Ahhh, coffee. That rich, aromatic mixture of art and science. Stray a little on bean roast or brew temp and you’re in the repugnant realm of sippin’ a day-old cup of joe from 7-11. NOT GOOD. Brew your beans at home? Well, look at you, you connoisseur of fine caffeinated beverages, you. But do your beans connect to your router and smart phone? Yeah, of course not. Not YET.
You’d be surprised. There are actually a few Wi-Fi connected grinders on the market, but none are able to monitor bean freshness and alert users to replenish said beans. Well, none except the Get It Right Voltaire Smart Grinder.
The secret behind the Voltaire Smart Grinder is its array of sensors, which monitor temperature, humidity, BEAN MASS, gas concentration and volume. This ensures you maintain the freshest beans possible. Do people actually keep beans in a grinder long enough for them to go bad? Apparently they do. It doesn’t end there though as the device also monitors the grinder functions, including fineness, grind time, mass and volume throughput.
When the bean count runs low, the Voltaire sends you an alert or, if you prefer, orders more beans from your favorite roaster. GIR says they plan to collaborate with roasters, subscription servers and even Amazon Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) for the auto replacement option.
As far as features go, it’s what you would expect to see in a high-end grinder, including high-grade ceramic conical burrs, an LED timer and a LiFePO4 Battery pack for grinding on the go. The accompanying app can be used to monitor your grinder, to makes sure it’s behaving and not secretly grinding beans when you’re away from home.
As an engineer (and chronic coffee drinker), I wanted to find out what prompted GIR to design a “Smart Grinder” and how it came about. Here’s what GIR’s CEO, Samantha Rose, told us:
“One of our favorite design tasks is to take an ordinary object – like the spatula that gave GIR its start as a company – and hotrod it. Voltaire was inspired by a chef friend who said, ‘what do you think about spice grinders?’ And the wheels started spinning. From our perspective, it’s almost impossible to separate the suggestion of a product from our namesake impulse to “get it right.” And in the case of a grinder, the way to get it right was to make it good enough for even the nerdiest coffee aficionados.”
She went on to say, “Of course, once you do that, it’s no longer just a spice grinder. It’s a really, really good coffee grinder. We spent a lot of time thinking about components, configuration, portability; rethinking grinders from the inside out. Voltaire is the result of that simultaneous ‘blank slate’ approach and obsession with detail.”
Do they have any other interesting projects in the pipeline? “We’re working on some coffee accessories that are available as well–Travel cups for coffee and tea, an espresso tamper and tamping state, and a pour over stand. From there, we’ll jump back into the ‘tools’ category this fall, with GIR tongs and whisks.”
With a successful Kickstarter campaign that beat their $100,000 USD goal, hitting $150,241 with 1,284 backers, production is under way with grinders scheduled to deliver December 2016. Those interested in getting their hands on the Voltaire can watch the GIR website for upcoming availability.