The Coolest Coffee Gadgets

It’s been a great year if you’re a coffee lover, a gadget lover or a little bit of both. This year’s hottest new coffee products include a portable, manual espresso maker that gets up to 16-bar pressure and dispenses hot espresso with perfect crema at the push of a button, and sleek, updated version of an old favorite espresso maker. These are my favorite 2008 coffee gadgets – and a few looking forward into next year.

Otto Espresso Maker

Due out in January 2009, the Otto Espresso Maker is a labor of love for designer Craig Hiron. The stainless steel stovetop espresso maker is a total redesign of the ATOMIC stovetop espresso maker that’s achieved cult status with devotees. Priced at about $500, it’s a sleek, beautiful and very very shiny import from Australia.


Another import, this one from Frnace where they value romance. The handpresso is a portable espresso maker that’s smaller than a bicycle pump. It has a hand pump that you manually prime to 16 bars of pressure, and takes ESE espresso pods. You build up the pressure in the pump, add hot water to the cup, drop in an espresso pod, screw on the cap and press the button to dispense the espresso into your demitasse. It’s a very cool, very high tech looking gadget that makes great espresso.
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The Aerobie Aeropress is another nifty little non-electric coffee maker. Aerobie touts it as a “revolutionary” way to make coffee. I don’t know about revolutions, but the nifty gadgets have caused quite a stir. You simply add hot water and ground coffee, let the brew sit for ten seconds, then push down on the handle to force the hot coffee through a microfilter and into your cup. It takes 30 seconds from hot water to hot coffee, and produces a smooth cup of coffee that has even been praised by Kenneth David of Coffee Review fame.
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Clover 1 Coffee Machine

The Clover 1 was this year’s newest cult object. The $11,000 coffee machine is designed to make coffee – not espresso – one cup at a time, and is meant for the commercial market. Each machine is handmade in a little Seattle shop, and has a built-in computer program that precisely regulates the temperature, brewing time and amount of water for each cup of coffee that it brews. The machine can be linked into a network that allows a coffee shop chain like Starbucks – which are putting the Clover 1 in 80 of their shops – to monitor every single cup of coffee made by every single machine in the network. They can even make changes on the fly to the “recipe” for each type of coffee and have the machines respond by instantly changing the way they make that kind of coffee.

Mini Hand Coffee Grinder

Not new but still quite neat, a coffee grinder that fits in the palm of your hand and lets you grind fresh coffee beans anywhere at all. You can buy it from – you’ll love this – the Boy Scouts of America Scout Shop of the Orange County Council. Be Prepared, indeed.
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