The new year has started off with a plunge into a deepening market for full-immersion coffee press pots. No fewer than three new devices emerged in the first month of 2018, buoyed by wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns.
Espro, makers of the well-regarded Espro Press line of high-end French presses, headed back to Kickstarter on Jan. 9 for at least the fourth time for four different products. The new campaign is for the Espro Ultralight water vessel/French press combo. Espro claims it is the lightest-weight insulated coffee brewer (and water vessel) in the world, at 9.5 ounces dry.
As of this writing, the Espro Ultralight campaign has more than doubled its goal, raising more than $45,000 with 15 days remaining. Projected shipment to Kickstarter backers is slated for May 2018, followed by sales at a retail price of $45.
Alpha Dominche Flask
Meanwhile, at the tail end of last year, high-tech commercial equipment maker Alpha Dominche revealed its first consumer brewing device, the Flask, an immersion-type brewer that the company launched on Kickstarter earlier this month as well, on Jan. 18.
The Flask achieved its goal within a day. As of this writing, the campaign had raised $130,000 with roughly three weeks remaining. The hope is to ship the market-ready brewer in July 2018, followed by sales at a retail price of $80.
The Rite Press
Most recently, a wildcard third player has taken to Kickstarter with a campaign for the Rite Press, another refined French press that has not only sailed quickly past its modest funding goal, but has more than a month remaining to raise funds that will expedite shipping to backers by as early as March, according to the company.
The Rite Press by Los Angeles-based consumer product startup Rite Development Lab exhibits an interesting combination of modern design principles and old-fashioned technology. Its appearance is made sleek in matte black or stainless steel finish with a minimalist cylindrical handle on the 1-liter brewer, and no handle at all on the half-liter version. An analog brew-temp thermometer nests within the plunger rod to be removed and placed in the fresh hot water prior to brewing to make sure an optimal temperature of water is used, and the bottom of the brewer is threaded for removal to simplify cleaning.
The corrosion-resistant, woven, 80-mesh stainless steel filter features a silicon gasket to seal against the inner wall of the vacuum-insulated brewer. There’s also an included sand-filled hourglass that fastens magnetically to the side of the brewer, calibrated to serve as a 3.5-minute timer, which the company suggests is the ideal amount of time for brewing full-immersion coffee in a Rite Press.
“We love it when things are simple — especially before coffee,” Rite Development Lab CEO Sargam Patel told Daily Coffee News. “We don’t want to deal with small buttons, beeping or dead batteries before we go out and take on the world. We feel our customers don’t want to either.”
Patel is an inventor and product designer known for having developed the first hard plastic case for the iPod in 2004, three years prior to the advent of the iPhone. “The timer is there as a guide, not a demand,” Patel said. “If you go over a bit because you were making eggs or you plunge a bit early because you’re off [to] work your ritual should still be wonderful.”
The designer also noted that the timer does not include an indicator of the initial 30-second mark because in their research they found no evidence that the oft-recommended practice of blooming the coffee actually changes the flavor profile of a full immersion brew.
Expected retail prices for the Rite Press range from $99 for the half-liter in stainless finish to $149 for the 1-liter matte black. Retail sales will begin via the company’s website in April of this year and will expand to Amazon from there.
“We feel there is plenty of room to innovate in the at-home coffee space and have already started work on future products,” Patel said. “We can’t reveal our roadmap at this time but hope to share more in the coming months.”
As of this writing, the Rite Press campaign had exceeded its goal more than 10 times over, raising more than $230,000 with more than a month remaining.