Last we heard from the founders of Bonaverde, they had just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $135,000 to produce a coffee maker that turns green, unroasted beans into a cup of coffee in under 14 minutes.
At this point the startup has raised $465,475 with eight days to go, so we caught up with founders Hans Stier and Felix Artmann when they were in New York to check out a prototype of the machine. You may be wondering if this was just an elaborate ploy to get a free cup of coffee. The answer is yes.
As far as user experiences go, the Bonaverde is about as easy to manage as the Keurig you bought for your dad on Black Friday – although presumably less so on the cleanup. A couple spoonfuls of green coffee beans go in the hatch on top, you hit “On,” and the machine does its thing: roasting, cooling, grinding, and brewing the beans.
Unroasted beans stay fresh for months – much longer than the pre-roasted beans you might otherwise buy – so flavor is one of the claims on which Bonaverde is staking its business. Turns out their machine brews really solid coffee that’s neither stale-tasting nor bitter. Some critics have pointed out that roasted beans should be allowed more time to air before they are ground, and while that may be optimal, Bonaverde’s coffee was still really good.
When it launches Bonaverde will also serve as the online marketplace for the raw beans, meaning coffee farmers can connect directly with their end consumers. Down the line, the site will feature all of the producers that shoppers can buy from.
Note that coffee maker in the video is just a prototype of the one that will go to market, which has a much prettier exterior.
Blue Apron will make anyone feel like an expert chef, by delivering every single ingredient you’d need to whip up a beautiful dinner. The service delivers three meals to your house each week, including ingredients and clear recipes, and the rest is up to you.
You win some and you lose some with Blue Apron, as is true with any service.
To some, the idea of whipping up a delicious dinner sounds relaxing and enjoyable from start to finish. These people like walking through the farmers market, plucking products they desire, dreaming up recipes and bringing all of it to fruition while breathing in the aroma of simmering foods.
Others can throw together a dish, maybe pasta with sauce or some eggs, and call it a day.
And still others have trouble with cereal, opting to eat out most of the time rather than stock a fridge, prepare a meal, and wash dishes.
Each has a point, in their own right, but what’s most surprising about Blue Apron is that it reaches all of these demographics quite well. The lazy-bones anti-cook doesn’t have to do any work to procure ingredients, but can learn the basics of cooking good food. The middle man chef, who can make some stuff but certainly lacks confidence, can grow as a cook by trying out more advanced recipes and learning how to work with new ingredients.
Even the pro chef shouldn’t feel left out by the service. Blue Apron focuses on interesting, not-often-used ingredients each week to teach the user something new, and the first time around is just practice. More experienced chefs have the opportunity to learn new recipes and build on top of them, mix and match, or simply learn how to work with a new, and rare, product.
In terms of the service itself, it takes all the good parts of cooking and brings them right to your doorstep. Literally. The only piece of the puzzle that may be missed, perhaps by some, is going grocery shopping. For many of us, who are either too busy, or overwhelmed by the supermarket, or are really really good at letting food go bad in the fridge, having Blue Apron handle the grocery shopping is the best part.
However, if you find yourself craving a trip to the old grocer to prepare a plan for this week’s cuisine, Blue Apron probably isn’t right for you. Moreover, if you want complete control over your meal (and can’t go with the flow in terms of eating and trying new things) you may also have trouble with the service.
See, there is no way to edit meals. “Without onions” simply isn’t an option. That said, the meals I tried (and most of the meals I see on the Blue Apron website) are relatively mild, and don’t include things people are commonly allergic to like peanuts. In fact, none of the three meals even included cheese.
Which brings me to my next point: Blue Apron is pretty healthy. Now, if you’re on some crazy diet, Blue Apron probably isn’t a good choice, as one of my meals included a hefty helping of butter and another contained gluten. But, if you’re just looking to eat healthy, Blue Apron is looking out for you.
Plus, the ingredients they send you are super fresh. I froze two of the meats so they’d stay tasty, and only had to replace one vegetable over the course of the two weeks I reviewed the service. That’s pretty good.
My only real complaint is pricing. Because Blue Apron portions out ingredients for every meal per person, there were never any leftovers during my review. This means that each time I cooked my own meal at home, it was a full $10. For a week, that’s $30 just for myself. But you have to remember, these are just three dinners. That $30 doesn’t cover my grocery shopping, a couple meals out, or any snacking.
You can try to budget in Blue Apron alongside eating out and buying groceries (perhaps just doing the latter two more sparingly) if you have the funds (also, if you have the funds, you should call me). But for myself, at least, I don’t want to spend $10 on a meal I cook myself.
Overall, I’d call Blue Apron a smart service, especially for those of us who have a true passion for cooking. However, if you’re looking to skip all the worst parts of making food at home, be aware that with Blue Apron or any other service like it, it’s gonna cost you.
Blue Apron is a New York-based start-up that is changing the way people cook at home. Our weekly subscription service delivers everything you need to make fresh meals. We go shopping for our customers at wholesale, and deliver all the ingredients in exactly the right proportions, along with beautifully printed recipe cards. It’s like having your own private chef– you’ll discover new recipes, eat fresher food, and save both time and money. Learn more at http://www.blueapron.com
Follow this link: Blue Apron, For The Chef In All Of Us