xBloom grinds whole roasted beans for each single serving of coffee
Most baristas will tell ya – if you want a really good cup of coffee, you have to start with freshly ground beans. That's where the home-use xBloom machine comes in, as it brews individual servings of pour-over coffee from whole roasted beans that it grinds for each use.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the xBloom works with system-specific biodegradable pods that come preloaded with different types and roasts of beans.
After pouring the required amount of water into the xBloom's reservoir, the user starts by holding a pod over a scanner on top of the machine, so the latter can "read" an RFID tag on the bottom of the pod. Doing so allows the device to identify the type of bean in the pod, and to select a preprogrammed grinding/brewing recipe for that bean. If the user wishes, however, they can utilize an accompanying app to override that recipe, substituting one of their own.
Next, the user opens the sealed pod and pours the beans into the xBloom's grinder, after which they place the now-empty pod in the machine's motorized dock (basically a pod-holding tray). The grinder's 48-mm titanium-nitride-coated conical burrs proceed to grind the beans to the specified grind size, while the dock moves the pod over to sit beneath the grinder.
Once the beans are fully ground, they're dispensed into the pod, which is in turn moved back over to sit beneath the water dispenser. Hot water is then poured into the pod, with the temperature and pour pattern determined by the recipe – the dock periodically shakes the pod from side to side, in order to level out the ground beans.
After passing through the pod, the water (now in coffee form) is collected in a cup sitting below the pod. A weigh scale in the dock determines when the appropriate amount of water has been dispensed, and stops adding more at that point.
Depending on the recipe, the xBloom produces 150 to 374 ml (5 to 12.7 oz) of coffee per use. The whole process, from scanning the pod to having a cup full of coffee, reportedly takes about four minutes.
Assuming the xBloom reaches production, a pledge of US$399 will get you one with a pack of 32 pods – the planned retail price for that package is $799, with additional pods going for 99 cents each. The pods are currently offered in 11 varieties, although the xBloom company plans on working with independent developers to create more.
That said, if you really like the idea of using your own beans, you might want to check out the PODMKR. Presently on Indiegogo, it grinds user-supplied beans and dispenses them into a reusable single-serve stainless steel pod, which is compatible with existing Keurig and Nespresso machines. If all goes according to plan, it can be had for a pledge of $129 – the planned retail price is $159.
The xBloom is demonstrated in the following video.
Sources: Kickstarter, xBloom
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