I’m an Apple fanboy. I either own or have played with literally every product they’ve ever launched. I’ve attended every launch event (virtually, at least). In fact, I’ve moved other meetings, even family obligations, to make sure I’m available to attend. I’ve read most Steve Jobs biographies. I go to the Apple store in every new city I visit. In short, I’m an Apple fanboy.
It’s difficult to articulate exactly why I like products from company’s like Apple. But I can define the common common thread. It’s their approach to design. Specifically, their approach to combining form with function.
Very few companies in specialty coffee inspire the same level of devotion from me. But Acaia is definitely on that very short list. So when they announced they’re launching a grinder, I was over the moon. And keenly scoured the web to find out more. When I couldn’t find much, I decided to reach out to Acaia founder, Rex Tseng, to hear the news straight from the source.
How, why and when did Acaia launch?
It launched on Kickstarter almost six years ago with the Pearl scale. The founder has a background in manufacturing laboratory balances. He was interested in coffee but didn’t like the design and tech of current coffee scales on the market. The Pearl was produced as a solution to a need for a coffee scale that was minimalistic, beautiful, yet packed with many lab-grade features & components. Everything is hand assembled, individually calibrated, and tested before shipping out.
Now that you’re a noteworthy player in specialty coffee globally, what are the lessons you’ve learned about the industry & consumers to date? Have any advice for founders of startups attempting to establish themselves in this space?
Listen to the voice of passionate users and support your customers. The market needs to listen more. The coffee industry is dynamic and constantly moving on, so keeping track of new trends and customer feedback is important.
Acaia has some of the most beautiful products in the world. Are product aesthetics important for Acaia? If so, why?
Aesthetics is a core philosophy of Acaia Product design. We believe aesthetics can extend the user experience beyond the product and bring joy to one’s life.
When developing a new product, what is the journey to the final product? Especially as it relates to the Orbit.
We start with what we love to see or what we can improve on in the product, then draft a few concepts and discuss them within our team. If we feel the product has a potential market for it, we will begin the next iterations by building prototypes. The prototypes go through countless minor and major iterations before reaching an actual working prototype. If the prototype does not look like it’ll be commercially viable, we will go back to the first step and start again. The Orbit took about 2-3 years for development.
How is the Orbit different from what’s already on the market?
The Orbit is a 64mm premium level single dosing grinder, with smart features and connectivity that link it to the overall Acaia ecosystem of products, including grind by weight using a Lunar scale. It is designed with connectivity in mind for the 64mm flat burr grinder category. We are also working on a larger hopper for those who want to take full advantage of the grind by weight feature.
You’ve partnered with Weber Workshops for the development of the Orbit. Why were they your partner of choice?
Weber Workshops has a long, proven history in designing and manufacturing high-quality grinders. We’ve worked with them in the past, in manufacturing the EG1 for four years and providing electrical engineering.
When will the Orbit launch?
This summer (3rd quarter) in the US only.
What’s next for Acaia?
We’re working on improving our current product lineup.
Acaia products are available at Brewing Gadgets.