Nov. 12, 2013 at 4:12 PM ET
If you're the type of coffee drinker who insists on using only the freshest beans and grinding them at home, the Bonaverde coffee maker could be right up your alley. It not only brews the coffee, but roasts the raw beans and grinds them as well — taking roasteries and other middlemen out of the equation.
It's true that in a coffee-loving city like Seattle or Portland, you may be lucky enough to get beans picked only a couple months back and roasted last week. But Bonaverde thinks the process can be shortened and simplified, resulting in more money for growers, fresher beans, and potentially better coffee. The Berlin-based coffee enthusiasts and engineers are hoping to raise $135,000 on Kickstarter to get the machine out the door.
The Bonaverde has a roaster built right in, and a single load is put in whenever you request a pot to be made, and roasted to your preference. Naturally, it's going to take longer than putting a "pod" into a machine in which all that needs to happen is hot water passing through the grinds — but if you can wait 15 minutes for your coffee, this could potentially be a better brew.
Bonaverde's team hopes that being able to roast your own beans will let you rely on the coffee growers themselves rather than big wholesalers or (perish the thought) Starbucks. Pick a grower or blend you like and get a 6-pound sack delivered to your door. Less warehousing, distributors and other companies taking a cut means more per pound for the farmers themselves.
Will it end up saving you money? It's hard to say. But buying things in bulk is usually cheaper — and at $300 (the price for backers), the Bonaverde itself is cheaper than many home espresso machines. Of course, you can't make espresso or steam milk with it, but some people prefer drip to begin with.
There are reasons, of course, why this hasn't been done before. Some roasters say that roasted coffee has to site for a day or two at least to allow trapped carbon dioxide to leak out, or it will affect the taste. And controlling the smoke and fumes from roasting is no small task, either. Bonaverde's team says they've got a handle on these things, but it's up to you whether you believe them.
Because it's Kickstarter, there's always the possibility it won't be funded, or that the whole project will self-destruct before the delivery date a year from now. But it appears to be a pretty professional operation and it's well on its way to the $135,000 mark as of this writing. There are a limited number available for backers, though, so if you're interested, better hop to it.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.