Although some classics can never be beat, coffee sure has come a long way, and it now seems like there’s a gadget to help solve any caffeine dilemma. But the evolution of coffee gadgetry spans beyond function and practicality. Sometimes the best technology is the old-school classics.
That’s the case with my own can’t-live-without coffee gadget, the Bialetti Moka Express, which makes the perfect cup of espresso in a matter of minutes. The surge of people rushing to buy pour over equipment has me amazed. Coffee can be enjoyed slowly, but when one needs a java jolt, it must arrive faster.
The Bialetti Moka has become an iconic design over the years; first introduced in the ‘30s, with a distinct eight-sided, aluminum octagon that warms the beverage better than a mainstream round pot. One sip of a Bialetti espresso, and you’ll see why this design has thrived over eight decades and won the hearts of hundreds of millions of coffee-lovers. If you like strong coffee, this is the pot for you.
The merging of coffee and art is evident in one of the biggest new coffee gadgets,the Ripple Maker, winner of the 2016 Last Gadget Standing contest. This incredible machine allows you to artfully personalize any message or picture on your frothy latte. Yes, it actually prints images and words in the foam.
Intrigued? You can already see it in use in movies and TV commercials. Or see what’s possible on Instagram. It may be too pricey for your average java drinker (or even average coffee shop), but the Ripple Maker has paved the way for a higher standard in beverages, where aesthetic and individuality provides value.
Plus, how much would you pay to see your own face on top of your latte? Options like this add an element of emotion, interest and fun to your morning routine, and some day, they will be a standard offering in the coffee business.
Destinations around the world are also raising the bar on coffee offerings. I was amused and delighted to find a perfect cup of coffee at all of the MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. A perfect espresso was found in the Aria Tower Suite Lounge, and even after a spa treatment at the Bellagio. One boutique hotel in particular, Circa 39 in Miami Beach serves locally roasted Panther Coffee as part of their breakfast buffet for guests. Their new Miami Flavorhoods package includes a neighborhood culinary tour with an option to visit Little Havana, where you get a sip of authentic Cuban coffee. For authentic Italian flavor — straight from the source — you can find some of the world’s best coffee at the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa.<
The coffee scene continues to evolve with other flavors and influences. Certain Starbucks serve beer and wine, while others reach for mimosas at the retro coffee shop, Drip in 5 Points Columbia, reminiscent of an old apothecary where I used to sip Cardamom Rose coffee - that tasted like two pumps essential oils.
Coffee used to be known for the jitters, but it's slowing down, as shops encourage you to sip and savor. In Germany, you are looked at with odd amusement if you ask for a to-go cup. Even the four- and five-star hotels I stayed at in West Berlin were unable to accommodate. The quaint city of Wiesbaden even put a Starbucks out of business since the essence of quick coffee was so far off from their norm.