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Blogger News: Voltaire - A portable, freshness-sensing coffee grinder 29.6.16

Keep forgetting to order new coffee beans? Let your grinder do it for you.

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Voltaire is a portable, high-performance grinder that monitors your coffee beans and reorders whenever you need a fresh supply.
 

Making fresh coffee is as much an art as it is a science. And truly awesome coffee starts with two things: fresh beans and a great grinder. We've taken these two critical elements - fresh beans and consistent grind - and combined them into one amazing machine: Voltaire.

Voltaire is the world’s first high-performance portable burr grinder. An IoT (internet of things) connected sensing platform and smartphone app allow users to measure bean freshness and receive replenishment alerts or auto-replenish when it’s time for fresh beans. Voltaire’s high-performance LiFePO4 batteries will last through over 3lbs of beans and hold a charge for up to three weeks. This is seriously smart coffee.

 

If you’re not into the whole internet-of-things movement, but still want an amazing portable grinder, you can opt out of the sensing platform and simply pledge for the standalone model. We won't hold it against you - even without a "brain," Voltaire is brilliant.
 

Coffee has a lifespan. Green beans can last months before decline. Roasting them creates yumminess in the form of sugars, amino acids, and volatile compounds and gases that, ultimately, are also a key factor in the staling process. (More on that later.) After it’s roasted, a bean’s lifespan can be measured in mere days. The yumminess starts to fade, and rancid flavors creep in. Odds are, the best cup of coffee you ever had came from super fresh beans.
 

There are a variety of factors that contribute to staling. We’re going to get a little nerdy here, so bear with us. Carbon dioxide diffusion, lipid oxidation, and aroma loss in the form of escaping volatile compounds are primary suspects. These reactions occur over time and are accelerated by heat, moisture, surface area, and oxygen exposure. It is a complex and fascinating process. Since there are a variety of environmental factors that come into play, it NEVER HAPPENS in the exactly same way. And it’s invisible.
 

With the naked eye, it's impossible to look at a bean and tell just how fresh it is. But that's why we're here.

 

Enter Voltaire.
 

We’ve developed a sensing platform that measures what we can’t see: volatile compound release, gas concentration, temperature, humidity, bean mass, and volume. The sensor array communicates with a machine learning algorithm that can also consider inputs like roast date, purchase date, bean varietal, roast style, and other known factors. We can tell when your beans are really really fresh, when they start to degrade, and when they’re in the red zone of mediocrity. Over time, with more users and more data, we’ll continually refine our algorithm as it learns about different types of beans and roasts. Your grinder will be smart, and get smarter. And you’ll never have to drink stale coffee again.
 

The whole platform is wifi- and app-connected. All of the sensing data is available so that you can drill down on what’s happening inside your beans and in the surrounding environment. Voltaire also monitors mechanical data each time you grind - fineness, grind time, mass, and volume throughput. The app can even monitor total bean storage across both the Voltaire Grinder and Airvault Smart Container (see below!). When your beans get too stale or simply run low, it can remind you to buy more beans, or reorder automatically from your favorite roasters. We’ll be partnering with roasters, subscription services, and platforms like Amazon DRS to make the process totally seamless and fun.
 

So how do you avoid drinking bad coffee? You (now) know your beans are fresh. The next major step is to grind beans when you’re ready to brew, and not long before. Ground coffee has a lifespan that can be measured in minutes, which is why having a grinder is key. And THIS grinder gets it right.

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