One category of product we’re commonly pitched, but tend to pass upon are pod-based coffee makers. The reason being, while popping in a pod and enjoying an espresso or Americano in less than a minute is inarguably convenient, anyone with a modicum of concern about flavor or the environment should respond with a “hard pass.” The xBloom coffee maker might not be so much as a compromise as an ingenious solution combining the convenience of a pod-based system and the delectable flavor a thoughtfully prepared pour-over cup of coffee.
If you’re like us, you enjoy the ritual of preparing coffee almost as much as drinking it. While the xBloom uses pods like their more wasteful counterparts, each pod is made with 100% biodegradable sugarcane fiber, each filled with whole beans from a selection of independent coffee roasters, artisan coffee shops, and even directly from growers. It’s akin to the difference between buying your fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market versus their canned equivalents.
But back to the ritual aspect. The xBloom retains the relaxing habit of whole bean coffee preparation entails. Instead of popping in a pod, the machine uses coffee capsules designed to be manually emptied into the top of a burr grinder, guaranteeing a precise amount per serving.
That same capsule is then placed into a holder below to be reused as a pour over filter to receive a precisely determined amount of water in a spiral motion. In theory, the xBloom regulates water temperature, pressure, flow, pattern, and ground weight with the persnickety detail of your favorite skilled local barista using a RFID chip that identifies the bean type.
Of course, no machine today is complete without a corresponding app. In this case an xBloom app makes absolute sense, as it permits the user to fine tune brewing parameters to their own preferences. Nobody is judging you like your coffee or your humor, whether bitter and dark or cloyingly sweetened.
Alongside the function, xBloom’s designers have given their smart coffee maker an equally natty minimalist design, sleekly vertical requiring only a modest amount of valuable counter space. The result sort of looks like a SodaStream as interpreted by Dieter Rams (and we mean that only in the best way possible).
Coffee names like Intelligentsia, Onyx, and Chromatic Coffee Co. are all listed as partners, so the xBloom is apt to launch with some truly delicious roasts to enjoy one bean-to-cup serving at a time.
The xBloom is set to launch first as a Kickstarter at 50% off with additional pre-launch details here.
Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.