Making coffee from green beans at home - Bonaverde Berlin

Beans in…. Coffee out, too inconvenient?

Often in this consumer driven world, we look to comforts and products that make our lives easy. If you are hungry you may buy a ready prepared sandwich. Although a simple example, the sandwich illustrates the convenience that consumers are willing to pay a little more for. Rather than get some cheese, meat, bread etc and go through the rather mild inconvenience of assembling these ingredients, we pay some pence/pounds more to have it ready to go. In a similar parallel the preferred beverage of millions, coffee undergoes significant harvesting and production overheads before it becomes a hot liquid for someone to enjoy. Demand for coffee has seen a supply and process chain setup that proven lucrative for many companies. This has not always been fairly distributed amongst those responsible/involved in getting that beverage in our hands. Historically farmers have been the ones to get the least reward to effort.

The Bonaverde Berlin is a coffee machine with a difference, rather than putting roasted coffee beans (in a prepared pod or beans themselves) you put green un-roasted beans into the roasting tray of the device. After pouring water into the reservoir, the Bonaverde Berlin will allow you to roast, grind and brew your coffee from the green beans you put in its roasting tray earlier on. The idea is to provide the consumer a facility that will allow them to directly shop with coffee farmers, albeit in a facilitated form with the Bonaverde Berlin company.

To add (some might unnecessary) strings to the device’s bow it has a built in 3G sim card and cellular phone, to allow it to be controlled remotely. This is done via a facebook bot, the user goes to a particular URL (which is a chat console to Bonaverde concierge) and then can instruct the machine to roast, grind and brew in isolation or as a complete process to make a coffee.

This all in one machine also makes use of an NFC(Near Field Comminication) reader, to allow the user to scan the sticker on the bag of coffee supplied via Bonaverde, so the machine knows the precise and intended roasting time, grinding and brewing process for the particular green beans coffee you want to enjoy. This gives the gadgets design a simple composition: 1 touch button, 1 NFC scan point, some indicator lights

As alluded earlier the notion of this machine is to allow a user a direct path to coffee farmer, whether this translates to fairer distribution of the wealth in this model really relies on the means by which you acquire/discover the suppliers i.e. the farmers. In this regard Bonaverde as a company could be accused of attempting to create there own market to monopolise, however its a little bit like the chicken and the egg which has to come first in order for a market to exist? Many will be familiar with bespoke machines like the Tassimo and Nespresso when bespoke pods are used with machines designed specifically to make a beverage using a licensed pod system. With varying degrees of success these proprietary pod systems have furnished an ability to have barista quality coffee in the home. Albeit still a little expensive compared to other means of making the perfect cup at home.

The Bonaverde berlin coffee machine doesnt quite have the same slick look and feel as other coffee machines (comparing to Tassimo and Nespresso devices). The sample I was able to test definitely had prototype feel to it, and this may well be a consequence of the company/product infancy. Bonaverde have on their website examples of the white machine I was given to review and the rather smarter looking ‘silver’ version. The machine also makes use of a ‘pocket’ reservoir, which can be detached to be filled. You can regulate the strength of the coffee produced in the coffee pot receptacle by reducing the water.

At a price of €799 it is quite an expense to undertake, and makes you wonder if it is really worth it. The machine produces coffee which is ok, which can be a little on the watery side sometimes