Simpli Press and Pascal Press are the latest brew methods on the crowdfunding market
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
The way we drink coffee today is completely different than the way we drank coffee just a few decades ago. Although coffee has been around for centuries, the ways in which we brew coffee and drink it have rapidly changed in just the last century, let alone the last few years. From responding to the inconveniences of having grounds in coffee, which led German housewife Melitta Bentz to invent the paper filter, to a desire to brew the best cup of coffee possible, which led Alan Adler to invent the AeroPress, coffee brewing, as opposed to any other chain in the coffee production line, has been an area of rapid development and change.
Recently, developing a new coffee brewing device is made easier due to the Internet and the accessibility of small financial resources. Not only can people go to forums and websites to learn more about how to brew the best coffee, but they can take their ideas to large groups of people and perhaps get funding to make these ideas into tangible objects. Kickstarter is just one example of a crowd funding website where people with a goal or an idea can create a proposal and get funding from interested parties. Kickstarter and other online resources like it have seen a lot of coffee-specific inventions, and let coffee enthusiasts hone ideas and take the thought of, ˜hey, wouldn’t this taste better if we did this instead?’ from idea to invention.
simpli press is an example of just such an invention. œIt all started with wanting to drink French press every morning, but between brewing and clean-up time, it wasn’t possible, says Jenni Morse, who developed the prototype of simpli press with her husband, Scott. simpli press looks much like a typical French press, but has a chamber added to the bottom that traps the grounds and separates them from the finished brewed coffee. After your press is done, you pull the plunger out, which draws the chamber with the ground coffee out as well. You clean the press just by cleaning the pulled chamber, which avoids scraping (and for anyone who has ever made a lot of French Presses, potentially breaking the glass carafe) out the press, prevents overextraction, and makes cleanup simpler while allowing you to enjoy your coffee sooner. The grounds chamber can also hold a paper filter, so you can brew coffees with all different grind settings and bring out different flavor profiles based on how you choose to grind your coffee.
The idea seems simple, and Jenni and Scott’s invention speaks to frustrations that certainly many home brewers and baristas have about French presses. œThe journey started over two years ago as a literal dream,” Jenni says. “I woke up and started sketching simpli press. With my dad being an inventor, it’s just in my genes. From sketch to Kickstarter campaign, simpli press is resonating strongly with coffee enthusiasts and professionals alike. Jenni and Scott raised their initial Kickstarter goal of $25,000 almost immediately, and finished their campaign last week with more than $150,000 in pledges. Investors are scheduled to have their very own simpli presses in their homes by the end of this year.
Many coffee brewers invented over the last few decades don’t just hope to make coffee brewing easier or better, but to chase the ineffable dream of brewing the best cup of coffee possible. œI didn’t set out to make just another portable coffee maker ”I wanted to make the best cup of portable coffee, says Alan Kalbfleisch, inventor of the Pascal Press, a portable coffee brewer that looks a bit like an AeroPress and a hand grinder mashed into one. Much like an AeroPress, Pascal Press uses pressure to extract coffee, and like the simpli press, it has a chamber that separates the grounds from the brewed coffee, stopping extraction. Pascal Press has a double wall that traps hot air between the outer and inner layer, which insulates the coffee and keeps it hot, and because the grounds are separated from the coffee, you can drink straight out of the brewer. The lid designed for the press is leak proof, so you can brew your coffee, press the filter down, and throw it into your bag and drink the coffee, still hot, hours later.
The Pascal Press is ambitious, and addresses a number of factors that can affect a cup of coffee. Alan is a mechanical engineer by trade, and noticed that while there are a number of brewing methods being designed now, many of them marketed on sites like Kickstarter, most can only address one or two brewing issues. The Pascal Press markets itself as being the ideal travel coffee tool, and can be used when brewing coffee on the go or as an ideal companion for camping and travel (and has already gotten a lot of attention on reddit for those seeking a portable coffee camping tool).
If necessity is the mother of invention, then it’s clear that delicious coffee is not just a luxury ”it’s an absolutely essential part of our lives. simpli press’s Kickstarter success has ensured that you’ll see it on the market sooner than later, but Pascal Press’s campaign is just getting started. And if history is any prediction, we’ll continue to see brew methods dreamed up by coffee enthusiasts pop up on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe. Just watch.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Rodriguez thought that she’d take a break from teaching middle school science and putz around in a coffee shop for a few months. She ended up digging it way more than teaching (and was vaguely better at it). After spending 5 years making coffee in New York, she now works for Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter at @ashcommonnam