraging, suggesting that the Smarter Coffee may be the one to get. Finally, with its introductory price of £100, it’s affordable and does not cost much more than a non-smart high-end coffee maker.
Smarter Coffee Update: October 2015
If you’re feeling like you can’t wait much longer for the Smarter Coffee maker to be on your kitchen counter, you’re in luck. Although it did not go out earlier this year, as expected, it’s currently available for pre-order at Firebox, and it should ship very soon: on October 17! Before you know it, app controlled coffee will be a meaningful part of your caffeinated life.
The current price is a bit higher than its introductory price, however. Smarter has brought it up to £179.99. So, yes, it’s expensive. However, it doesn’t cost much more than Cuisinart’s higher-end coffee pot offerings, all of which are considerably less smart.
Rebuilding the Buzz
When it was first introduced at CES 2015, there was a lot of chatter about the potential for Smarter Coffee. Things have been relatively quiet since the initial outburst of excitement, but look for that to change in the next few weeks as people start to receive, unbox, sync, and use their new devices.
One question that stands out is if customers will really want a wifi-enabled coffee maker. While we should never underestimate the lengths that people will go and the prices that they will pay to in order to satisfy their java jones, £179 to get a pot started using your smartphone is quite a lot. Will customers be willing to spend £100 more just to save a few steps? It remains to be seen.
Sizing Up the Smarter Coffee Competition – Mr. Coffee & Arist
Of course there’s competition in the smart coffee arena — there’s always competition. Mr. Coffee has a Belkin WeMo-enabled coffee maker for $149.99 USD (just under £100), and it does more or less the same things as the Smarter Coffee maker. The advantage of Mr. Coffee’s offering is that it can work on Belkin’s home automation network; if you’ve already got some WeMo devices in your home, this coffee pot will fit in quite nicely.
Or, if you’d prefer a latte or a cappuccino made via an app, you might want to check out the Arist. We say might because this Kickstarter darling has, like other crowdfunded projects, been plagued with delays and setbacks. (It was initially supposed to ship in December of 2014.) In fact, the company has stopped responding to media requests — a risky move when you’ve got over $800,000 USD in backer money in your coffers and you’re taking pre-orders on a $699.99 USD (about £450) device.
It’s a great concept: a smart device that remembers recipes for coffee drinks and prepares them exactly to your liking. If the Arist does eventually ship, and if you’ve got the money to spend on one, you may never have to make another trip to Starbucks again.
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