The Specialty Coffee Expo may very well be the largest gathering of baristas, cafe owners, product developers and coffee industry heavyweights there is. Held in Seattle and organized by the Specialty Coffee Association, one of the Expo’s marquis events is Best New Products competition — a rigorously scrutinized and judged selection of new products are chosen in a handful of different categories every year for the value they add to the coffee world. So, we could tell you what we think is the coolest new coffee gear, or we could let the professionals handle it. Here are the four category (and one overall) winners from the event that are available now.
Best in Show (and Technology): Coffunity
Think of Coffunity as the Untappd for coffee beans. Currently only available on iOS, it allows you to take a photo of a bag of beans and read reviews from other drinkers, the origin of the coffee, the processing method and even the farmer who grew it. An in-app suggestion program provides you with a curated selection of beans you’d enjoy based on your past reviews, and there’s a page that gauges what’s new, trending or already popular. Coffunity remains in beta, but is free to download right now.
Best Consumer Electronics: Breville Barista Touch
Previous to Breville’s Barista Touch, espresso drinkers didn’t have time to make espresso. Now, a shot of absurdly precise espresso is effectively within reach as fast as you can toss the beans in the built-in grinder and choose your drink (on a touchscreen, no less). The Barista Touch is able to reach peak extraction temperature in 3 seconds, and the machine recognizes what drink you input and will grind the beans and shuffle the exact volume of grounds into the chamber automatically. Oh, and the steam wand is automatic, too — just choose what level of foaminess you’d like and the machine does the work. It may be pricey, but consider how much you’ll save not buying $6 cappuccinos every day.
Best Coffee Accessories: Detpak Precision Series
Sometimes the best changes are the simplest ones. Detpak’s Precision series of to-go coffee cups has the exact amount of coffee to pour for cream space scrawled on the side, eliminating any doubt that your barista really is over-pouring your cup intentionally to ruin your morning.
Best Standalone Specialty Beverage: Dona Turmeric Concentrate
Made completely in Brooklyn with organic ingredients galore, Dona’s Turmeric Concentrate is the answer to a remixed latte that’s decidedly not a sugary syrup. Made with a blend of freshly-ground turmeric, pink peppercorn, ginger, allspice, lemongrass and black pepper, Dona recommends mixing its newest offering with equal parts milk in your next Sunday morning latte (hint: it’s just as good cold as it is hot).
Cutting to the heart of coffee bean flavor – what you need to know to pick the right bag. Read the Story