Smarter Coffee Machine: Get your caffeine kick via Wi-Fi
How can you possibly improve on coffee? “Add Wi-Fi” is Smarter’s answer. And while that sounds daft, this is the bit of kit whose return to the manufacturer will sadden me the most.
It is, for starters, just a good, nicely built coffee machine. There are a lot of pleasant little touches wherever you look that suggest care has been taken in the design: the hopper at the top holds a standard bag of beans perfectly, and has a gasket around the rim to lock in the aroma. To access the (washable) filter, you press a pleasingly chunky button on the side that pops the holder open, and the jug itself pours neatly with no spillages.
None of that is relevant to the smartness or otherwise of this coffee machine, but, of course, if they had got the basics of just making coffee wrong, all the smarts in the world ain’t gonna make me want to use the damned thing.
“I love a single-origin unwashed flat white from an indie coffee emporium as much as the next bearded hipster.”
Happily, the filter coffee that this machine produces is very good. I wouldn’t be surprised to be told by a coffee anorak that, because it grinds its beans this way or uses that material for its filter, then I might as well be drinking effluent straight from Beelzebub’s tumescent member, but I love a single-origin unwashed flat white from an indie coffee emporium as much as the next bearded hipster, and I thought it was great.
Besides, the smarts are genuinely useful. You can dial in strength and number of cups from a panel on the front, but you can also do it from your iPhone. And while, yes, you have to make sure you’ve cleaned the filter and changed the water and bean hoppers the night before – you can check the water level remotely – being able to lie in bed, press a button, and find a fresh pot of coffee waiting when you eventually haul yourself vertical is truly, transcendentally wonderful.
You can also have it make coffee at a set time, or even have it offer to get brewing when you step through the front door, thanks to a geofence alert. If it cost £300, forget about it, but this is roughly what you’d pay anyway for a well-finished bean-to-cup filter coffee machine.