Blog Post

Where can I buy a connected coffee maker?

This week’s podcast featured a discussion about the Mother home hub from Sen.se as well as a discussion between my cohost Kevin Tofel and I about GE’s industrial internet news. But we also took a reader question about giving your morning cup of Joe a bit of a boost via some type of connectivity. In this week’s mail bag, we answered a question about connected coffee pots.

Andrew writes:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]This morning, I finally realized Monday mornings would be so much better if I could turn on the coffee maker from my phone before I got out of bed. This seems like an easy, and necessary, way for me to jump into the “smart home.” Have you played with any coffee makers yet? I did a quick search on Gigaom and didn’t see anything obvious pop up.
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First, Andrew, I love you for taking the time to do a search to see if we’ve covered it. We haven’t yet, in part because until recently, the best way to make your coffee pot smart was to plug it into a connected outlet, like the $49 WeMo outlet from Belkin, a Pivot Power from Wink for $80, a learning outlet from Parce for €49.99 (about $64) or even a Bluetooth-based outlet from Zuli for $50. There are literally dozens of connected outlets on the market, and since they are plugged in, power isn’t a huge concern. I recommend using a Wi-Fi version simply because it should be more future proof and won’t need a dedicated hub when compared with something like ZigBee or Z-wave.

But, as I’ve complained about on my podcast, the connected outlet doesn’t do more than turn your coffee pot on or off, which means if you have a Keurig or need to press a button to get something started, you’re out of luck (or you’re going to have to build something involving little servo motors and Arduinos.) But thanks to a partnership between Belkin, which makes the WeMo line of connected gear, and Jarden Corp., the makers of the Mr. Coffee brand of coffee makers, there is hope. For about $150 you can buy a Mr. Coffee pot that you can control via an app.

That’s a lot of money, and it looks like you may have to wait to get it, but the connectivity gives you insights on if there is enough water in the pot and the status of things like beans. For folks looking for more than a Mr. Coffee experience, Philips owns a high-end coffee and espresso maker brand called Saeco. At SXSW in March a Philips executive told me that Philips is experimenting with connected coffee makers in that line which would remember your favorite drink and let you start your cappuccino from the app. It was expected in the U.S. during the second half of this year. I haven’t seen it yet, but since I already own a Saeco I’m keen to try it out.

So get your beans ready and check out the podcast:

5 Responses to “Where can I buy a connected coffee maker?”

  1. What I want more than anything is a connected coffee maker with a grinder, a water hookup, and a large bean hopper. That would be amazing. All you would have to do is dump the grounds and empty the pot everyday.

    • How so? Adding Wi-Fi to something doesn’t have to interfere with it’s ability to brew coffee. They aren’t mutually exclusive, and one day it will be much cheaper to add connectivity so the decision won’t even cost as much in the literal sense.

  2. Richard Bennett

    This is an interesting question, one that I’ve been pursuing for a while but with a somewhat more ambitious goal. I roast my own beans and drink mainly espresso, and I’d like to have connectivity between my roaster and my espresso machine so that the profile of temperature, pressure, and water volume I use when I pull a shot is well matched to the bean and the roast profile. There’s a program called RoasterThing that manages coffee bean inventories and monitors the roast on certain roasters, and it’s in the early stages of actually controlling the roast as well. There are lots of liability issues in this space, so the roaster companies are reluctant to relinquish control of roast parameters to third parties, so the cooperation is on a wink wink basis. Some roasters do tend to get hacked with control boards that enable external control, like the Hottop; see: http://www.home-barista.com/home-roasting/tc4-htc-roast-controller-for-hottop-available-t22947.html.

    The closest thing I’ve seen to a hackable espresso machine is the La Spaziale Dream, which allows you to program 4 brew profiles and store them on a memory card. It’s the only espresso machine I’ve seen with update-able firmware, which is pretty much a must for hacking the coffee maker. See: https://www.chriscoffee.com/La-Spaziale-S1-Dream-p/s1-dream.htm

    As for consumer grade connected coffee machines, Breville is the most likely candidate to produce one. You should contact Phil Knight, their worldwide beverage division director to see what plans he has. Breville offers the most advanced consumer-grade espresso machines on the market today and is the world leader in smart kitchen appliances.