K:D Passion Project: Coffee Connoisseur

At Karten Design, we have the pleasure of designing and creating extraordinary experiences between people and products in a variety of industries. As part of this inventive culture, our designers are encouraged to create “passion projects” which foster creativity and highlight the power of design.

Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about IoT. We’ve been examining the challenges, opportunities, and barriers to adoption among consumers, business, and even in healthcare. As a result, Karten Design's Senior Designer Chris Wu started to envision what the home of the future would look like if it were filled with IoT products, all working together in harmony to create meaningful experiences. How could we accelerate the benefits of IoT? How could we unlock its true potential?

But first, coffee.

Everyone wants the most luxurious and the most prestigious coffee, but not everyone wants to put the time and effort to learn the complexities of making the perfect cup. According to the National Coffee Association’s 2016 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) Trends report, Millennials and “Older Millennials” are becoming more passionate about quality coffee. Daily consumption of espresso-based beverages jumped from 9% to 22% (18-24 age group) and 8% to 29% (25-39 age group).

"So, I started to think," says Wu, "What would happen if we harnessed the power of technology and IoT to create an accessible experience around the rituals and science of brewing coffee?"

The result?

Coffee Connoisseur

The Product: The beautifully designed system includes a grinder, hot water maker, a drip pour over the element and a carafe. Hidden digital elements monitor the water temperature, reservoir levels, Ph reading, and understand the bean origin and when and where they were roasted.

Design Thinking: In this concept design, the artisanal coffee experience is brought into the home. People want to make better coffee, but it takes a lot of expertise. Everyone wants the most luxurious and the most prestigious coffee, but not everyone wants to put the time and effort to learn the complexities of making the perfect cup. Minute fluctuations in temperature, bean grind, and other factors determine coffee taste. With this system, the coffee preparer creates incredible coffee by regulating the size and volume of the grind, the water temperature, and other factors. The artisanal coffee experience is brought home, and the user becomes more sophisticated.

Ceremony: Unlike a pod system, this system creates a ceremony around preparing coffee. Baristas at high-end coffee shops have an intimate—bordering on obsessive—understanding of bean Ph levels, the humidity, the grind, age of beans. Imagine guests at a dinner party preparing coffee before dessert. They will go through the prep process, learn about the coffee, and have coffee connoisseur discussion points. “It creates a theatre experience around preparing coffee,” says Wu.

IoT: A digital component allows the preparer and guests to learn about the coffee and how to prepare it to perfection. Coffee Connoisseur users can go to the app to modulate various elements of preparing the coffee. “Technology shouldn’t replace experiences, it should create experiences by making them more accessible,” says Wu. The product has back-end AI so different roasts are better understood, and they are posted on a virtual coffee house app (Spotify for coffee) so other users can replicate greats cups of coffee. Coffee houses can use the app too. Users can go to their local coffee shop, take a photo of a bag and the system will make recommendations for preparation. The community makes your coffee better.