Is there something missing on your kitchen counter between the coffee pot, the espresso maker, and the coffee grinder?
A coffee roaster.
Think of the intoxicating aroma of coffee when you walk into an artisanal roaster or a very good café.
Sometimes, when you get home to make a cup, it just doesn’t taste quite as good. That’s because roasted coffee quickly loses a lot of flavor. If you could roast coffee for each cup you drink, it would be much more flavorful.
Coffee roasting is normally a noisy, hot, and smelly process that requires professional expertise to get the best out of each bean. With NuRoast’s unique, CPU-controlled induction coffee roaster, operation is simplicity defined. Customers order their coffee through NuRoast, which is then delivered in recyclable cartridges that make eight to 10 cups. Roast profile recommendations that match the particular bean are provided on the packaging. All the customer needs to do is insert the cartridge into the induction roaster, pick the profile number, and press start. In less than 10 minutes, the beans have been roasted, cooled, and are ready to be ground.
You can’t buy one of their machines just yet, but Super Chef interviewed Patrick Deitch, CFO of NuRoast, recently about the invention and superior Joe. Depending on the funds raised, the coffee roaster will go on the market no later than December 2014 — just in time for your Santa list.
Super Chef: How is your roaster different from what’s already on the market? Why are you selling coffee, too?
Patrick Deitch: There are roasters, but they are manual. You have to watch them — and they smoke. They don’t have really good filtration systems. They are not automatic. In order to make ours automatic, our company has to control the coffee that it is going in: how much there is, what chemical reactions are going to happen, like the beans might be more acidic, and you’ll want to do certain things to reduce the acid.
Because we package coffee, we know exactly what it is, so we know what recipe or profile to roast: light, medium, or dark. Each coffee will have different roast profile.
Our goal is to roast it so that the coffee taste excellent every single time. We are shooting for a market that doesn’t want to learn to do that.
Super Chef: What are the price points for the coffee?
Patrick Deitch: Entry-level coffee – medium-high level Arabic coffee, like your local artisan shop. A canister will cost about $2-$2.20 each. About 20 cent per cup at a starting price, as if you were buying from an artisan roaster.
But our model is designed to bring you coffee that you’ve never had. For instance, there’s one in Central America: Geisha Esmeralda Especial, which cost $200 a pound. We could bring such top end coffees to people for $4.50 a cup or less, comparable to what you would spend for a mid level coffee in an upscale shop. We will be selling smaller quantity canisters – a duet canister that makes two normal size serving of coffee. Our normal canister makes a pot of coffee of 6-10 cups.
Super Chef: Will other companies sell your canisters?
Patrick Deitch: We plan on allowing other companies to offer coffee – not at the beginning, we have to have our brand associated with it. The important thing for us, at the beginning is that the customer gets quality product. Early on we want to control that.
Super Chef: What about the chaff that comes off the bean while roasting?
Patrick Deitch: With our machine, when you roast the coffee, the canister gets up to 530 degrees. That’s very hot. In order to cool it down, it is water-cooled. Our machine sprays water down to 110 degrees. The coffee inside gives up vapors, oil and gases on the inside surface of the canister. They get sticky when they cool, and the chaff just sticks on the walls of the canister. There will be no chaff in the coffee.
Super Chef: So, how does it compare to a conventional home roaster? There are a few models on the market.
Patrick Deitch: Induction heating is super-efficient. It is 95% efficient. Most roasters are underpowered because there is not enough energy in a home circuit to heat coffee enough. But with ours, we have no problem. And it is very controllable, which allows us to make expert system.
Super Chef: Briefly, how does the induction work?
Patrick Deitch: With an induction cooktop, you have to have a magnetic pot. In our case, our container is magnetic. It is essentially about the same as a fruit can, size of a red bull can. Fully recyclable, biodegradable. It is inexpensive to make, so it doesn’t add to the price of the product.
Super Chef: The canister is recyclable. What is it made of?
Patrick Deitch: It’s made of steel. It is completely biodegradable.
Super Chef: Where will you produce the coffee machine?
Patrick Deitch: Parts are off the shelf, the outer case is not. Most parts are sourced overseas, the brain will be built in US, initially, and the case will be manufactured here. We will assemble the machine at a contract manufacture in bay area at lower levels, and perhaps in Reno where we assemble coffee canisters. And at higher levels, Flextronics.
Super Chef: Will there be a professional model, one for restaurants or other institutions?
Patrick Deitch: The nature of our entry, the big leap is using induction, it is fully electronic and controllable. In order to get in any market, the cheapest way is with the consumer. However, we have a rough design for restaurants,. They could have a coffee menu, and customers to ask for coffee roasted to a particular profile. With hotel room service, the roaster could be rolled right in to the room. You could select your own coffee, watch it roast. We have a concept for a café, for direct sale coffee, where you would select from 10 coffees, each roast to three different ways. There are several uses of the technology. However, we are starting as a consumer product.
Super Chef: Who is endorsing the machine?
Patrick Deitch: We don’t yet. We haven’t decided who we want, or negotiate a deal. A celebrity endorser would have a position in the company. We aren’t sure how valuable that would be.
Super Chef: What about investors?
Patrick Deitch: From an investor’s standpoint, this is the first gourmet roasted coffee that can be marketed nationally. The only ones creating similar quality coffee are artisanal coffee roasters. They aren’t making the quantities for the whole nation. The part that is exciting is to have complete control over the process.
We are using Indiegogo for a crowd sourcing campaign. Indiegogo proves that there is a market for the company. People are buying it ahead of time at $170. It will give us some money, but we would prefer to enter at a higher level of $2 million plus, producing a whole bunch at the start to sell the first season. If we raise $200,000 we would produce much fewer.
We have Asian interest and European also. People in Europe have an awareness of different roasts and may want to control it themselves. For worldwide marketing, we have 14 provisional patents on our technology.
Make some room on the kitchen counter! Super Chef is looking forward to a fresh roasted cup.
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